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Archive for October 2012

The Journey To Wits End

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The Journey To Wits End

The Road to Nowhere was marked, sort of.  It was off to the side of the road and you to had to be looking for it to see it. Besides, weeds were growing up around its base.

David steered the car as if on autopilot. His mind was in a whirl. Everything was going wrong today. He felt like he had little control over the events of the day.

Last night, he had stopped in Despairville and got a room at The Anxiety Lodge.  The floors were not numbered 1,2, or 3. They were given names instead. His room was on Floor – Pacing.

A few others seemed to be heading in this direction also. Occasionally, he saw a car or two coming back from where he was heading.

Around the corner he went and then he saw a Fork in the road. He remembered that someone at the Lodge had recommended that when he came to Crucial Fork, to not take the Right Fork, so he didn’t.

The road climbed up Heartache Hill, and he entered the city limits of Panic Town. The Detour signs caused him to turn onto Frustration Avenue.  David drove down that road for quite a ways. He saw no streets to turn off on.

Ahead was a barricade across the road. He had to stop. The barricade had a big sign on it.

It said, “Welcome To Wits End!”

David couldn’t go forward, He had no desire to go back. There wasn’t a place to turn around that he could see.

He leaned his head forward and rested it on his hands as the gripped the steering wheel. Tears streamed down his cheeks. He cried aloud unto the Lord to help him. He lifted his head, and that’s when he saw Him!

  • That’s when he found the only One that could help him!
  • That’s when his help came!
  • That’s when his deliverance came!
  • That’s when Jesus took over!


That’s When The Sacred Psalm Came Alive For Him!


Psalm 107:23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;

Psalm 107:24 These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.

Psalm 107:25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.

Psalm 107:26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.

Psalm 107:27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.

Psalm 107:28 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.

Psalm 107:29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.

Psalm 107:30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

Psalm 107:31 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 29, 2012 at 11:39 pm

“I Used To Go To Sunday School There!”

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“I Used To Go To Sunday School There!”

It was cold! The outside temperature in South Bend, Indiana showed three degrees above zero. The snow was falling in big gentle flakes. There was already about eight inches of new and unplowed snow on the street.

It was after two o’clock in the morning as I walked to my van from Bro. Victor Simon’s house. His wife, Sis. Helen Simon had called after midnight and said that her husband was in severe pain with a kidney stone. He wanted me to come and pray for him, and so I did.

The Simons were not just members of the church; they were pillars in the church as well. In their senior years, they were still very active. It pained us all to watch Bro. Simon suffer with this horrible condition.

I unlocked my custom-sized van as I came out of their house and stepped up onto the running board kicking the snow off of my shoes before getting in. The wiper blades removed the snow enough for me to see, as the engine started. I was only ten blocks or so from home, so the heater wouldn’t be of much help tonight.

There were no tire tracks in the new snow, so no one had been down this road in a long while. I pulled up to the first intersection, which was only about a half block away, to make a left turn. That’s when I saw a hood-covered man walking under the street light with his head down.

It was miserably cold out. Not windy, just cold. I felt bad though, for anyone having to walk in deep snow. Besides, it was two in the morning and did I mention that it was cold outside?

I swung my van close to the curb, rolled my window down and asked him if he’d like a ride. He nodded and got in.

As I put the van in motion, I asked him where he needed to go, and he said, “just keep driving.”

His response and word choices just sounded wrong. I could tell that things were going to go bad very quickly. I smiled and said nothing. One block later he announced in gruff tones, “I got a knife!”

The knife he brandished threateningly at me had a blade about eight inches long. It looked like a hunting knife at first.

After my initial glance at the knife, I looked back through the front windshield. And, as if nothing had just happened, I started talking.

“I’ve just come from the house of an old man who is member of the church that I pastor. He’s in a lot of pain with kidney stones right now. He wanted me to pray for him because he believes God will heal him. That’s why I’m out here this time of night.” (By now, the hooded man had been in the van for about two blocks.)

“What church do you pastor?” The hood-covered figures asked.

“I pastor Christ Temple Apostolic Church on the corner of Elwood Avenue and Elmer Street.”

He paused a brief moment in thought and then said, “Pull over right here!”

I pulled the van to the curb. His hand was on the door handle as he half turned his hooded face toward me.

He began to speak in an apologetic tone as he put the knife away. “When I was a little boy, I used to attend Sunday School there. That’s a good church, and those are some good people. Keep up the good work.”

With that, the mystery man got out of the van and closed the door. He was unwilling to talk anymore. No doubt condemned by his own attempt to do wrong, and realizing how far from Sunday School truths he had fallen, he slipped into the night.

I drove on through the unplowed snow, thanking God for his mercy, and for every Sunday School Teacher in our Church!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 24, 2012 at 12:29 am

Posted in Mercy

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When Delight Becomes A Two-Way Street!

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When Delight Becomes A Two-Way Street!

 On Monday mornings I’ve started sending a group text with a devotional scripture and a short comment to all of my children.  It’s like a family memory verse for the week. Today’s verse truly caught me by surprise.

When King David prayed Psalms 19:14, I’m afraid he meant something much more beautiful than we’ve allowed ourselves to think all these years. Please read it with me again!

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.

I got hung up today, on the word acceptable. We all know that, what is acceptable to some is not always acceptable to others. So, out of curiosity, I looked up the meaning of the word in Strong’s Dictionary, and Merriam Webster’s Dictionary.


Strong’s Greek & Hebrew Dictionary. Acceptable:

from (ratsah); delight:- (be) acceptable (-ance, -ed), delight, desire, favour, (good) pleasure,

Acceptable, in the minds of English speaking people, is more often similar to Mr. Merriam Webster’s definition:

  • Capable or worthy of being accepted.
  • Barely satisfactory or adequate

So then, in rereading King David’s prayer of consecration, it suddenly came alive in my spirit. David didn’t want to just get by in God’s eyes. He was asking if he could be God’s Delight!


No Wonder God Called Him A Man After His Own Heart!

David wasn’t even praying about his actions, or his deeds. He dug down as deep into himself and his core values as he could go. He begged God to allow even the thoughts that he thought, and the very words that he spoke, to be a source of delight before Heaven’s Throne!

Don’t you remember how parents and grandparents fully delight in the actions and the darling little words of their children and grandchildren? Well, how much of a stretch is it to believe that David wanted God to look lovingly upon him in a similar fashion?

He wished that his very thoughts and words could somehow bring a smile to God’s Face. He wanted God to be delighted in him! That concept was not new in Holy Writ either.


Joshua And Caleb Pleaded With The Unbelieving Multitude.

Numbers 14:8 If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.

Their point was, if God delights in us, there is no limit to what He will do for us! David expresses the same train of thought for all of us follow.

Delight Is A Two-Way Street In God’s Kingdom. We Want God To Delight In Us, But He Also Wants Us To Delight In Him.

Psa. 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

What Are Our Main Sources Of Delight In This World?

  • Sports
  • Money
  • Screened in porches
  • Well mannered children
  • Travel
  • Chocolate
  • The sound of the oceans waves
  • Morning coffee
  • Fishing
  • Cars with heated bucket seats
  • Good food
  • When your spouse smiles
  • Bird watching
  • Antique stores
  • Shopping
  • Flowers
  • Holding the new baby

Delight Is A Two-Way Street

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

God wants to be YOUR Delight!!!


IF God Is The Main Delight Of Our Heart, Then This Is What We Can Expect!

Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

In That Day… We All Long To Hear Him Say, “Well Done Thou Good And Faithful Servant.”

But, What If… What If He Smiled At Us Personally, And Added, “You, Are A Delight To Me?!”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 23, 2012 at 12:09 am

Posted in Christian Living

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The Ballestero Girls

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The Ballestero Girls

My Daughter, My Daughters (In Love) and my oldest Grand Daughter have given their lives, their time and their talents to worshipping the Lord. The Ballestero Family is richly blessed by all of the wonderful and marvelously talented women God has placed in it. I regret that I am not able to display the talents of all of our girls here.

Some of their recorded projects are on display below. Also included are a few clips of them singing.

Click on any of the pictures to purchase their music! Enjoy!

Don’t you just love our girls!! The sad part is, you didn’t get to hear anything from my other two girls, Jasmine Robinson Ballestero or Marisa Ballestero Hartzell. Stay tuned though. Who knows what can happen next!


Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 22, 2012 at 12:08 am

Brother Van Winkle Takes A Trip To The Pastor’s Office!

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Brother Van Winkle Takes A Trip To The Pastor’s Office!

The old gentleman tottered a little unsteadily on his cane as he entered the Foyer of the First Pentecostal Church. The Sunday Morning Greeters welcomed him with much ado.

No one recognized him, nor had they ever seen him before. His clothes, although clean and pressed, definitely were way out of style.

After shaking his hand, someone handed him a Visitor’s Card to be filled out, and asked him his name.

“I’m Brother Van Winkle,” was the old man’s answer. He looked bewildered.

“And, I’m not a visitor!” he said as he looked at their unfamiliar faces. “I started attending this church when I was thirty. I got baptized here and received the Holy Ghost in 1959 soon after the church was first started. Who are you people?”

The Greeters exchanged confused glances with each other.

“Where’s Pastor Reynolds?” The old man continued, “He can vouch for me!”

There was a long pause. Finally the oldest Greeter said, “Brother Reynolds died in 1988, and we’ve had two more pastors since then.”

“Oh my! Oh my! My nurse told me that I had fallen into a deep sleep or something for a long time. But, I had no idea how long. The last thing I remember was when John F. Kennedy was voted in as President. What year is it now, the old man inquired?”

“Today is October 21, 2012.”

“Somebody help me sit down, this is too much for my heart,” was all he could say.

The old man was almost in a state of shock. They led him to a pew so he could sit down.



Everyone seemed friendly and attentive. Before church even started, many came by and shook his hand and welcomed him. He looked around carefully to see if he could find a familiar face. He wasn’t sure. He saw nothing he recognized in any of their faces. An Usher eventually took his Visitor’s Card from him, and laid it on the pulpit.

The worship was very lively, and the musicians played with great expertise. There were six young people on the platform singing the choruses. Every singer had his or her own microphone. There weren’t even any cords attached to the microphones either, and yet they worked! That amazed the old man.

The words of each chorus appeared as if by magic on the wall. No one seemed surprised or thought it amazing. Brother Van Winkle could not imagine how it was happening.

The service leader made a point to welcome their new visitor, ‘Brother Van Winkle.’ Everyone clapped their hands and made him feel welcome. But, the whole thing had a hollow feeling, nonetheless. This was his church, yet somehow it was not the same. He realized he really did feel like a visitor.

Brother Van Winkle enjoyed the worship and was also very impressed with the ‘new’ pastor… Pastor Shields. He preached a wonderful and stirring message.

At the end of the altar service, Brother Van Winkle started for the door.  His mind was still awhirl trying to sort out all of his emotions and reconcile them with his memories. As he was entering the Foyer, Pastor Shields intercepted him.



“The Lord bless you Bro. Van Winkle! I am so glad you came today. One year ago when I became the pastor here, someone told me that you had been a member here many years ago and had fallen into a coma of some sort. So, I came occasionally to visit and pray for you. I am happy to see that you got your miracle!”

“Thank you so much! It feels like I just went to sleep and woke up the next morning. But the reality of it is, I’ve lost over fifty years of my life.”

“If you can spare a moment or two,” the Pastor said, “I would love to have you step into my office and talk to me about some of the differences you can see in the church today, as compared to back then.”

The two men walked a short distance into the Pastor’s Office and Brother Van Winkle was seated in a comfortable chair that he could get out of, without much ado.

“Thank you for that wonderful message this morning, Pastor. I will feast on that one for a long while.”

The Pastor modestly nodded his thanks and smiled. He motioned with his hand as if encouraging the old man to begin.

“Well, the first thing I noticed was that there are no song books in the church anymore. The singers on the platform really did a great job though.

We never had singers up on the platform like that when I got in church. We only had one song leader. Seeing a group up there was new for me.

I looked around at the congregation a bit, and was very surprised to see that many of them were just looking at the words on the wall and not singing at all. It was almost like they were being entertained.

The Pastor made grimace and shook his head as if in agreement.



“I only knew one song out of the seven that we sang today. They all were very nice songs though, and the people seemed to enjoy them. But in the 1950’s we sang songs about the Blood, the Old Rugged Cross, the Holy Ghost, Baptism in Jesus Name and about Heaven. I guess I’ll get use to the new stuff, but I sure like the old.

“I noticed too, there was no testimony service this morning. You do still have testimonies don’t you?”

Again Pastor Shields made a slight grimace, and this time shook his head sideways.

“I was really hoping there would have been some prayer before the service started today, like there used to be. I really missed not hearing the saints pray out loud. And the Altars! The Altars are missing!

“I know,” the Pastor said with a sad sound in his voice.



“The facial hair on some of the men in the church, and especially on those that were on the platform, really confused me. I’ll have to say; I never saw that when I was young. Then too, not many of the guys dressed up for church today. Where do they have to go that’s more important than God’s House? Don’t they dress up for God anymore?

“I am an old man. But, I was caught off guard today when I looked at the lady folks. Many of the young women and girls here, evidently aren’t very careful about how they dress in public. I especially can’t believe they would dress for church like that if they’ve got the Holy Ghost. The clothes the ladies wore today were much tighter and much shorter than they used to be here in this church. Why would they do that?

“The old saints were very careful about modesty. Back in the day, Moms and Dads wouldn’t have let their kids leave home looking like that! They wouldn’t have even allowed them to buy those clothes in the first place. Some of those outfits didn’t leave much to the imagination.

“I was shocked when I saw some women and girls wearing slacks and jeans! Some had cut hair too! If they claim to be members, and are not new converts, do they even have the Holy Ghost? Really? They don’t look like the saints use to look around here. The saints of old use to get convicted of things like that.

“Then, because of the jewelry and makeup I saw, here and there, I thought we had a number of visitors today until they recognized me, from the pulpit, as the only visitor. The others, I guess, consider themselves members here too.

The Pastor looked down at his desk, as if too ashamed to look the old man in the eye.



“Some of the boys’ hair styles looked like they just got out of bed and they didn’t comb their hair for church this morning.

But, I think what got me the most, was overhearing some of the young people laugh and talk about movies and TV shows. That would have never happened back in the old days.

“I am sounding like a tattler, and I sure don’t want to be. I know that science has improved so much since I was here last. I guess what the kids had in their hands during the church service are some kind of telephones they can carry in their pockets now. The ones by me were fascinated with them most of the service. I could see some of them showing each other pictures or something, and laughing.

“None of them had a Bible, either. They just played with their phone. I wondered why their parents didn’t stop them.”

Then, as if the thought suddenly struck him, he asked, “Pastor, I looked around today to see if there were still any of the Williams family in the church. They were some of the pillars in the church when I was young. Are there any left?”

“No, not any more. The old ones, of course, have died off. The girls married guys from other churches. Larry the oldest boy backslid years ago.”

“What about Bobby?”

“Bobby,” the Pastor continued, “moved to Texas about ten months ago because he could get a job there that paid more pay, than he could earn here.”

“What?” Bro. Van Winkle was astounded! He moved away from his church to make more money? Why, I’ve never heard of such! That is unbelievable. He should have known better. He should have stayed right here and put the church first.  God would give him a good job right here where He had planted him. Have you heard anything from him?”

“He stayed in touch with some of his old friends here for a while. The last I heard, he wasn’t going to church anywhere, and him and his wife were getting a divorce.”

“That doesn’t surprise me. God doesn’t lead you away from your church to a place where you will lose out with him. I’ll sure pray for Bobby. He was very young last time I saw him.”

Now, the old man put his head down trying to sort out all the news. These kinds of things made his heart hurt some more. There was a long pause in the conversation.



Bro. Van Winkle finally lifted his head and with a warm smile on his face, and a kind sound in his voice, he said, “Pastor?”

The Pastor raised his head and smiled back.

“Pastor, I am an old man, and I don’t like change. I am so surprised, and even shocked, by some changes I have seen today. I know that most things change over a lifetime. I know too that some changes are for the good and there is nothing bad about them, but some of these changes scare me to death.

“This is still my church and I am happy to call you my Pastor. You should know however, there are some areas that I don’t ever plan to change!”

“Some of these changes I don’t like either,” said Pastor Shields. “It is easy to get use to gradual changes. I know. Some of these have happened over a lifetime, and then some have happened within the last fifteen years or so.

“Regardless, we are THE Church. We should ACT like God’s Church and we should LOOK like God’s Church. That’s my goal here. I haven’t been Pastor here very long. It takes a while to turn some ships around, but with God’s help, I would like to see this church get back on course.

He came around his desk to shake hands with the old gentleman.

“Thank God I have a few good men like you in this church to stand behind me. I would like to invite you to join me in prayer right now for a God sent revival in our church and in our town!’

He picked up his Bible from his desk and turned the pages until he found what he was looking for. He began to read aloud.

2 Chronicles 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.

The two men stood and prayed for God to bless them and to bless their church, then they shook hands in a bond of agreement before walking out the door. Each man fully committed in his heart to be Apostolic in every area, and to seek God’s blessing and approval on the future of The First Pentecostal Church!





Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 20, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Are You Going To Be Hanging Around Here For A While?

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Are You Going To Be Hanging Around Here For A While?

The women in town hated her. She was a threat to them all. Not a few men had been smitten by her beauty and surrendered to her charms. She had the undivided attention of more men in her life than good girls would ever dare dream about. They called her bad names and no one defended her. She didn’t even attempt to defend herself. She was what she was.

The fact that just such a notorious woman lived nearby, often gave mothers teaching opportunities to instruct their daughters of the dangers of living ‘that’ woman’s lifestyle.

Wives monitored their husband’s glances when she walked by. Her actions bore watching, because she was good at attracting men.

In her behalf, she didn’t just laze around all day and let others do the work. Not at all! She wasn’t afraid to pull her share of the workload.

She had her chores pretty well-timed. There was only a dirt floor in the house and no electricity. She had to make candles so the house would have light at night.

There also, was no running water, or even a pump. On the outskirts of the small village, there was a well. Every afternoon, she walked there to draw water for drinking and household needs. Without the water, she couldn’t drink, cook, wash dishes or bathe. This was no easy chore. She had to carry the water for several hundred yards.

Today was no different from the thousand other trips she had made, except for one thing. There was some stranger sitting on the rim of the well. He wasn’t good looking, but he wasn’t scary either. She wasn’t afraid of strange men, so she drew closer.

When she got close, he spoke to her, and asked if she would help him get a drink of water, since he had nothing to use to draw water from the well. The absurdity of his request was more than she could handle and still be polite.

“You’re a Jew,” she said. “You want me, a Samaritan, to help you, get a drink?” You’ve got to be kidding me, was her next thought.

“If you’d have known who I was,” He replied, “you would have asked Me to give you a drink. Because, if you drink the Water that I give, you’ll never be thirsty again!

Well now, this caught her by surprise. “Sir, give me some of this water you’re talking about, so that I don’t ever get thirsty again. I am so tired carrying water ever day.”

“Go get your husband, and then come back,” he said.

“But, I don’t have a husband,” was her meek reply.

“You told me the truth. You’ve had five husbands, and the man you’re living with now, is not your husband.”

Those words told her life story. How could this man possibly know this about her?

“You must be a prophet!” Were the first words that came out of her mouth. Then she shifted the focus of the conversation.

“Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and you people say we have to go to Jerusalem to worship.”

He said, “Woman, the time is going to come, when men won’t be limited to worshiping in this mountain or in Jerusalem. The hour is coming when true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

She said, “I know the Messiah is coming and when He comes, He will tell us everything we need to know.”

He said, “I tell you, that I am He!”

About that time, the Disciple of Jesus came up to them and just looked on unsmilingly and without comment to her. The woman put down her empty water pot and hurried to tell everyone that would listen, just what had happened to her.

She was the least likely in the whole village to inform anyone on spiritual matters, but she just had to tell them all.

Her testimony was short and to the point. “Come see a man who has told me everything I’ve ever done!”

In a short time, the whole village followed her out to the well to see this prophet, this Jesus, the Messiah.

The townspeople heard Him and begged Him to stay several days. Many of them believed.

Some Key Points:

She was a person with a past,

  • Yet she was key to a spiritual awakening in the whole town.
  • If the Lord could change her life, maybe He could change theirs too.

She didn’t carry her water pot back into town.

  • She left it.
  • She witnessed without baggage.
  • The water pot one of the most import things in her daily life.
  • Things that were once important in her life, now took second place to Him.

She wasn’t quiet about her experience.

  • She told more people than just her boyfriend.
  • She told everyone she saw.
  • Her experience was so powerful she just had to tell anyone that would listen.


She influenced a whole town for Jesus.

  • Even those that didn’t believe in her before, could tell something had happened to her.

How powerful is your experience with the Lord? Are you still clutching your clay water pots of life?

Imagine what could happen in our churches if we would all put His work first, and leave our water pots behind.

  • What excuses are we hanging on to that keeps us from being a witness for Him?
  • Could we too bring out whole towns to meet Him?
  • We may never know, till we try!
  • We may never know, till we put our water pot down!

Excuse Me…

Are You Going To Be Hanging Around Here For A While?

If you are, then would you mind watching my water pot for me?

I’ve got to go see some folks!


Ref: John 4:6-30

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Posted in Witness

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Please Welcome Kalyx Ballestero – My Grand Daughter

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Kalyx is seventeen, and the oldest of our thirteen grand children. Her sweet smile and tender ways endears her to us all. She graduates from High School in 2013, and she also graduates from St. Petersburg College with an Associate Degree. Attending two schools at the same time is a very heavy load. Kalyx makes us all proud.

She is very intense about worship and living for God. At her local church or at a General Conference, if you look on the front row, you’ll find her putting her heart into the service, with her hands in the air. I know God loves this girl. Grandma Marcia Ballestero and I sure do too!

This year she won a Talent Search, and was interviewed in last month’s Pentecostal Herald.

(As Seen On My Hope Radio)

This Week’s Featured Artist

Kalyx Ballestero

            Tell us a little about your family.

My Dad is the pastor of New Destiny Worship Center in Clearwater, Florida, where my family lives. My mom is the music director at our church. I have two little brothers; Carlton is twelve, and Braden is ten. I also have a puppy named Luigi!

            Describe your spiritual journey.

I received the Holy Ghost and was baptized when I was six years old. God has truly kept me ever since that day! My testimony is that I’ve never known what it’s like to live for the world because I’ve been hidden in the shadow of the Almighty. He’s all I’ve ever known, and I’m so thankful for that!

            What is your music background?

I started taking piano lessons when I was four years old; I also sang a song “Jesus, Light of the World” on my Mom’s CD when I was four! Singing and playing piano have been my two biggest passions ever since. My mom influenced me and of course made me practice every day, and took me to lessons through the years. My parents allowed me to be in charge of Kids Music at our church when I was about nine years old, and that helped me to become comfortable leading kids in worship and being in front of people.

            Tell us about your experience at the 2011 North American Talent Search.

Wow! What a life-changing experience it was! To be honest, I was so surprised that I even made it to the final round of the Talent Search. My family helped me decide which song I needed to sing. After I had tried just about every contemporary song I could think of, I started singing an old hymn about the name of Jesus. As soon as I did we felt the Holy Ghost come right into our living room. That’s how we knew which song to choose. When they called my name as first place winner that night, I was totally stunned! Afterwards, I went back to my seat and just cried! I couldn’t believe God’s favor, and at the same time I was like “What? I can’t record a CD! How am I going to do that!?” But God led the way, and I learned so much throughout the entire experience. I’m so thankful to Him for the opportunity.

            What was the inspiration for you to do an EP?

I’ve always dreamed of recording an album, but I didn’t think it would actually happen until I was in my forties or something! When this opportunity arose, I was unprepared but excited for the challenge. The idea behind the album’s title Everyday is that God’s mercy and grace are following us every day that we live. So, we don’t have to worry! I hope it also challenges people to live whole heartedly for him every day of their lives and hopefully love the CD so much they want to listen to it every day too!

            What was your favorite part about making this EP?

I loved getting to sing a duet with my girl Jessica Bounds! We had a blast, and she made the song “People Get Ready” sound amazing. Her voice is incredible. I was really happy we got to do that.

            What is the best musical advice you have ever been given from a mentor or influence in music ministry?

Technical wise: “Get in there and practice piano, Kalyx!” Spiritually: I recently heard Sis. Vani Marshall speak at a conference about not allowing things (even ministry) to make your schedule so full that you get distracted from your first love. It really spoke to me, because I often have a tendency to want to do more than I have time for. She later told me to just go to His river of living water daily and drink it in. It’s helped me to realize that ministering when you yourself are on empty is so dangerous!

            What is one of your musical dreams or goals that you would love to see come to pass?

I want to go to Bible College and major in music. I would also love to one day record an album of my own original songs.

            Where can we listen, purchase, and connect with you?

You can listen to and purchase my recent project Everyday on and connect with me on Facebook.

            Fun Stuff

What would you do with a million dollars?

Pay my tithes of course! 😉 Among many other things, I would give to missions, pay all my college tuition, and buy my parents a mansion. Ooh, and I might buy a VW Jetta. They’re so cute!

            If you could sing anywhere in the world, where would you sing?

I think it would be awesome to sing in and be a part of a crusade overseas. I’ve never been on a missions trip, but, hope to go someday!

            Who do you want to send a ‘shout out’ to?

All the people I look up to! Thanks Kristen Keller, Cortt Chavis, and Lia Matthews for being amazing role models!

Click On This Picture To Go To Her Store And Hear More Of Her Music

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 15, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Posted in Worship

Tagged with , , ,

The Drama Of The Waiting Room

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The Drama Of The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room was full of desperate people. Another shift change brought in a new face behind the desk, but that was the only thing different.

An older woman sat by herself in a corner, observing the actions of some of those around her. She even attempted to guess what had brought them to this place.

A few were in so much pain, that they couldn’t stop the tears from running down their cheeks. Her heart went out to them. She knew the only help she could give them was words, and they needed much more than that.

One of the newest additions to the Waiting Room was a young mom. She nervously paced back and forth. Her face seemed tortured and filled with anxiety. She showed no interest in sitting down. Her lips moved, as she prayed silently while pacing the floor.

Occasionally, she would walk by the clipboard that held the sign-in sheet, as if to see how close her name was from being called. She frowned ever time she looked at it.

When the Attendant occasionally opened the door and picked up the clipboard to call the next name on the list, all conversations stopped, and every ear listened for the sound of their name. The wait seemed like forever.

Some of the people in the room had dried blood on their clothes. A few had addictions, many were diseased, and a number of them had been in an accident of some kind. One or two had limped in with the help of others, but most came alone.

“What are you here for, my dear?”  The older lady asked the young mother.

“I have a sick baby that the doctors can’t find a cure for,” was her answer. Her face showed deep worry and pain.

“You poor dear, it hurts so bad to see our babies suffer,” the grandmother said as she shook her gray head, feeling the pain.

“What are you waiting for?” The younger woman asked.

“My husband,” she said, with a hopeful smile on her face.

The young mother looked around the room again at the huge cross-section of people. She could tell that most of them had been there awhile.

“What is wrong with this place? Why does it take so long to get help here?”

The grandma just smiled faintly and slightly shrugged her shoulders. Then she turned and looked into the eyes of the young mom, and asked, “How long have you been waiting?”

“Eighteen months, two days and eleven hours,” she said glancing at her watch. “What about you?’ She continued.

“I’ve been here thirty-six years, this November,” the grandma said still smiling.

“Oh my word,” the young mom said as she sat down. “You’ve been waiting in here for more years than I am old. That’s an unbelievable long time. Are you able to talk to the Physician at all? Does he ever say anything to you?“

“I talk to him everyday. He is the best there is, and he tells me he’ll let me know as soon as he’s finished.”

“What’s wrong with your husband?”

“He backslid thirty-six ago. God is working on him, so I’m just sitting in this Waiting Room till my husband can pray back through.”

Tears ran down both of their faces.

“My dear,” the grandma said as she observed that no one was monitoring the check-in list, “please bring me that clipboard over there, I want to show you something.”

The young woman obediently brought the clipboard over to the grandmother and sat down beside her. They both looked at the list of names.

The older woman began to flip the pages back. She flipped them all the way back to the first page, and then began to call out random names, with dates and times.

“Here on Page One, it shows that Abraham was promised a son, and he waited here in this room for twenty-five years before Isaac was born.

“On Page Two, it shows that Joseph had to wait twenty years before his dreams came true and he got to sit on the throne of Egypt.

“Umm, on Page Three, Moses spent forty years in the Wilderness part of the Waiting Room, just killing time before God could use him.

Page Twelve shows that David waited almost fifteen years after he was anointed king, before he was allowed to ascend the throne.

Page Twenty shows there was some guy that waited thirty-eight years in the Pool of Siloam Section of the Waiting Room before he got his miracle.”

The younger woman took the clipboard in her hands and leaned back into her chair while she read down the long list of names.

“According to this log,” she said, “not very many get discharged the same day they come. The good news that I see here, is that the Doctor has an amazing success rate. I am not really in love with the idea of waiting, but I don’t plan to leave here until my baby gets well.”

The grandma slipped her arm around the young woman to comfort her. At about the same time they both looked up at two of the signs on the wall.

Their faces were filled with hope anew, as they bravely faced their future in the God’s Waiting Room!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm

It Was A Monday, In Heaven!

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It Was A Monday, In Heaven.

The Lord Jesus sat on the Throne and looked upon His Earth. His eyes ran to and fro looking for an opportunity to bless any of them that trusted in Him.

Yet, He was paying close attention also to another group of people. He was watching 148,822 people of all ages around the world, to be exact. This would be the day they would meet Him in eternity. Today would be their last day.

Some would die of heart attacks, and some of cancer. A few would be killed in an accident. Others would die at the hands of another. The list with the causes of death was very long whether of natural causes or by violence.

Many had never heard of Him. Just as many had rejected Him, thinking they would be fine without Him. Others, thought they were ready to meet Him, but they had refused to have their sins washed away, calling on His Name in baptism.  Neither had they felt it necessary to receive the infilling of His Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. They were none of His.

He was not willing that any should perish. He had even died on Calvary for each of them. But that fact was not cherished by most.

Backsliders scurried about; oblivious of the fact that today would be their last. Lukewarm Christians drove past the church they hadn’t attended yesterday, on their way to work. They were mad at the preacher and wanted him to know it.

Most of those He was watching had never even thought about Him today. They had never spoken to Him in a prayer either. He was the last thing on their mind.

Some did drugs, some drank and some partied. Some were immoral. Others were morally good people, but they just didn’t feel the need of Him.

A few of them had started this day out by talking to Him. Some had stopped by the church to pray before they went to work.

He had paid close attention to their hearts while they had listened to their Pastor preach, the day before. He also noticed them taking time to pray before leaving.

Today was the day. One at a time, they all would step out into eternity. Most never saw it coming. It would catch them all by surprise. But, for others of them, this would be the best day of their life.

Sure, they would be saddened if they could see the grief of their beloved family and friends. But, Oh What Joy! Their Race just finished today. They were Home, at last.

It Was A Monday, In Heaven!

(Are You Ready?)

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 12, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Posted in Death

Tagged with ,

I Cried This Morning!

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I Cried This Morning!

Actually, my eyes just watered up good, but this time, they did it for joy.

Driving in the predawn hours across Western Minnesota, I saw something that moved me so much, that I couldn’t get it out of my mind for several hours.

Yesterday, I had driven through hours of pouring rain with strong winds. The sky had been dark, since the early afternoon. But, now it was cold and dreary. The outside temperature reading on my dash showed 23 degrees. I watched carefully for black ice.

Now, as I looked out of my driver’s window, I saw an opening in the clouds that framed the Morning Star perfectly. It shone so bright! I could see the promise of sunrise turning the gray sky behind me into a faint pink.

I looked again at the Morning Star; it seemed more beautiful to me than it ever had. I had been through a long storm. The clouds still hung low. I hadn’t seen the sun in long while.

It was kind of like real life. Like yours, members of my family have been through some storms lately too. We also have seen the clouds hang low, and wondered when the sun would shine again.

And then with the promise of the morning, there it was. Announcing to me: “Welcome To The First Part Of Your New Day!”

I quickly remember the Scripture in Revelation. That’s when my eyes teared up. He is not just, THE Bright and Morning Star; He is MY Bright and Morning Star! And now, I had my own promise of a better day!

Revelation 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

He chooses to the One that starts your day out. “Welcome To The First Part Of Your New Day!”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 11, 2012 at 11:23 am

Posted in Thankfulness

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