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Archive for April 2013

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

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Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

The long blue Pontiac sedan rolled smoothly down Highway 30 through the Indiana countryside.  My father, Pastor Carl Ballestero was driving. I was his unofficial assistant and the two of us were going to a church anniversary service.

Carl Ballestero

Carl Ballestero

Most trips Daddy was known to be talkative, but sometimes, he was content to ride in silence. Today was one of those days that he chose not to talk much, if at all.

Knowing that he had to preach at this special service, I chose not to interrupt his thoughts, in case he was thinking about his sermon. I only spoke if I saw he was interested in talking.

I contented myself by looking out of the passenger’s side window at the farms and passing landscape. The silence was comfortable.

The car ride had been without a spoken word for more than a half hour. Then, as if from nowhere I heard Daddy say in a soft voice, “Lord, have I told you lately that I love you?”

Tears immediately  sprang into my eyes, and the scenery became blurred. I never turned to looked at him. I didn’t want to interrupt or interfere with this sweet moment between him and the true love of his life.

I knew I was in the presence of godly man who truly loved The Lord with all of his heart. The Holy Ghost immediately filled that car, and I wept freely. I thanked God for His presence and His love, but I also thanked him for giving me a father who truly loved Him!

That moment nearly forty years ago has forever impacted my personal devotions. Every now and then I find myself riding along in the car or just setting at home and then seemingly out of nowhere, I will find myself saying… “Lord, have I told you lately that I love you?”

You know what? It still works! I always seem to feel God’s presence anew while tears flow down my cheeks just like they did that day.

Thank you Lord, for a Dad who set such a wonderful example before me. He unashamedly let me see how wonderful it was to fully love The Lord and openly show it!

Thanks Dad!

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 30, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Posted in Christian Living, Prayer

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What Are You Using For Bait?

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What Are You Using For Bait?

 

Fishermen

What Are You Using For Bait? That’s the common question Fishermen ask of each other. They know that what you use for bait most of the time will determine what you catch.

If someone is fishing for Bass, their bait is normally different from someone who is fishing for catfish. What is used for bait will determine what is caught.

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Hunters

Corn Feeders or corn placed near deer stands are common in many states. However, no one has ever heard of a deer hunter using Jalapeno Peppers for deer bait. Corn attracts the deer not the chili peppers.

 deerbait

Trappers

Every successful Trapper must know what baits attract which animals and bait their traps accordingly. What is used for bait will determine what is caught.

http://www.animal-traps.com/baits.htm

Householders

It is common knowledge among us, that cheese is a favorite bait to use in a mousetrap. When cheese is used, mice are caught. No one uses a carrot to bait a mouse trap.

 Mouse-Trap

Boys And Girls

If you don’t like the type of people you keep attracting, then maybe you need to check what you are using for bait.

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What type of person are these guys trying to attract?

Do You Need To Change Your Bait To Catch Something Different, Or Better?

  • Carnal people attract carnal people
  • Worshippers attract worshippers
  • Critical spirits find one another
  • Godly people attract other godly people.

Preacher, You Get What You Preach

  • If you preach Faith, you attract believers.
  • If you preach the New Birth according to Acts 2:38 you attract those who want deliverance.
  • If you preach Holiness… Holiness preaching attracts those who want to leave the world behind.
  • If you preach Doctrine… you attract those who love the Word.
  • If you preach Pop Psychology type sermons… you will attract those that only want to hear smooth things, while continuing to live like they always have.
  • What is used for bait will determine what is caught.

Worship

Contemporary style worship attracts contemporary minds that, as a rule, resist older traditional Pentecostal style worship music. (Besides, there is little to no mention of sin or doctrine in most of the new songs.)

What Does Satan Use For Bait?

Satans-Lures1

  • Offenses?
  • Bitterness?
  • Money?
  • The Desire To Get ‘High’?
  • Injuries?
  • Egos?
  • Half Truths?

2 Timothy 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

The devil sets traps.

Now the big question! This is the most important one of all!

If You Wanted To Attract God, What Would You Use For Bait?

  • Repentance?
  • Worship?
  • Humility?
  • Hunger?
  • Thirst?

Psalm 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Ask Cornelius.

  • He attracted the attention of God.

Acts 10:2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.

Ask The Prodigal Son

  • He was humble and repentant.

Ask Bartimaeus

  • He cried out for mercy.

Ask Zacchaeus

  • He desired to see Jesus and got above the crowd.

 Ask Israel

  • God told them what to do to attract His Favor.

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.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 29, 2013 at 11:38 am

Posted in Christian Living

Tagged with

She Wouldn’t Stop Talking About Her Old Love.

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She Wouldn’t Stop Talking About Her Old Love.

All she could talk about was her former love. She dreamed of him in heart every day and spoke aloud of her deep passion for him to the amazement of her startled listeners. After all she was a married woman. If she was so in love with a memory, then why get married to another?

Like an air-headed bride who was clueless that her remarks about her past love life would ever ruin her present relationship, she couldn’t stop talking, she just wouldn’t quit. Her husband’s heart hurt knowing that although she was married to him, she was still in love with her old love.

Some around her remembered her former lover and agreed, that he was all that she remembered. Yet others felt deeply saddened that the one she now lived with, and who loved her very much, had heard her thoughtless comments. They knew he would spend the rest of his life competing with her old flame.

Why would a bride openly talk of a past love? Was she trying to sabotage her marriage? Didn’t she know anything about how to behave in a relationship? Couldn’t she brag on her current her husband? Why did she only say sweet things about her former love, and nothing about her current husband?  Something was horribly wrong with this picture. Everyone could see where things were headed.

Strangers shook their heads and wondered that she could be so bold as to publicly proclaim that she still carried a torch for her man of yesterday and brag on him in her new husband’s face.

Hers may not be a married relationship much longer if the groom grows weary of hearing her old lover’s name.

Many that heard her remarks, formed the opinion that she truly wasn’t in love with the one she was married to, or that she was so disappointed in her new marriage that she didn’t care what happened.

How could a bride be so stupid? Why would she tear down her own marriage? Why couldn’t she keep some of her pleasant memories buried in her heart and savor them privately, if she must. Why wasn’t she discreet? Why wasn’t she in love with the one who now loved her?

She was a married woman! If she couldn’t give all of her love to her husband, why did she bother to even get married?

Shamed husbands aren’t alone in their embarrassment and hurt. The Lord God also knows the pain of playing second fiddle to an air-headed love.

The Story Of Hosea- Gomer.

The Lord told the prophet Hosea to marry a woman who was a common prostitute. He wanted Him to marry a woman who would be unfaithful. He wanted Hosea to understand His heartache and pain in loving Israel, while they were still in love with Egypt.

 

Israel – Egypt

God loved Israel, yet Israel had other lovers. Not only did she remember her past loves, she too, like an air-headed bride wouldn’t quit talking about them, and God heard her.

He knew that no matter what He did for her, she would always be in love with another.

It was stupid of her to forget who was feeding her, fighting her battles and blessing her every day. She wasn’t interested in a relationship with Jehovah. She just wanted to be kept, while she remembered what she considered to be the good things about her past.

Israel had complained about Egypt while she lived there, but although Egypt was now ancient history, Israel seemed to forever talk about her memories.

Those memories caused her taste buds to drool over the most mundane of things. Israel actually cried real tears.

Numbers 11:4 And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?

Numbers 11:5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:

It was like Israel regularly kept visiting the grave of her dead husband, decorating the site with fresh flowers and spending hours everyday weeping over what no longer was.

 

Israel Lusted After The Things Of Egypt.

She Quickly Forgot What Jehovah Was Doing for Her.

 

Psalm 106:13 They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:

Psalm 106:14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.

Israel tempted the Lord ten times in the wilderness by lusting after the things in her past, and complaining about what she now had and didn’t have, until God sent fiery serpents among them.

 

They Were Too Clueless To Realize They Were Tempting God!

Today’s Generation Loves Pleasure More Than God

This is a pleasure driven society. The good news is that all pleasure is not bad. The bad news is, that one of the warning signs of the last days would be that men would love pleasure more than they loved God. We’re here!

2 Timothy 3:4 …lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

What do we speak of the most? Is it sports, recreation, entertainment, fine dining, video games, travel, or the Lord?

As the Bride of Christ, shouldn’t we understand about relationships? Shouldn’t we wake up to the realization that if we really want a relationship with the Jesus Christ…

  • Maybe, just maybe He should be on our minds, and not the lusts of our flesh.
  • Maybe, just maybe we should talk about Him more often, and not the world.
  • Maybe, just maybe, we should be in love with Him, not the world.
  • Maybe, just maybe we should talk about our love for Him and not about our love for the things of this world.

Do You Feel That You And Jesus Have A Good Relationship?

Then Why Mess Up?

There Is Nothing Worth Losing Your Soul Over!

If others hear you talk about the things of the world more than the things of God, your relationship with the Lord is certainly in trouble.

Take another look at what you have now. Don’t lose it. No one can go back to a memory, not ever.

Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Deuteronomy 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

Deuteronomy 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Your Husband Might Be Somewhat Understanding, But God Will Not Be.

He’s A Jealous God.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 24, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Posted in Christian Living, Love, Marriage

Tagged with

He Pulled Her In

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He Pulled Her In

It hadn’t rained for weeks. The horrible and devastating storm was now over. All day the dove had flown back and forth looking for food, looking for a place to land, looking for any sign of life.

She hadn’t found a thing that she could humble herself to come down to. And, she really wasn’t prepared to fly all day without landing on something somewhere.

She was weary. It was all she could do to fly the long trip back to the Ark. With labored effort she struggled toward the open window at the top of the giant boat. Her wings labored harder with every flap. She was very conscious of how tired and weary she was. She felt like she couldn’t go much farther.

Noah knew her nature. He knew she would never be happy to live in a world of filth or decay. She would never be comfortable around anything unclean. She was a dove, not a scavenger.

She had left earlier that day with a raven, but they soon went their separate ways. He happily sought out the rotten and decaying carcasses among the flood-strewn debris. She had no interest in such things.

There had been no place on earth she would allow herself to go to. Returning to the Ark was her only option. But it was almost too late. She was completely exhausted.

handThen she saw a hand stretched out towards her. She focused on the hand. This was the same hand fed her every day and cared for her. She knew all would be well if she could but make it to his outstretched hand.

The hand reached out of the Ark as far as it could; caught her and pulled her safely inside.

She was home now!

She hadn’t been strong enough to make it all the way back inside on her own, she had done what she could, but that wasn’t quite enough.

But, when she was willing to make the effort to come back to the Ark, there was an outstretched hand ready to pull her back inside!

Gen 8:7 And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.

Gen 8:8    Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;

Gen 8:9    But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.

Do you find yourself weary of a life filled with sin? There’s hope. If you will make the effort to get to the Ark of safety, I promise you, there will be an outstretched hand ready to pull you safely inside.

He’s waiting on you.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 20, 2013 at 11:01 am

Posted in Peace, Recovery, Sin

Tagged with

A Rule Of Thumb For Backsliders

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A Rule Of Thumb For Backsliders

There always seems to be someone who has a rule of thumb on a given subject. According to Wikipedia, “A rule of thumb is a principle with broad application that is not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable for every situation.”

I too have a rule of thumb, which is based on my observation of backsliders for the last 50 or more years.

No one wishes to see any child of God stumble on his or her spiritual journey, or get sidetracked by the temptations of sin. But it happens.

Neither can we feel good when an injury or bitterness removes a brother or a sister from our midst. But we see that happen from time to time too.

After they have left the church and are no longer faithful to God in their attendance or in their heart, what then are their chances for recovery? Only God truly knows.

Since we are dealing with many variables, about all we can do is pray for them and love them.

 

My Rule Of Thumb For Backsliders?

It’s nothing deep really. It’s so simple because to me it feels very obvious.

Those I Haven’t Seen Make A Recovery:

1. My experience has been that backsliders who leave the church, get bitter, and call their pastor and saints, hypocrites and other names and continue to talk about them in a negative manner.

2. The ones who have problems with standards and holiness and then leave the church saying their pastor is a legalist and does not preach Grace and Love. (If they still wish to go to ‘church’ just find one that doesn’t believe much and go there, while they justify themselves.)

3. Backsliders who say God only looks on the inside of a person and not on the outside.

Those I Have Seen Make A Recovery

1. The backslider who says, I know I am not living right, I don’t even claim to be. But, if I ever get back in church, I know where to go. I’ll go right back to my old home church.

2. The ones who still remain respectful of the church, the pastor and the saints.

3. The backsliders who may have been caught up in the wrong things and don’t attend regular, but they send their tithes in every week.

When It Comes To Recovery, Attitude Is Not Just Something, It’s Everything!

 

Case In Point

Here are a few comments out of 159 negative ones sent to my blog in the last few days by people who informed me they used to go to an Apostolic Pentecostal Church. These are only excerpts and are posted without names.

I do not allow negative comments on my blog posts as a rule, because I do not use my site for a debate forum. (If someone wants to host a debate forum, let them pay for one, like I do.)

As a rule, when I write anything about dress or standards, there always seem to be some backsliders who say the ugliest things to me.

  • “Do you speak to destroy? Would you be the one that God calls a Viper in the synagogue?”
  • “Perhaps we should all wear burkas?”
  • “You are f****** crazy”
  • “YOU ARE F****** B****** CRAZY!”
  • “You need to start focusing more on Jesus Christ and less on the creation.”
  • “I Never read one time where He disapproved of ANYTHING anyone was wearing.”
  • “I was raised UPC and I can honestly say I am so thankful that God brought me out of that religion.”
  • “You are so consumed by what you look like on the outside you forget to simply love like Christ loves.”
  • “Someone sent me the link to this blog post. I am sorry I read it and will never read this blog again.”
  • “Get over yourself.”
  • “I saw your profile about how much you miss your wife. Why don’t you bring your wife on your evangelistic tours and to your conferences? Then you may not be so bothered about other women’s knees.”
  • “Modesty is a personal issue. Speak of this woman-to woman, among women at conference, special events, etc. But, not from the pulpit. It’s not the place.”
  • “Bro. B. I’m afraid God has already sent a delusion to you. How very sad your post is. So thankful I left this “org” and truly am experiencing God’s Grace.”
  • “You’re coming across as loathesome and all I can think of to say to you is, “LORD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL!”
  • “Your influence has changed. I no longer view your opinion as godly or full of grace. It is narrow and full of man’s tradition, more like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. You have lost your edge. A backslider in your opinion, but in mine and the Lord Jesus’, I’m so happy to be saved by His grace and love.”
  • “I am a UPC pastor’s kid, was a UPC pastor for years. The sad thing is the opposing views that were expressed will be used to substantiate your twisted defination of holiness. What about the fruit of the spirit? Isn’t that a sign of indwelling Spirit? My parents were founders of UPC. I would go up to them and tell them I was UPC, and because I have facial hair, would get the same reaction. We are not backsliders, we are liberated from man made rules that have nothing to do with holiness! Thank God I am free!!”
  • “I am a “backslider”, however, I do not critisize the church, the pastor was a huge inspiration in my life, and I still love most of the people I left behind.”
  • “Only God can judge! You are more guilty than the backslider!”
  • “I pray the HOly GHost convicts you of your self rightous. Spirit.”

 

 

Maybe now, some may see why I feel like I do on this subject. Yet, every preacher must continually do his best to reach for every backslider and leave the rest up to God and to them.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 18, 2013 at 10:52 am

Posted in Backsliders

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JONATHAN ALVEAR – Wayfaring Stranger…and Other Songs of My Journey

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JONATHAN ALVEAR – Wayfaring Stranger…and Other Songs of My Journey

My dear friend, Brother Jonathan Alvear has just released a new CD.  You’ll love his anointed singing. This Album includes the songs:

Name I Highly Treasure

No One Ever Cared For Me

His Hand In Mine

Wayfaring Stranger

Rock of Horeb (La Peña)

When Jesus Comes

I Can’t Complain

That’s Enough

I Trust In God

After All

Just To Walk With Him

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It is now available for purchase. Price is $15 per CD. If you order a single copy, you can send $20, which will include the CD, the mailer and postage. The address is:

PO Box 83247, Conyers, GA 30013

Or if you have PayPal, his email is jonlvr@aol.com

If you use PayPal be sure and email him the address you want it sent to.

Bro. Alvear said, ” If a pastor orders 20 or more, I will throw in a complimentary copy for him, autographed if he so desires. Also, on orders of 3 or more, I will absorb the shipping cost.”

Note: Available through iTunes… Soon!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 14, 2013 at 7:17 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

They’re Everywhere!!

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They’re Everywhere!!

They never used to be seen in Pentecostal Churches, but they are now. If they were ever seen in church in the old days, an embarrassed apology was made. But not any more!

Now, they come to many church and do not mind being obvious about showing up. They seem to enjoy the attention they attract, too.

Some of the time they come to church and no one notices them when they walk in, after they finally sit down. Then it’s like, they say Boo! and get your attention. They sure know how to catch folks off guard.

How times have changed!

I remember them never being seen in church anywhere years ago. But now, they’ve evidently got religion and so they come to almost every service.

In the old days, someone would try to help them hide from if they came, and make sure they stayed out of sight, but no effort is being made anymore. They seem to enjoy being seen in church. More and more of the folks are becoming comfortable around them.

Now, they come to our General Conferences, Camp Meetings, Rallies and especially Sunday Morning Services. They love to be seen and enjoy the attention and the limelight found even on the platform.

Actually, the few that are unhappy to see them in church any more… now just turn their heads and try to ignore them. Like an ostrich with it’s head in the sand.

It used to be a problem when they showed up anywhere, especially church. But now, they’ve even come to church with some preacher’s wives and daughters. Go figure.

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about Knees.

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They’re Everywhere!!

They’re Seen Everywhere In Church Nowadays. Why?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 9, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Posted in Immodesty

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