The Ballestero Blog

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

Archive for October 2017

Don’t Forget To Feed That Calf

leave a comment »

“Don’t Forget To Feed That Calf”

 

The farmer looked closely at his cows and little calves. He felt blessed this year to have some good ones to choose from. He finally settled on the one he thought would be the best.  Pointing his finger at one, he yelled loud enough to be heard above the lowing cattle. He gave a command to his hired hand that would forever change the daily operation of his farm.

“Put that one in the main stall. Keep it separate from the others. And, feed it extra good feed every day. Do you hear me?”

“Yes sir,” came the reply as the man took a rope, then looped the calf’s little neck and began leading it toward the barn.

Every day after that the farmer went by the stall to check on his chosen calf. This calf would fare better than any of the others he had ever raised. He would fatten this one up on purpose. The amount of grain and hay given to it would be much more than the others received. Its stall was separate because the farmer knew if the other calves got in there, they would eat up all the feed.

Work on the farm started when the sun came up. The chickens were fed, and their eggs gathered. The donkeys were fed too. The cows got milked and were able to eat during the process. Nursing calves nudged their mothers seeking more milk. Even the dog was near his bowl waiting for his daily portion. The rooster officially started the morning’s business by announcing it was time to begin the day.

The smell of breakfast oozed from the kitchen into the rest of the house and yard. Everyone seemed busy doing something, but then one by one they washed up came inside and sat down to eat. The farmer prayed and gave thanks over the food, and then he, his son and the workers begin to eat and make small table talk. About the time they were finishing up, the farmer gave out his daily work orders to the crew. He finished by pointing to one of his men and said, “And, don’t forget to feed that calf.”

The man nodded and they all arose to finish the rest of their chores. In a couple of hours, the farmer went to the calf’s stall to check on things again. Yes, the calf had been fed and fed extra. The feed box still had grain in it. Several bats of hay lay on the ground as a backup supply. The little calf sure looked like it was thriving on the new diet.

The farmer leaned on the wooden gate and looked at the calf. His mind went back to the image of his baby boy carrying all his belongings and walking down the road away from the house not even looking back. Tears moistened his cheeks and ran down past his chin. His baby boy was gone! Oh, how he missed him! He had looked down the road every day hoping for a glimpse of him.

But something in his father’s gut told him that there would be a day when his boy would come back home. He didn’t know when, but he believed he eventually would. He knew his son would be very ashamed of what he had done when he did come home. He would never hold it over his son’s head and say, “I told you so!” Absolutely not! When he did return home, the father had no plans of going back to business as usual. No sir. He would do everything he could to let his boy know that he was loved and forgiven. He would throw a great big party for him. A party with lots of music, dancing, steaks, some barbecue, and festivities. Yes sir, he would make this calf get fat. Real fat.

  • This calf was dedicated to his son’s home-coming.
  • This calf represented the substance of things hoped for.
  • This calf was just waiting for the son’s day of restoration.
  • This calf was the party calf!

He wiped the tears from his face and turned around slowly, catching the eyes of some of his men, and said loudly for all of them to hear…

 

“Don’t Forget To Feed That Calf.”

 

 

___________________________________________________________________

Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

Luke 15:21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 

Luke 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 

Luke 15:23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

Luke 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 14, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Death By Misadventure

with 2 comments

Death By Misadventure

 

The Coroner has only so many options to describe the cause of death on the certificate. They are as listed

  • Murder
  • Suicide
  • Self-Defense
  • Accidental Death
  • Lawful Killing
  • Unlawful Killing
  • Natural Causes
  • Still Birth
  • Self-Neglect
  • Lack Of Care
  • Death By Misadventure

 

The Death By Misadventure option has nagged at me for many years. Wikipedia gives this definition:

“A death by misadventure, as recorded by coroners and on death certificates and associated documents, is one that is primarily attributed to an accident that occurred due to a dangerous risk that was taken voluntarily.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_by_misadventure

With that definition and description in mind, the old pastor part of me remembers precious people who once made what seemed like a harmless decision, but the end result was their spiritual demise. They didn’t mean to backslide; but they did.

For one young lady, it was just choosing a boyfriend who sat on the front row at church. He had good looks, a great personality, a good paying job and a nice car. He was a real charmer. He just wasn’t committed and fully in love with Jesus. She was desperate not to be an old maid. He lost out because he loved the world. She lost out because she chose to love him and be with him. He pulled her out of church. She didn’t mean to backslide; she just made a choice that she never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

A young man desperately needing a job took one that kept him out of church. Not only did it make him miss being in service, there were negative influences from people at work that he was not strong enough to handle. When he did find time to come to church, he didn’t even try to make up for lost time. He just sat there and dried up in his soul. In time, he no longer came back. He didn’t mean to quit church. He just chose a job that paid well, but lost his soul in the process. He didn’t mean to backslide; he just made a choice that he never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

A newlywed couple chose friends who they thought were fun to be around. They often visited each other’s homes and often dined together. They even took a vacation together once. The other couple influenced them to question authority and standards. Both couples quit church. The newlyweds only wanted to find friends to have fun with. They didn’t mean to walk away from God. They didn’t mean to backslide; they just made a choice that they never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

A man got offended and disagreed when the pastor showed mercy to a person with a horrible past and allowed the backslider to come back to church. Like the elder brother in the Bible, he got angry. He also quit church. He had his own opinion about to whom God should and should not extend mercy. He wanted the pastor to send them to another church and not the one he attended. He refused to go to the same church with the man who had such a horrible past. So, he quit, stayed home and read his Bible, prayed and justified himself in so doing. He didn’t mean to backslide; he just made a choice that he never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

He sat by his good friend in church. The friend never worshipped nor went up to the altar very much to pray. Sitting by him in church was intimidating in a way. It felt odd saying amen, clapping hands and standing up during the singing or preaching when your friend didn’t. So, in time, he joined his friend in being unresponsive. He was intimidated to not worship. He didn’t mean to backslide; he just made a choice that he never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

She found an old friend from high school on social media, and only wanted to say hello. She never dreamed that reconnecting with that person would lead her right out of church and back into sin and break up her marriage. She didn’t mean to backslide; she just made a choice that she never dreamed would be fatal. It Was A Spiritual Death By Misadventure.

 

The Scriptures Tell Of Others Who Suffered The Same Fate:

  • The Unknown Prophet didn’t mean to get eaten by a lion. He just chose to listen to a backslider.
  • Balaam didn’t mean to die with the Moabites on the battlefield. He just chose to make extra money.
  • Demas did mean to backslide and lose out. He just made a bad choice.
  • Samson didn’t mean to get his eyes put out and die. He chose the wrong woman.
  • The 200 Princes Who Stood By Korah didn’t mean to have the ground open up and swallow them. They just chose to stand by the wrong friend.

 

Today…

The least we can do, is ask for God to lead us and guide us in every decision we make. It is wisdom to ask the Lord to close every door that is not His will for our life.  Just because we like the idea doesn’t mean it will be a good choice for us. Never think that because it seems good to you that it is the will of God.

Why not include God’s man in your important decision making? It’s a major safety factor you surely need to include in your choosing. When God fearing kings in the Old Testament had to make a serious decision, they counseled with the man of God and asked his advice. They asked him to seek the Lord on their behalf. That action never lowered anyone’s respect for the king, but rather raised it higher. Likewise, you will be more respected by God fearing people when you become willing to include God in all of your choices.

 

Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Prov. 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

 

Acknowledge Him. Recognize His Divine ability to guide you flawlessly through all life choices.

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 12, 2017 at 12:26 am

Visiting A Pentecostal Cracker Barrel

with 9 comments

Visiting A Pentecostal Cracker Barrel

 

I constantly travel, and stopping at a Cracker Barrel is always a good choice for me. I know the menu by heart and can count on getting good food without taking any chances on some unknown greasy spoon.

That being said, I always seem to find myself looking at the artifacts on the walls, and those suspended from the ceiling. They are now, just old relics. They’re just yesterday’s memories on display. As a senior citizen, I find myself looking at what used to be a common everyday commodity or possession for most of my generation and my parents too. Now, they are unneeded, unwanted and only found in museum-type settings as something we now smile about in amusement. We have moved on from those days would be repulsed to go back to that era. Even though we dreamily brag about the good old days, we have no desire to go back in time.

Cracker Barrel isn’t the only place where yesterday is a memory. Some Pentecostal Churches might fit that description as well. Quite often our guests can pick up on the fact that there is even a church inside of a church. Inserted in the midst of a progressive and more liberal-minded membership, is often a smaller group of the old saints who refuse to change.

The old ones, don’t wear the skinny jeans or the short tight skirts. Their hairstyle hasn’t changed much in the last 60 years. But they sure know how to live for God and have church. Those old fogeys might not do well on computers or a smart phone. Texting may also be something they’ve never done.

 

But, What They Have Done, Is:

  • Attend all night prayer meetings.
  • Stayed in prayer beside a sickbed until something miraculous happened.
  • Been carried home from church, too drunk in the Holy Ghost to walk.
  • Never owned a TV.

 

  • Never cut her long hair or worn anything in public that looked like man’s apparel.
  • Sang out of the old songbook, and still shouted.
  • Came early for pre-service prayer.
  • Stayed late after church, and fellowshipped.

 

  • Never questioned or crossed their man of God.
  • Said “Amen” during the preaching.
  • Faithfully paid their tithes.
  • Did everything they could think of to bless their pastor and his family.

 

  • Loved holiness and never questioned standards.
  • Never posted their favorite movies or TV shows on social media.
  • Had no desire to look like, dress like or act like the world.
  • Their old Bible was heavily marked from daily reading.

 

  • They were used in travail and intercessory prayer for others.
  • Their testimonies had that “New Jerusalem” ring to it.
  • There was a tenderness in their praise and worship.
  • There was strong faith in their hearts that God could do anything.

 

  • They had no hospital insurance.
  • They had no food stamps nor received unemployment.
  • They actually prayed, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
  • They didn’t try to fit-in to the worldly crowd.
  • Their godly style of dress made them stand out from the world.

 

And, those are just a few identifying things about them!

 

The new generation has church their way. The older saints watch them sing songs that don’t touch the soul, produce joy or bring comfort. The only way to even know all the words to the song is to look up on the screen. The 24 repeats of the seven-word chorus often make them wince.

Their eyes see the younger people rejoice or lift their hands and cry. Some older folks think about the words of the song and somehow don’t always feel the same response or heart reaction. They might even ask themselves, “How come I don’t feel what they’re feeling?” All older saints know that the Scriptures commanded us to sing a new song. Yet it never commanded anyone to quit singing the old ones.

 

Ezra 3:11 And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. 

Ezra 3:12 But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:

Ezra 3:13 So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.

 

Everyone rejoiced that there was a Temple! The young men rejoiced loudly, but the old men cried loudly because they remembered what the first temple was like. They realized this wasn’t exactly like it used to be and that day seemed forever gone. If the truth were known, it is.

When holiness is scoffed at and called names. When godly dressed young ladies are still called grandma by church folk. When virginity is mocked, and modesty disrespected by the fashion-conscious crowd. It would seem that some churches have become a Pentecostal Cracker Barrel.

 

Many Of Our Churches Now Have A Heritage Sunday:

 

  • Why?
  • What’s that for?
  • Do they truly want to go back to the old-fashioned Pentecostal ways?
  • Are they all serious about changing about renouncing their make-up, jewelry and immodest clothing?

 

  • Are they actually seeking out the old paths?
  • Is that when the old preachers get invited to preach in his old-school style so they can all look at how it used to be preached?
  • Are we interested in maintaining this Apostolic Message like was handed to us?

 

So, when old visiting saints come into our sanctuaries, do they feel like they are in some sort of religious Cracker Barrel where the food tastes good but the service only reminds them what Pentecost used to be?

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 10, 2017 at 8:53 pm