The Ballestero Blog

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Archive for June 2019

“How Old Are You, Brother Ballestero?”

with 11 comments

 

“How Old Are You, Brother Ballestero?”

I guess I could answer their questions in the normal way, but that would be too easy. It’s more enjoyable to watch their faces when I answer in terms of events rather than the expected number of years.

 

I have been known to respond something like this…

 

“I’m So Old That:

“I can remember when hymns and choruses actually rhymed.

“I actually heard the saints stand up and testify in a regular testimony service.

“I’ve even heard prayer rooms roar with the sounds of victorious saints bombarding Heaven while putting the devil on the run.

 

“I actually saw Sunday School Attendance Boards displaying things like:

  • Attendance Today
  • Offering Amount
  • Number of Visitors
  • Number of Bibles Brought

 

“Church Songs Were…

  • About deliverance from sin.
  • About heaven being a holy place.
  • About the Lord’s return to earth
  • About having your sins washed away.

 

“I actually heard preachers name sin from the pulpit.

“Wayward saints got rebuked openly from the pulpit, that others might fear.

“Hearing the phrase: ‘Holiness or Hell,’ was common.

 

“Holiness and modesty were expected among all Holy Ghost filled saints.

“If the pastor said it, young people obeyed without questioning his reasons or his authority.

“No saint ever chewed gum in church. It was too disrespectful.

 

“Expectant mothers wore loose attire that only revealed a minimum of information.

“Sword Drills were common in youth services.

“A Sunday morning service included a Bible class, a second worship service, and preaching.

 

“Sunday night church was always expected.

“Mid-week schedule of services included a Tuesday and Thursday or a Wednesday and Friday.

“Revivals were held every night but Monday.

 

“Preachers wore white shirts to church and they always wore a tie.

“Rings on a preacher were noticed by everyone.

“When the preacher announced his text, the sound of Bible pages turning would be discerned by everyone.

 

“The spirit of Conviction was the norm in most every service.

“Messages in tongues were not uncommon.

“The sounds of Intercessory Prayer were heard in most churches.

 

“The preaching wasn’t politically correct.

“No one claimed to be living for God with a TV in their house.

“When saints never went to ball games or movies.

 

“When Apostolic saints shunned all of Hollywood.

“When church services often went past 10 pm.

“When New Year’s Eve Watch Night Service most often included a confession service as well.

 

“When we bragged about carrying folks home drunk on the Holy Ghost.

“When folks who disregarded standards were called backsliders.

“When young men didn’t justify wearing shorts just because they came to the knee.

 

“When saintly women abhorred the wearing of any type of makeup because they didn’t want to look like a Jezebel and ruin their testimony.

“When the lights weren’t turned down low at the altar call, and everyone could see who needed to pray.

“When doctrine and standards were openly preached and wonderfully received.

 

“When preachers didn’t teach doctrine and standards in private classes so as not to scare any visitors.

“When Break-Out Sessions were unheard of.

“When those whose prophecies didn’t come to pass were called false prophets.

 

But now…

We’ve moved ‘up’ to the next level of Pentecost!!

 

“You didn’t actually answer my question, Brother Ballestero! You still haven’t told me how old you are. How old are you?”

 

Again, My Response…

“Old enough to want to hear doctrine preached and not some feel-good pop psychology type sermon.

 

“I’m so old that I search for churches that still have that old-time Apostolic feeling.

“I look for churches that still want to hear preaching like it used to be.

“Where testimonies have that New Jerusalem ring to them.

 

“I look for churches that haven’t thrown all the old songs away.

“I want to find places where holiness is still in style.

“Where ALL of the Bible is preached without apology.”

 

“That’s how old I am!”

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 29, 2019 at 10:30 pm

Father’s Day, And I Am So Proud To Be A Dad!

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Father’s Day, And I Am So Proud To Be A Dad!

 

I’ve received a lifetime of continuous love, honor, and sweet words from my children. I feel, of all men, that I am most blessed! I am grateful and humbled by every word and expression of their love to me. My family honors me beyond what can even be imagined. I certainly am a very rich man.

From my heart and with tear-filled eyes I say, “Thank You!”

 

How Did I Get To Be A Father Who Is So Fortunate To Be Loved Like This?

The answer is very simple and only three words long… Marcia June Ballestero!

 

On this day, most dads receive presents and affectionate words. But, today my heart feels like re-directing the attention from myself to my wife. She is one who deserves all the credit that I enjoy today.

“But”, you say, “you’ve worked hard to put food on the table and you’ve made many sacrifices.”

While there may be truth in what you say. Remember that even if I had been childless or a bachelor, I still would have had to work hard and make sacrifices. We all do. It’s called life.

 

Now… Let Me Get Back To Talking About My Wife!

She is the one who endured discomfort, pain, and sleepless nights.

She is the one who carried them for nine months.

She is the one who walked right up to death’s door and brought home beautiful babies.

She is the one who nursed and cared for them during all hours of the night.

 

She is the one who washed their dirty clothes and made their beds.

She is the one who picked up their dirty clothes from the floor.

She is the one who mopped up the trail of mud on the kitchen floor.

She is the one who cooked their meals and washed their dishes.

 

She is the one who made a house into a home for them to forever cherish.

She is the one that dressed them all for church and then got herself ready.

She is the one who cleaned up after their messes.

She is the one who had to wrangle them through the store while she bought groceries.

 

She is the one who gave kisses, comfort, and put bandages on their ouchies.

She is the one who maintained their proper level of decorum during church services.

She is the one who cooked the best meals a kid could ever eat.

She is the one who had to cook in a hot kitchen.

 

She is the one who taught them manners and respect.

She is the one who taught them how to pray.

She is the one who taught them about the love of Jesus.

She is the one who taught them right from wrong.

 

She is the one who taught them about dressing godly.

She is the one who taught them about the manifesting the fruits of the spirit.

She is the one who taught them what an Apostolic should be.

She is the one who taught them to be Christ-like.

 

She is the one who taught them how to live for God.

She raised up our children in the way they should go.

She is also the one who taught them to be sweet to their daddy.

 

She taught them all that and MORE!

I would just walk into the house at the end of the day, and enjoy the love and affection from all my babies because of her.

 

(It was their Mother, after all, who made me a Father.)

Today, I am enjoying Father’s Day fully knowing that it was my beloved wife who did all the work so I could enjoy this great honor!  She deserves all the credit. But, today, I get the thanks!

 

Thank you, my Darling Marcia, for making me a Daddy!

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 15, 2019 at 6:20 pm

What Else Could I Have Done?

with 5 comments

 

(Dedicated to Apostolic Pastors)

 

What Else Could I Have Done?

 

The visitor closed the pastor’s office door behind him with a click of finality. They had talked many times, but this would be the last. The man who walked out wasn’t coming back to church. Well, he wasn’t coming back to church here.

Slowly lowering himself into his desk chair, the man of God searched his memory for all the opportunities he might have had to make this ending different. His heart was hurting in areas that medical science could not fix.

That nagging feeling of being a failure at what he did was surfacing again. It really didn’t seem to matter what the circumstances were. People that had been in his care were now gone. It felt personal to him. What else could he have done to stop those who left?

  • Some backslid.
  • Some got offended.
  • Some wanted fewer standards.
  • Some had personality problems with him.
  • Some didn’t want a pastor.
  • Some didn’t like the music.
  • Some gave no reason, they just quit.

Was he a failure? He had spent a lifetime as a pastor. How come he couldn’t fix their problems? He should have the answers to most issues a pastor faces by now. Was he the problem? He knew that second-guessing himself would never result in anything positive. But he still wondered if he could have done more.

 

He Picked Up His Bible And Began To Study About Those Who Walked Away…

 

Abraham and Lot walked their separate ways.

Samuel watched Saul self-destruct.

Moses saw what rebellion and wrong friends did to Korah and 200 princes.

David’s own children brought him heartache.

 

Paul Couldn’t Stop Demas From Loving The World.

2 Timothy 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;

 

Jesus Lost The Rich Young Ruler As A Disciple Because Of Money.

Mark 10:22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

 

Jesus Lost Followers Because Of What He Taught.

John 6:66  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

John 6:67  Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

 

Jesus Lost Judas

  • Judas showed enough potential to be placed in leadership.
  • He was hand-picked.
  • He was allowed to be a privileged disciple.
  • He was chosen to be in charge of the group’s finances.
  • Confidence was placed in him.
  • The closer someone is to you, the greater the pain when they hurt you.

 

Judas Lived On A Carnal Level And Was Oblivious To The Spiritual.

John 12:5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

 

Judas Let His True Colors Show At The Wrong Time.

John 12:6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

 

Judas Has A Personal Agenda That Was Separate From His Leader.

John 12:6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

 

Judas Received A Warning From The Lord But Continued Anyway.

John 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

John 6:71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

 

Judas Saw The Same Miracles And Heard The Same Sermons But Was Unaffected.

Judas was one of the twelve that went out and preached about the kingdom of God and healed the sick.

 

Judas Planned His Move Carefully.

Matt. 26:16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

Like a chess player looking at the possible responses to his next move.

Like a politician encouraged by the negative sentiment of a carnal crowd.

 

Judas Was An Opportunist.

Matt. 26:16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

 

Judas Courted Those Who He Thought Could Help His Cause.

Luke 22:4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.

 

A Modern Judas May Recruit His People With Private Meetings,

  • Dinners, coffee and
  • Coffee and cake sessions,
  • Facebook likes,
  • Text messages and phone calls.

 

Judas Possessed An Evil Spirit.

Luke 22:3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.

Luke 22:4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.

 

Judas Fooled His Own Friends And Brothers.

John 13:26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

John 13:27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

John 13:28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.

 

Judas Got His Key Players In Place Before He Made His Move.

Luke 22:4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.

Luke 22:5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.

Luke 22:6 And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.

 

Judas Got A Divine Warning And Still Ignored It.

Matt. 26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.

 

Judas Got Revealed By The Lord And Had A Chance To Repent.

Matt 26:21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

 

Judas Made His Move When He Thought The Odds Were In His Favor.

Matt 26:16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

 

Judas Was A Hypocrite.

Matt. 26:49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.

 

Judas Was Controlled By Satan.

John 13:27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

 

Judas Displayed False Affection Toward His Leader.

Matt. 26:48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.

Matt. 26:49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.

 

Judas Was Happy.

  • Judas finally got his payday.
  • He was glad it was finally over.
  • He could go back to doing what he was doing before.

 

Judas Had Second Thoughts.

Matt. 27:3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

 

Judas Tried To Appease His Guilty Conscience.

Matt. 27:3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

 

Judas Woke Up To His Horrible Sin Too Late.

Matt. 27:4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.

 

Judas Repented Too Late.

Matt. 27:4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.

 

Judas Hung Himself.

Matt. 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

 

 

The pastor closed the Bible and leaned back in his chair recalling the words of Jesus to His disciples…

Luke 10:16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

1 Sam. 8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel… for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me,

 

The pastor took a deep breath and sighed. He understood. There was nothing else he could have done. It wasn’t him, it was them!

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 11, 2019 at 12:35 am

The Princess Within Conference, By Nila Marxer

with 7 comments

 

Two of my sisters, Nila Marxer and Carlene Branham just returned from the “Princess Within Conference” in Corona, Californina. This blog is part of Nila’s letter to me today about her experience with the inmates at the conference.

Nila Marxer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This prison field is filled with so many hungry women. There were 30 women who received the Holy Ghost for the first time, 18 renewed, and 12 signed up for baptism! We’ve been trying to get into this prison for almost 20 years, and finally we’ve had a breakthrough. Actually, women from this prison and the Chowchilla prison have been fasting on the 25th of every month for years for a Holy Ghost church service to come to the prisons.

I was humbled by their hunger and desire to hear the Word and to be loved.

The first picture was the entire group minus 2 people. The second was the Sunday morning picture of those who went. A lot had to go back home.

 

Fear will keep many people from doing the will of God and fulfilling His purpose for their life. Don’t say you want to be used of God, and not be willing to do what is needed to further the kingdom.

My life will never be the same. I went to the Princess Within Conference in Corona this weekend with anticipation of helping others, when in fact this experience helped me more than words can express.

Prayer and fasting had gone up for this conference, and when we completed the process of entering into the prison, setting up the equipment and chairs and setting out water bottles and sweets for each prisoner, you could already feel a powerful move of the Holy Ghost. Whitney Rhinehart began practicing songs, and others joined in. Everyone was involved. We did not come just to be a warm body, but we were needed. Those of us who had finished setting up were prayerfully awaiting the prisoners. When the door opened, and the women began filing in, worship had already filled the room. Some of the prisoners were worshiping and clapping as they began to find a seat. At first it took a while for the majority of the women to show up, because it was taco night, and they all wanted to eat the only good meal of the week. (The enemy was using everything to try to hinder this conference.)

The volunteers lined up to give gifts, shake everyone’s hand, welcome them, and thank them for coming. Some were shy, but you could see the majority of the prisoners craved love. Each song was effective, each sermon was powerfully anointed, and no one left unmoved. They came in worshiping like I haven’t seen in a regular church setting. Not just a few raised their hands, but every hand was raised, everyone clapped, everyone worshiped.

The first thing I noticed about the women, was that they looked like normal women, not like hardened criminals that I imagined. The majority of these women carried Bibles. Some of these Bibles were well-read and falling apart. In many of them, I could see various pages of notes stuck in-between the pages. I thought how many of us church people will go to church without our Bibles? How many church people take time to read God’s Word? Some of these women took notes on every scripture reference, and would look at their friends when a specific verse was mentioned, and would finish the scripture, reciting along with the various ministers. These women were well-acquainted with the Word, yet they were starving. Starving for the preached Word, starving for worship, starving for love, starving to feel the power of the Holy Ghost. My heart was lost to them within the first five minutes of meeting them.

On the first night, the preacher finished preaching, and opened the front for those who wanted the Holy Ghost. The women poured down to the altar. We volunteers stood in the front facing them, and soon were inundated by scores of women who wanted prayer. As soon as one received the Holy Ghost, there were many women all around them with their arms raised asking for prayer. I couldn’t stop crying as one by one these women were receiving the Holy Ghost. They fell on my neck, thanking me for coming, and showing them love. I wept with them, knowing they were my sisters-in-the-Lord. Not only did they need me, I needed them.
Before I walked into the prison yard, I had felt some apprehension, not knowing how this was going to unfold, but I can’t begin to explain the joy I had in being involved in this prison ministry, and the hunger I have to go back and continue to spread this precious Truth!

I was humbled by some of the testimonies I heard. Chaffey College was having a graduation ceremony at the same time we were having the Saturday morning service. One of the girls told me she was graduating with her bachelor’s degree. She said, “I had to make a decision whether I was going to walk and get my diploma, or come to church.” She was crying as she spoke, saying, “It was an easy decision to make. They can always mail me my diploma, but there won’t always be a Holy Ghost church service.”

Another girl said that she got her diploma, (missing the early morning session.) She hadn’t seen her family for seven years. Her family had come a long way to see her graduate and spend a little time with her. Knowing how little time these prisoners get to see their loved ones, the few moments together are cherished. Yet, this young lady walked down the aisle, got her degree, and then told her folks goodbye, because she had to go to church.

These testimonies gripped my heart, because those women cherish church above everything. So many women thanked me for loving them. (They were so easy to love.)

The first night I came home, I couldn’t sleep, seeing their faces lifted in prayer, feeling their hugs, and them gripping my hands tearfully asking me not to forget to pray for them. How can I forget?

It was during a worship song on Saturday when I felt God speak to me that I need to focus on His work. I had been focusing on my son who has been bound by sin and desperately needs deliverance. If I will focus on His kingdom and the souls that He loves, then He will focus on my prayers for my family and those that I love. It’s a win-win situation.

The last prisoner spoke to me as they were leaving and said that many churches have come to the prison, but never in her life has she felt such power and such love. She said, the love affected her more than anything. She felt loved by God, and by His people. She wondered why she had never felt love like this before.

I told her, “Honey, it’s the Holy Ghost love that you feel.”
My mind went back to the scripture, “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12 KJV) Oh, how He loves us, and them!

She said, “It has to be, because I’ve never seen anything like this in all my life. Please don’t forget us. Please come back and help us learn more!”

I thought of the scripture that says:
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.”
Matthew 25:41-43 KJV

May that never be said about me. Lord, I will go.

Nila Marxer