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Archive for the ‘Compromise’ Category

Preach Me The Gospel

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Preach Me The Gospel

Rom. 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Ours is a day of dilution of sacred truths. The importance of our basic tenets of faith is being challenged. Compromise is seen in every too many areas. Some sermons are not much more than an exercise in Pop-Psychology. Word preaching is non-existent in too many places. Doctrine is scorned by some and called ‘old school.’

It may be ‘old school’ to the compromiser, but doctrinal preachers, believers and practitioners are still here and doing well.

  • They are still living ‘the life.’
  • They haven’t caved in to compromise and worldliness.
  • They were blessed to have heard some old-time Doctrinal messages on the New Birth. They got it in their heart.
  • They heard teaching and preaching about Holiness, Separation from the World, Church Government, and Standards. They loved it.
  • They were taught why the New Birth was important.
  • They were taught why separation from the world was important.
  • They were taught why it is important to live holy.
  • They were taught why they should worship.
  • They were taught why they should be faithful.
  • They were taught why they should honor God with their tithes.
  • They were taught why they should honor God with their modest apparel.
  • They said Amen to the preacher.
  • They believed it.
  • They received it.
  • They got in the Word and the Word got in them.

Some churches, organizations and fellowships have neglected the Word and turned to gimmicks and programs to distract from the obvious void and lack of a move of God.

The lack of Word preaching is evident by what is seen in the lives of many at conferences, camps and rallies. If preachers ‘get what they preach,’ someone must not be preaching very much.

There will always be a constant need to preach on worship. Please do not stop. I fear however, that our heavy emphasis on worship demonstration promotes the belief that our best services are always runaways.

Thank God for a runaway. But to me there is no measure of the lasting blessings the Word has on our lives. A shout can be forgotten. But the engrafted Word can be hidden in the heart until we die.

It is easy for some to jump up and down and run the aisle. Yet these same folks seem lost and uncomfortable in a deep move of God. Why?

Every pastor has seen folks shout in church, and then heard of them sinning before the night was over. They had the ‘physical exercise’ part down. They just didn’t get much on the inside. No root.

Luke 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

Some pastors only want to teach doctrine (or anything that isn’t evangelistic) in ‘closed door settings’. They must be afraid to stand up and preach it to their whole congregation. The shallowness of church membership today is alarming.

Psa. 119:161 …but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.

Psa. 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells a story of two houses. One house was built on the rock. The other was built on the sand. All was well until the storm came. Only the house on the rock remained standing.

Without a solid foundation, we too will fall apart when the storms of worldliness come against the church.

2Chr. 15:3 Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.

God give us a season of the teaching priest. Give us a season of loving thy law.

Paul’s Gospel was the New Birth. The Death, Burial and the Resurrection.

Thank God for preachers who just stand up and preach the Word. Thank God for saints who want to hear preaching. Singing doesn’t save us, preaching does.

The Apostle Paul didn’t say to Timothy, “Discern someone’s phone number, their name or medical condition.” He just said to preach the Word.

Carloads will drive miles to hear a preacher call out folks and pray over them. (I can tell you ahead of time what he will say. He will prophesy blessings, healing and prosperity over those he prays for. He will never discern the sinfulness they are living in.)

The same folks that go gaga over that type of ministry get easily bored listening to a ‘Word’ preacher.  Some wouldn’t drive across town to hear him.

Take some advice from an old man. If you are a preacher and have a choice between being a feeder or an exhorter, be a feeder. Because a feeder will build a church.

2Tim. 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

Don’t stop the worship, but at the same time, preach the Word. Keep preaching about Worship, but let Doctrine showcase your ministry.

Preacher, there are still plenty of saints out there that bring their Bibles to church.

There are still plenty of saints that bring a notebook and pen to Church just waiting.

There are still plenty of saints that will readily say, “Preach Me The Gospel.”

The Book Of Deception

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The Book Of Deception

23:17-36

Today’s Devotional For The Uncommitted


V. 17   It shall not matter what a man believes as long as he is sincere.

V. 18   Thou shalt not criticize other religions because they shall all lead you to the same place.

V. 19   Let thy conscience be thy guide and all things will work out right.

V. 20   I am no respecter of persons saith the Lord, if any man have the Holy Ghost, he shall need no other teacher. I alone will instruct him in the ways of righteousness.

V. 21   If any man hast not received the Holy Ghost, he shall be saved by accepting me as his personal Savior, saith the Lord.  Only believe.

V. 22 Forasmuch as customs and standards change, each generation shall not be required to live or dress in any manner that is considered old fashioned.  The Lord God is not concerned how his people look on the outside, but on the inside only. Thou shalt win more people if thou lookest more like them.

V.23 In the last days, business and pleasure shall increase.  Many shall not be able to attend church services faithfully.  Come when thou art able, saith the Lord.

V. 24 If thine church seemeth too far away, of if thy ministers offendeth thee in anywise, thou shalt be permitted to attend another church of thy choice.  Fear not, once saved always saved.

V. 25 The Lord thy God is too good to let any of His children suffer in eternity.  There is no hell.  I know not any.  Yet if there is, thou shalt be burnt up and feel no pain.

V. 26 If thou feelest good about a thing in thine heart, then know that it is My will for thee.  Let not any man tell thee other wise, saith the Lord.

V. 27 If thou hast been given a gift and thou art not used as you wouldst desire to be, then thou shalt be freed from the bondage of thine pastor and mayest go whithersoever thou wouldst.

V. 28 The tithe belongeth unto me saith the Lord, but if thou needest to use it, thou mayest.

V. 29 Whatsoever thou doest in the days of thy youth shall be excused, for there is one requirement for the young and another for the old.

V. 30 If thine pastor settest thee down because of thine transgression, it is better that thou goest to another assembly where they knowest thee not, so that thou mightest prosper more abundantly.

V. 31 Thy sin shall not be required of thee except thou art caught in it.  Thou mayest sin a little bit every day for I know that thy flesh is weak and that thou art not perfect.  For if thou still hast addictions, thy weaknesses art overlooked for I am not able to deliver thee fully.

V. 32 Worship is of the heart.  Thou shalt not do that which is unseemingly to make me happy.  Keep thine seat saith the Lord and praise me in thine heart. Demonstration is for the weak and unschooled.

V. 33. The altar is a place for the ungodly and unclean.  If thou art a believer, thou mayest stay in thine pew while others pray.  Bowest thine head though and movest thine lips, so I mayest know thou art awake.

V. 34 Though many say that I am coming quickly.  I have many more things yet to do.  Thou hast plenty of time.

           

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 6, 2011 at 9:48 am

Posted in Compromise, Deception

Tagged with ,

Throwing Electronic Eggs And Cyber Tomatoes

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Throwing Rotten Electronic Eggs And Cyber Tomatoes

Some of us have lived long enough to remember moments of light persecution to some of our churches in America. I’m not talking about the level of persecution the early church experienced during the days of the apostles. I’m referring to basic hatred and expressions of animosity against the church seen in our lifetime.  Maybe some of it was even done in ignorance, but some of it was not.

I have been in services where rotten eggs and tomatoes were thrown at the church building and cars. Brother Hoy Holcomb in Christ Temple Church in South Bend, Indiana got hit on the head with a big rock thrown through the window by neighborhood teens that hated Pentecost. It was bad and very bloody.

I preached a tent revival in Hemphill, Texas in 1964 and sinners came during the night and sprayed acid all over the canvas so that there was nothing but shreds of canvas hanging from the ropes. They had thrown tomatoes and eggs on the cars during the service as well.

Most all of us have heard stories of what Pentecostal pioneers went through in the last century. An encouraging note is that the work of Jesus Christ has always continued to thrive and grow under such persecution.

There are not too many current reports of attacks on the church anymore. Oh, occasionally some sinner kids spin their tires in the parking lots or do some other acts of stupidity. But by-in-large, Pentecostal worship is becoming more and more accepted by the outside world.

Nevertheless eggs and tomatoes are still being thrown. The ones thrown today are mostly “electronic eggs and cyber tomatoes,” as my friend Pastor Jerry Rowley Jr. says.

The people throwing them are not members of another denomination. The throwers are mainly Pentecostal backsliders and holiness rejecters. They throw them because they are mad. They evidently feel a need to trash truth so they can feel justified for leaving it.

They don’t want the Bible telling them how to live or dress, and they sure don’t want a man of God to preach or write anything that touches any area of their life.

They’ve refused to submit to the Word of God. They’ve refused to submit to the man of God. And many of the women have refused to submit to their own husbands.

These evidently are some of the silly women that got ‘led away captive’ that the Bible talks about in 2 Tim. 3:6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

The electronic egg and cyber tomato throwers are the same people who once talked in tongues and dressed godly but have now been turned over to a reprobate mind. They no longer believe the Holy Ghost is necessary and they dress like they’ve never been inside of an Apostolic church in their life. They now throw cyber tomatoes at anyone who still lives what the Book requires.

They once were numbered with the holiness crowd, now they make mockery of all those that still walk holy and humbly before God. It’s unbelievable! They feel no shame, and they cannot blush.

These little modern-day Jezebel’s with painted faces get on their Facebook pages and rail on anyone else that calls their hand. They don’t have it in themselves to say anything to your face when they see you in person. They are only brave when the get in front of their computer screens at home.

They wish to appear to others as a spiritual giant of some kind. They are very sure they know more than their former pastor. They seem to think they know more about Bible interpretation than anyone else. Their comments make everyone think that they alone are right and everyone in the church they’ve left is wrong and unenlightened.

That’s when their true spirit surfaces. How dare any one tell them they are wrong! They reject anyone who calls a spade a spade. How dare a preacher say black is black, and white is white. How dare he say something is actually wrong. He is being mean when he calls sin a sin. He is harsh if he enforces a standard.

These cyber tomato throwers write about good movies they went to see. They try to give presents of jewelry to the folks still in church. They show off their bathing suits and slacks. They dye their hair purple and act like everyone else has a problem. They can’t cry and worship like they once did because it would smear their makeup.

They are proud of their new tattoos and want you to see them. They are not ashamed. They are proud of their deliverance from bondage, as they call it. The guys can’t wait to show off their new facial hair.

They make jabs at holiness every chance they get. If a young lady dresses godly, they call her a grandma.

One prayerful and modest dressing young woman I know was referred to as “Virgin Mary” because she didn’t wish to be included in their carnal activities.

I am tired of listening to their justifications. I don’t wish to debate with a deluded mind. The Bible says for me not to even eat with them and I won’t.

I can’t tell you that I have ever seen anyone go charismatic and come back repentant or get restored. I am not saying it can’t happen, I am saying I haven’t seen it. No wonder the Bible says, after the second admonition… reject.

Do you know who comments on these rotten egg thrower’s posts and then helps toss electronic eggs? Other backsliders. They won’t call themselves backsliders because they attend a church.

It’s a compromising church with a backslidden pastor that lets them live like they want and dress just like the world. They have a hireling for a pastor and they love it like that. But in their mind, it’s a church.

Their Facebook pages wouldn’t look any different if they were members of a Methodist or Presbyterian Church. What a sham and reproach! The sad thing is, they still feel saved. God has turned them over to a reprobate mind.

They are not content to just go away. They are not content to avoid holiness preachers in the mall. They are not content to be classified as truth rejecters. They have to turn around and throw their rotten cyber tomatoes at those that are still living a life separated unto Him. It helps them feel justified in doing what they are doing. It really makes them feel good.

What about all the folks that love to connect with these egg throwers? At General Conferences, some get real buddy-buddy with them. They wine and dine them. Some even connect with them on Facebook and send sweet messages back and forth. Their Inbox stays busy. But they are not the same people they were years ago.

You are not going to change them. They just might change you. Go ahead, laugh with them, chit-chat and watch as they continue to throw electronic eggs and cyber tomatoes at the good guys. You are setting your self up to be one of them if you are not careful. That spirit will get off on you if you keep hanging around them. Run, don’t walk. Get away from them. They are tools of Satan. You will be to, if you are not careful.

I’m afraid for some the final chapter of ‘throwing’ has not yet begun. If God’s Word is still true, He is going to do some throwing Himself in ‘that’ day when He throws some into a lake a fire.

2Pet. 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

2Pet. 2:10 but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

2Pet. 2:11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.

2Pet. 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

2Pet. 2:13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;

2Pet. 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

2Pet. 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

2Pet. 2:16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

2Pet. 2:17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

Remember this when the electronic rotten eggs and the cyber tomatoes start flying. They haven’t rejected us as saints or as preachers, they have rejected Him. The horrible truth will be declared in the Judgment when they finally realize God has rejected them.

The Message Has Never Changed. It’s Still… Holiness Or Hell.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

May 25, 2011 at 8:50 am

My Grandfather Was An Idiot! My Dad Was Crazy Too!

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My Grandfather Was An Idiot! My Dad Was Crazy Too!

“My grandpa was old school. His ways may have worked back in the 60’s, but this is a new day! They won’t work now. Gramps was sincere and I love him, but bless his heart he didn’t do it right. Since he is gone, and now that I’m the pastor, I’ve had to make changes that will reach my generation. Grandpa’s ways just won’t work today. This is a new day!”

That’s what he said. He laughed and openly made fun of his grandfather as he talked to me about the old-time Pentecostal church services ‘back in the day.’

I knew his grandfather. I’d even preached for him. My father knew his grandfather and preached for him too. Yes, he might have done things different according to the grandson’s ‘enlightened’ thinking, but he still had over 700 in Sunday School having church the old-time way.

(You and I aren’t the finally judges of things, I know. But why can’t some people see what is so obvious and apparent to the rest. It’s seems simple when you do the doctrinal math.)

Grandpa’s “Old Time Pentecostal” Type Leadership Was,

  • Preaching “Holiness” and naming sin.
  • Preaching “Modesty in dress”.
  • Preaching “Separation from the world”
  • Preaching “Standards”.
  • Preaching “The essentially of Acts 2:38 experience.
  • Preaching “You must repent!”
  • Preaching “You must be baptized in Jesus Name!”
  • Preaching “You must be filled with the Holy Ghost speaking with other tongues!”

Because Of What He Preached, Grandpa Had Over 700 In Church Membership.

The Grandson’s “Emergent Church” Type Leadership is,

  • No “Standards” preaching.
  • No “Holiness” preaching or naming of sin.
  • No “Modesty” preaching.
  • No “Requirements for Salvation except Believe” Holy Ghost = optional.

With All His ‘Progressiveness’ He Only Has 40 In Membership.

The bulk of the saints scattered when the grandson tore down what the grandfather had built. Yet in the grandson’s blindness, he still thinks his grandpa was an idiot for preaching the old-time Pentecostal ways. And he still thinks his grandfather did it all wrong. Even though most of the saints have left, he still rejects everything that is, and everything that looks Apostolic.

Nevertheless, Grandpa Was Right!

†††

 

A Son’s “Enlightened” Pastoral Style

His father pastored a revival church. A growing church, but he got old and retired.  The people wanted his son to be their new pastor.

Today, all evidence the father’s holiness preaching has been removed.  What once was a Pentecostal showcase in the area and made true Pentecostals smile, now only makes them shake their head in dismay.

The difference is unbelievable and unacceptable to all of the senior saints. Even ministers that grew up in the church, no longer want to go back even for a visit. They now would never consider taking members from their own congregation over for a visit. The church is so shockingly different; it is even shunned by many liberals.

The choir members look just like the sinners they are singing to. All standards have disappeared.

To top things off, the son dangles a weekly retirement check over his aged father’s head in an effort to keep his dad silent. He cannot afford to ever let his father preach again. It’s a shame to see the old man of God treated with such disrespect.

He believes his dad’s doctrinal preaching of the new birth was unnecessary. He also believes preaching about any kind of dress standard is unnecessary too.

The church is not growing, but the son would rather have the smaller church and be free of standards. So, he is happy because his wife is happy. They are free at last.

Nevertheless, Dad Was Right!

†††


I don’t expect one compromiser or hater of holiness to change because of my post today. But I would like to remind my readers of an old scripture.

It’s A Promise And It’s A Prophecy!

1Cor. 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

There’s coming a day…

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 26, 2011 at 1:04 am

Bad Water

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Bad Water

Ben laid the shovel down. He was glad to see his neighbor John. He was also glad for a break. He had been digging in this hole for over two days now. It was hot; he was dirty and he was very thirsty.

John gave him a hand to climb up out of the hole. Ben’s wife offered her tired husband a drink of water from her bucket. He sipped from the dipper. It’s coolness was instant refreshment.

“What are you digging the hole for Ben?” John asked.

“I’m digging me another cistern.”

“Another cistern? Sorry to hear that you’re having problems. What went wrong with the other two?”

Ben shook his head. “I don’t know. Either the soil is bad here, or I didn’t get it sealed right or something. The first two cisterns wouldn’t hold water very long. I spent all my time carrying water to them, trying to fill them up.

“Then the next thing I knew, most of the water would seep out and I had to go fill them back up again. It like to wore me out. I finally got tired of messing with the first two cisterns and decided to try it again in another spot. That’s why I’m digging this one. Maybe I’ll get it right this time.

John looked down by the tree line. He mentally measured the distance, trying to understand what would be harder, walking a few more yards to get water from the fountain or digging a bunch of holes in the ground. To John, it was a no brainer.

“It’s not that far to the spring inside the tree line, Ben. You sure could save yourself a lot of work. The spring water there is pure, it’s cold, there’s plenty of it and it’s free.” And it’s just bubbling up out of the ground like a fountain.

“Don’t you go to nagging on me too John! Sarah preaches to me almost every day. She says, you’ve dug a hole, and then you carry water and pour it into the hole and then hope it rains a lot to fill up rest of the hole.

“What water doesn’t seep out becomes a pool for the water bugs to swim in and Sarah said it’s dirty water and she has to skim the film off of top of the water every morning before she can get a drink. She hates the cistern’s water. She says it’s polluted. The woman just likes to nag.

“But you’re right, the spring has good water. I just got tired of walking over there to fetch water several times a day. I want my own water beside my own house. I don’t like being beholden to anyone.”

John looked at his neighbor and his heart sank. He remembered the words of the Prophet Jeremiah as he had stood and prophesied in their village recently.

Jer. 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

Ben had stood beside John that day as Jeremiah had preached. He had heard what John had heard, but somehow, Ben couldn’t see the big picture. He couldn’t see past himself. For that matter, Ben couldn’t even see himself in the sermon Jeremiah preached.

Ben was one of those independent souls that liked to do things his own way. He was only interested in what pleased him. He was one of those people who always had to learn the hard way. This exercise was just a case in point.

“Benjamin, do you remember the day we heard Jeremiah in the village?

“Yes.”

“I know it was a long sermon, but he talked about two evils that Israel had committed. The first one was that we had forsaken God. We have left Him who is THE Fountain of Living Waters and the second one was that we had dug our own cisterns. We had tried life on our own. We had dug our own cisterns in life and ignored THE Fountain.

“Then he prophesied that our self-dug cisterns would never hold water. Notice he said ‘cisterns’. He was trying to tell us that no matter how hard we tried on our own, we would never get it perfect. There’s always going to be failed attempts in any life that is away from THE Fountain!

“You and I both know that water don’t get any better than the cold clear water of the fountain that we’ve got here.

“Every time I’ve seen you carry buckets of water from the fountain and then empty them this dirt hole, I think of what the prophet said.

“It’s a lot more work to dig holes and carry water to pour in them than it is to just kneel and drink from the fountain.”

“And if you get too proud to go fetch water to pour in here you’ll have wait awhile for the rain to help you out. You will be a very thirsty man before long.”

“You’re probably right John, but there are several reasons I don’t want to go into, but a big one is, I can’t go and drink at that fountain anymore because of old man Naphtali. I hate what he’s done and how he’s treated me and my family, so I decided I’d dig my own cistern so I won’t have to look at him or drink from the same fountain he does. I think he’s a hypocrite.

“To me, my water is just as good. I got most of it from the fountain. Besides, it’s mine and if I never drink water beside Naphtali at the fountain again, I’ll die a happy man. I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m not hurting anyone and I don’t plan on being hurt again.

“Ben, we’ve been neighbors and friends all of our lives. Our fathers were friends before us. As your friend I’m sorry for your hurts and the pain others have caused you. But before you ever had a problem with Naphtali, you were always doing things your own way. Now you’ve let some rogue person be the reason you won’t drink at the fountain anymore.

“We both know that you are working harder trying to distance yourself from the fountain than if you just went ahead and had a drink at the fountain. In your mind, you are still drinking the water from the fountain, but in reality, you first pour the water into the dirt down there in that hole.  Then come back and drink it later and tell yourself it’s as good as always. It’s not the same and you know it. Your water is no longer pure.

“Your cisterns will never hold water. Your work will always come to naught digging cisterns.  When you get done with all your hard work, at best, all you will ever have is bad water. Everyone sees it but you. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone, except to God.

“Come on man, put down that old shovel down once and for all and quit trying to do things your own way. Come on back and drink with me at the fountain. Don’t worry about Naphtali or anyone else. There’s just no water like fountain water and you know it!”

Old Ben looked at his neighbor and felt no urge to smile. How dare John criticize his hard work, his motives and all of his efforts. That’s not what friends did. Friends were supposed to support you no matter what you did. Friends were supposed to love at all times. This didn’t feel like love.

“I’ll say this as nice as I can John. You’ve spoken your mind. I thank you for your concern. But I would appreciate you never trying to preach to me again. I don’t need it, I don’t want it and I don’t like it.

“If all you have is criticism of me, then it might be better if you just stay quiet, stay away and leave me alone. Let me do things my own way. I’ve never been happier than I am now. I’m freer now than I’ve ever been. Your preaching just angers me. I’ll never go back to your beloved fountain.”

John nodded, shook Ben’s hand, then turned and walked away.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Pardon Me!

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Pardon Me

Naaman stood before the Prophet Elisha a healed man. His dignity had been restored. He had a new lease on life. His death sentence had been lifted. He could now proceed in life with unlimited possibilities.

He was not an Israelite. His family had always been idolaters and heathens. Yet this man in front of him had come up with the magic formula for his healing. His leprosy was gone. Not only was the disease gone, but his skin now looked like baby skin. That was an additional miracle. This Prophet was truly a man of God.

Naaman felt a duty to be respectful of the God of Israel. He didn’t know what the response was going to be.

Naaman’s King, King Benhadad was a little feeble and getting up in years. The King had been very kind to him. He also depended on Naaman very much.  Not only was Naaman the King’s friend, he went with the King to worship in the House of Rimmon, because the king had a hard time kneeling and getting back up.

2Kings 5:18 In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing.

  • “I know that this is something I’m not supposed to do, but would it be OK ?”
  • “Could you make an exception for me?”
  • “I have some mitigating circumstances.”
  • “I’m grateful for my miracle, but I’m under a lot of pressure from my boss.”
  • “I believe what I have experienced was real, but I still want to go to my old church.”
  • “I’m going to need an indulgence.”

Conviction began to grip the heart of Naaman. He was talking to Jehovah’s Prophet. Naaman wanted to do right, but just had a hard time letting go of his old life style.

He couldn’t easily disconnect. The pressure to convert to Judaism was great. The pressure to not displease his King was great. He was torn. What do I do? How can I get through this? In his mind the only ‘out’ was to ask permission and that’s what he did. It looked like he had half-hearted faith.

Although this first happened thousands of years ago, it’s still happening in many churches around the world today.

Old and young alike that have been filled with the Holy Ghost and delivered from sin, have been known to ask for exceptions.

  • “Pastor, is it OK if I do this?
  • Pastor is it OK if I go over there?
  • I know what you preached, but let me explain my situation.

As a pastor, it often seemed that most people who came to my office and asked, “Is it OK if I do this or that,” were somehow asking how much they could get away with and still be saved.

That may have been an over-reach on my part, but the fact remains there will always be a struggle in the heart of flesh. A choice must be made in serving either God or Mammon. We can’t do both.

Fall in love with Jesus, and let go of the world. The most miserable people in church are those that are half in and half out.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 13, 2011 at 11:32 am

“It’s A Sin For Preachers To Wear Colored Shirts,” He said.

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“It’s A Sin For Preachers To Wear Colored Shirts,” He said.

“A preacher should never wear colored shirts to church, much less preach in them. Apostolic preachers should only minister while wearing a white shirt and preferably, a dark suit.” That’s what the consensus was at the closed session Ministers Meeting.

Rev. Carl Ballestero

The occasion was a Morning Ministers Question And Answer Session at the Anniversary Services of Christian Tabernacle in Indianapolis, Indiana. Bro. Paul Jordan was the pastor. My Father, Carl Ballestero, was the moderator for the discussion that day.

The questions for ‘debate’ were written on pieces of paper and placed on the pulpit. Opinions were strong and unrestrained.

The last question of the day was: “What about these young preachers wearing these colored shirts?” My father read the question to the audience and waited for their response. Ninety-nine percent seemed opposed to the idea of young preachers wearing colored shirts. It was a disgrace they all said.

One must remember that this was basically a meeting of ministers within the Apostolic Ministers Fellowship. However, several men from the United Pentecostal Church were also present.

I was 32 years old and pastored in South Bend, Indiana at the time. What brought the discussion a little closer to home, was that I was sitting on the front row, wearing a gray suit, a light blue shirt and a tie with both colors. My Father had given me the blue Arrow Dectolene shirt just the week before.

I sat beside Bro. Jack Langham mainly because he also was wearing a gray suit with a blue shirt just like mine. Bro. Langham and myself were the only two men wearing a colored shirt at the meeting. All eyes kept glancing in our direction.

After many minutes of comments explaining how unprofessional, how ‘Charismatic’, how disrespectful to God, and how horrible it was that preachers were leading the youth astray by wear such attire, I stood up.

I turned around, pulled my coat jacket back where my blue shirt could be seen as I stuck my hands in my pockets and smiled. I began, “The question is, and I quote: “What about these young preachers wearing these colored shirts?”

I pointed at Bro. Langham, a former missionary, just 3 feet away from me, and said with a giant grin on my face, “My question is, what about these old preachers wearing these colored shirts?”

A few chuckles relaxed some of the fervor and tenseness in the room. No one else had anything to say.

After an awkward silence, my Father finally said, “Gentlemen, thank you for your participation in the discussion today. Your opinion is appreciated and your carefulness is to be commended. I would like to remind all of you however, that when the Priest ministered in the Tabernacle, he was to wear blue, purple, scarlet and white linen breeches (britches). Actually, I fear that we got the tradition of wearing black and white to preach in, from the Catholic Church.”

(“After that, no man durst asked him any more questions.”)

The meeting adjourned.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 4, 2010 at 1:05 pm

“You Can’t Live In the Past!”

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“You Can’t Live In the Past!”

Sis. Connie, Bro. Carl Ballestero 1955

That’s what she said. She said that the church’s holiness standards and dress codes weren’t relevant today. “This is a different day.” She wanted me to know that Pentecost had moved to another level. “This is not your Father’s Pentecost! My generation is progressive!”

I said, “My generation felt it was in a new day when we invented the computer, the microwave, and the stereo. We felt it was a new day when we first orbited the earth, and when we walked on the moon. Each generation, quite possibly, has been able to make some boasts as to its uniqueness and advancements.

So?

Did Cain and Abel say to Adam, “Pops, this is a new day!”  (Actually it was!) My point is, that argument is nothing new.

However, it is becoming more common for me to hear the statement, “You can’t live in the past.”

Concerning holiness and standards, I am encouraged to be more progressive and be relevant to this generation. I am confronted by those who laugh at holiness minded people, and make fun of their style of dress and modesty. They explore every taboo of previous generations and dare anyone to tell them ‘no’.

That statement about not living in the past may be true about many things. It has been said to people recovering from broken relationships, and to those that are tightly held in the grasp of grief, for example. There may be times when we may offer that advice, but NEVER for Salvation, and NEVER for Holiness and Separation from the World.

I HAVE PROOF:

1. PAUL orders his son in the Gospel, Timothy, to teach his generation what has been taught to him. He is commissioned to impart to them all of the ‘Past’ that he can. That seemed to be Paul’s heartbeat. There was a reason, a good reason.

  • 2Tim. 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

2. PAUL compares Timothy’s spirit and love for the faith, to his Mother’s and Grandmother’s love for the faith.

  • 2Tim. 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

 

3. JOB made the statement, “We are but of yesterday.” We are what we are today because of yesterday.

If we can’t live in the past, then we need to quit singing songs about the past; songs like: “This Is My Christian Heritage.” Why sing about the past and then reject it? Holiness rejecters, are rejecters of all of God’s yesterdays.

When the same crowd hears about the ‘sure mercies of David” however, they chose to claim that part of the past. They want God to be the same, yesterday, today and forever, but we have those among us that reject the Apostolic church of the past. They don’t want the church to be the same yesterday, today and forever.

 

 

Holiness Is Not Yesterdays News!

  • 1Pet. 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

It’s Present tense. ‘Be’ ye holy. Present tense means it’s relevant.

  • 2Tim. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

“Is profitable”. That’s relevant! Doctrine is not to be kept in the past. It IS profitable. The preaching and teaching of Doctrine, is meant for every age of the church.

 

 

4. JEHOSHAPHAT – Walked in the ways of his Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather David. God used David, the Ruler of Yesterday, to measure the Ruler of Today.

  • 2Chr. 17:3 And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim;

Jehoshaphat was the 6th king of the Davidic line (he was preceded by David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah, and Asa.)

In God’s mind, David, six generations prior, was the standard to measure all the following generations.

GOD STILL USES YESTERDAY, TO MEASURE US TODAY.

What would make some say, concerning holiness standards, that we can’t live in the past? There’s a reason they talk that way. Evidently, old-time Pentecost conflicts with their love for the world. The Holiness of the past is supposed to make them feel uncomfortable in their shorts, short skirts, tight apparel, jewelry, cut hair and makeup. It is supposed to make Hollywood feel uncomfortable on their conscience. They do not wish to be convicted, so they reject the past on a wholesale basis.

I fear they are no longer Apostolic, but apostate, and don’t even know it. I pray they haven’t been turned over to the spirit of delusion.

The book of Judges mentions, that in those days, every man did that which was right in his own eyes. I am now seeing a repeat of those times.

Speaking of ‘Apostolic,’ did some get ashamed of the word and take it down from their church sign so they could be more relevant? (Just asking!)

I worry that some have fallen into the Colossians’ trap.

  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • Col. 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

5. ESAU.

Remember him? God hated him and wouldn’t even let him repent. You know why? Because he refused to honor what was of yesterday. The Birthright was the blessing of yesterday, but it was also to extend into all of Esau’ families in their ‘tomorrows’. It was to be the blessing he could pass down to his son. But no, he sacrificed the eternal on the altar of the immediate. God hated him for that.

God called him a fornicator. Not because he was morally impure, but because his heart wasn’t faithful to God.

He was called profane. That word in Hebrews, meant: ‘to treat with common place’, or like it was nothing special. The birthright didn’t mean anything special to Esau. He was only interested in the ‘right now’ of his life.  He ignored the meaning of ‘the past’.

6. ISRAEL. – Built altars and memorials so that generations to come would know the history and importance of the moment. God wanted future generations to stay connected with their past.

  • Josh. 4:5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:
  • Josh. 4:6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?
  • Josh. 4:7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

7. JEREMIAH. When he was fourteen years of age, he stood before the King of Israel and prophesied. This young teenager did NOT say to the King. ‘Your majesty, this is a new day, and we can’t live in the past.”

This young teen bold announced his love for the past when he said, “

  • Jer. 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

The 21st century is not a new day in that respect; they rejected the past back in Jeremiah’s day too. And he was a young person pleading for his nations return to the principles of the old paths.)

This may be a new day for technology, science, medicine, and people comforts, but it’s NOT a new day for truth rejecting.

If they are rejecting the holiness, the modesty, and the separated life style of the our Pentecostal forefathers, then they are not a friend of God. They are not even a God chaser.

They may vote out all the rules and standards out of their local church or organization if they want, but that doesn’t change the Book. The Apostolic Church will never have a future if it lets go of it’s past.

Today, I humbly echo Jeremiah’s advice. Ask for the Old Paths, that’s the good way. Ask for Yesterday. Walk in Yesterday. You will find rest there for your soul.

Your soul will never find rest or be at peace if you reject the old paths. If you want a future you must hold on to the past.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 29, 2010 at 12:39 am

The World’s Greatest Spousal Insurance Policy!

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The World’s Greatest Spousal Insurance Policy!

Today Marcia, my beautiful wife of 45 years, and I were riding down the Turnpike in Tulsa listening to XM Radio’s Enlighten on Channel 34. It’s a Southern Gospel Station. Presently a familiar sounding group came on and I read their name on the player. It confirmed what my ears were hearing.

My mind went back many years. I thought of the times I had been in church services with these people, but those days are now forever gone. They are just distant memories.

They once were Jesus Name, Apostolic. I knew them when the ladies in the group had long uncut hair. They wore no makeup or jewelry back then. The men had good haircuts and no facial hair. Somehow, things changed for them. They left the Oneness people seeking more popularity and acceptance from the Trinitarians. They compromised their beliefs about salvation’s requirements and the God-head in the process.

Along the way, they all met with divorce. Their divorces didn’t draw them back to God or to a place of rededication, but their new spouses helped push them even further away from the old landmarks and from truth.

Thinking on these things, my mind reflected on the history of the city of Bethel in the Bible. It was made famous by Jacob, his dream and his covenant with God. At that time, Bethel was only a flat rock that Jacob used for a pillow that night.

The next time we read about Bethel, it is a place filled with people who did not stay loyal to God. Idols were now very common in Bethel. It even became a headquarters for idolatrous calf worship. In Bethel, of all places!

The prophet Amos said that Bethel would “come to naught.” Amos 5:5. Jeremiah hung his head and said that Israel “was ashamed of Bethel.” Jer. 48:13.

Later, Hosea called Beth-el, (which means the house of God) ‘Beth-aven’ which means a house of adultery.

Thinking on that sad progression from the House of God, to House of Idolatry, and then to House of Adultery, I became deeply bothered in my spirit.

In prayer some years ago, I asked the Lord, “How did Bethel go from idolatry to adultery?”

It was like the Lord dropped this thought into my spirit… “The progression was easy. They’re both fathered by the same spirit, the spirit of unfaithfulness.”

If that’s true, then the greatest insurance policy any of us can give our spouse is to be faithful to God. Because, if we are faithful to God, then we will also be faithful to our spouse! It’s that simple. Are you FAITHFUL to God?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 22, 2010 at 1:02 am

We Sold Our Name And Our Recipe

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We Sold Our Name And Our Recipe

My beautiful wife, Marcia and I sat in a famous 100-year-old restaurant tonight. This local icon in Marshall, Michigan is where I officially proposed to my beloved 45 years ago. Once again we looked around the room hoping to walk down ‘sentimental lane’. Everything pretty much looked the same. That brought a sigh of relief to our memories. We smiled as we gazed at the table where we had sat that night in 1965.

I might add that the Win Schuler’s Restaurant we were at received the Gold Plate Award in 1971 from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association, the greatest distinction the industry has to offer.

In 1960 the old English inn’s owner was inducted into the American Restaurant Hall of Fame.

Their cheese and hard crackers are served at every table before the drink order is taken. Marcia and I munched and made small talk while we glanced at the menu.

The table beside us held two retired couples. They were complaining among themselves that the cheese spread didn’t taste the same as it did when they had come there years ago.

“That’s true,” the teenage waiter said. “It’s a different recipe.”

“A different recipe?” the old man repeated in disbelief. “Why in the world would you change? Your recipe was wonderful. We came just because of that.”

“We had to change,” the waiter continued. “Sold our recipe to Craft Foods. We also sold our name too. We no longer can use the name ‘Win’ Schuler. If you see that name in the store, it belongs to Craft Foods. We made up a new recipe using different ingredients, and now we only use the name Schuler.

“Personally,” he said, “I’ve never tasted the old cheese spread. I’ve only tasted this one and I happen to like it.”

“Well, I’ve tasted the old, and it was better than this the old guy said as he shook his white hair. Hmm, sold your recipe and your name! Why would you sell a recipe that’s worked for a hundred years? God have mercy!”

That happened today.

Let me tell you what else is happening today.

Some preachers, some churches and some fellowships have sold their name and their recipe hoping to get a crowd. All of this is done in the name of ‘Revival.’

They sold their recipe for worship, for holiness, and for doctrine. They’ve also sold their name, Apostolic Pentecostal. The greatest loss was when they sold the Name of Jesus in Baptism.

A generation is living today that never tasted the old time Apostolic recipe. They have only tasted this new one that is not like the original. Old timers can tell you, that it does not taste the same. It’s not.

History repeats itself.

In the book of Ezra, it was the same problem. Solomon’s Temple had been destroyed and a new one was built in its place. The young people had never seen the 1st Temple. They rejoiced.

The Elders had seen the 1st and the 2nd. They wept because it wasn’t the same anymore.

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.

Whatever road you may walk down, Gentle Reader, purpose in your heart to never sell your Name or your Recipe.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 8, 2010 at 10:58 pm