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The Case Of The Dead Bullfighter

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The Case Of The Dead Bullfighter


I stood mesmerized in Makielski’s Art Store. This was my second trip in as many days. The high price tags on many of the paintings told me I could only look, but I enjoyed looking.

The first trip I had purchased some art supplies and paints for my air-brush. I then ventured into the room where hundreds of paintings hung on the walls from floor to ceiling. The works of the masters and others hung there. Some paintings I recognized from photographs in books. Most, I did not.

The picture I was fascinated with was very macabre. What was wrong with me? Why was I drawn to this one? It was such a horrible picture of death. Was something wrong with my personality? I didn’t know for sure, so I worried a bit.

Manet ~ Dead Matador, 1865

The picture was of a dead bullfighter. There was no crowd showing in the picture. There was no bull looking down on him victoriously. The only other thing of prominence was a bullfighter’s cape, which was still clutched in the victim’s hand.

This was the second day in a row I had stared for long minutes at this dead man’s picture. Why? Was there a story here? Finally, it came to me like a bolt of lightning!

I put myself into the picture. I felt I could almost feel a bit of the moment captured by the artist. It was like I could see the screaming crowd as they went silent. Mother’s gasped and clutched their babies while trying to cover their tender eyes. Little girls couldn’t look at all. Young boys were mesmerized by the horror. Trained men herded the bull out of the ring and into an open chute, which led it back to a holding pen.

The wife and family of the bullfighter just sat there momentarily stunned. Then, overwhelmed with grief, they convulsed in tears. Their worst nightmare had just come true.

For years he had seemed so invincible. Now this! His death would bring his family pain, on every level, for years to come. Their life as they knew it, was now over.

  • He had lived for the crowd’s approval.
  • He loved the danger.
  • He thrilled at the excitement of a bull’s near misses.
  • He always felt he was in control.
  • He had bested many bulls over the years.
  • He was a professional.
  • He loved the prestige.
  • His name was on posters and signs.
  • His name was well-known.
  • He didn’t like his wife and others asking him to quit.
  • He’d said he would know when to quit.
  • But now he was dead.
  • His blood was starting to pool on the ground.
  • Death had triumphed.

There he was, a spectacle for all to see.

My mind snapped back to reality. I knew why I was drawn to the picture. I told the clerk I wished to purchase the print. I quickly paid the $42.95 marked on the price tag.  The salesman wrapped it carefully in brown paper. I took the print directly to my office at the church and hung it in a place of prominence.

A few weeks later, I had an occasion to counsel with a young man who was struggling living for God. We sat in my office and I listened to his story of worldly involvement.

When he finished, I invited him to look at the dead bullfighter. I said, “Do you know what happened to him?”

I paused for just a moment as his head turned and he looked, not knowing what to say. I really didn’t give him time to answer the question.

“He played with it, until it finally killed him.” I said.

I let that sink in as I watched his face. Then, I finished my thought.

“And, if you keep playing around with sin, it will finally kill you.”

The young man cried.

So did I.


Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 21, 2012 at 12:06 am

Do You Own A Copy Of The Jefferson Bible?

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Do You Own A Copy Of The Jefferson Bible?

Mr. Thomas Jefferson is rightly honored as one of the most brilliant minds in American history. He is remembered for many achievements in his public life and in his service to our nation.

  1. He served as Governor of Virginia.
  2. U.S. Minister to France.
  3. Secretary of State under President George Washington.
  4. Vice President in the administration of John Adams.
  5. President of The United States from 1801-1809.

His tombstone makes no mention of those accomplishments. It says rather, that he was the “author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia.”

What a man. What a mind. Yet, with all of his understanding, somehow Mr. Jefferson could not actually believe anything about the supernatural, or stories of miracles, as found in the Bible.

He loved the principles of life as taught by Jesus Christ. He approved of almost all of the Lord’s teachings. What he could not accept was anything supernatural. So, he did what he thought best. He made his own bible.

He calmly sat down with two exact Bibles, and began to cut out the parts that he liked. He would then paste all of the verses he liked into a scrapbook. Now, there would be nothing in his new bible that would make him uncomfortable.

Beliefnet Blog: Separating The ‘Diamonds’ From The ‘Dunghill’

“Done with his official work for the day, Thomas Jefferson sat in the new presidential mansion in Washington in 1804, and opened his Bible — not to pray, but to cut. He scoured the text for Jesus’ greatest teachings, sliced out his favorite portions and glued them into an empty volume. He called it “The Philosophy of Jesus.” In 1819, he started over and created a new version called “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth,” often referred to now as The Jefferson Bible. In Jefferson’s version, Jesus was not divine.”

The virgin birth – gone.
Christ’s bodily resurrection – gone.
The miracles of the loaves, walking on water, raising Lazarus – none of them made Jefferson’s book.

The bad news is that the story doesn’t end there. Although Thomas Jefferson did that 200 years ago, almost everyone is doing it now. It happens in personal lives, homes, churches and denominations. Folks are only taking from the Bible, the parts they like best and they are leaving the rest on the table.

Even some Apostolic Pentecostals have problems in this area. Listen to the audience when the preacher preaches next time. Do they say amen or do they remain quiet? To the preacher, it would be easy to judge the silence of the congregation as non-acceptance. Maybe it is.

The Preacher Can Expect A Good Response If He Preaches On:

  1. Love
  2. Mercy/Forgiveness
  3. Faith/Miracles/Healing
  4. Blessings/Prosperity
  5. Winning Souls
  6. Baptism In Jesus Name
  7. Receiving The Holy Ghost
  8. One God


  • What happens if the same man preaches on Worldliness?
  • What happens if he preaches against the ungodly influence of Hollywood?
  • How loud is the sound of amen, when the pastor reads Bible passages about women Cutting their Hair?
  • If he reads scriptures about not Loving the World, does the crowd get silent?
  • Maybe, it’s when he reads the part about women not Wearing Men’s Apparel?
  • Does the crowd grow silent when scriptures warning about Ornamentation are read?
  • What about the subject of Tithes? Can they still say amen?
  • How about when the preacher reads verses about Modest Apparel?
  • What if he just reads verses about Doctrine, is anyone bored yet?

Let’s Talk Some More:

  • What does the crowd do when the man of God reads verses on Forgiving One Another and Bitterness?
  • Does is tense up when he reads about Gossip and Backbiters and Hatred?
  • What do they do when he finds a verse about Jealousy and Envy?
  • How about the verses on Submission and Pastoral Authority?
  • What about when he reads verses on Loving your Neighbor as yourself, while preaching against Racism? What is the response then?
  • What about the audience’s response when the pastor reads verses on Fornication and Adultery?
  • What is the reaction when the pastor reads verses about Rebellion?
  • How about the ones on Unity?
  • When he reads verses about being Faithful to God’s House, what is the reaction of the crowd?
  • Do they get uncomfortable when he reads the one about, “not setting any wicked thing before my eyes?’ How does that go over?

Pentecostals have openly talked about having their ‘candy sticks.’ As a rule, that’s a good thing. The downside is that some have taken only their candy sticks, and thrown most of the rest away. It’s kind of like swallowing a camel and straining a gnat.

  • All some want to see in their Bible, are verses on Love.
  • Others may only be in search of New Birth scriptures in their Bible.
  • Then there are those that are only interested in Holiness subjects
  • A few hang up on themes like: Faith, Healing, Miracles, Worship, Prophecy, Divorce, Pastoral Authority, and Prayer, to name a few.

Why not just take it all? Let no one be guilty of only taking the part of the Bible they like, and leaving the rest for others. I am convinced that the Jefferson Bible is alive and well in most Jesus Name Pentecostal churches today.

We easily break fellowship with those who have not cut out the same portions of the Bible that we have.

I submit to every gentle reader, that many are crippling their walk with God because they refuse to take the entire Bible. Do not treat God’s Word like a buffet line, and only choose what you like. Choose it all.

Do You Own A Copy Of The Jefferson Bible?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 11, 2012 at 2:04 am

Wuz Ya Skeered?

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Wuz Ya Skeered?

Most of us have enjoyed laughing at someone’s harmless fright. We especially enjoy their body language and their reactionary comments. Afterward, someone will ask the obvious question. “Wuz ya skeered?”

Most of us have been scared at some point. Scared by different things maybe, but scared nevertheless.

I Know What It Is Like To Be Scared!

Several of my young children have made uncounted efforts trying to scare me. They’ve tried everything from jumping out at me as I came around a corner in the house, to hiding in dark places waiting for me. So far they’ve always been disappointed in my lack of reaction. It disappoints them that I am not jumpy or easy to scare.

Just because I didn’t react to their attempts, doesn’t mean I’m a tough guy who has never been scared. Oh no. I really have been scared before.

As a 19-year-old evangelist, I found myself over 1,000 miles from home. I only had $1.50 in my pocket, and no place to go. I didn’t know where I where I was going to sleep that night, or where my next meal was coming from. I was scared.

A bear once swatted me from behind. It was Grizzly sow with two cubs. She knocked me airborne for over 10 feet.  I was camping in the Teton Mountains. (She killed a man four hours later just a half mile away.) I make no bones about it. I was scared.

I have been snake bitten by a Cotton Mouth, a Water Moccasin, and a Copperhead. I once shot the head off of a Diamondback Rattler in the Mountains that was coiled 10 inches away from my ankle and ready to strike. I was scared.

I once stood in the Pediatric ICU Unit beside an incubator and held my newborn granddaughter in my arms and desperately prayed for a miracle. I was scared.

I hydroplaned in a VW late one rainy night in 1965. I went off the highway, hit a mailbox, and rolled the car three times. I crossed the grassy median and wound up on the other side of the four lane. I had landed upside down in the ditch facing the other direction. The driver’s door was jammed as a result. Gas was pouring everywhere. My 16-year-old younger sister broke both of her collarbones in the process. We couldn’t get out. I was scared.

A man kicked my kitchen door in late one night threatening to kill my wife, my children and myself. I held him until the police arrived. I was scared.

I once saw my 24ft travel trailer come along side car and try to pass me on Texas two lane road that was covered with black ice. My wife and baby son were in the car. I was scared.

I have had medical conditions that brought fear to me. I was scared.

I have seen some of those that I dearly love have spiritual struggles in their youth. I was scared.

I have sat in Emergency Rooms with my bleeding children. They had gashes and broken bones. Most of my children have had medical needs and procedures over the years that really made me pray. I’ve been scared.

I almost lost my precious wife after a kidney stone removal surgery last year. As they pulled the tube out of her throat after surgery, her gag reflex responded and she asphyxiated. Her lungs immediately filled with fluid. It took over five hours before they could stabilize her enough to bring her into the ICU Unit. After several days and a big miracle we got to go home. I was scared.

I suppose that all of my gentle readers could write volumes too about life moments that scared them.


The Bible Goes To Great Lengths Encouraging Us To:

  • Fear not
  • Be not afraid

We are told that God has not given us the spirit of fear.

These are beautiful, needed and timely words for us all. But there is one verse of scripture that tells us when to really be afraid.

All of our natural fears pale in comparison to this one!

It’s The Only Time The Word Of God Warns Us To Really Be Afraid.

Rom. 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Rom. 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Rom. 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:


Rom. 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.


Rom. 13:5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

Rom. 13:6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

Rom. 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.


Paul warned the church at Rome not to play with sin. He said if they wanted to be saved and do right, the preacher was their best friend.

But if they persisted in doing evil, then they needed to realize their pastor wasn’t some unimportant hireling whose warning could be ignored or overlooked.

Paul said, “But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid.”

Everyone that choses to live their life doing that which is evil in the eyes of God, you need to pay attention here. Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

I am sad to say, this generation seems to have lost its fear of God!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 27, 2011 at 12:42 am

Posted in Fear of God

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Playing Out Of Bounds

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Playing Out Of Bounds

There have always been boundaries. Some of them God established and some of them common sense put in place. There are reasons for boundaries.

Boundaries in life are like guard rails. Every highway needs them at some point. Everyone’s flesh is weak. Quit arguing that yours isn’t. That in itself is a good reason for boundaries.

Boundaries are put in place to protect you and your good name. Your reputation is all that you have. Never let your good be evil spoken of.

A man does not have integrity because he made boundaries. He set those boundaries for himself because he has integrity.

Personal boundaries are what define your identity. Your family and friends know you well enough to know how you would respond to each situation. They count on you because they know you have set boundaries for yourself.

They’re like the property lines around a home. Yet, no one has had their property re-surveyed just because they have a 16-year-old in the house. Boundaries don’t change with the weather. They are like moral landmarks. They should never be changed or altered.


Every Nation Has Boundaries

  • Every nation defends its borders vigorously.
  • Ignoring the boundaries of any nation will lead to arrest and deportation.


Every Sport Has A Boundary

  • In sports, the referee blows a whistle and declares to everyone when you have gotten out-of-bounds.
  • Baseball calls it a foul ball.
  • Football and Basketball says a player was out-of-bounds.
  • If you want to stay in the game and not be penalized, stay within the boundaries.


God Set Natural Boundaries

The Sea

  • God set boundaries to the sea, saying thus far shall ye come and no more.
  • Prov 8:29 (NIV) When he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.


God Set Spiritual Boundaries

The Tree In The Garden

God set boundaries in the very beginning. He told Adam and Eve they could enjoy everything they could see and touch, except one thing; the tree of life. That tree was God’s. It was out-of-bounds to them.

The first thing Satan did was to question the boundaries. He asked, “Hath God said…?” That’s how Satan started out with man, and he’s never stopped.

He makes man ask himself, “How could it be wrong when it looks so good and feels so right?” The devil can’t wait for us to step out-of-bounds.


Boundaries In Relationships

Married – Married Boundaries

I asked that the men in the church I pastored to be careful. When they called the house of a brother and his wife answered. I asked them to say, “Praise the Lord” to her. That helps keep the conversation on a spiritual level.

Solomon instructed men to focus on their wife and not someone else’s. He said, “You’ve got your own cistern to refresh and nourish you. Don’t go to the neighbor’s house for a drink.”

Prov. 5:15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.

Job wouldn’t look at another woman. He set an important boundary for himself.

Job 31:1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?



When I showed romantic interest in my wife Marcia, her father, Pastor William R. Starr took me aside for a man-to-man talk. He said, “When a couple dates, it’s the man who should know when to draw the line. It’s the man who should know what boundaries not to cross.”

No one wants their daughter to be courted by a young man who has no boundaries or understands some areas are off-limits.

Neither does a parent wish for their son to be alone with a girl who has no lines she is afraid to cross.

Babies are being born out-of-wedlock because either no one set a boundary or no one paid attention to it. Disregarding boundaries always lead to pain and regret.

Those Without Boundaries Do Not Fear God!


Singles – Marrieds        

Facebook has become a worldwide communications phenomenon. Pentecostals have taken full advantage of its availability. In most part, it’s for the good.

All its interaction is enjoyable and fun until someone crosses the line. The bad news is that everyone on Facebook then sees him or her as they show the world how void their life is of boundaries.

  • Why would a single girl keep commenting on a married man’s page?
  • Why would a single guy make constant comments on a married woman’s page?
  • They refuse to recognize boundaries in their life. They also refuse to set them.
  • It’s dangerous.
  • It is hazardous to a marriage.
  • It’s explosive.
  • It’s wrong.

Things can get out of line quickly. I recommend against playing even innocent games like Words With Friends between members of the opposite sex. It causes way too much familiarity. Be very afraid.

  • I also can find no occasion for chitchat texting between members of the opposite sex.
  • Why would a child of God have email addresses on their computer that they know are out of line and serve no spiritually productive purpose?
  • Surely there are no cell phone numbers of a single or married member of the opposite sex on your phone. Or of a single or married member of the opposite sex, if you are married.
  • Nothing good will come of it if you are guilty. You are playing with fire.



This is a day of no boundaries or limits in dress. Carnal people do not want standards.

Sadly, many beautiful young ‘Pentecostal’ ladies have been seen parading around camp meetings and conferences lately with their dresses several inches above their knees.

What happened at home? Where’s Mom? Where’s Dad? Where are the boundaries of dress? Why haven’t they let modesty set a boundary of dress for them?

With all of the above being said, I thank God for every person, young and old that has boundaries in their life. That let God’s Word order their steps. That realize Boundaries are not made to hurt anyone. They are put in place to keep everyone safe.

Boundaries… Don’t Leave Home Without Them!

Boundaries…Don’t Get On The Internet Without Them!


Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 16, 2011 at 12:14 am

Learning To Live Without God.

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Learning To Live Without God.

Living without God in our life would be, without argument, the hardest thing anyone could ever do! It would not just be hard, it would be terrifying, it would be heartbreaking, and it would be filled with pain… so much pain.

To those who are accustomed to the blessings of the Lord’s daily presence, His absence would leave a void too great for words.

I cannot imagine trying to live even one day without the Lord in my life. Every time I finish reading the Bible, those that were foolhardy enough to try, still amaze me.

Day One without God… I wonder what that felt like? Did Day Two or Three get any easier? Imagine living the rest of your life without God’s approval or blessing. Imagine Him turning His head when you pray.


Saul was the King who at first was so humble and small in his own eyes, but later crossed an invisible line and walked on the side of arrogance until he died. He crossed over into the spiritual realm of service unto God that belonged to the ministry, and God immediately rejected him. God lifted His blessing, approval and support. God even refused to ever speak to him again.

His fatal mistake happened early in his reign. Saul’s 40 years on the throne was spent without God’s help. The prophet Samuel no longer prayed for him or prophesied to him. He had to learn to live without God.

  • He ignored the office of the man of God in his life.
  • He thought his kingdom authority gave him spiritual authority.
  • He made that mistake only once.
  • Repentance was not an option.

Day one without God… I wonder what it felt like?


When Esau showed his disdain for the Birthright and sold it for a bowl of pottage, he angered God. The Lord called him a profane man because he saw no value in that which included the covenant blessings of Jehovah.

It may not have seemed all that important to Esau when he sat at the table, but God never forgave him. Esau even tried to repent, but God wouldn’t let him. He cried, but God turned his back on him forever. He had to learn to live without God.

  • He let his hunger of things of the moment override his hunger for the things of God.
  • He treated the Word (of God’s covenant) lightly.
  • He traded the eternal for the temporary.
  • Repentance was not an option for him.

Day one without God… I wonder what it felt like?



Even the name still scares us. The Ark of the Lord was stupidly and unlawfully carried into battle and lost. A birthing mother heard the news and named her newborn son Ichabod, meaning ‘the glory has departed.”

The Ark was gone and stayed gone a long while. No wonder David danced wildly and with great joy when he saw the ark finally coming to it’s proper home. What was it like for a nation, knowing that the Ark was missing? It seems like all of the congregation would think about that every time they went to the tabernacle to sacrifice. The Mercy Seat was missing. They had to learn what it was like to live without God.

Day one without God… I wonder what it felt like?

The 400 Years

When Malachi laid his head down to rest for the last time, it was all over for Israel. They loved picking up the ways of the heathen. They incorporated the heathen’s ways into their worship. The freely married them as well.

Israel seemed to delight itself in dressing like the rest of the world and ignoring the pleadings of all the prophets. God had sent them prophet after prophet, but nothing changed. So God got tired of wasting His breath and His men. God quit. For 400 years God never spoke to Israel. His mercy and patience wore thin.

How many years went by before someone said, “I can’t remember when I last heard a prophet”? Generations passed without one correction from God. They had turned their back on Him; He turned His back on them.

  • No preacher in their life.
  • No direction or correction from God must have brought peace to their deluded minds.
  • Did it ever dawn on them that they were living with less of an experience with God than before?

By the end of the first year without God… I wonder how much further they had slipped?


You Think God Can’t Get Serious?

You Think The God Of Love And Mercy Will Let You Do Whatever You Want?

Is The Only Scripture You Want To Hear Quoted Is ‘God Is Love”?

The following scriptures are just a few of the passages that shows the other side of God.

“If You Love Sin, God Won’t Listen To Your Prayers.”

Psa. 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

“If You Kill Your Neighbor With Your Words, God Will Hate You And Your Prayers!”

Is. 1:14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.

Is. 1:15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

Is. 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;

“God Won’t Listen To Their Prayers!”

Is. 59:1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

Is. 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Is. 59:3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

“If You Mistreat Your Wife And Disrespect Her, God Won’t Hear Your Prayers.”

1Pet. 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

“Don’t Even Pray For Them!”

Jer. 7:16 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.

“Don’t Pray For Them, I’m Done!”

Jer. 14:11 Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good.

Jer. 14:12 When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.

“I Don’t Want Your Worship!”

Amos 5:23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.

Life Today!

Many church members have turned their backs on God of late. They have rejected the essentiality of Repentance, Baptism in Jesus Name and the infilling of the Holy Ghost evidenced by the speaking with other tongues. They make fun of Holiness and those that are living separated from the world. They attach names of mockery to those that carefully follow Biblical principles of Holiness. They call them “Ultra Cons” and other names of derision. They make fun of Godly women and their long dresses and long hair. There is a falling away.

Sadly, quite a few former Apostolic Pentecostals now live like they have never been inside of a Holiness church. Their dress, their lifestyle, their language, and their social activities show no evidence of Godliness or God mindedness. Their Facebook pages do not identify them as Apostolic. God Is not pleased.

They have explained away, rationalized and cut off any scripture or preacher that speaks against their ‘enlightened’ freedoms. In their delusion, they feel God will accept them as they are, because they don’t plan to change. They want God to change His word so that it will adapt to them.

They continue to go through the motions of having church kind of like Israel did in the Old Testament after God quit talking to them. God doesn’t approve.

Sadly, many that once were submissive to God’s Word have now turned aside to follow after their own lusts.

Does God keep dealing with them? I can’t answer that. I do know that the ones I have seen leave, have no desire to return. I do not know of anyone that has left this truth for an “easier” way, that has ever recovered, come back and God gave them another chance.

It seems to me that they have no choice but to live without God. Live without Him now, and live without Him later.

Backslider? What was Day One like? Are you still trying to live without God? It won’t get any better! The way of the transgressor is hard. I don’t know if repentance is an option.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I’m Very Sorry He Married Her!

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I’m Very Sorry He Married Her!

“Hey Benjamin. Did you go to King Solomon’s wedding today?” He married the daughter of King Hiram, someone told me.”

“No sir, I didn’t go. I wasn’t invited and I’m very sorry he married her!

“He seems to be getting married two or three times a month now as it is. I can’t keep up with it all. If he continues to marry at this rate, he’ll probably have a 1,000 wives and concubines by the time he’s done. What makes me sad is that each new wife seems to be worse than the last one.”

“Hush,” the Father said! “If the King hears what you are saying about him, he’ll have both of our necks. It’s treason to talk like that. Don’t ever let anyone else hear you say this. You are very sorry he married her?”

“Father, you haven’t seen the idols around Jerusalem that King Solomon has built lately. I wish you could. It’s wrong. These heathen brides have influenced our King for evil. They have led his heart away from the Lord.”

“Son, I can barely walk now as it is and have been sick these many years. I have not seen what you have seen and this news distresses me sore.”

“Father, we are Levities. It is our duty under God to preserve the Law of God and keep his commandments. We love it and it’s our life. It is to be the life and the love of our children and our children’s children too.”

“Benjamin, you are a faithful son and I am blessed of God that you are daily serving Him in the Temple. My heart is saddened that our King is not serving the Lord, as did his Father David. I pray that God protect our people from going astray as well.”

“Me too Father. Some of the other Levites and myself have been quietly talking of the changes we see. We are distressed. We have seen these new idols and we know that God is not happy either. Here is what has happened lately.”

“King Solomon has recently built a high place for Chemosh right here close to the Temple. What was he thinking? The worshipers of Chemosh even offer child sacrifices. Our sons and daughters will be offered. He is flaunting this before our faces. He is daring us to criticize his deeds.

“The King has loved many strange women. He married the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, Hittites and others. It’s just wrong. His desire for more women is never satisfied.

“He doesn’t even ask them to convert. He marries them just like they are. They convert him, and he’s the wisest man I know. He’s not thinking right when it comes to women.

“They all come with their jewelry, their ornaments and their ungodly customs of dress and attire. Their faces are all painted up. Some even have marks made upon their skin unto their gods of impurity.

“He has gone after Ashtoreth as well. You know, the fertility goddess. She is almost always joined with Baal worship. Immoral deeds are committed in public. Our children see this. The young women that refuse to be defiled in it’s worship and want to remain virgins are forced to pass through the fires of Molech and be sacrificed. How can these things be in Israel? How could this happen here?

The Ammonites and the Moabites are cursed of God. Even those that are proselytes cannot enter into the Temple for 10 generations. Yet the King marries them and brings their gods to Jerusalem. What can we do? We are but servants in the House of the Lord. He is the King.

“The women he has married of the Edomites are Esau’s children. They are despisers of the birthright. The family of the man God hated. Yet the King thinks they are beautiful and marries them with only his pleasure in mind.

“The women of the Zidonians he has married, worship Ashtoreth, the Hittite women are almost lawless, and anything goes with them. They only have a handful of things that they even consider wrong. They are a lawless people by nature.

“The other Levites say that they seldom ever see the King come near the Temple any more. But they see him visiting the High Places of these idols with his heathen wives. It’s an abomination unto the Lord.

“The sacrifices at the Temple have been down lately. Some of the people are following after the King’s example and are worshiping in the high places too, rather than at the Temple.

“Even Nathan the Prophet doesn’t come to see him much that I know of. Maybe he thinks himself above the law of God. Maybe he thinks he can do all this and his heart not be turned aside. But, he is wrong, Father. It’s already happened.

“Our beloved King has somehow forsaken every precept and every commandment of the law that he put in our hearts. He told us how to live and now he is not living it himself. Now, he has forsaken the old paths. It’s only a matter of time before our people Israel will follow in his steps. Our people are in a fearful place, Father.”

“My son, Job said that great men are not always wise. I weep today because I cannot change the heart of my King. Only he can make the choice to change. I pray we will be not punished of God and scattered among the heathen. I pray that the Name of the Lord be not lost among us forever.”

“Me too Father.”

“Years ago when I was able to serve in the Temple, one of the other Levites gave me a copy of some of the proverbs the King had written. Let me read you some of them.

 Proverbs 2:16 To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;
17 Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.
18 For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.
19 None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.


Proverbs 5:1 My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:
2 That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.
3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.


Proverbs 22:14 The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.

“How can he write things like that Father, and the do what he said not to so?”

“I do not know. He also wrote in another book he calls Ecclesiastes, ‘Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”

“My son, if an unknown Israelite had married a gentile, that would be bad enough. It would not have the blessings of God upon it at all. It is being unequally yoked together and God is against that.

“But if this unknown Israelite did marry, he would not have by himself caused all Israel to sin by accepting and praising his deed. To hear that our King is doing this so openly tells me his mind is made up, and no one can change him.”

“I agree, I hear that many lords in the Kingdom are praising his new bride and telling the King that they are happy for him. That he deserves to have happiness in his life and that if she gives that to him, then they are happy for him. they’ve all lost their fear of God.

“May God help us all!

“Now when I say, “God save the King, I say it with more meaning than ever.”

“Son, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God is for Israel, that they may be saved. Kings can rise no higher than their wives allow them to. Yet the King has sinned and will not be blameless before the Lord. May God keep us all safe from such ungodly leadership and influence.


1Kings 11:5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.

1Kings 11:7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.

1Kings 11:1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;

1Kings 11:3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

1Kings 11:4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm

A Moment Of Weakness And A Lifetime Of Regret

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A Moment Of Weakness And A Lifetime Of Regret

All it will take to give you pain the rest of your life, is for you to mess up just one time. From then on, your life will never be the same.

Can you image a successful middle-age person who has been in church all his life, never done drugs, yet going out on a Friday night to a bad part of town to try some drugs? I know such a man.

It is sad enough that he did it, but he didn’t expect to get hooked his first time. He lost his job, he lost his marriage, and the respect of his children.

He has been through the drug rehabilitation and counseling Knoxville department multiple times and no longer can be trusted with a ten-dollar bill. He might go spend it on drugs.

When he came to church, he’d just sit and cry during my sermons. For years he would come to the altar, desperately battling the power of his addiction.

Today, the dear brother declares he has deliverance. Thank the Lord. But he has moved to another city in the same state so no one will know his past. He can’t hold his head up anymore and face his old friends. It wasn’t that God couldn’t forgive him; it’s just that he now has nothing but regrets.

Some of us have lived long enough to hear about a moment of weakness that someone had. We know too that they will have a life-time of regret. It’s so horrible. Your heart even hurts for them. It doesn’t matter what the weakness was, regret is quick to cast it’s long shadow over them until they die.

This generation is living so, reckless. Heed the warning, if you will of my Father, a man of God who has gone on home to be with the Lord. He died in 1994 but his message is still relevant.

In the 1950’s, I remember him (Bro. Carl Ballestero) preaching a message that always seemed to fill up the altars. He called it “A Moment Of Weakness And A Lifetime Of Regret.” I found his sermon notes a few years ago. The message was needed then, it’s really needed now.


Here is a copy of my Dad’s sermon notes.

I never want to let his messages die.

Sermon Preached by Rev. Carl Ballestero


Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 30, 2011 at 12:15 pm

That’s Why I’m Scared!

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That’s Why I’m Scared!

I have said in jest many times, “I ain’t scared of nothing, but I’m scared of that!” I was trying to get a laugh while talking about an uncomfortable subject or situation.

I am not a man who has phobias nor have I ever been called a fearful soul. But today I wish to reveal to my readers, that really, down deep, I’m scared.

I’m not the only one either. Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth?

1 Cor. 9:27 KJV But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

1 Cor. 9:27 ESV But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

  • Paul was fearful enough to be careful.
  • He was also careful enough to protect himself and prevent a personal disaster.

I have been overwhelmed this year with unbelievable stories of personal and moral failures.

I’m scared of being shipwrecked. I don’t have a problem admitting it either. I don’t have a plan ‘B’ in living for God, so plan ‘A’ has to work.

  • I refuse to be disobedient to God.
  • I refuse to rebel against Him.
  • I love Him too much to want to live without Him.

Let Me Tell You How Scared I Am!

  • I’m too scared to question God’s Word.
  • I’m too scared to take chances with holiness.
  • I’m too scared to take chances with doctrine.
  • I’m too scared to see how much of the world I can have and still be saved.
  • I’m scared of the spirit of false doctrine.
  • I’m scared of my own built-in ability to rationalize the Word of God to my own destruction.
  • I’m scared of the spirit of immorality.
  • I’m scared of the lust of the flesh.
  • I’m scared of the lust of the eye.
  • I’m scared of the pride of life.
  • I’m scared of the love of money.
  • I’m scared of pride.
  • I’m scared of getting a critical spirit.
  • I’m scared of getting bitter.
  • I’m scared not to forgive.
  • I’m scared not to love my brother.
  • I’m scared not to have the fear of God in my heart.

James wrote that a man could save himself from a horrible fate if he just wouldn’t make that first mistake.

James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

James 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

One might say, ‘Brother, you are only living for God because you are scared.”

I refer you back to Paul’s fear. He was also fearful enough that he ‘died daily’.

Like Paul, I too have invested a lifetime living for God. I’ve loved every day of living for the Lord. It has been the highest honor in the world to have labored for Him.

I have preached many thousands of sermons. Why would I want to throw a ministry away?

I have lived with the most beautiful and loving wife in the world for 45 years. Why would I want to throw that away?

I enjoy the love and respect of five married children, their spouses and thirteen grandchildren. Why would I want to throw that away?

  • I’m scared of doing anything that would disqualify me in the eyes of God.
  • I’m scared of doing anything that would disqualify me in the eyes of my wife and children.

That, my friend, is why I must keep myself under subjection every day as did Paul, that I might not become ‘disqualified.’

It would be horrible to fall this close to home! It would be horrible to become a castaway!

That’s Why I’m Scared!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Posted in Christian Living, Fear of God

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