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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

The Princess Within Conference, By Nila Marxer

with 7 comments

 

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

Nila Marxer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nila Marxer

Confusion

with 10 comments

Guest Blog – Written by my life-long Friend, Pastor Dennis Morris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confusion

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

 

Confusion: instability, disorder, commotion, tumult.

I think we can accurately conclude from this scripture that there is an author of CONFUSION! Satan is that author!

Another conclusion is the peace authored by God is the target of the attacks of confusion.

Ephesians 6:16 speaks of the fiery darts of the wicked!

 

Fiery: ignited, to be inflamed with anger, grief, to burn or be on fire.

Caution! Sometimes even people can be fiery darts, inflamed themselves with passion for their grievances.

Flaming arrows, if not striking a fatal wound, can be distracting nevertheless. Inflammatory to the point that we take our focus off the enemy and put it on the immediate pain or danger, becoming confused about the problem and disoriented about who our enemy really is. Many have fallen prey to the spiritual tumult caused by confusion. Not suffering natural death but spiritual wounding some never recover from and suffering even death.

 

Peace: to join, by implication, have prosperity, quietness, rest, to set at one again.

God’s plan is for peace to reign in our hearts and minds. That we be bound together in love, with peace and joy our being our signature presentation before the world. Having through every trial and test “the peace of God which passes all understanding“!

 

James 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Envy: heat, jealousy, malice, emulation, fervent (or fevered) mind, indignation (taking offense).

Strife: intrigue (suspicion), factions, contention.

James lets us know that confusion has companions “every evil work”.

The fevered mind of envy and the suspicions triggered by strife make the perfect storm for confusion to cause us to turn against those who God instructs us to love and to even charge God for not caring and doing something to help us! Why God am I wounded?

 

Isaiah 9:5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.

(Confused) Noise: vibration, bounding, uproar, commotion, earthquake, fierceness, quaking, rattling, rushing, shaking.

Someone said that “War is hell”, I’m not sure it qualifies to be compared to hell but according to Isaiah there are similarities.

 

Eccl. 8:8… there is no discharge in that war…

No matter how bad it is, we can’t just decide not to fight anymore! No matter how fierce the battle gets we must not get confused by the noise and even the death and dying around us!

Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat. Wheat sifted, is just flour, wheat ground to powder.

Satan wants to remove all resistance and leave us so devastated that we’ve no recovery possible. Giving in to the confusion will only make matters worse.

  • Fight the good fight…
  • Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good…
  • Having this same mind in you…
  • Run the race with patience…

 

As the battle rages don’t just listen to the clamoring and confusing noise. Listen with a spiritual ear! There is a still small voice, encouraging you to “fight the good fight”.

“We’re not wrestling flesh and blood,”

Go ahead “lay hold on to eternal life”

Child of God, don’t take a chance, through the power of prayer “put on the helmet of Salvation“ don’t get confused!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 24, 2019 at 9:58 pm

Can You Pass The Hurt Test?

with 2 comments

 

“Offences Will Come…”

Luke 17:1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come:

  • So, what do you do when they come?
  • How do you respond? Be careful.
  • Your soul may be at stake!

 

Meet David…

Dave sat on the bar stool, drinking with some buddies from work. His head was feeling a little light. He drank enough beers to loosen up his tongue, and he began to talk. “If it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t have a decent church building.

“I mowed the grass every week without ever being paid. I replaced all the broken window panes with money out of my own pocket. I never asked to be reimbursed. I hauled off all the trash, free of charge. I was the self-appointed janitor and maintenance man of the church. I did it for years, willingly and without pay.

“Every evening I would stop by the church when I got off work to see if I needed to fix anything. I’ve kept the church building repaired and I’ve kept it clean for years. No one has ever paid me a dime to do anything. Why, even last summer, instead of taking my family on a vacation, I used the money to buy shingles and I roofed the church by myself. I paid for every dime of it too!

“Then two weeks ago, they had a business meeting. They needed to choose another Trustee. My name never even came up. After all I’ve done, no one seemed to appreciate it enough to mention my name.

“What’s a man got to do to get recognized or be a Trustee over there? It must be politics or something. That’s why I’ve quit going to that church.”

Dave backslid because he couldn’t pass the Hurt Test!

 

Meet Lynn…

Lynn wrote the Pastor a check to purchase 20 beautiful white folding tables and 160 matching folding chairs for the church fellowship hall.

It brought Lynn much joy to be able to buy these. God had blessed her and she wanted to give something back. The pastor had recognized her gift from the pulpit and the congregation clapped their approval. Lynn smiled.

The tables and chairs were ordered and everyone at the church was excited. These were well made and expensive.

Just before they arrived, Lynn had to be out-of-town for three weeks. When she returned and stopped by the church, she didn’t like where the tables and chairs had been stacked. She especially didn’t like how they had been stacked. Her gift to the church was being treated with carelessness, she thought.

These tables and chairs were not cheap, and if the people of this church didn’t appreciate her sacrifice enough to treat it any better than this, then she just could go to another church.

Lynn moved on because she couldn’t pass the Hurt Test!

 

The Hurt Test, Part 1 – Insults

The Syrophenician woman stood in front of Jesus. She was breaking custom and protocol and she knew it. The Jews had nothing to do with the likes of her. But she had an emergency. Her daughter had an unclean spirit. Her desperation drove her to see this Jesus everyone talked about.

She crumbled and fell at His feet when she came near. With great urgency she begged Him to heal her daughter.

Jesus looked down upon the woman and said, “It is not proper to give the children’s portion to dogs.”

On other days, if a Jew talked to her like that, she might have had a little something to say back. Today was different. Her daughter’s very life was at stake. There was no one else to turn to. She refused to get upset. She chose not to be offended for being called a dog.

She simply said, “Of a truth Lord, but even the dogs get crumbs that fall from the children’s table.”

Jesus marveled at her and instructed her to go home, telling her that her request had been answered. She went home and found her miracle waiting for her there.

The Syrophenician woman easily passed the Hurt Test. She chose not to be offended because of insults and got her miracle!

 

The Hurt Test, Part 2 – Rejection

King David was a man after God’s own heart. As the King in Israel, he could build anything he wanted. When David told God that he was planning to build Him a house to worship in, God said, “No.”

God told David that he was a bloody man and that building Him a house of worship wouldn’t be appropriate. The Lord said, “I want your son Solomon to build it for me. Solomon hadn’t even thought of building a Temple. He had exhibited neither burden nor passion to do so up to that point. The desire had originally been only David’s.

Rather than pout or get offended because God had rejected his offer, David helped his son, by supplying him with most of the materials needed to build the Temple. If he couldn’t build the Temple, then he was going to help someone else build it.

David easily passed The Hurt Test. He chose not to be offended by God’s rejection of his service, and His choosing another.

 

Extra Credit Test Questions

  • If someone else is asked to sing a special. Can you still worship with them and help them sing?
  • If someone else is asked to preach. Can you still say amen and help them preach?
  • If someone else is asked to lead. Can you joyfully follow?

 

The Hurt Test, Part 3 – Loss

Job had everything any man could want. He had a relationship with God. He had a wife and wonderful children. He owned vast herds of cattle, camels and sheep. He was no doubt the wealthiest man in the world.

Then the dark day of disaster dawned upon him. In a matter of hours, he lost his children, his herds and all of his wealth.

The second attack upon him was his health. Boils covered his body. He scratched them with shards of broken pottery.

His friends were sure that he had sinned and this was the judgment of God. His wife suggested he curse God and die.

Job told his wife that she was talking like one of the foolish women. He said that if God lets me die, I am going to die trusting Him. I am going to keep on living for Him like I always have.

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

Job passed The Hurt Test. He chose not to be offended at God because he had lost everything. In the end, God blessed him with double wealth and more children!

 

Extra Credit Test Questions

  • When you lost your job, house, or car, did you also lose your praise too?
  • When you were voted out of office or removed from a leadership role, did you show a bad attitude?

 

The Hurt Test – The Apostle Paul’s Summary

2 Corinthians 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

2 Corinthians 11:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

2 Corinthians 11:26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

2 Corinthians 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

Even with a permanent “thorn in his side,” Paul passed The Hurt Test! He ignored his problems and encouraged everyone around him to “Rejoice evermore.” He said it again in the same breath, “Rejoice!” He even had Silas rejoice with him in prison and the Lord delivered them and all the prisoners, too.

 

Need Help Getting Help Passing The Hurt Test?

Jesus stood and read from Isaiah 61 in the Synagogue. He sat down, looked at them all and said, “This day is the scripture fulfilled in your hearing.”

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

Besides bringing salvation and healing, the other ministry of our Lord is to heal all hurts and bind up the broken-hearted. He can help you pass The Hurt Test.

 

*Notice:  All Students Failing To Pass The Hurt Test Will Be Required To Retake The Exam.

*Remember, The Teacher Will Remain Silent During The Testing!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 15, 2018 at 12:18 pm

My Old Man Is Crazy!

with 13 comments

 

My Old Man Is Crazy!

 

I’m not saying he’s bipolar.

I’m not saying he has schizophrenia.

I’m not saying he should be in an institution or that he’s stupid.

I’m just saying he’s crazy. He’s very smart, yet he’s really crazy.

 

My old man’s not right.

I hate him too.

He embarrasses me in front of my friends.

When you tell him how horrible he is, he agrees but doesn’t change.

 

He even makes me cry sometimes.

He has hurt me so bad that I was embarrassed to tell even my closest friends.

I hate to say this, but I really don’t even like him.

I’ve even told him that I don’t love him and I never will.

 

My Old Man Is Crazy!

 

He does stupid and random stuff that truly scares me.

I am ashamed for him to be around me.

He lives in denial and keeps justifying all his craziness.

He likes things he shouldn’t.

 

He really needs help, but no one can help him.

He’s read up on his condition and says he knows what he needs to do.

But, I don’t think he is making any progress.

He really needs to stop and consider his horrible actions.

 

My old man is not loved by anyone.

His craziness pushes everyone away.

They all roll their eyes when he shows up.

His so-called friends just shake their heads in dismay and disappointment.

 

My Old Man Is Crazy!

 

He does things he shouldn’t.

He says things he shouldn’t.

He is very good at rationalizing and justifying himself.

He’s crazy, I’m telling you.

 

Some would like to see him dead.

I know some would even come to his funeral just to make sure he was really dead.

He’s just that bad.

He is so bad that God doesn’t like him.

 

I hate everything about him.

He’s horrible.

I loathe him.

He’ll never change.

 

My Old Man Is Crazy!

 

No self-help book has a remedy for him.

No prescription can help.

Therapists can’t fix him

Warnings and threats don’t seem to work.

 

And it’s driving me crazy too.

I wish he was out of my life.

I can’t tell you how happy I would be just to know my old man is graveyard dead,

My old man is crazy.

 

I told him he is not welcome in my house.

I told him to leave my family alone.

I told him that I cannot allow his influences in my life.

I told him to go away, I never wanted to see him again.

 

My Old Man Is Crazy!

 

I told him I am sick and tired of putting up with his mess.

I want my old man to be forever gone.

Judge me if you must,

I want my old man dead.

 

My old man makes me cry.

His actions are corrupt.

His words are deceitful, and his life is a sham.

I hate everything he does.

 

He wants attention.

His life is all about him and no one else.

No one can tell him what to do.

He hates that.

 

My Old Man Is Crazy!

 

My old man was always there.

He was there when I was born.

He’s been there for every event of my life.

Good times or bad, he was there.

 

That’s not even a good thing.

He gets all up in my business.

He meddles in every area of my life.

He messes up some of the most wonderful moments of my life.

 

I got to the place I had to tell my old man he was going to have to die.

He resisted and argued loudly with me.

But I wouldn’t budge, or back down.

He said he wouldn’t die willingly.

 

My Old Man Is Crazy!

 

So, I told him to prepare to be buried alive.

I forced him to his knees and kept him there.

I reminded him of every horrible thing he had done to me and my family.

My old man said he felt so dirty and ashamed, but I wouldn’t stop.

 

He cried and asked for mercy and forgiveness.

That’s when my old man died.

I started smiling for the first time in years.

My old man was dead.

 

“What shall we do with him?” Someone asked.

“Bury him,” I said.

Several gathered around to help bury my old man.

The Preacher buried him in water in Jesus Name.

 

My Old Man Is Crazy!

 

I shouted all over the church when my old man died.

The heaviest weight of my life was lifted.

My friends and family rejoiced with me.

I even told my neighbors that my old man was dead, and I smiled a big smile.

 

My life became peaceful and serene when my old man died.

I put a marker on his grave.

For all the world to see.

“Here lies My Old Man… Flesh”

 

(You’re not going to believe this.)

Some days later, I got the shock of my life.

I wanted to scream in horror.

I almost died from fright.

 

My Old Man Is Crazy!

 

There standing at my door was my old man.

He just grinned and pushed his way in.

This can’t be happening!

This is unreal!

 

But there he stood anyway.

My family cringed in fear.

How could this be happening?

My old man was like some un-earthling who could come back alive.

 

My mother told about a man named Paul.

He had a similar problem with his old man,

And he had to make him die every day.

Every day? E-V-E-R-Y DAY? Oh, No!

 

My Old Man Is Crazy!

 

I took him to church.

I needed some help.

I couldn’t let him live in my house anymore.

He couldn’t move back in.

 

I told him to pray.

I told him to fast.

I told him to deny himself.

I told him I want him to die again.

 

He doesn’t make going to church a priority, he’s not faithful.

He won’t pray like he knows he needs to.

He doesn’t like the subject of tithes.

He doesn’t read his Bible.

 

My Old Man Is Crazy!

 

He’s a rebel.

He hates standards.

He hates preachers.

He makes fun of holiness

 

My Old Man Is Crazy!

 

He gets defensive when the preacher said corrective things to him.

Like a macabre nightmare, sometimes he seems dead, then comes right back alive again.

I wish he’d stay dead.

 

He’s so bad, even God even wants him dead.

The preacher is tired of him, too. He won’t stay dead.

Many preachers have tried to get him to change but without any success.

The church family has tried to tolerate him.

His whole family has about given up on him.

 

As long as my old man is alive, my life is spent in vain.

As long as my old man is alive, I’ll never be saved.

As long as my old man is alive, I’ll never please God.

As long as my old man is alive, my inheritance is at risk.

 

My Old Man Is Crazy!

 

So now it’s a daily routine.

When I wake up in the morning and start my day.

He’s sitting on the edge of my bed.

Very much alive.

 

My daily routine now includes the unimaginable.

I have to figure out a way to make my old man die every day.

It’s not always easy to do

But it must be done.

 

My crazy old man.

My flesh.

Must die.

Everyday.

 

My Old Man Is Crazy!

 

_______________________________________

 

 

 

Joseph asked his brethren this question about his earthly father.

He called him, “the old man.”

 

Gen. 43:27 And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?

 

Today, I Ask This Question Of Your Flesh… Is Your Old Man Alive?

 

Eph. 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation* the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

*lifestyle

 

Paul Said That His Old Man Had To Die Every Day.         1 Co 15:31

Is Your Old Man Still Alive?

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 20, 2018 at 4:24 pm

The Cracker Barrel New Year’s Sermon

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The Cracker Barrel New Year’s Sermon

 

 

Near the Savannah, Georgia exit 102 on I-95, sits a Cracker Barrel next to our motel. The chalk-written New Year’s message is plain for all to see. It says:

 

“Cheers to New Beginnings and Old Traditions”

 

May this New Year be a time for all of us to start afresh. Regardless of past failures or yesterday’s disappointments.

We need to leave our paradigm of failure-thinking and begin again. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve had to begin again. What you have been through was neither your final chapter nor your epitaph.

 

Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:

 

It’s not abnormal for good people to make mistakes and have to start over or begin again. Even Paul said he died daily. He started over every day.

 

 New Beginnings:

 

 Has your Bible reading been almost nonexistent lately?

Begin again.

 

How about your prayer life? Been busy? Hard to get to pre-service prayer for some reason or another?

Begin again.

 

Got out of the habit of responding during the worship service?

Begin again.

 

Has there been an absence of you saying amen to the preaching lately?

Begin again.

 

You haven’t taught a Home Bible Study in a long time?

Begin again.

 

How long since you made it to midweek service?

Begin again.

 

How about your tithes? If you’ve quit giving tithes and offerings…

Begin again.

 

Have you resigned or quit participating in your church?

Begin again.

 

Have you stopped kissing your spouse good morning, good night, and good-bye?

Begin again.

 

Been awhile since you said, “I love you” to your spouse?

Begin again.

 

Been awhile since you said I love you to your parents?

Begin again.

 

Been awhile since you said, “I am proud of you,” and “I love you,” to your children?

 Begin again.

 

Have you stopped saying, “I love you” to your in-laws?

Begin again.

 

 

Begin again In God. Recover yourself.

 

2 Tim. 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

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

 

 

Traditions

 

Traditions make homes and churches special. When our large family gets together, there are always certain meals everyone can count on.  You just know that there will be gumbo one day and enchiladas and tacos on another. And the morning we all have to leave, there’s s special breakfast restaurant we go to. It’s our custom. It’s just how it is in our family.

Churches have customs and traditions too. It’s a huge disappointment to go back to your ‘home’ church and find out how different it is or that they have changed.

 

Hold fast to the old Apostolic Pentecostal Traditions.

When backsliders and those who have had to move away, come back to visit… Let them that see your church is still holding on to the old-time ways!

 

And, as Cracker Barrel would say if it was preaching this sermon,

“Cheers to New Beginnings and Old Traditions!”

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 30, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Hey, You Know That Brother You Don’t Like?

with 2 comments

 

Hey, You Know That Brother You Don’t Like?

 

A brother, in the Bible, is not necessarily someone who is connected to you by earthly DNA. He may not even like you, or you like him. At first glance, you may not even think you have that much in common. Imagine having a brother you don’t know, don’t want to know, don’t want to like and sure don’t want anything to do with him. What if he’s a jerk? What if he’s irritating? What if he’s too odd for you to feel comfortable around. What if he has strange convictions and non-biblical standards?

 

Part One:

 

Rom 14:15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.

The Apostle Paul forces us to focus on the first and last portions of this verse. He wanted us to remember that though we may differ with our brother on some things, that Christ died for him too, just like He did for you.

Yes, some folks are harder to like than others. Many adults have acquired a bias or some prejudice over the years. Some put people in categories. They even have names for people they don’t like.

  • Redneck
  • Yankee
  • Trailer Trash
  • Stupid
  • Liberal
  • Ultra-Con
  • Democrat
  • Republican

Sometimes it’s hard to believe Jesus would actually die for someone like that. But, if Jesus died for him, how then can we hate him and say we love Jesus? 

 

We say, “But Lord:”

  • He’s a grumbler.
  • He’s a complainer.
  • He’s a fault finder.
  • He’s rebellious.
  • He’s irritating.

 

  • He has an attitude.
  • He’s a Pharisee.
  • He’s carnal.
  • He’s bitter.

 

  • He’s annoying.
  • He’s mean.
  • He’s proud.
  • He’s unthankful.
  • He’s halfhearted.

 

  • He’s lukewarm.
  • He lays out of church.
  • He’s hit and miss.
  • He runs hot and cold.

 

  • He’s undependable.
  • He’s got a personal agenda.
  • He’s working against me.
  • He doesn’t like me.

 

  • He’s not right.
  • He’s really weird.
  • He’s crazy.
  • He’s messed up.

 

 That May Be True… But He’s Still “Thy Brother… For Whom Christ Died.”

It’s hard to believe that the Lord would die for someone like that. We can’t imagine dying for them. Our heart experiences dark emotions and horrible opinions in dealing with some people. We sometimes experience dislike, racism, bias, prejudices, name-calling, and avoidance. But He’s Still, “Thy Brother… For Whom Christ Died.”

 We may struggle with the idea of including him into our fellowship, our inner circle, our church, and especially our home. But He’s Still “Thy Brother… For Whom Christ Died.”

The Apostle Paul wrote this charge to the church in Rome.

He, like the all the Disciples, had to get past to his Gentile prejudices.

Paul even had problems with Demas and John Mark. He also had to deal with the saints who sinned and all those with moral and spiritual problems in the churches in Asia. What gave him a center of balance in his handling these difficult people was that he understood… they too were people for whom Christ died. He couldn’t hate them and be saved. Neither can we.

 

Matt. 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

Matt. 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Matt. 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Matt. 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

You know that person who you wouldn’t think of inviting to your church? The one who is not like you? Christ died for them too. Open your heart’s door to them, and the doors of your church, too. Jesus is watching because he’s still “Thy Brother… For Whom Christ Died.”

 

Part Two

 

I Am Your Brother

Psa. 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

 

(Here are some things that your “brother” has often wanted to tell you… but was afraid!)

 

Dear Brother:

We really didn’t have any choice.  God somehow in His wise providence, has chosen to put us together, for our mutual benefit.  I am your brother.  Here is a list of things that have been bothering me.  I plead for your understanding.

  1. I have problems with myself. I know it and I don’t like it either. Be patient, please.  I am your brother.  I am still working on myself.  Thanks for your tolerance.

 

  1. In recognizing my own problems, and knowing how much I loathe them, I know they must bother you and others too. Please bear with me while I’m trying to get the victory over myself. Just like I am bearing with you.

 

  1. It frustrates me too that I’m not perfect. I want to be. That’s my prayer.

 

  1. Sometimes it frustrates me that you’re not perfect…. but that’s when I remember, I’m still your brother!

 

  1. There are so many good qualities in you. I gain strength from them all. I just hope that some of my good qualities can also be seen.

 

  1. I hate the fact that Satan tries to capitalize on our shortcomings and magnify them in the eyes of others. My hope is that you’ll be able to see the good in me and not just my faults.

 

  1. Thank you for respecting my feelings even when you didn’t understand them. (Sometimes I don’t understand my own feelings either.) I wish to make every effort to respect yours too.  I am your brother.

 

  1. I guess I’ve wanted to put you into my mold and make you exactly like I wanted you to be. That just doesn’t work. Neither can I fit into your mold.

 

  1. As my brother, I allow you the liberty to pick friends of your own choosing, and have good times with them, (even without me), and not be resentful or jealous.

 

  1. Likewise, I may choose some friends and occasionally be with them. From time to time I’d like to have fun and fellowship with them and not worry about slighting you.

 

  1. However, you are welcome wherever I am. Don’t ever feel you are ever intruding. And please don’t “hang back” if you weren’t personally invited by me to join the crowd.  You also belong.  You’re my brother.  Your friendship is highly valued and enjoyed.  There will always be room for you in my world.

 

  1. Thank you for the security I feel between us. Even if we haven’t talked for a while, when we do, it is a comfortable conversation and picks right back up where we left off. I like that.

 

  1. Those you love can hurt you the most. Let’s be careful in our treatment of each other, lest we do irreparable damage to ourselves. We must never grieve the Holy Ghost to the point that we’re both damaged, bitter, or lost.

 

  1. Let’s not have a “hot and cold” relationship that changes with the weather. We need to be able to count on each other. Brethren are supposed to have the next-to-the-closest relationship in the world.  Only Jesus is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.  I am going to stick by you.  I am your brother.

 

  1. I pledge to defend your name and honor during your absence. I am your brother.

 

  1. Likewise, I know that I can depend on you to do the same for me.

 

  1. As long as there are people, there will be rumors, criticisms, remarks, opinions and second-guessing. When my back is turned, you are my only defense. I need you to watch my back, as I will watch and guard yours.  You can trust me.  I am your brother.

 

  1. I love you, brother! Not just because I must love you, but I really want to love you!! (If I say I love God and don’t love you, I am called a liar)

 

1 John 4:20-21 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

 

  1. Brother, if you see me and can tell that I have a problem, don’t go tell the world, help me. Don’t be afraid. God put you in my life to help me make it.

 

Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness: considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

 

  1. Brother, I “prefer you”. I pray for your success and blessing. I pray that all your efforts receive their due honor.  (Without my harboring any jealousy or envy.)

 

Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love:  In honor preferring one another. 

 

Please!!  Should I ever be blessed or promoted above my fellows, it would kill me to think my brother was jealous.  I want to ‘prefer’ you.  I want to be happy with your successes.  So please be happy with mine.  I am your brother.  We’re on the same team.

 

  1. It is God’s will that the law of kindness guides us in our relationship. He wills that we be kind to each other.

 

2 Peter 1:5-8 And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to your virtue… brotherly kindness… for if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

I can’t thank you enough for your kindnesses to me, nor can I tell you how much I truly appreciate them.

 

  1. Brother, God won’t hear my prayer if I’ve got something in my heart against you! If I ever need to ask forgiveness or apologize, please forgive me. Then, don’t crucify me and alienate me because I was trying to be conscientious.  Realize we’re both just two brothers trying to be saved.

 

Here’s what we are supposed to do if you have a problem with me, or I have a problem with you:

 

Matt. 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

Matt. 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

 

  1. Too often, lines are drawn in our minds between ourselves and our brother. We choose not to fellowship him because he is UPCI, WPF, ALJC, or Independent. (What if God is in fellowship with those you choose not to be in fellowship with. Will you have to explain to God on the Day of Judgment why you were too good or too holy to fellowship a brother whom Christ died for?)

 

More than ever, I appreciate you.  I thank God for allowing us to lean on each other.  I need you like you won’t believe.  Don’t fail me.  I will not fail you.  I am your brother!

 

I Love You Brother!!

 

Part Three

 

Now, Let’s Have Revival!

 

Revival only happens when there is unity. Something wonderful happens when God’s people are gathered together for one purpose. Being in one mind and in one accord was the major ingredient on the Day of Pentecost. It is still the key to continual revival today.

  • Unity only happens when men choose to overlook each other’s differences and choose not to be offended.
  • Unity happens to those who forgive their brothers and prays for them.
  • Unity happens when brethren unite for one purpose or goal. Even if there are only two or three who are gathered in His name, God chooses to be in their midst.
  • Pray for unity and God will give you revival.
  • Unity is no accident.
  • Unity brings peace.
  • Unity creates an atmosphere for Worship and The Word.
  • Unity opens the door for a major move of God.

 

Just like parents who are happy when their children love one another and get along. Our Heavenly Father is well pleased when His children love each other, too.

 

Hey, You Know That Brother You Don’t Like?

Never Forget, He’s “Thy Brother… For Whom Christ Died.”

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 29, 2017 at 6:43 pm

Your Performance Interview With God Is Coming!

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Your Performance Interview With God Is Coming

What if God called you on the carpet? What if He asked you some personal questions about your conduct… spiritual and otherwise?

Employees of many companies are given performance interviews on a scheduled basis. Some of the questions asked by the interviewer are similar to some of those I once found at www.jobinterviewquestions.org.

Performance Interview Questions

  • Tell me about your last position and what you did.
  • Tell me about the last time you made a mistake and how you corrected it.
  • If you don’t leave your current job, what will happen there? How far can you advance?
  • Of all the work you have done, where have you been most successful?
  • I see you were unemployed for a period of time. Tell me about it.
  • Give me an example of when you’ve demonstrated your customer service skills.
  • How do you define continuous improvement? What is the last new procedure you integrated into your job?
  • What makes you stand out among your peers?
  • What have you done to reduce your department’s operational costs or to save time?
  • What would your current supervisors say makes you most valuable to them?
  • If I asked your boss to evaluate your performance, what would he or she say?
  • Have you held positions similar to this one? If so, tell me about them.
  • What is the most important thing you learned at a previous job?
  • What did/do you enjoy most/least about your last/present job?
  • If there were two things you could have changed about that job, what would they be?
  • How did your job change while you held it?
  • What qualifications do you have that make you successful in this field?
  • What have you learned from previous jobs?
  • Describe a typical day at work.
  • How have your previous positions prepared you for this one?
  • What parts of your job do you consider most important?
  • What job tasks do you feel most successful doing?
  • What special skills or knowledge have you gained to help in this job?
  • Describe an important project you worked on.
  • You have a lot of experience. Why would you want this job?
  • What do you consider your greatest strength?
  • What is your most significant professional accomplishment?
  • What was the last job-related book you read?
  • What was your favorite job? Why?

As 2017 comes to a close, so does another year of living for the Lord. If He were to ask us about our performance in His Kingdom this year, how would we do? Could we answer His questions easily? Would our heads have to drop after the Lord asked us a direct question? Here is a list of possible questions He might ask:

The Lord’s 2017 Performance Interview Questions

  • What if He asked about the Spirit and Attitude we manifested this year?
  • What if the Lord asked us about our obedience or our Submission?
  • If the question of Soul-Winning came up, how would we score?
  • If questions about our involvement in Worship were asked, what would the answer be?
  • What would happen if the Lord asked us about our Prayer Life in 2017?
  • Would the answer be favorable to you if there were questions about paying your Tithes
  • and giving in Offerings?
  • Faithfulness in church attendance is sure to be asked. How would you do on that one?
  • Surely, a question about any unwillingness to Forgive will be asked.
  • Would He ask about the display of the Lusts of our Flesh?
  • Would Jealousy or Envy be mentioned?
  • A lack of Brotherly Love, or not Preferring One Another, will not sit well with Him.
  • What if the Lord asked us about our lack of Sacrifice in service, or in giving?
  • Would any questions about our involvement in Gossip put us in a bad light?
  • What if the subject of Tale Bearing came up?
  • If we were asked about Criticizing our Pastor, what would the answer be?
  • Surely the Lord will act questions about our showing any signs of Loving Pleasure More
  • Than The Things Of God.
  • What is He asked us about our Love of the World?
  • Do you think He might ask us why we had a problem with Holiness?
  • Would there be any questions about Loving Our Neighbor?
  • What if He asked us if we Love Him with All Of Our Heart, Our Soul, And Our Might, And
  • Our Strength?

I pray that you do well in your Interview with the Lord. (He already knows the answers, before He asks.)

If you’ll pardon me, for a while… I think I’ll have a talk with Him right now. I need to before He talks to me later!

There is coming a Day when we shall all stand before Him, as we are judged. That Interview will be both an Entrance Interview for some, and an Exit Interview for others!

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

(May your Performance Interview of 2017 end with Joy, and not with Grief!)

Join me in pledging to do better and do more for Him in 2018! May we all hear Him say in that day, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”