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He Pulled Her In

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He Pulled Her In

It hadn’t rained for weeks. The horrible and devastating storm was now over. All day the dove had flown back and forth looking for food, looking for a place to land, looking for any sign of life.

She hadn’t found a thing that she could humble herself to come down to. And, she really wasn’t prepared to fly all day without landing on something somewhere.

She was weary. It was all she could do to fly the long trip back to the Ark. With labored effort she struggled toward the open window at the top of the giant boat. Her wings labored harder with every flap. She was very conscious of how tired and weary she was. She felt like she couldn’t go much farther.

Noah knew her nature. He knew she would never be happy to live in a world of filth or decay. She would never be comfortable around anything unclean. She was a dove, not a scavenger.

She had left earlier that day with a raven, but they soon went their separate ways. He happily sought out the rotten and decaying carcasses among the flood-strewn debris. She had no interest in such things.

There had been no place on earth she would allow herself to go to. Returning to the Ark was her only option. But it was almost too late. She was completely exhausted.

handThen she saw a hand stretched out towards her. She focused on the hand. This was the same hand fed her every day and cared for her. She knew all would be well if she could but make it to his outstretched hand.

The hand reached out of the Ark as far as it could; caught her and pulled her safely inside.

She was home now!

She hadn’t been strong enough to make it all the way back inside on her own, she had done what she could, but that wasn’t quite enough.

But, when she was willing to make the effort to come back to the Ark, there was an outstretched hand ready to pull her back inside!

Gen 8:7 And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.

Gen 8:8    Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;

Gen 8:9    But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.

Do you find yourself weary of a life filled with sin? There’s hope. If you will make the effort to get to the Ark of safety, I promise you, there will be an outstretched hand ready to pull you safely inside.

He’s waiting on you.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 20, 2013 at 11:01 am

Posted in Peace, Recovery, Sin

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Goodbye John!

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Goodbye John!

 

Just the title seems inappropriate this close to Valentine’s Day.

Most of us are familiar with the term “Dear John letter,” by the time we have reached the season of courtship in our lives. For the recipient, it may mean devastation. For the sender it may feel like liberation.

Saying goodbye is easier for some than others. More often than not, I have seen tears in the eyes of family and dear friends even when we just said a temporary ‘goodbye.’

Imagine then what a permanent goodbye is like! Imagine what it would be like to put someone’s memory out of your mind while they yet live!

 

Behold the Lamb of God - William HatherellIt Happened In The Gospel Of John.

John 1:35    Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;

John 1:36    And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

John 1:37    And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

 

Every devout Jew knew the meaning of offering a yearly sacrifice for the atoning of his or her sins. It was a major relief for them to feel the guilt and condemnation removed. Yet, they knew they would have to do it all over again next year.

 

These tender-hearted men stood on a river bank that day and listened to a rugged looking and unorthodox preacher. He never played favorites or minced words. His preaching didn’t beat around the bush nor was it sugar-coated. Yet, multitudes came to hear him.

 

Today, in the middle of his sermon, John the Baptist saw his cousin Jesus passing by the crowd. John stopped preaching and pointed at Jesus. The crowd turned and looked. Every ounce of John’s voice reverberated with Divine revelation and authority.

 

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” he said.

Immediately, Two Of John’s Disciples Turned And Followed Jesus.

  • They never came up to John and explained why they were leaving.
  • They never waved goodbye to John.
  • They didn’t, ask for John’s email address.
  • They didn’t ask for his business card.
  • They didn’t ask for his cell phone number in case things didn’t work out between them and Jesus.
  • They didn’t try to ‘Friend’ John the Baptist on Facebook to stay in touch.
  • They didn’t follow him on Twitter.
  • They didn’t tell him they would test him later.
  • They simply turned, without a word or a regret, and followed Jesus.
  • This is a beautiful type of how we should  follow Jesus.

 

Of men born of women there was none greater than John the Baptist. No one in his or her right mind would trash the ministry of John. After all, he was the one that brought them all to a place where he could introduce Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah.

I don’t feel the need to trash whatever denomination or experience has brought you to this point in your life either.

When You Are Introduced To Him Through The…

  • Cleansing of his blood in baptism in Jesus name,
  • And the in filling of His Spirit… evidenced by speaking in tongues…

 

Then Saying ‘Goodbye John’ Should Seem So Easy!

It Should Seem Easy To Say Goodbye To Your Past:

  • When you meet the one who transforms your life,
  • Delivers you from addiction,
  • Forgives your past,
  • Washes you clean in the Pentecostal experience of Acts 2:38, and
  • Gives you the hope of heaven…
  • Why would you want to go back to John?

 

I am always amazed how some wannabe ‘Disciples’ keep trying hanging on to their old life. For your eternity’s sake, let it go. Say goodbye to everything that’s not of Jesus.

Thank God for whatever brought you to this point in your life. But, John MUST decrease so that HE can increase in your life.

Your walk with Jesus will never be what it is meant to be if you keep running back and forth between the two crowds.

 

I’m Asking You With All Sincerity.

 

Have you said, “Goodbye John,” yet or are you still in love with the old life you had before you met Jesus?

I Will Never Regret The Day I Said My Goodbyes, And Neither Will You!

 

handwave

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 11, 2013 at 1:17 am

The Defense Never Rests

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The Defense Never Rests

After the State has presented its charges against the defendant in a court of law, it signifies to the judge that it is finished by saying in open court, “The State rests.”

The Defense Attorney then begins to present a defense for his client, which hopefully will offer reasonable doubt to the mind of the jury. When the Defense has exhausted its resources and explanations, it too announces in similar manner, “The Defense rests.”

When the Defense rests, there is not much more to be said on behalf of the accused. The trial is about over. The defendant’s life is ready to be handed over to the jury.

 

My Father’s Funeral Sermon

The eloquent and ‘adopted’ other son of the late Carl J. Ballestero’s family, is Bro. A.W. Buie Jr. He was deeply loved by my Father. Bro. Bill Buie showered Dad with great honor and affection. At my Father’s funeral in September of 1994, Bro Buie brought me to tears as he preached one of the most beautiful messages I have ever heard. He entitled the funeral sermon, “The Defense Rests.”

Pastors and preachers are but mere mortals. Their life span is measured out on heaven’s Time-Line and no one can lengthen it. There are only so many sermons a man can preach as he reaches for the lost and hurting before he dies. His hope of seeing mercy for the guilty is limited only by his short life. Although they died, hope has not died with them.

 

There Is One Defense Attorney Who Is Not Dead, And He Never Rests.

  • He NEVER quits,
  • He never gives in,
  • He never gives up.

 

Jesus Is The Advocate  (Defense Attorney)

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

  • An Advocate is a Defense Attorney. Jesus is our Defense Attorney.

 

He Makes Daily Intercession For Us.

Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

  • Notice the progressive verb ending, ‘eth’ on maketh. That means Jesus Christ will never stop making intercession for us.

Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Simply put, The Lord Jesus is our Defense Attorney. That’s what the Cross was all about. From the moment He spoke the words, “Father forgive them,” He officially became our Advocate.

 

Believe the Word of God.

The Lord has not, and will not give up on us. No matter what the charges are against us, may our hearts have peace knowing that if we sin, we have a Defense Attorney that won’t give up on us.

 

What Is The Price Of His Retainer?

Repentance. If we are willing to repent, then this blessed opportunity is waiting for us. We must not stop until we have fully obeyed Acts 2:38, just like all of the New Testament church believers did.

 

Don’t give up on yourself. You’ve got the best Defense Attorney in the world!

He ever liveth to make intercession for you!

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 8, 2013 at 12:21 am

You’re Scaring Me To Death! I Just Wished It Scared You Too!

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You’re Scaring Me To Death! I Just Wished It Scared You Too!

Kaleen and Linda sat mesmerized on the couch in the darkened living room. The eerie blue light from the big flat screen flickered on their faces. The half-eaten bag of popcorn now sat idle and cold on the coffee table.

The screen showed a vampire holding the young woman in his arms. His fangs seemed to grow longer just moments before they sank into her neck. The blood flowed freely. The sight of blood excited the vampire and he immediately pressed his lips into the blood, not wanting to let any escape.

The girls watched the video with great interest. They actually found the moment rather titillating and sensual.

Linda had confided to Kaleen that her boyfriend Derrick asked her to let him bite her on the neck and drink her blood, and then he wanted her to bite him back and drink his blood. That way, they truly would be a part of each other, he had reasoned. Linda had refused.

They were watching this movie because it was all the rage and talked about so much at school. Quite a few young people from their church had even clicked its ‘Like’ button on Facebook.

The doorbell rang, momentarily scaring them and bringing them back to reality. It was their friend Anna. She was a member of The First Pentecostal Church across town.

Anna froze in her tracks as she saw what they were watching. “Turn that junk off right now. I won’t stay another minute if you leave that on! I’m serious!”

Kaleen complied with her demand.

“What wrong with you guys?” Anna asked in dismay. “Did your Holy Ghost just quit working, or have you overridden your conscience so much this stuff doesn’t bother you anymore? What’s the difference between you and the world now? Where are your Mom and Dad in all of this? Don’t they care what you bring into their house? Even if my Pastor didn’t care, my Parents would have put their foot down!”

Linda went into her defensive mode. “You’re starting to sound just like my Grandma, and she’s really old school.”

Anna ignored the insult and continued with her lecture.

“Two years ago, you said your Pastor said he was going to quit preaching against you guys watching videos. You told me then, that you didn’t see any harm in watching stuff like Laurel and Hardy, and the Three Stooges.

“Well, I’m not your Pastor, so I didn’t say anything. After watching your funny clips, you eventually got bored and started looking for something else to entertain you.

“It didn’t take long for you to start watching all of the current and popular movies on the rack. You told me about watching romantic and love stories. Then the next thing you tell me is that you now love monster movies.

“Then it was not long before I heard you using names and terms like The Walking Dead, Twilight, and The Undead. I may not have those titles right because I don’t watch them. But, if those types of movies and shows are about what I think they are about, then I am very afraid for you. Aren’t those the movies that include stuff like witchcraft, ghosts, black magic and the occult? Evidently, for you it’s not a far journey from those innocent shows to this.

“Now, today I walk in here and I see blood sucking vampires on your screen. What’s happened to you two? You’re OK with the message this sends to young people? My Lord have mercy, and you’re acting like you are really into it!

“Don’t you know that all this mess you’re watching opens your spirit and mind up to the work of the devil? I sincerely fear that you are making yourself available for demon possession! Is that what you want? Aren’t you afraid?

“I wouldn’t even read a book that had any thing about black magic, ghosts, witchcraft or occult subject matter in it! None of this is Holy Ghost compatible and you should already know that!”

Anna looked at her friends. They had gone to school together all their lives. They regularly went to Youth Rallies together in the same van. She couldn’t believe the mess her friends were involved in. Vampires! Blood sucking! Oh, Lord help!

Her Pastor’s warnings were right on target. She was glad that he tried to be protective of her and guard her from the evils and wickedness of life.

Kaleen went into her defense mode. “Don’t come in here getting all super holy. How do you get off telling us what we can watch and what we can’t watch? What are you now, holier than everyone else? You are starting to sound like them holier-than-thou ultra conservatives, and you know how I feel about them.

Anna was silent, she’d didn’t want to argue with her friends. She had made her point. She could feel the resentment in the room. Their friendship had already been fragile enough over the last year, ever since she’d disproved of Linda liking Derrick.

Standing there silently before her friends, she was quickly brought back to reality of the moment by their loud words. She realized that they were both talking loudly and feeding off of each other.

“We don’t want friends that preach to us. I thought you were our friend!” Kaleen said. “If our Pastor said it’s OK to watch films, then who are you to tell us no? Maybe it’s best if you go.”

Anna looked at them both with unbelief in her eyes. “This is a sad day for me. I love you guys, and I’ll never stop praying for you. But, what you are doing is scaring me to death! I just wished it scared you too!”

With tear-filled eyes, Anna walked slowly toward the door.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 24, 2012 at 12:17 am

Some Apostolics Are Happy Their Pastor Ignores A Few New Testament Scriptures.

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Are Apostolics Happy Their Pastors Ignore Some New Testament Scriptures?

Apostolics by nature should be firm believers in “coming out from among them” and being separated from the world, and unto Christ. Yet, Christian approved sins may number more than we might first think. There is also a crowd that would ignore Biblical cautions and warnings because in their mind, that was only a guideline, not an actual sin.

It is our understanding that Holiness in both inward and outward. I find it safe to also say that what is on the inside will soon show on the outside.

We sometimes hear the subject of modesty talked about behind the pulpit. We also have many new choruses about God being a holy God. Yet, if we made a list of things we are comfortable not hearing about, it just might include a few of these New Testament Scriptures. There just too many to post here.

 

Heb 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

  • Bitterness (Holding a Grudge)

 

Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

  • Wrath, Anger
  • Clamour (A Big Outcry)
  • Throwing Fits
  • Evil Speaking (Criticism)
  • Malice

 

Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

  • Be Tenderhearted
  • Forgiving one another

 

1 Tim 5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

  • Gossipers
  • Busybodies

 

1 Tim 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

  • Love of Money (Includes putting job before church?)
  • Coveting To Be Rich

 

1 Tim 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

  • Envy (Jealousy)
  • Strife
  • Railings (Words of Criticism)
  • Evil Surmisings (Imagining the Worst about someone)

 

1 Tim 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

  • Getting Caught Up In Twisted Doctrines And Beliefs

 

1 Tim 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

  • Costly Array
  • Modest Clothing
  • Gold,
  • Pearls

 

Heb 13:17  Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

  • Obey (The Pastor)
  • Submit Yourselves (One may obey without submitting, but it is impossible to submit without obeying.)

 

1 Tim 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

  • High mindedness

 

2 Pet 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.

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

2 Pet 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;

  • Lust of Uncleanness
  • Despise Governments (Don’t want to be told what to do.)
  • Presumptous
  • Self-willed
  • Not Afraid to speak evil of dignitaries (Especially means your pastor)
  • Railing Accusations
  • Speaking evil of things they don’t understand.

 

Jude 1:16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.

  • Murmurers
  • Complainers
  • Walking after their own lust (Doing whatever they want)

 

1 Pet 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

  • Fleshly lusts

 

Matt 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

  • Emotional Adultery

 

2 Tim 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

  • Flee Youthful lusts (If it includes more than the sensual, could it also include sports?)

 

2 Tim 2:23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

  • Avoid Foolish and Stupid Questions (They just start fights)

 

1 Cor 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

1 Cor 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

  • Men – Get A Haircut.
  • Women – Don’t Ever Cut It

 

Matt 5:41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

  • Don’t Do The Minimum

 

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

  • Love The Neighbor (Neighboring Countries Too?)

 

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;

  • Love Your Enemies
  • Bless Them That Curse You
  • Do Good Things To Them That Hate You
  • Pray For Them That Are Unkind To You

 

1 Jn 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

  • Love Not The World
  • Love Not The Things In The World
  • Lust of the Flesh
  • Lust of the Eyes
  • Pride Of Life

 

Jas 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

  • Humility

 

Jas 4:11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

  • Speaking Evil And Unkind Things Of One Another

 

1 Tim 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

  • At Least Two (or Three) Witnesses Needed Before Accusing An Elder.

 

1 Tim 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

  • Saints That Sin Should Be Rebuked In Church?

 

Jas 4:15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

  • Not Saying, “If The Lord Wills)

 

Jas 4:16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

  • Boasting

 

Jas 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

  • Ignoring The Word

 

Jas 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

  • Not Watching What You Say

 

Jas 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

  • Visit The Sick Orphans And Widows
  • Keep Yourself Unspotted (Unaffected by) The World

 

Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

Rom 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Rom 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

Rom 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

Rom 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

Rom 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

  • Surely This Doesn’t Need To Be Explained Further

 

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

2 Tim 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

  • There’s A Reason For Every Scripture In The Bible.
  • Don’t Ignore
  • Don’t Pick And Choose.

 

Acts 20:26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
Acts 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

  • Peter Wasn’t Afraid To Say What Needed To Be Said
  • May God Help Us All

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 6, 2012 at 12:03 am

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

If I Were The Devil

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“If I Were the Devil…”

by

Paul Harvey, 1965

I would want to engulf the whole world in darkness. And I would have one-third of the real estate and four-fifths of the population , but I wouldn’t be happy until I had the ripest apple on the tree. So I’d set about, however necessary, to take over the United States get important realtors like burnaby real estate and others to help me win USA and Canada.

I’d subvert the churches first; I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.”

To the youth I would whisper, “The Bible is a myth.” [our note: I heard this from a humanities instructor when I was in college–a breeding ground for the sowing of wickedness into the minds of those that have to memorize blasphemy in order to pass the course and get out and go past conscience to continue doing what they are told.]

I would convince them that man-made God [our note: in college in a philosophy “class” I was told the lie, “There is no God.” That was a lesson in lies.] instead of the other way around.

I would confide that what’s bad is good and what’s good is “square.”

In the ears of the young married I would whisper that work is debasing [our note: Americans are pleasure-loving people. Some are obese from lack of work meanwhile others pay somebody to mow the grass while they go to the “Fitness Center.” The children sit in school all day and then in front of the tv for hours on end in the midst of broken-down toys and eating processed foods full of refined sugar. The children do not work. They have no skills. The body and mind need to be involved in work. We were not made to be idle. A day of productivity is satisfying to both young and old.], that cocktail parties are good for you.

And to the old I would teach to pray after me: “Our Father, who art in Washington…” [our note: America seems to become more communist by the second.]

And then I’d get organized; I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting, so that everything else would appear dull and uninteresting.

I’d threaten television with dirtier movies and vice versa.

I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could; I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction; I’d tranquillize the rest with pills.

If I were the Devil I’d soon have families at war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.

If I were the Devil I’d encourage schools to refine young intellects [our note: the schools disrupt and destroy young intellects and parents look on in horror as their children disintegrate before their very eyes. Parents need to REPENT of the sins and BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ and OBEY his word and then they can be saved and rear their children correctly.] but neglect to discipline emotions: let those run wild. Before you know it, you’d have to have drug-sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every school-house door. Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing.

With flattery and promises of power I would get the courts to do what I construe as against God and in favor of pornography.

I’d designate an atheist to front for me before the highest courts and I’d get the preachers to say, “She’s right.” Thus, I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the Houses of Congress.

And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys, girls, and church money.

If I were the Devil I would make the symbol of Easter [our note: Easter is a pagan festival] an egg and the symbol of Christmas [our note: “Christmas” is a blasphemy] a bottle.

If I were the Devil I’d take from those who have and give it to those who want it, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious.

What’ll you bet that I couldn’t get whole States to promote gambling as the way to get rich?

I would caution against extremes: in hard work, in patriotism, and in moral conduct.

I would convince the youth that marriage is old-fashioned, but swinging is more fun; that what you see on television is the way to be; and thus I could undress you in public and I could lure you into bed where there are diseases for which there is no cure.

Then I would separate families, putting children in uniform, women in coal mines and objectors in slave-labor camps.

In other words, if I were the Devil, I’d just keep doing what he’s doing.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm

He Came To A Stable!

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He Came To A Stable!

Luke 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

 

Of all the places in the world for the King of kings to make His inaugural appearance to mankind! He chose the lowliest place of all! He chose a Stable. It was a place where filth and stink were all too common.

Imagine a God so holy, that He had to humble Himself to look upon heaven. I can understand Him having to humble Himself to look upon earth, but heaven too? He came to a stable. Man’s mind cannot completely fathom a Divine introduction into such a lowly estate.

It wasn’t like the sanitized nativity setting in a Macy’s Department Store window. The stable where He was born wasn’t used to elegance. It was only familiar with life on the lowest level. Straw, dirt, old boards, rusty nails, spider webs, bird nests, a rough-hewn manger, and smelly animal droppings created the ambience for the birthplace of our Lord.

Animals made this stable their home. They had spent all day eating the finery of the plush fields heaven had provided. At night, these same creatures turned heaven’s best into earth’s worst.

One step inside the stable was convincing enough. The animals had created an atmosphere of nothing but filth and stink. There was an overwhelming odor. There was excrement that had to be removed. That’s the place He chose.

 

He Came To A Stable!

Garden of Eden

Sin takes heaven’s best and turns it into earth’s worst. That is what happened in the Garden of Eden. It’s still doing that today. God closed down man’s Paradise because of the filth of sin, and evicted Adam and Eve. Yet, in the New Testament, symbolically, he came to the same kind of place. A place of filth.

Mary Magdalene

He was called a friend of sinners. He was a friend of those that lived in filth. Remember the story of Mary and her alabaster box? She had lived her life in filth. But in Jesus, she found cleansing and forgiveness.

Woman At the Well

“I must needs go by Samaria,” Jesus said. What was in Samaria? Samaria was an off-limits place for Jews to even visit. The Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. It was as dirty to them as a stable.

“I must needs go by the stable,” was what His statement may have sounded like to the disciples. A stable creature was what He found when He went there. A woman who had been married five times, and was now living with someone else, was the reason He came. She ran back to her village and brought everyone out to meet Jesus.

Peter’s Vision

The Apostle Peter had a difficult time at first. He couldn’t comprehend God’s willingness to deal with the unclean. A vision from God of a sheet being let down with all kinds of unclean animals, was shown to him. A voice said, “Rise Peter, slay and eat.”

Peter vehemently protested, because to him they were common, and unclean. The voice finally instructed Peter.

Acts 10:15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

Because of this, Peter went to the household of Cornelius and opened the door of Salvation unto the Gentiles. The very people Jesus had called dogs. Peter was sent to unlock the door of the stable and let every one out.

 

He Came To A Stable! He Is Not Afraid Of The Filth In Your Life! He Loves You!

It will be the biggest mistake of your life, if you buy into the thinking that Jesus will not forgive you because you’ve been too bad. That is not true. There is no sin common unto man who He won’t forgive.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

1 Corinthians 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

1. Washed – God specializes in cleaning up lives. Let Him clean yours.

2. Sanctified – He makes you into a pure and holy vessel He can use.

3. Justified – NOW, it’s just as if you’ve never sinned.

  • In the name of the Lord Jesus – (The Biblical mode of Baptism)
  • By the Spirit of our God – (The in-filling of the Holy Ghost)

 

He Came To A Stable, He Knows About Filth! He Wants To Make You Clean!

We couldn’t go to where He was, so He came to where we were. He came to a stable. He came to save the drunkard, the drug user, the immoral, the profane, the unbeliever and other sinners. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. God is not afraid of the dirt and filth in your life. He will cleanse you and wash you if you’ll just repent.

Get baptized in Jesus Name, and let Him fill you with His wonderful Spirit, just like the disciples did:

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Only Love, Could Have Made Him Come To A Stable!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 8, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Heaven’s Not A Sin Away

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Heaven’s Not A Sin Away!

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The following is an excerpt of an old song by The Kendalls. Their song claimed that Heaven was just a sin away.

“Heaven’s Not A Sin Away”

by

The Kendalls

Oh way down deep inside I know that it’s all wrong

Your eyes keep tempting me and I never was that strong

 

Devil’s got me now oh oh, gone and got me now

I can’t find him anyhow I’m think he’s gonna win

Heaven’s just a sin away oh oh, just a sin away

Heaven help me when I say I think I’m giving in

 

Oh way down deep inside…

Devil’s got me now oh oh, gone and got me now…

Heaven’s just a sin away oh oh, just a sin away…

 

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

 

But, Heaven’s Not A Sin Away!

 

1. With Sin Comes Guilt And Condemnation.

  • How long do you pay for a mistake in your mind?
  • How long do you pay for a mistake in the minds of others?
  • A Moment of Weakness – Will Bring A Lifetime Of Regret.

Ask David – Bathsheba

  • Heaven’s Not A Sin Away!

 

2. With Sin Comes God’s Displeasure.

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.

Ask Cain

Gen 4:13  And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.

  • Heaven’s Not A Sin Away!

 

3. When Sin Is Done With You, There Won’t Be Much Left.

Amos 3:12 Thus saith the LORD; As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear;

  • Addictions
  • Immorality
  • HIV
  • Reputation Lost

Ask Samson

Heaven’s Not A Sin Away!

 

4. Willful Sin Is A Major Problem.

It Was For Esau. He Couldn’t Get Right With God Again!

Heb. 12:17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

  • What Woman is worth going to hell over?
  • What Man is worth going to hell over?
  • What Job is worth going to hell over?
  • What Friend is worth going to hell over?
  • What Entertainment is worth going to hell over?
  • What Sport is worth going to hell over?
  • What Style of Clothes is worth going to hell over?
  • What Lifestyle is worth going to hell over?
  • What Unforgiven Hurt is worth going to hell over?
  • What Temptation is worth going to hell over?

Matt. 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Ask Eve   –   She saw that the fruit of the tree was pleasant to the eye, and she gave in to temptation. That brought the curse upon us all and banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

Heaven’s NOT just a sin away!

 

Ask Saul

(1 Sam 26:21)  Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.

 

5. You Better Be Glad God Is Merciful

  • To God, There’s no such thing as a throw-a-way soul
  • He is NOT willing that any should perish
  • We Don’t Deserve His Mercy
  • We ALL Deserve to be lost

 

The Story Of A Backslidder

Bob had backslid many times. He’d been in and out of the little Home Missions Church so many times that he’d lost track. He thought it had been maybe 13 or 14 times. He was ashamed. Why couldn’t he live for God? Maybe he just was one of those that God couldn’t help. Or maybe God had finally given up on him because of his many failures and weaknesses.

It had been nearly two years since he’d been back to church. The devil really wanted him to believe that there was no more hope for him. Bob was easily convinced. There was no point in even going back and trying anymore. He’d done that over dozen times without success. Besides, no one believed in him anymore. Bob was though with church and through with God, because he just knew God was through with him.

Bob was a good worker and men at the plant respected him for his abilities. His personality gained him many friends as well.

One day at work Bob got a chemical on his hand that left a bad stain. He tried to wash it off and even used hand cleaner. All his attempts to remove the stain were unsuccessful.

He was so embarrassed that night when he had to wear a suit to go to a fancy restaurant, that he kept his hand in his pocket so no one would see the stain.

The next day at work, Bob got too close to a machine and it sliced his hand deeply. Blood gushed everywhere.

“Call 911,” several people shouted. “Bob’s hurt bad!”

“Naw, don’t call 911, just take me to Med-Point.” Said Bob as he tried to wrap a shop rag around his hand and apply pressure to stop the gushing of blood.

“How bad is it?” Some one asked?

Bob took the shop rag off and wiped away the blood to see home deep the cut was. When he looked at the cut and then at his hands, he saw that the stain was gone. He immediately started to cry. The blood had washed away the stain.

His legs gave way and he fell to his knees. With tears running down his cheeks, Bob raised his hands in the air. The blood was still pumping profusely.

The men looked at Bob in amazement as they heard him speaking words they couldn’t understand.

“Call 911, Bob’s really hurt. We’ve never seen Bob cry!”

The men were concerned. Very concerned.

“Don’t call 911”, Bob said, “I’ll be alright! “

“Well if you’re alright, then why are you crying?”

Bob stopped long enough to say nineteen words that forever changed his life and restored his soul.

“Because I see for the first time in my life that the Blood of Jesus will wash away my sins!”

 

6. With Sin Comes The Need To Repent.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Repent Today. Then Let The Blood Of Jesus Wash Away All Your Sins In Baptism. Jesus WILL Give You The Holy Ghost!

Heaven’s Not A Sin Away

Heaven’s Just A Prayer Away!

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm

He’s Out Of Touch

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He’s Out Of Touch

This is the day of instant communication and social networking. Cell phones are so common now that even pre-teens are seen with them. Facebook and Twitter keeps friends in touch and provides them with up to the minute news of each other’s lives. Everyone has an email address today it seems. This generation prides itself in being connected and having the ability to stay in touch regardless.

For several months this summer, I have been in Camp Meetings located in rural areas around our nation. At least 4 of those campgrounds had very limited or no cellular phone service, or Internet connection either. My blog postings have taken a major hit recently because I have had very limited access to the outside world. I was out of touch.

The phrase, “Out of touch” is used several ways

Out of touch (with somebody)

  1. Not in communication

Out of touch (with something)

  1. Not informed about something
  2. Not reflecting what is true or actual

Politicians fling that phrase at their opponents. The public says that about some politicians.

The Brooks Brothers salesmen and the sharp dressing in-crowd look at me as though my clothes are from another planet. I can tell they feel I am out of touch with what’s cool. I’m a grandpa, and grand fathers are sometimes given a pass, along with a side-glance and a smirk. (I’ll keep buying from Goodwill if I want to, so there.)

I shouldn’t use the grandpa defense however. I’ve been a nerd all my life. I’ve never been considered cool or looked like I stepped out of a bandbox. What’s sad is, I’m OK with that.

Each generation accuses its elders of being out of touch, if only in their minds. Call it the generation gap, or by whatever term is more current, it still means the same thing. Young people think older people are out of touch with their world. Older folks think that the younger generation is clueless about the real world. Each accuses the other of being out of touch.

I make no effort to defend myself on that point. There are many things about this generation I do not understand. Further more, I have no desire to understand. Things like:

  • The Tattoo craze (I’ve never seen one that makes the person more beautiful or handsome. Why do they do it?)
  • The Bed-Head and Spiked hair look.
  • Living together and raising families without getting married.
  • Doing drugs.
  • Being part of Flash mob events.
  • Rioting and looting.

I condemn such actions and thereby am considered to be out of touch.

Society locks people up in padded rooms when they are considered to be out of touch with reality. Delusional patients are kept separate from society because they are no longer living in the real world. They are out of touch with reality.

Out Of Touch With God

Good Saints come to church early to pray before service. They want to stay in touch God.

Godly thinking people have personal devotions and a family altar time in their home because they choose to stay in touch with the Lord.

Some deluded Pentecostals feel that Mainstream Apostolics are out of touch in this generation. They distance themselves from the Holiness crowd. They cut their hair, put on makeup, women wear slacks and skimpy apparel, and they adorn themselves with jewelry. They use terms like, Emergent and Relevant. They on the other hand are no longer Apostolic nor do they look or act Apostolic. They are out of touch with God’s Holiness.

Most of them mock those of us that continue to live a life of modesty in dress and still believe in separation from the world, declaring that we are out of touch. In reality, they are the ones that are out of touch.

God is Holy. Why do you want the Holy Ghost if you don’t want to be Holy like Him? Anytime you make a mockery of Holiness, you are hell-bent and out of touch. Being out of touch with God and His Holiness, is always fatal.

The Old Testament admonition is still relevant today.

2Chr. 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

God gave those that were out of touch, the key to getting back in touch with Him.

  • Humble yourself
  • Pray
  • Seek His face
  • Turn away from your sinful life

Now For The Bad News

It’s one thing when man gets out of touch, but the subject gets taken to the ultimate level, when God choses to be out of touch. He was out of touch with Israel for 400 years.

Why would God want to be out of touch with us? I’ll let Him explain that in His own words.

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

Isa. 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.

  • God chose not to listen to the prayers of some because of their willful sinning.
  • He also chose to ignore those that needed help for the same reason.
  • In addition, He also said He wouldn’t even look in their direction.
  • Those people chose the life of iniquity.
  • They refused the ways of Godliness.
  • So God refused them.

They wanted to disconnect from God, so God disconnected from them. God does what you do. Repentance is wayward man’s ONLY hope of getting back in touch with God.

Are You Out Of Touch With God?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 12, 2011 at 11:48 am