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Archive for the ‘Tears’ Category

“Thanks, Dad! I got it for myself!”

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The Apostolic Tabernacle, located 905 S. Pike Street in Shelbyville, Indiana, was celebrating its anniversary. Bro. Carl Ballestero had just finished teaching the afternoon Bible Study. The service ended in prayer, and then the crowd was dismissed. Bro. Cavaness promised to feed his guests a BBQ feast and the crowd showed their excitement to go eat. Well, all except one teenager.

The dark-haired young man looked for a side room or a place to hide until the church emptied. He hoped that no one would miss him or come looking for him. He didn’t want to be seen by anyone right now. He couldn’t find a classroom.

Without anyone noticing, he slipped through a door that led him to the baptismal tank area. There, he bent over so as to remain unseen and moved to the side of the tank and laid down on the bare floor, flat on his back. He closed his eyes and waited. It seemed like forever before the sounds of conversations to died out and then he heard the front door close. He listened for any sounds of footsteps, but all was quiet. That’s when it started.

The boy began to cry, when I say cry, I don’t mean that there was a tear or two. I mean he began to sob. He wanted the same experience with God that his parents had. He felt shallow, empty, and unfulfilled. He wanted more of God. The sobs turned into groans and heartfelt travail. Time wasn’t important, food wasn’t important, getting something from God at that moment was all that mattered now.

Most of the afternoon the young prayed. His eyes were almost swollen shut. Some hours later, as folks gathered in for the evening service, he slipped out of the baptistery and into the Men’s room to comb his hair and wash his face. No one seemed to notice his earlier absence. His parents never mentioned it.

The young man became a pastor and many years later he invited Bro. Roger Evens to preach for him. One day, Bro. Evens said, “Do you remember the day at Shelbyville that you prayed behind the baptistery and didn’t go eat with everyone else?

The young pastor’s mouth dropped open. “How do you know about that?” he asked.

“I was there,” Bro. Evens said. “I came back into the church with your dad looking for you and making sure you had a way to go eat. That’s when we heard you crying out to God. I told you dad to go pray with you because I couldn’t go eat knowing you were crying like that.”

“Your dad said, ‘No, I can’t go pray for him.”

“Why not?” I said.

“Like a baby chick getting out of its shell, it has to do that by its self! If he doesn’t get this for himself he will never amount to a hill of beans.”

“With tears in your dad’s eyes and in mine, we walked out of the church that day.”

 

 

Fifty-five years later, all I can say now is, “Thanks, Dad! I got it for myself!”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 19, 2018 at 1:55 pm

The Storm Painter

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The Storm Painter

The painter of the storm had a mission. He had painted many a dark sky with thunderclouds before, but from a distance. He had painted the storms from the shore in the shelter of his studio where he was safe from all the elements of destruction. Today would be different. Artist Joseph Turner chose to view this storm outside his comfort zone.

He wished to paint what a storm looked like to him from the inside. This wasn’t to be just any April Showers moment. This storm would be a major blizzard, a rogue storm. Yet not just a bad snowstorm, but a snowstorm at sea. He wanted to view the storm from a boat while the waves threatened to sink his ship.

The seas were tumultuous, the waves high and rolling hard. There was no way he could stand on the deck and not slide off. He had to make a choice. He chose to be lashed to the mast of the ship for hours in the blinding freezing snowstorm. He wanted to paint it so real that on the canvass it would be hard to tell the sea from the sky.

‘Modern Painter’ website paid a huge compliment to Turner’s painting which he simply called Snowstorm.

 

Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth exhibited 1842 Joseph Mallord William Turner

Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth exhibited 1842 Joseph Mallord William Turner

 

Turner399702

Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

Modern Painters described the Snowstorm, as “…one of the very grandest statements of sea-motion, mist, and light, that has ever been put on canvas.“

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-snow-storm-steam-boat-off-a-harbours-mouth-n00530/text-catalogue-entry

 

Maybe We All Are Painters

While almost none of us make our living as a professional painter, we still know a bit about the storms of life. Many know what it’s like to be tied to the mast and feel the snow, the sea spray, to be slapped in the face with freezing winds and have no defense from the storm. Imagine what it’s like to tied:

  • For hours with the snow beating your face.
  • For hours in the howling wind.
  • For hours with the ship struggling to survive the storm-tossed waves.
  • For hours seeing life-threatening skies and seas.
  • For hours in the bitter cold.
  • For hours of being wet and miserable.

 

Maybe We’ll Never Paint A Portrait Of Surviving The Storm…

Until We Too Have Been Tied To:

  • Heartache
  • Cancer
  • A Heart Attack
  • A Bad Marriage
  • Spousal Unfaithfulness
  • Financial Devastation
  • Rumor
  • Loneliness
  • Afflictions
  • Rejection
  • Depression
  • Lifelong Illness
  • Abuse

 

Maybe We’ll Never Be Able To Paint A Portrait Of Bearing One Another’s Burdens…

Until We Too Been Lashed To The Deck Of:

  • Stormy Seas
  • Tribulation
  • Shame
  • Embarrassment
  • Overwhelming Disappointment
  • Bitterness
  • Shattered dreams
  • Tears
  • Brokenness
  • The Death Of A Child
  • A Backslidden Spouse
  • An Addicted Love One

 

We cannot accurately paint the storm for others to see until we have lived through one our self. Naysayers may try to find fault with our story. But we have been there. We somehow survived. We felt the mast rub on our back. The rope burns will be there for a while. We suffered hypothermia. Our body shivered with the freezing snowstorm.

We thought of those we knew sitting at home in their warm little world. They could not help us now. It was no longer just a storm. It had become our storm. We chose not to waste our storm but share it with others in the hopes they would be helped or blessed.

 

Maybe We Will Never Truly Paint A Portrait Of Revival…

Until We Have Been Lashed To The Deck Of:

  • A Burden for souls
  • A Prayer Room
  • Travail
  • Tears
  • Vision
  • Compassion
  • Outreach

 

Maybe We Will Never Truly Paint A Portrait Of A Father’s Love…

Until We Have Been Lashed To The Deck Of:

  • A Wayward Child
  • Tearful Forgiveness
  • Showing Mercy
  • Patience
  • A Special Needs Child
  • Unconditional Love
  • Courage
  • Sacrifice

 

Maybe We Will Never Truly Paint A Portrait Of Deliverance From False Doctrine…

Until We Have Been Lashed To The Deck Of:

  • False Doctrine
  • Error
  • Tradition
  • Family Pressure

 

The Storms we survive should make us stronger.

The Storms we survive should be used to help others see.

The Storms we survive can later turn into a thing of beauty for us.

The Storms we survive are a gift from God.

 

(When we hear a testimony from someone who has survived a storm, it gives us all great hope!)

What Portrait Is Our Life Painting For Others To See?

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 30, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Are You Worth Fighting For?

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Are You Worth Fighting For?

Kneeling_Warrior_lg

We have all heard uncomplimentary remarks by old timers about those people they considered

worthless and no good. They said things like:

  • “Ah, they’re not worth the lead it would take to blow…”
  • “They’re not worth their salt.”

We have all learned that helping some people can be an exercise in frustration and futility. In choosing our battles and those we fight for, where do we draw a line and fight? When do we throw in the towel?

Go To God’s Word And Examples For Guidance.

Moses – Israel

God was so angry at Israel because of their quickness to backslide, He wanted to kill them and start all over. He told His plan to Moses.

Exodus 32:31 And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.

Exodus 32:32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.

Moses knew the wickedness of Israel and although he could never justify their actions, he refused to give up on them. He told God; if You are going to blot them out, then just blot me out too. Moses fought for Israel even in their disobedience and wickedness.

Moses Persuaded God To Show Mercy.

Samuel – King Saul

1 Samuel 15:10 Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying,

1 Samuel 15:11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.

Saul was reckless in his life choices and was disobedient to God’s Word. Samuel, even with all his pristine character and godliness, could not help but cry for Saul. Saul wasn’t even crying for himself. Yet Samuel fought with tear all night long.

Pastors – Saints and Sinners

Certainly we can be grateful to live at a time when God’s Mercy is so readily available. Yet, in spite of this, a pastor’s job is never done. He does his best to keep fighting for every soul. He fights for those who want help. He even fights for those who don’t seem to be fighting for themselves.

There Is No Such Thing As A ‘Throw-A-Way Soul.”

Paul – Timothy

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

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

Paul’s advice to Pastor Timothy was, don’t be harsh. These sinful people are their own problem. They can’t blame anyone else but themselves. It just may be that God will let them repent and admit the truth about themselves. It may be that God will let them recover and be restored. So, don’t give up on them. Fight for them. They aren’t doing a very good job of fighting for themselves. They need you.

  • Fight for their souls.
  • Fight for their mercy.
  • Fight for their forgiveness.
  • Fight for their restoration.
  • Fight for their marriage.
  • Fight for their family.
  • Fight for their future.
  • Fight for their eternity.
  • Fight for them…

Remember:

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.

Are You Worth Fighting For? Absolutely!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm

She Couldn’t Stop Crying!

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She Couldn’t Stop Crying!

Mary held her scarf in place as she tearfully ran to her brother’s house. She couldn’t stop crying. All of her dreams had just crumbled into a horrible nightmare. This was the worst day of her life.

She had been a woman scorned by polite society all of her life.  Most of the married women who knew her, worried about her influence on their husbands.

But for the last several years now, she had been a changed woman; transformed and forgiven by the one who is called Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God.

But now her Lord was dead. The only One who had ever given her hope had just been killed.

She ran almost blindly, down the darkening narrow street, nearly bumping into strangers. Her eyes focused on her brother’s house. Her pace quickened. Neighbors looked at Mary and then at each other in wonder, not knowing whether to be concerned for Mary or alarmed about something else. why was she running?

She didn’t bother knocking when she got to the door. Mary only slowed her pace slightly as she shoved the door open.

“They’ve killed Him!” She said breathlessly to the startled faces in the room.

“Killed him? Killed who?” Mary’s brother, Nathan asked as he sprang to his feet.

“Jesus. They’ve just crucified Jesus! The soldiers did it. I was there and I saw everything!”

Mary sank into a nearby chair and allowed the floodgate that held back her emotions to open up. Tears flowed afresh.

Nathan looked at his wife Elizabeth not knowing how to respond. They both were happy to see the changes in Mary’s life, but they were still unsure that her attachment to this Jesus person and His Disciples was a good thing for them.

“I thought your Jesus was going to overthrow the Romans and make himself king if he could get enough followers,” Nathan said trying to make a point.

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“You should have seen him.” Mary said, ignoring her brother’s remark. “After they had beaten him till his back was bloody, and could hardly stand, they wove a thorn-bush into a crown and then they placed it on his head smashing it down hard. It made me sick.

“Those cruel heathen soldiers showed how heartless they were as they stripped his robe from him just to shame him publicly. I saw them as they gambled to see who got his clothes.”

Mary stopped to wipe her eyes again.

“Then they forced him to a cross they had on the ground and while they held him in place, the soldiers drove big nails into his hands and feet. Blood ran everywhere. But He never winced or changed his expression.

“I couldn’t take my eyes off of him as the soldiers lifted up the cross and let it drop down hard into the hole they had dug. It made a sickening thud, and his body shook hard. Then more blood started running down his hands, arms and back.

“Horrible people in the crowd starting cheering and saying mean things to him. Jesus looked at the soldiers and at the cheering crowd and said, ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do.’

“Can you imagine that?”

Nathan and Elizabeth shook their heads no. They both then as if on cue, found a place to sit down as they listened to more of Mary’s story.

“What did the crowd say to that?” Elizabeth asked.

“They just kept on mocking and laughing at him. Some of his Disciples were standing close to his mother, Mary.

“Some of his disciples? They weren’t all there?” Nathan asked with a deep furrow in his brow.

“I looked very carefully, but I couldn’t find Judas or Peter anywhere. I was very surprised that Peter was missing. If he was there, I couldn’t see him.” Mary continued.

“There were three big groups there today. There were his followers that were weeping, there was a bigger crowd of those that hated him and just mocked him. Then there were those that just stood on the sidelines and watched. They showed no emotion either way. It was as if they came for the entertainment. They just didn’t care.

“What happened next?” Nathan asked.

16545_wpm_lowres

“He said he was thirsty, and a soldier tried to give him some vinegar to drink. He also said something like, ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’

“Then he said to John that he wanted him to take care of their mother. He said some other things I can’t remember right now just before he closed his eyes. When he did close his eyes, it wasn’t long before his just head slumped over.

“The soldiers started breaking the legs on the others that were crucified, to make sure they were dead, but when they came to Jesus, they saw he was already dead so they stuck a spear in his side. Blood and water gushed down his body and dripped on the ground. Blood and water!

“I turned then and ran here as fast as I could. I couldn’t bear to see anymore.”

With that, Mary sprang to her feet and looked about the darkening room in alarm.

“It’s only the middle of the day and it’s dark outside already! ”Mary said as she ran to the window. “I can see that the chickens are getting up on the roost. What is happening?

Elizabeth screamed and reached for her husband as the ground began to shake violently. The dishes and furniture shook very hard. The floor moved hard up and down and the walls trembled.

Cries of alarm came from homes nearby. Cracks began to show in the walls of their houses while dried dirt fell from the ceilings. Then as it had begun, earthquake was quickly over.

“These are signs! Mary said as she faced her brother and sister-in-law. “These are signs from God! They have killed the Lord’s Anointed, the Messiah, and even nature is upset.”

The three stood close together unsure of what would happen next. They heard noises in the street and a man was talking very loud and very fast. Nathan went outside to see what the commotion was about. A few minutes later he came back inside. His face was ashen and his hands were shaking.

“What’s the matter?” Mary wanted to know.

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“Rueben, the Levite said that he’d just come from the Temple and that the Veil protecting the Holiest of Holies ripped all by itself. It ripped right in the middle, from the top clear down to the bottom without anyone touching it!

“The High Priest, you know, is only allowed to go in to the Mercy Seat once a year, but now the Veil has been torn. Everyone can see in there.

“The High Priest and the Levites are all scared; they ran from the Temple not knowing what they should do. They were afraid of God’s judgment on them for seeing into the Holiest of Holies. There is nothing in the Law about how to correct this problem.

“Two more things.  Reuben said that some big rocks that he has seen in the same place for years, now are all broken in half. and no one split them.

And number two, he said he saw some graves of the old saints were opened up and no one was in them.”

Nathan sat down while Elizabeth and Mary lighted a few lamps.

“Nathan, I know you haven’t been a follower of Jesus like I have. But you know the difference and the change that he made in my life. I’m not the same person anymore. You know that. You can see that. Everyone in town that knew me before can see that.

Mary started crying again remembering the moment she had knelt at the feet of Jesus in Simon’s house. She had held his feet and cried tears of repentance. She hadn’t any towel to wipe the tears away, so she had dried his feet with her hair. Then she had taken perfume, worth a whole years wages, and poured it on his feet.

“I am so ashamed of my past, but He forgave me and gave me hope.

Nathan and Elizabeth both nodded.

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“If that is not enough, the sun went down just now and it got dark at noonday, there was a great earthquake shook everything. The Temple Veil tore in half by the Hand of God! From the top of the Veil… where man can’t even reach. You know those things are not a coincidence! This is a God thing.”

“I’m scared.” Elizabeth said, as she looked first at Nathan then at Mary. “Why don’t you stay here with us a couple of nights so we can talk? I want to know more about your Jesus.”

Mary thanked her and looked at her brother, he nodded his approval. The three talked about the days events for a while longer before going to bed.

Even after Mary had been in bed for a long time, her mind wouldn’t shut down. Then it came to her. She just could not let Jesus lay in some tomb without any ointment and spices. She knew no on had taken the time to wash the blood from his body either. That was the least she could do.

Tomorrow she would make plans and find where to get the necessary spices, ointments and perfumes she would need.

The next morning Mary announced to Elizabeth what she wanted to do and they went shopping for the special perfume and ointment ingredients.

The buzz everywhere was about the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, the sun going down early, the earthquake and the torn Temple Veil.

Elizabeth wondered aloud to Mary if she thought the followers of Jesus would be safe now. They had killed Jesus. What would they do to his believers?

At home that night, the special ointments, oils and spices were mixed together. A special cloth had been purchased as well.

Early Sunday morning before daylight, Mary slipped out of the house and headed for the Tomb that she had heard he had been buried in. Her arms were full with the necessary items for an honorable burial. It was the least she could do.

But when Mary got to the tomb, she was in for the greatest shock of her life! She arrived at the tomb while it was still dark. Yet, she could see the protective stone had been rolled away. The tomb was empty!

Mary was overwhelmed with emotion, in shock she turned and started running, not quite sure where.  In the darkness she ran and nearly bumped into Peter and John.

“The tomb is empty, they have taken him away,” she said breathlessly!

Peter and John running to the tomb (painting by Dan Burr)

Peter and John running to the tomb (painting by Dan Burr)

The men ran to the tomb. They had to see for themselves. When they saw it was empty, hope died in their souls and they turned and slowly went home.

But Mary just stood there. She could leave. She couldn’t stop crying. She finally got brave enough to look again into the empty tomb. It was getting a little lighter by now.

As she stooped down and looked into the empty tomb, she saw two angels sitting there. One sat at the head and one at the feet of where Jesus had lain.

Woman, why are you crying?” The Angels wanted to know.

“Because they have taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they’ve taken him.”

Mary turned around with fresh tears in her eyes and saw Jesus, whom she guessed was probably the Gardener.

“Why are you crying woman?” He asked.

Mary at the tombMary still crying blindly said accusingly, “Sir, if you have taken him somewhere, please tell me, and I’ll take him away.

Jesus spoke her name in that familiar voice.

“Mary!”

There was something in the way he spoke her name.

  • It was the same voice that had spoken forgiveness to her when she was a sinner.
  • It was the same voice that had spoken healings and miracles to the multitudes.
  • If she knew any voice in the world, she knew that voice.

She wiped the tears away enough to see him better.

“Rabboni!” She said. (Which is another word for Master.)

Her first reaction was the desire to throw her arms around him and never let him go. Jesus knew that, and simple said…

“Do not touch me, for I have not yet be glorified. Just go to my brethren, and tell them that I am alive. I have risen!”

  • That is exactly what Mary did.
  • Seeing Jesus turned her tears into joy.
  • This is what Jesus is still doing.
  • Let Him turn your sorrow into joy today!

 

It’s what the hope of the Resurrection is all about!

Celebrate Easter this Sunday by Receiving the Holy Ghost, the power of the Resurrection.

If you do… You too will rise again!

He’s Alive!

 

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John Chapter 20

 

The Empty Tomb

1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

 

Mary Find Peter And John

2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.

6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,

7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

 

Mary Can’t Stop Crying

11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,

12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

 

Mary Meets Jesus And Doesn’t Recognize Him

14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

 

Mary Sent To Tell The Apostles

17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

 

Jesus Among His Disciples

19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

23 Whose so ever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose so ever sins ye retain, they are retained.

 

Doubting Thomas

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 28, 2013 at 12:16 am

Altar Call Songs

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Are You Old Enough To Remember These?

  • My wife Marcia and I put this Altar Call song list together back in 1999.
  • (These may be old songs from at least a generation or two back. But they still work!)

Finding the right song to play and sing for Altar Call is, in my mind, indeed a gift. Not everyone is blessed in that department. More often than not the right song sung at the end of a sermon can make all the difference in the outcome. If the song doesn’t ‘fit,’ if distracts in a noticeable manner.

This generation of musicians seems to have focused on the newer music alone, and not a few have ignored the older songs for altar call altogether. What a horrible loss!

Only the titles of some of the old songs are listed below. They are merely meant to be memory prompts. Either you know them or you don’t. I hope you do.

I thank every musician and singer for making any attempt to keep even a few of our old faithful songs alive.

MJB

https://www.dropbox.com/s/sn5hi2o378jrj05/Altar%20Songs%20List.xls

Click this link to download the file

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Altar Call Songs, Or Songs To Sing While Others Are Praying In The Altar.

ABOVE ALL ELSE, I MUST BE SAVED
ALL HE WANTS IS YOU
ALMOST PERSUADED
AMAZING GRACE
ARE YOU IN THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT?
ARE YOU READY, ARE YOU READY
ARE YOU WASHED, IN THE BLOOD?
ASK THE SAVIOR TO HELP YOU
AT THE CROSS, AT THE CROSS
BACK TO BETHEL
BECAUSE HE LIVES
BEHOLD THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH
BLESSED ASSURANCE
CALLING TODAY, HE’S CALLING TODAY
CLOSE TO THEE
COME UNTO ME AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST
COMING DOWN DOWN DOWN
COMING HOME
DEAR JESUS, ABIDE WITH ME
DO YOU KNOW MY JESUS, DO YOU KNOW MY FRIEND?
DON’T LET IT BE SAID, TOO LATE, TOO LATE
DON’T LET ME FORGET WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE FOR
DON’T LET ME STAND WITHOUT A STAR IN MY CROWN
DON’T LET ME WALK TOO FAR FROM CALVARY
DON’T TURN HIM AWAY
DOWN AT THE CROSS
DOWN FROM HIS GLORY
EASTERN GATE
ETERNITY, ETERNITY, WHERE WILL YOU SPEND ETERNITY?
FARTHER ALONG
FILL ME NOW
FILL MY CUP LORD
GIVE ME A CLEAN HEART
GIVE UP AND LET JESUS TAKE OVER
GOD’S NOT DEAD, HE’S STILL ALIVE
GOT ANY RIVERS YOU THINK ARE UNCROSSABLE?
GRACE, GRACE, GOD’S GRACE
HAD IT NOT BEEN
HALLELUJAH PRAISE THE LAMB
HAVE THINE OWN WAY LORD
HAVE YOU COUNTED THE COST?
HE’S COMING SOON
HE’S MY ROCK MY SWORD
HE’S THE OAK AND I’M THE IVY
HE HAD COMPASSION ON ME
HE IS ABLE TO DELIVER THEE
HE IS LORD
HE IS MY REASON FOR LIVING
HE KNEW ME, YET HE LOVED ME, HE WHOSE GLORY MADE
HE KNOWS JUST WHAT I NEED
HE LOOKED BEYOND MY FAULTS AND SAW MY NEED
HE SET ME FREE YES, HE SET ME FREE
HE TOUCHED ME
HE WASHED MY EYES WITH TEARS
HEAVEN IS A HOLY PLACE
HEAVEN WILL SURELY BE WORTH IT ALL
HERE I AM LORD, HERE I AM, I GIVE ALL MYSELF TO THEE..
HIS POWER CAN MAKE YOU WHAT YOU OUGHT TO BE
HOLD TO GOD’S UNCHANGING HAND
HOLY GHOST GETTING US READY
HOW ABOUT YOUR HEART?
HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN?
I’LL BE SOMEWHERE A LISTENING,
I’LL GO WHERE YOU WANT ME TO GO DEAR LORD
I’M GETTING READY TO LEAVE THIS WORLD
I’M GOING THROUGH JESUS, I’M GOING THROUGH
I’M SO GLAD JESUS LIFTED ME
I’M SO GLAD THAT THE LORD SAVED ME
I’VE BEEN TO CALVARY
I’VE GOT IT, I’VE GOT IT
I’VE GOT THE HOLY GHOST DOWN IN MY SOUL, JUST LIKE THE
I AM THINE OH LORD, I HAVE HEARD THY VOICE
I CAN’T EVEN WALK WITHOUT YOU HOLDING MY HAND
I CANNOT FAIL THE LORD
I COULD NEVER OUT LOVE THE LORD
I JUST STEAL AWAY
I KNOW IT WAS THE BLOOD
I LOVE HIM FOR HE IS MINE, I LOVE HIM FOR HE IS DIVINE
I LOVE HIM TOO MUCH TO FAIL HIM NOW
I LOVE HIM, I LOVE HIM, BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED ME
I MUST BE SAVED
I MUST TELL JESUS
I NEED THEE EVERY HOUR
I NEED THEE, OH I NEED THEE
I SAW THE LIGHT
I SEE A CRIMSON STREAM OF BLOOD
I SHALL KNOW HIM, I SHALL KNOW HIM
I SHOULD HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED
I SURRENDER ALL
I WANT TO BE READY TO GO, DON’T YOU?
I WANT TO LIVE THE WAY HE WANTS ME TO LIVE
I WAS THERE WHEN JESUS  SAVED ME
I WILL PRAISE HIM, PRAISE THE LAMB FOR SINNERS SLAIN
I WILL SAY YES, LORD, YES TO  THY WILL AND TO THY WAY
I WILL SERVE THEE BECAUSE I LOVE THEE
I WOULD NOT BE DENIED
IF I HAVE WOUNDED ANY SOUL TODAY
IF YOU’VE TRIED EVERYTHING, AND EVERYTHING HAS FAILED..
IF YOU HAD KNOWN ME, BEFORE I KNEW HIM, YOU’D…
IN THE NAME OF JESUS
IN THE UPPER ROOM WITH JESUS MY LORD
IN TIMES LIKE THESE
INTO MY HEART, INTO MY HEART
INTO THY CHAMBER
INTO YOUR PRESENCE WE COME
IS THINE HEART RIGHT WITH GOD
IS YOUR ALL ON THE ALTAR OF SACRIFICE LAIN?
IT’S FOR ME, IT’S FOR YOU, FOR YOUR CHILDREN…
IT’S HARVEST TIME
IT’S MY DESIRE
IT’S NOT THE FIRST MILE
IT’S REAL, IT’S REAL
IT REACHES TO THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN
JESUS BE THE LORD OF ALL
JESUS BREAKS EVERY FETTER
JESUS I LOVE YOU, FOR YOUR TENDER CARE
JESUS IS HERE RIGHT NOW, REACH OUT AND TOUCH HIM
JESUS ON THE MAIN LINE
JESUS USE ME, OH LORD PLEASE DON.T REFUSE ME
JESUS, MY REASON FOR LIVING
JESUS, OH JESUS, DO YOU KNOW HIM TODAY?
JUST A CLOSER WALK WITH THEE
JUST AS I AM, WITHOUT ONE PLEA
JUST CRY JESUS
KNEEL AT THE CROSS
LEAD ME TO CALVARY
LEAD ME, GUIDE ME, ALONG LIFE’S WAY
LEARNING TO LEAN, LEARNING TO LEAN
LEAVE THEM THERE, LEAVE THEM THERE
LEST I FORGET
LET IT BREATHE ON ME…
LET ME LOSE MYSELF AND FIND IT LORD IN THEE
LET ME WALK WITH YOU JESUS
LET THE LOWER LIGHTS BE BURNING
LOOK TO THE LAMB OF GOD
LOOK WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE
LORD DON’T LET ME FAIL
LORD LAY SOME SOUL UPON MY HEART
LORD LIFT ME UP, AND LET ME STAND
LORD LIFT US UP WHERE WE BELONQ
LORD PREPARE ME A SANCTUARY
LORD SEND A REVIVAL, OF THE OLD TIME POWER
LOVEST THOU ME MORE THAN THESE….?
MAKE ME WHAT I OUGHT TO BE
MANY THINGS ABOUT TOMORROW
MERCY REWROTE MY LIFE
MERCY THERE WAS GREAT AND GRACE WAS FREE
MORE OF THEE, MORE OF THEE, I HAVE ALL, BUT WHAT I
MOVE ME WITH YOUR MESSAGE
MUST JESUS BEAR THE CROSS ALONE
MY  HOUSE IS FULL, BUT MY FIELD IS EMPTY
NEAR THE CROSS
NEARING HOME
NO ONE EVER CARED FOR ME LIKE JESUS
NO ONE, NO ONE LIKE JESUS
NOW LET US HAVE A LITTLE TALK WITH JESUS
OH FOR A THOUSAND TONGUES TO SING
OH LORD HAVE MERCY
OH SOUL AWAY, SOON THE LORD SHALL COME, AND NONE…
OH WHAT A SAVIOUR
OH WHY NOT TONIGHT?
OH, IT IS JESUS, OH IT IS JESUS
ONE DAY TOO LATE
ONE TOUCH OF HIS HAND
ONLY BELIEVE
ONLY JESUS CAN SATISFY
ONLY TRUST HIM, ONLY TRUST HIM
PASS ME NOT
PEACE, PEACE
PENTECOSTAL FIRE IS FALLING
PRECIOUS BLOOD
PRECIOUS JESUS
REACH OUT AND TOUCH THE LORD
RENEW IN ME, THAT 1ST LOVE
SEARCH ME LORD, SEARCH ME LORD, SHINE THE LIGHT OF
SEARCH ME OH GOD
SEND IT ON DOWN, SEND IT ON DOWN
SERVE HIM WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART
SHELTERED IN THE ARMS OF GOD
SHUT IN WITH GOD, IN A SECRET PLACE
SIN CAN NEVER ENTER THERE
SOFTLY AND TENDERLY
SOME GLORIOUS DAYBREAK, JESUS WILL COME
SOMEDAY THERE’LL BE NO TOMORROW
SOMETHING GOT A HOLD OF ME
SPEAK MY LORD, SPEAK MY LORD
SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD, FALL FRESH ON ME
SWEEP OVER MY SOUL
TAKE IT ALL, TAKE IT ALL, WHAT THE WORLD
TAKE UP THY CROSS AND FOLLOW ME
TEACH ME LORD TO WAIT
TELL IT TO JESUS, TELL IT TO JESUS
THANK YOU LORD FOR SAVING MY SOUL
THE CROSS IS NOT GREATER THAN HIS GRACE
THE LIGHTHOUSE
THE LONGER I SERVE HIM THE SWEETER HE GROWS
THE OLD RUGGED CROSS
THE OLD RUGGED CROSS MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
THE UNSEEN HAND
THE WAY OF THE CROSS LEADS HOME
THE WORLD NEEDS JESUS, BUT WHY SHOULD I TELL YOU?
THERE’S A GREAT DAY COMING, A GREAT DAY COMING
THERE’S A SWEET, SWEET SPIRIT IN THIS PLACE
THERE’S NO ONE, NO ONE LIKE JESUS
THERE’S ROOM AT THE CROSS FOR YOU
THERE IS A FOUNTAIN FILLED WITH BLOOD
THERE IS A FOUNTAIN WHICH FLOWS FROM CALVARY
THERE IS A PLACE OF QUIETNESS
THERE IS COMING A DAY
THERE IS JUST NO PLACE LIKE HOME
THERE IS POWER, POWER
THROUGH IT ALL, THROUGH IT ALL…
THROW OUT THE LIFELINE
TO BE LIKE JESUS
TO BE USED OF GOD
TOMORROW
TOUCHING JESUS IS ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS
TRUST IN THE LORD, WITH ALL THINE HEART…
TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS
UNTIL THEN
WASTED YEARS
WE BRING A SACRIFICE OF PRAISE
WE DEDICATE THIS TEMPLE TO YOU LORD
WE HAVE COME INTO THIS HOUSE TO MAGNIFY THE LORD…
WHAT A MIGHTY GOD WE SERVE
WHAT CAN HE DO..
WHEN HE REACHED DOWN HIS HAND FOR ME
WHEN I SEE THE BLOOD
WHEN I WALK UP THOSE STREETS OF GOLD
WHEN JESUS BREAKS THE MORNING
WHERE COULD I GO?
WHERE HE LEADS ME, I WILL FOLLOW
WHERE WILL YOU BE A MILLION YEARS FROM NOW
WHILE I WAS PRAYING, SOMEBODY TOUCHED ME
WHO AM I THAT A KING
WHY DON’T YOU LIFT UP YOUR HANDS AND PRAISE THE LORD
WHY NOT TONIGHT?
WHY SHOULD HE LOVE ME SO?
YES I KNOW, JESUS BLOOD CAN MAKE..
YOU’VE GOT TO LIVE FOREVER SOMEWHERE
YOU CAN’T MAKE ME DOUBT IT….
YOU NEVER MENTIONED HIM TO ME
YOU WON’T LEAVE HERE LIKE YOU CAME

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 16, 2013 at 12:06 am

The Drama Of The Waiting Room

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The Drama Of The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room was full of desperate people. Another shift change brought in a new face behind the desk, but that was the only thing different.

An older woman sat by herself in a corner, observing the actions of some of those around her. She even attempted to guess what had brought them to this place.

A few were in so much pain, that they couldn’t stop the tears from running down their cheeks. Her heart went out to them. She knew the only help she could give them was words, and they needed much more than that.

One of the newest additions to the Waiting Room was a young mom. She nervously paced back and forth. Her face seemed tortured and filled with anxiety. She showed no interest in sitting down. Her lips moved, as she prayed silently while pacing the floor.

Occasionally, she would walk by the clipboard that held the sign-in sheet, as if to see how close her name was from being called. She frowned ever time she looked at it.

When the Attendant occasionally opened the door and picked up the clipboard to call the next name on the list, all conversations stopped, and every ear listened for the sound of their name. The wait seemed like forever.

Some of the people in the room had dried blood on their clothes. A few had addictions, many were diseased, and a number of them had been in an accident of some kind. One or two had limped in with the help of others, but most came alone.

“What are you here for, my dear?”  The older lady asked the young mother.

“I have a sick baby that the doctors can’t find a cure for,” was her answer. Her face showed deep worry and pain.

“You poor dear, it hurts so bad to see our babies suffer,” the grandmother said as she shook her gray head, feeling the pain.

“What are you waiting for?” The younger woman asked.

“My husband,” she said, with a hopeful smile on her face.

The young mother looked around the room again at the huge cross-section of people. She could tell that most of them had been there awhile.

“What is wrong with this place? Why does it take so long to get help here?”

The grandma just smiled faintly and slightly shrugged her shoulders. Then she turned and looked into the eyes of the young mom, and asked, “How long have you been waiting?”

“Eighteen months, two days and eleven hours,” she said glancing at her watch. “What about you?’ She continued.

“I’ve been here thirty-six years, this November,” the grandma said still smiling.

“Oh my word,” the young mom said as she sat down. “You’ve been waiting in here for more years than I am old. That’s an unbelievable long time. Are you able to talk to the Physician at all? Does he ever say anything to you?“

“I talk to him everyday. He is the best there is, and he tells me he’ll let me know as soon as he’s finished.”

“What’s wrong with your husband?”

“He backslid thirty-six ago. God is working on him, so I’m just sitting in this Waiting Room till my husband can pray back through.”

Tears ran down both of their faces.

“My dear,” the grandma said as she observed that no one was monitoring the check-in list, “please bring me that clipboard over there, I want to show you something.”

The young woman obediently brought the clipboard over to the grandmother and sat down beside her. They both looked at the list of names.

The older woman began to flip the pages back. She flipped them all the way back to the first page, and then began to call out random names, with dates and times.

“Here on Page One, it shows that Abraham was promised a son, and he waited here in this room for twenty-five years before Isaac was born.

“On Page Two, it shows that Joseph had to wait twenty years before his dreams came true and he got to sit on the throne of Egypt.

“Umm, on Page Three, Moses spent forty years in the Wilderness part of the Waiting Room, just killing time before God could use him.

Page Twelve shows that David waited almost fifteen years after he was anointed king, before he was allowed to ascend the throne.

Page Twenty shows there was some guy that waited thirty-eight years in the Pool of Siloam Section of the Waiting Room before he got his miracle.”

The younger woman took the clipboard in her hands and leaned back into her chair while she read down the long list of names.

“According to this log,” she said, “not very many get discharged the same day they come. The good news that I see here, is that the Doctor has an amazing success rate. I am not really in love with the idea of waiting, but I don’t plan to leave here until my baby gets well.”

The grandma slipped her arm around the young woman to comfort her. At about the same time they both looked up at two of the signs on the wall.

Their faces were filled with hope anew, as they bravely faced their future in the God’s Waiting Room!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm

The Sinners In The Communion Line

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The Sinners In The Communion Line

The place where The Apostolic Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma is now located, was originally a restaurant. It had started out as The Western Sizzler Steak House. It stood on a small hill overlooking Historic Highway 66 on the edge of town. Its four lanes of highway were closely paralleled by another four-lane road scarcely 100 yards apart.

Even with all the heavy traffic under it’s nose the old steakhouse struggled to survive and finally closed. It reopened eventually, as a Mexican restaurant. This new enterprise was not was not able to last very long either, and finally closed. The big sign overlooking the highway sadly announced that fact when the letters were removed. The restaurant then sat empty for a time.

Originally, The Apostolic Church had been closer to town and was temporarily housed in a storefront, They dreamed of the day when they would have a place of their very own.  They gave sacrificially and saved. They had fundraisers. They prayed and they looked.

A couple of years ago the Lord made way for the empty restaurant to be purchased by the church and they worked hard to remodel their new facility.

Many work nights were needed to make the transition. The normal Thursday midweek service was often cancelled or temporarily changed to “work nights” to accommodate the workers schedules.

In January of 2010 Pastor Jeff Dykes called a three-day fast.  He also announced special prayer meetings for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Communion would be served on Wednesday. This service was just for the church family. The pastor explained the sacredness of Communion and asked that no outside visitors be invited, especially… no sinners.

Unknown to anyone in the church, a stranger named Sam drove by the empty restaurant on his way to work everyday. Sam worked at a hospital a little farther west. He immediately noticed the new church name on the old restaurant sign. Something happened to him then when he drove by the church. It caught his attention and made him look toward it every time he passed by. He felt a peace in his heart when he drove by the church. He felt a peace so great he couldn’t get it off of his mind.

Sam was in pain. His memories hurt him. His heart hurt him. His conscience hurt him. He knew he needed church. He wanted to get right with God. He had been around an Apostolic Church before. Somehow, it had never worked out for him to get right with God. But now he was ready.

He drove back that night, but the service night had been changed due to the many needed work nights. Undeterred, Sam tried several more times to get there when there was church. He felt the need to be in service at this church. He felt a drawing from the Lord.

It happened, that on the night of the announced Wednesday Communion service, that Sam and his girlfriend showed up and sat in the back.

The pastor was caught off guard to see these new faces on a Communion service night. He didn’t feel he could serve Communion to those that not didn’t live for God. Almost apologetically, he explained what was getting ready to happen in the service and said that Communion was a type of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. He said it he only served communion to those that had been baptized in Jesus name and filled with the Holy Ghost.

Sam and his girlfriend never budged. The pastor had tried to warn them off in a nice way, but they had stayed anyway. Less determined sinners might have left. This was going to complicate things.

White cloths covered the trays that contained the Lord’s Supper. They sat on a table in front of the pulpit.

After worship and prayer, the pastor read his scriptural passages and explained that he wanted to serve communion to the church, one family at a time. He invited them to stand in line in family groups.

In so doing, he not only served them all, but personally prayed for each one of them as well.

Sam and his girl friend quietly talked. He wanted to go up and take communion. She invited him to go in front of her, thinking that if he got turned down, she wouldn’t have to wait to be turned down. She’d leave… or something.

Every one else in the building had been served except Sam and his girlfriend. Sam had stood at the back of the line. He didn’t know if anyone noticed or not, but tears were rolling down his cheeks. He was crying very hard.

It was like the floodgates of his heart had opened. The tears streamed and heavily stained his dark shirt. The whole front of his shirt was soaking wet with tears when he stood in front of the preacher to receive Communion. When the Pastor saw Sam crying, he laid his hands on his head.  Sam immediately began to speak in other tongues. What an experience he got!

The church folks all said it was the best Communion service they’d ever had. Oh yes, Sam and his girlfriend both got the Holy Ghost and got baptized. They got married too.

Here is Bro. Sam beating on the old drum during a praise service a year later. He is a good worshipper.

His precious wife is now one of the praise singers.

Oh, yes… Before the night was over, they received Communion too.

To God be the glory.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm