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Archive for the ‘Unity’ Category

The Sin Of Finding Fault

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The Sin Of Finding Fault

Prov. 6:16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

Prov. 6:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

Prov. 6:18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

Prov. 6:19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

God hated the first six things mentioned here. The seventh one… He hated it so much, He called it an abomination.

“The sowing of discord among brethren.”

If God calls it an abomination, then it’s a bad sin.

1. ‘The Sanballat Syndrome’. – (He wanted Nehemiah’s work to fail.)

  • It hinders growth
  • It divides
  • It sows discord
  • Critics do great damage.
  • Do you want your church to fail? Then don’t kill it with criticism.
  • Many are destroyed by criticism.

2. What makes people criticize? There is always a motive!

The reason Judas became critical of Mary washing the feet of Jesus and breaking the expensive alabaster box with perfumed ointment, is because he wanted it to be sold so he could get his hands on the money. He was a thief!

John 12:5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

John 12:6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

There is a reason, a good reason why people say what they say.

What makes you criticize? At the very least, it’s a spirit that is using you to bring disruption into the Kingdom. Your actions hinder unity at the very least.

3.  Biblical treatment of critics.

Railers are critics or fault finders that make little snippy comments. Sometimes they even make harsh indictments.

Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

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

4. Paul said, don’t even eat with a critic. Don’t sit at the same table. That spirit will get on you.

1Cor. 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

5. Murmuring in the wilderness

It brought the judgment of God.

  • The fiery serpents.
  • God keeps track of your complaints.
  • He reminded them that they had murmured 10 times.
  • God said that by murmuring, they had tempted Him to destroy them.
  • Complaining is criticism.
  • Don’t make God want to get rid of you.

6. Almost every church has at least one critic.

They make comments about:

  • The temperature
  • The noise level.
  • The drums
  • The songs
  • The sermon
  • The sermon length
  • What someone wore
  • The worshipers
  • The youth group
  • The youth leader
  • Those that pray too loud
  • The preacher, his wife, his kids
  • The offerings
  • The tithes

7. Fault Finders:

  • Have a self–righteous attitude.
  • They have a sense of superiority.
  • They have pride issues.
  • Refuse to admit what their doing is wrong.

My father had a sign in his pastoral office that said: “You can’t white wash yourself by blackening others.”

8. Like the Pharisee praying in the Temple with the publican,

They thank God they are not like other men. Yet unknown to them, God is not hearing their prayers.

9. Haman could not see the thousands bowing down before him.

All he could focus on was the one that didn’t. That fault led to his eventual downfall and death. He could not enjoy what he had. He could only see what wasn’t going his way.

10. To those that battle with this problem, there is hope.

  • Paul mentioned that he had learned in what so ever state he was in to be content.
  • It’s possible to learn to be content.

Contented people do not criticize. They are content.

  • May there be peace in our spirits and in our church.
  • Contentment is a friend of unity.
  • Unity preceded the Holy Ghost outpouring in the book of Acts.

Barnabas was an encourager. He was an edifier.

May God give us more men like Barnabas. We desperately need them.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 25, 2010 at 10:42 am

Bring Them Up To Pitch

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Bring Them Up To Pitch

The home going of Brother C. M. Becton is a great loss to us all. I will be among those that will truly miss him.

The first Camp Meeting I ever heard Bro. Becton preach, was Michigan’s in the 1970’s. I wish I could remember the exact title but I cannot. It was something about ‘Bringing Them Up To Pitch.’ I can remember his message though. It was one of those unforgettable messages. Here are some of his sermon points:

1. The Reader’s Digest told a true story about a shepherd that was lonely. He had no company but his portable radio and his violin. He wrote a letter to CBS and asked if they would play an ‘A’ at midnight on a certain night for him, so he could tune his violin. They did. It was important to him that his violin could be in tune. It’s always important to be in tune.

2. A piano has 88 keys. When it gets out of tune, it is not thrown away. A piano tuner is called. He has tuning forks, tools and instruments necessary to bring the piano back up to pitch. Then once again the instrument is looked upon with pride and it’s music becomes a joy.

3. Bro. Becton called the camp’s organist, and keyboardist to the platform. He expressed how noticeable it was to be off even one half of a note. The musicians were asked to play  ‘Amazing Grace.’ in ‘A’ flat. It sounded beautiful. He then asked the organ player to play the song in ‘A’ flat and the keyboardist to play it in ‘A’. There was only a half note difference, but it was very unpleasant to the ears. It’s important to be in tune.

4. When Apollos first came preaching, his doctrine was off-key. Priscilla and Aquila did not throw him away or call him a false prophet; they just took him home and brought him up to pitch.

5. It is easy to discard people who are not just like us. (He was not talking about compromising the doctrine or doing away with holiness.) However, differences are everywhere. If you are quick to throw people away because they are not just like you, then remember the story of the piano being brought back up to pitch.

6. There are some things most commonly believed among us that are written in black and white in the Bible, and should never be changed or tampered with. On the other hand there are some things that are not essential for Salvation, and yet men have separated fellowship rather than bring them up to pitch.

7. Don’t be quick to throw people away if they seem a bit off-key. Just bring them up to pitch. It opens the door for unity.

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

Update:

(Thanks to Sister Jana Allard, she has supplied me with the sermon title.)
“Someone referred to this message on FB and said the title was “A Certain Sound.”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 18, 2010 at 11:41 am

Posted in Death, Unity

The Peace Prize

with 5 comments

The Peace Prize

He sat there stunned. The huge room was filled with people from everywhere. The Presenter of the highly esteemed “Peace Prize” was listing all of the qualifications a potential candidate must posses in order to receive the award.

The winner would be given an unbelievably large sum, plus a myriad of perks and benefits. Receiving this award would be someone’s dream of a lifetime.

He looked around the room at all the others there. He recognized quite a few. He wasn’t even sure he should be here.

  • He wasn’t a rocket scientist.
  • He wasn’t a well know politician.
  • He wasn’t a world leader.
  • He wasn’t a hero of any kind.
  • He wasn’t a famous doctor with a large laboratory.
  • He’d never discovered a cure.
  • He didn’t even have a fancy degree.
  • He was just a private citizen.

Yet, now he found himself sitting in this international assembly of people. Some of them are amazingly gifted. He felt so small compared to them.

He is brought back to reality at the mention of his name. They just called his name! His name! He is being announced as the winner of the “Peace Prize.”

He’s stunned. What did he do to win this? With his brain in a whirl he somehow stumbles to the stage.

He stands there modestly, while the Presenter begins to read his accomplishments to the audience. He drops his gaze and looks at the floor while he listens. Tears begin to trickle down his face. He remembers the things that are now being read.

He never did those things to win a prize or for any recognition. He’d only done it out of love.

Besides receiving all the “Peace Prize” benefits and provisions, he is handed a beautiful certificate with his name inscribed on it, signifying him as the winner. It simply says:

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

Matthew 5:9

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 18, 2010 at 1:51 am

Poor Old Joe

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Poor Old Joe

Joseph was well respected among the followers of Jesus. Everyone seemed to honor and respect him, if not love him.

Because Joseph was such a common name, it was not unusual for a man to have additional identifying names. Even nicknames. Joseph had three names. Joseph, Barsabas and Justus.

He was present that day in the upper room with the 120, and there he received the Holy Ghost along with the others. Before the Spirit was poured out however, there was business to attend to among the disciples.

Judas had committed suicide. There was a vacancy among the twelve that needed to be filled. Peter spoke to them all and asked the 120 to submit two names they thought worthy of the office of ‘Apostle’. Someone had to be chosen to be one of the twelve Disciples.

Two names were brought to the ‘floor’. The first one they nominated was Joseph.  Matthias was the second name mentioned.

  • Acts 1:23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
  • Acts 1:24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
  • Acts 1:25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
  • Acts 1:26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

It appears that Joseph’s life and reputation were impeccable. Just by the meaning of the names given to him in later life it is fairly easy to see why many respected Joseph. Nicknames were commonly given to describe their personal attributes.

  • Barsabas: “Barsabbas” is Aramaic for “son of the sabbath,” perhaps because he was born on the sabbath. (Bible Background Commentary)
  • Justus: “Just”, a name given to him because of his integrity.

Apostle Matthias

Poor Old Joe. He didn’t get chosen. Matthias did. After this selection by the casting of lots, we never read another word about the good man Matthias. It’s like Scripture ignores the rest of his life.

It appears however, that Joseph the un-chosen, is mentioned again. Barnes Notes and other commentaries suggest that he was the man mentioned in Acts 4. They feel he’s the one that sold his property and laid the money down at the feet of the Apostles.

What did Joseph do when he didn’t get chosen?

  • Did he get his feelings hurt?
  • Did he leave the fellowship circle?
  • Did he quit church?
  • Did he sit cross-ways with the Apostles?
  • Did he become critical of Matthias?
  • Did he go start something of his own when he didn’t get voted in?

The answer is ‘No’. Not at all!

If this is indeed the same man, then he not only continued to be a follower, but he chose to be of service too. Insomuch so that he was willing to give his all… literally, to the work of God.

Don’t feel sorry for Old Brother Joe. His reward is securely laid up in Heaven.

  • Mark 10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
  • Mark 10:30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

Oh, one more thing. Acts four says that he laid the money at the Apostles feet. He laid at their feet in an act of obedience and willful submission. That could have been him up there, if the lots had chosen him. But his name Justus, (Integrity) still stood him in good stead. He submitted to the Headship of the body of Christ.

Give us more Brother Joes.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 13, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Please Forgive Your Pastor!

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Please Forgive Your Pastor!

(Written on behalf of your Pastor.)

By Martyn Ballestero Sr.

In the spirit of humility and with great carefulness, I am asking for your forgiveness. My heart is heavy.

Knowing that I have hurt you with words that I have said and things that I have done, I sincerely apologize and I ask that you Please Forgive Your Pastor!

It is a tool of Satan to bring division into the Body of Christ. He knows that will stop revival. I am grieved to know that I am included in his plan and have become part of the problem.

We are all aware that it is the plan of our soul’s enemy to destroy our church. Pledge with me before God not to let this happen. Please Forgive Your Pastor!

Knowing bitterness will destroy us, defile us and divide us. Please Forgive Your Pastor!

  • I love you dearly.
  • I care how you feel.
  • I need you.
  • This church needs you.
  • God needs you.
  • I forgive you.

Please Forgive Your Pastor!

I pray that all may see that my mistakes have been made from my head and not from my heart.

I know that some decisions I have made have not been popular and no doubt have brought pain.

I also know that you might feel that I must hate you by the way I preach or because of my sermon’s comments.

I could never apologize for preaching truth, but I can and should apologize for using a bad or wrong spirit in the process. Please Forgive Your Pastor!

The most important relationship in the Family of God is that of Pastor and Saint, Shepherd and the Sheep. I am striving to protect that and to bring the Peace of God into all of our hearts.

I do not wish to be a lord of God’s heritage, or to bring injury. My duty is to look well to know the state of the flock. I have, and feel God has directed me to come to you.

I take responsibility for my:

  • Choices
  • Decisions
  • Comments

Whether some think less or more of me for publically apologizing, I ask forgiveness.

I do not want God to put a millstone around my neck for bringing offence to one of His children.

Please Forgive Your Pastor!

  • This is not my church.
  • This is not your church.
  • This is God’s church.

Satan rejoices at our discomfort today.

Hell is pleased beyond words.

There is no problem worth us going to hell over. Please Forgive Your Pastor!

I ask forgiveness because I love you and I see I’ve hurt you.

I ask forgiveness because God put you in my care and I do not wish to anger God.

I ask forgiveness because:

  • I need you
  • I need your help.
  • I need your support.
  • I need your prayers.
  • I need your friendship.
  • I need your fellowship.
  • I need your loyalty.
  • I give you mine.

Please Forgive Your Pastor!

We desperately need revival in our church. Revival only seems to come when there is hunger and unity for the same thing. (It did on the day of Pentecost.)

But Unity does not happen unless there is forgiveness and the overlooking of personality differences for the sake of souls.

I am willing to humble myself to please God. I am asking you to join me.

I am willing to admit my mistakes and apologize. I am asking you to join me.

I am willing to admit my need for God’s guidance and correction. I am asking you to join me.

I am willing to do whatever it takes to:

  • Keep the spirit of unity alive.
  • Keep the spirit of worship alive.
  • Keep the spirit of prayer alive.
  • Keep the spirit of revival alive.
  • Keep the spirit of brotherly love alive. I am asking you to join me.

Please Forgive Your Pastor!

Knowing that offences will come, I pray for strength.

Knowing that offences have come, I plead the blood.

Knowing that offences will destroy us, Please Forgive Your Pastor!

Join me in prayer.

Your leaving or my leaving does not solve the problem in eternity.

God’s only solution is forgiveness.

Unforgiveness endangers our eternal future.

  • The fear of the Lord requires me to check my spirit.
  • The fear of the Lord requires me to censor my words.
  • The fear of the Lord requires me to watch my attitude.

That brotherly love may continue.

And, that brotherly love may continue, God also requires me to come to you if I know that you have ought in your heart against me. Only after I make things right with you will He hear my prayer.

I’m very sorry.

Please Forgive Your Pastor!

Join me now in putting yesterday behind us, experiencing God’s richest blessings today and in reaching for the things that are before us.

Please Forgive Your Pastor!

Thank You!


Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 16, 2010 at 11:51 am

The Worst Family In The World

with 8 comments

The Worst Family In The World

I don’t want to be accused of gossip, or sued for writing about a family that I know, so I’ll not use any names.

It’s the most unbelievable family I’ve ever met. There’s not another couple like them anywhere. Once you’ve met their family, you might even want to run away from them too. You will however, at least shake your head in disbelief as I have.

The Father is a big guy. He’s likeable enough sometimes, but he has such a bad temper. He’s always ready to fight at ‘the drop of a hat.’ The family and neighbors could entertain us for a long time telling about all the fights that he has been in. He has been ordered to take anger management classes, but he refuses to go.

On the other hand, Mom is quite good looking for her age. She constantly tries the latest beauty treatments and is determined to keep up with the Jones’s. She feels deeply, and becomes easily entrenched in the snare of wanting what she can’t have. I can’t count how many of her friendships she has ruined because of her displays of jealousy.

That’s Mom and Dad. I want you to meet the kids. The house is full of children. It’s no doubt the largest family I have ever met.

Everyone will tell you that they are the worst kids in the world. They are totally undisciplined. If you met them, the words, “little heathens,” would come to your mind.

  • For example, one has committed murdered and gotten away with the crime.
  • Another is a known thief.
  • They all lie.
  • One of them is a drunk.
  • Some had been in jail.
  • They all love to stay up all hours of the night and prowl through the neighborhood. They wrecked havoc almost every night.
  • The brag about their exploits.
  • They all reject the authority of the school, the police and the pastor.
  • They want to party all the time.
  • They are incorrigible.
  • They are all juvenile delinquents.
  • No visitor feels safe in their home.
  • No one in their right mind invites any one the children into their home.
  • They changed their neighborhood for the worse.

Their neighborhood was the nicest one in town. It was peaceful. People moved there because it was quiet and it seemed safe. No one even locked their doors. The neighbors really seemed to like each other too.

Neighbors began to put up FOR SALE signs on their homes not long after the family with all the kids moved in. No one wanted to live near them. Not only did the kids take over the neighborhood. The neighborhood association was not even able to buck up against this unbelievable family.

There was one church in the vicinity. The First Pentecostal Church, and many of the neighbors attended.

The family claimed to be members of The First Pentecostal Church also. The parents attended faithfully and attempted to bring as many of their kids as they could. The children disrupted many services.

  • They ruined Weddings.
  • They sabotaged Birthday Parties.
  • The destroyed the Church Dinners and other functions.

Visitors often decided to never come back because of what they saw and heard. Even some of the long time members left and told the pastor that they loved him but they couldn’t tolerate ‘that’ family.

The parents got offended with the pastor and began to talk about him. They finally got enough influence in the church and then they helped split the church. They went across town and started their own.

They posted pictures of their new church on Facebook and bragged about their new church and new pastor. They also told lies about the former pastor and church people.

Mom and Dad even became an active part of their Pentecostal Association. They seemed pleased to attain a degree of respectability.

  • I want you to at least meet them.
  • I want you to know their names.
  • I want you to be alert if they ever visit.

Remember their names. Her name is “Envy” and his name is “Strife.”

They are the mother and the father of the confusion in your neighborhood and in your church. They are also the parents of every evil work.

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

BEWARE!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 3, 2010 at 1:51 am

Ten Traits Of A Successful Saint

with 3 comments

Ten Traits Of A Successful Saint

They Have Faith

  • They trust God.
  • Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

They Are Obedience

  • They don’t argue with the Bible or the Pastor. They willingly submit to His Word.
  • Rom. 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

They Live Righteousness

  • They live right. They are honorable, pay their bills, and their word are their bond. They give the Church a good name.
  • Phil. 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

They Are Humble

  • They are not proud or arrogant. Neither do they display attitudes.
  • 1Pet. 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

They Love One Another

  • They love, forgive, overlook faults, are not harsh or critical. They are kind and helpful.
  • 1John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

They Surrounded Themselves With Godly Fellowship

  • They are careful about influences in their life. They understand, carnal friends call pull them down and pull them out.
  • 2Tim. 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

They Worship:

  • They don’t have to be begged to praise the Lord.
  • Heb. 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

They Witness

  • They never forget who they are and why they are here.
  • Matt. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

They Have Personal Devotions

  • They include the Lord in their daily living.
  • Acts 3:1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

They Live A Holy Life

  • They live like, and even look like someone who has given their life to the Lord.
  • Rom. 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 9, 2010 at 9:45 am