The Ballestero Blog

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Longing for the Presence of God

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Longing for the Presence of God

By

 

 

Nila Marxer

Editor of The Ballestero Blog

When in the course of this world’s self-centered existence, pleasures no longer seem to satisfy. When there’s an emptiness within that cannot be filled with friendships, social media, entertainment, work, travel or prestige. If there still persists this longing, this emptiness, this abandonment of everything that once brought happiness, if there are moments when tears will flood your eyes, and there’s no comprehension as to why you are crying, when you start to wonder why you’re alive, or why do you exist in a world filled with hatred, pain, disease and every sin that exists, you, my friend, are experiencing a tug from the hand of God drawing you toward Him.

 

When life gives no pleasure, you may endeavor to search to find the answer. You may seek out various religions, inquire of philosophers, solicit wise men, and explore divinations. Some will experience with sex, pornography, lesbianism, homosexuality, drugs, and alcohol, and still find no fulfillment in life. The void will still be there. The loneliness will still persist even though you are surrounded by multitudes of people. Your life will be empty because your soul is empty.

 

The emptiness remains. It will always remain until a change is made within. The loneliness will still exist. It will always exist until you make a decision to turn from your life of sin and acknowledge your need of God. The hunger that plagues your soul, and the voice that continually whispers in your ear throughout your day and long into the middle of the night telling you that your soul can only be filled by the One who created it, will always be there until you respond. You may try to stifle it, cover it with distractions, ignore it, but it will not be ignored. God will seek you out. His longing for you will reach to seek you out in the bars, in drug houses, on street corners, in the middle of your great achievements, or in the depths of your deepest depression because your soul is responding to the tug of God wrapping and enclosing it with cords of love and gently, with tenderness, with compassion, and with great longing, He draws you closer to Him. He reaches into the mire of a sinful world to rescue you. You are the one He longs to draw near to Himself. He wants you. You cannot escape His powerful, yet gentle tug. You will be in the middle of some great entertainment and realize that this doesn’t satisfy. You will be on your high, and know that it doesn’t satisfy. Your addiction keeps you going back for more, but you still feel the deadness inside. God will gently drop a hunger down in your soul, and you won’t realize it at first as you try to fill your days with distractions, business, work, or pleasures. How, after you have lived such a sinful existence, can you still feel this hunger?  You were created in His image. It was for the plan of God that you exist. He, and He alone knows your thoughts, your desires, your loneliness, and only He can fill it. Patiently He draws your soul; daily He gently pulls it closer to Him, to repent of a life filled with sinful pleasures and turn toward Him.

 

When you have repented wholly of every sinful action, thought or desire you have done; when you ask this faithful God of heaven to change your thoughts, moods, desires and actions so that you can be transparent, and know what it’s like to live in freedom – freedom from secrets, shame, and sin; when you desire to turn from the life that you thought you wanted, you will be close to living in the presence of God. When you clean your soul by repenting of the filth in which you once filled it, you can wash away every trace of sin by being buried in the waters of baptism in the only saving name, the name of Jesus Christ.

 

Only then will the God of heaven deign to come into your life – a life cleansed from sin – and fill it totally with His Spirit. You will know the exact moment. Throughout the rest of your life, you will remember the day when this powerful and wonderful change happened to you. It will only come by complete submission. You will begin speaking in a language in which you have never learned. When God takes over your tongue and uses it as evidence of His Spirit coming into your life, only then the most powerful transformation will begin in your soul.

 

The emptiness is totally, and forever filled. The longing you once felt is satisfied, because your soul was longing for the One who created it. His presence brings love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. The change in your life will become so apparent you will feel this change. Others will see the change, yet there’s still more. When all self-centeredness, worldliness and pride are surrendered to Him, when wills, hopes, dreams, friendships, and desires are surrendered, and your life is wholly given to Him who desires to love, cherish, perfect and use you, it’s then, and only then you will find peace, contentment and completeness in this sin-craved world in which you live.

 

When you become so desirous to experience more of God, and become involved in His work, you will not take pleasure in your accomplishments and in your work for Him, but humbly offer them to God, not so others can see, but in love and humility and humbleness offer them to the One who gave you so much. Your desire to be seen and heard is no longer what drives you, but the drive will be that your soul existence is to be seen and heard by God. That His desires become your desires.

 

When you can desire Him more than the food you eat, more than the very breath you breathe only then can you really see the design He has for your life. You will not wonder, then, when you’re experiencing pain, financial distress, health problems, relationship problems, or whatever difficulty comes to your life because you are confident in the One who designed this temple of flesh, and will purge it of every hindrance so that you can become the complete masterpiece design which God had in mind at the birth of your existence.

 

When you become wholly dedicated to the will of God, and not question His direction on your life, communicate with Him in complete abandon, desire to dwell in His Word, it’s then that you can become the temple He will take pleasure to abide in. Only then will you be confident that no matter what life brings you, He will always and forever be there with you to face anything that happens in your life, because the circumstances, disappointments, and trials will only strengthen your fleshly temple as He continues to abide in it. Only then will you be a complete and holy temple that is filled with the presence of God.

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 14, 2019 at 10:22 pm

If You See Me At A Distance…

with 4 comments

 

 

Written By My Dear Friend, Pastor Dennis Morris.

Guest Contributor

 

 

 

If You See Me At A Distance…

 

If you see me at a distance, just wave…

You don’t have to come my way, just a gesture of recognition and maybe a smile will be enough to make my day.

Your youth and vitality shouldn’t be wasted, because, I know it won’t last forever. Use it wisely and with precision, I could tell you how wasted time leaves many regrets.

Really!  I love to just observe from a distance the interaction of folks like you who are full of life and enjoying life with others of your ilk. You know, if you try, you and them together could accomplish a lot for God.

No, I’m no one of importance. I can’t offer much but maybe a little experience, I don’t have the energy to run with the big dogs anymore so I’ll just stay on the porch and bark a little now and then so the man with the shovel doesn’t get the wrong idea.

I can’t finance your project or do very much to support your burden but I’ll encourage you if I can to be the best example of a child of God possible, the rest will be added as God sees fit! God is the driver, we’re just along for the ride.

The so-called “Social Ladder”, never made it down this far, so hanging around with an old fella like me won’t boost your standing with the “In-Crowd ” anyway, so just a wave and a smile is good.

Oh yes, I used to rush there and then here and back to there again. I confess I was impressed for a little while by the “In-Crowd “. While I rushed right by a few Great men and Godly ladies that could have and likely would have given me some good advice about wasting my productive years on pursuits that did not profit anyone. Someone told me that the so-called “Upper Crust” was just a bunch of crumbs held together by their own dough! Hmm maybe so…

Oh, don’t take me wrong I didn’t ignore the good folks but what I did amounted to the same, from a distance I waved and smiled. The amazing thing is the big smile that came to their faces when I did take a little time for them.  I wasn’t completely unthoughtful but not thoughtful enough.

It wasn’t them that missed it, I was the loser.

Now I know how much I shortchanged myself.

 

It may sound like I’m having myself a pity party but, emphatically No, I’m not! I’m not being neglected or pushed aside, I pastor a wonderful church and I have wonderful friends and we communicate often. In fact, I feel very blessed.

I miss getting to go to many of the meetings that I always attended but because of life circumstances, I can’t. In fact, it’s as though God has sidelined me. Again, no complaints. I’ve traveled to mission fields more than most and had and still have some wonderful friends.

I heard it said one time that some preachers couldn’t preach their way out of a wet paper bag, I was probably included in that bunch but that’s alright, God has blessed me abundantly.

Besides all that, I made vows to my sweetheart over 53 years ago and I’ve never regretted it! She’s still my sweetheart, sickness and all.

I’m serious, when I say, I don’t expect sympathy for my situation or recognition for my small accomplishments, which are few and my victories that have never reached Goliath Giant per portions.  I’m just a bystander for the most part now, so just wave and smile, I’ll understand and give you the biggest smile I can muster, I promise!

God Bless!

Dennis Morris

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 24, 2019 at 11:40 am

Contentment

with 7 comments

 

 

Contentment

 

Eld. Dennis Morris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phil. 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

God says need! We say needs! Our problem living for God often begins when having our need supplied by God isn’t enough. We convince ourselves, or the devil convinces us, that what we want is what we need. So, we become discontent, not just with what we have but also with God.

 

Are We Ever Content With What We Have?

Heb. 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Ouch! Content with what we have? Is that possible? The American way is to throw away and get the newest! Even if it’s not worn out or defective, it’s gotta be the latest! We constantly talk about and even covet what others have! Do we ever stop and think, God Almighty said: “I will never leave you”! The psalmist put it this way, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”! Bro. James Morar said, ”I have the Lord, I don’t need anything else“! We need to stop grumbling and start praising!

 

Being Content Must Be A Learning Process!

Phil. 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Paul seems to be saying that learning to be content is a process! Hearing, repeating, practicing, hearing, repeating, practicing! All for the purpose of modifying behavior. Also, exposure to those who have experienced the learned change can be very beneficial in our quest! If we hang around the greedy, we will likely be greedy; but, if we fellowship contentment, we can learn by their example!

Saints and even pastors who are discontent with their church can have a negative effect on our spirit. Oh, don’t take me wrong, by all means work to see your church grow but never despise your “little“ church! After all it’s that kind of church where God saved most of us!

 

Being Godly And Being Content Is Progress! (Gain: furnishing, finishing)

1 Tim 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Instead of always trying to get ahead in the world, why don’t we focus on moving higher in God! The GAIN talked about is not material or monetary it’s Spiritual! That’s worth shouting about!

We used to sing songs like, “I’m Going Higher Yes Higher Some Day“, “A Higher Plain Than I Have Found”!

Moving up in God was always on our minds. What has happened to Pentecost? Have we become so materialistic that we are always discontented and disconnected?

 

When Was The Last Time We Were Thankful For Just Our Food And Clothing?

1 Tim. 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

I understand the need to replace worn out and outgrown clothes etc. Cars wear out, houses get old, time alone destroys the strongest structures. Replacing or renewing is part of life but too often we’re not even happy with the new for very long. Someone else has a better one so our lip drops into a pout because we feel like we’re inferior till we get the latest! Ho hum… Almighty God wake me up to how very blessed I am before I greedy my way into perdition!

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 1, 2019 at 11:37 am

Posted in Christian Living, Life

The Home Missions Director Was Afraid Of Twenty Words

with 12 comments

 

The Home Missions Director Who Was Afraid Of Twenty Words!

I sat eating supper at the steakhouse with the Home Missions Director and the District Superintendent.

“Brother Ballestero, we have a total of ten Home Missions churches in our state that we want you to preach a week’s revival at, and we will pay you $700 a week. We have visitors and new converts that we don’t want to scare off. So here is a list of twenty words and phrases we don’t want you to say while preaching in these Home Missions Churches.” The Home Missions Director said while handing me a piece of paper.

I scanned down the list…

Adultery
Fornication
Homosexuality
Gay
Lesbian
Alternative lifestyle
Abortion
Pre-marital sex
Babies out of wedlock
Lust
Immoral
Jewelry
Rings
Immodest apparel
Short skirts
Men’s apparel
Hell
Damnation
Abomination
Trinity

I looked up from the list wanting to see the Superintendent’s reaction. He put his head down and cut another piece of steak. Without a smile or word, I pushed the list back to the Home Missions Director and shook my head from side to side.

The rest of the meal was finished in near silence.

 

That’s when this scripture came to my mind…

Isa. 30:10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

I Would Appreciate It If You Just Wouldn’t Mention Anything About…

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I Would Appreciate It If You Just Wouldn’t Mention Anything About…

The car glided quietly down the Texas road. The only noise came from the breeze in the open windows of the car. The fact that there was no air conditioner in the car made it necessary to roll the windows down because of the heat.

“Brother Ballestero, tonight is the first night of our revival and you will notice three teenage girls that are the praise singers. You will notice also that they are all wearing mini-skirts. They have such great spirits. I am working with them on their attire and I would appreciate it if you just wouldn’t mention anything about mini-skirts or short skirts while you’re here.”

He said that while looking straight ahead. I never turned mine to look at him. Here was an icon in Texas asking me to not to say anything about mini-skirts.

“No problem!” I blurted out.

“Oh, thank you!” He said.

“Well, that was easy. If you would, I have a couple here who have just inherited $1,000,000.00 and they haven’t paid tithes yet. If you say anything while you are here about tithes, they will think I talked to you about it, get mad and may not pay tithes at all. So, if you just wouldn’t say anything about tithes while you’re here I will take it as a personal favor.”

“Not a problem, sir,” I said.

“Well then, just one more thing. I have a precious little Assemblies of God couple coming here and I am waiting for the Holy Ghost to reveal the revelation of the Oneness of the Godhead to them. So, if you wouldn’t preach on the Godhead while you’re here. I would take that as a personal favor also.”

“Relax brother,” I said.
“While I’m here, all I’m going to preach is Jesus!”

He looked at me with relief in his eyes and said, “Thank You.”

“The reason that all I am going to preach while I’m here is Jesus is that it sounds like no one here knows Him!” I said flatly while looking through the front window.

(I am not sure why that revival only lasted one night, but I have a good guess.)

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 11, 2019 at 10:54 pm

What’s Wrong With Your Voice?

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What’s Wrong With Your Voice?

My father rode beside me in the car as we talked about the alarming decline of standards and morality among some of the churches we knew. Dad shook his head after a while and rhetorically said, “Where’s Bro. Verbal Bean when we need him? Where’s Bro. Joe Duke? I wonder why God took their ministries from us when we needed them the most?”

Since neither of us could answer that question, the car stayed quiet for a while as I drove down the highway. Since then, many more strong voices of men and women have been laid silent in their graves. Today, nearly forty years later, I revisited that moment in the car with my daddy.

We look around us now for another star to shine bright! We look for another champion of the faith. We look for someone with an amazing ministry. A preacher we would drive a hundred miles just to listen to one sermon. Someone who will lift their voice.

 

Really?

  • What’s Wrong With Your Voice?
  • What Keeps You From Speaking Up?
  • Why Don’t You Say Something?
  • Why Don’t You Respond To The Need?
  • Can’t You See What Sin Is Around You?
  • And, You Still Can’t Open Your Mouth?

 

Maybe you say to yourself that you don’t have a ministry like Bro. Bean, or a Bro. Duke. So you feel content to be quiet.

Have you never read about a man named Amos in the Bible?

Amos 7:14  Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit:

Amos 7:15  And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.

Amos declares that He wasn’t preacher nor a preacher’s son. He was just a herdsman and had a little fruit stand. Yet God chose to speak through him to a whole nation.

 

God looks for availability.

Eze. 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

Isa. 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

 

God is still looking for a voice!

  • Are You Available?
  • How Would You Respond If God Chose To Use You?

 

Again, I ask…

What’s Wrong With Your Voice?

Someone Needs To Say Something!!!

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 5, 2019 at 4:27 pm

“How Old Are You, Brother Ballestero?”

with 13 comments

 

“How Old Are You, Brother Ballestero?”

I guess I could answer their questions in the normal way, but that would be too easy. It’s more enjoyable to watch their faces when I answer in terms of events rather than the expected number of years.

 

I have been known to respond something like this…

 

“I’m So Old That:

“I can remember when hymns and choruses actually rhymed.

“I actually heard the saints stand up and testify in a regular testimony service.

“I’ve even heard prayer rooms roar with the sounds of victorious saints bombarding Heaven while putting the devil on the run.

 

“I actually saw Sunday School Attendance Boards displaying things like:

  • Attendance Today
  • Offering Amount
  • Number of Visitors
  • Number of Bibles Brought

 

“Church Songs Were…

  • About deliverance from sin.
  • About heaven being a holy place.
  • About the Lord’s return to earth
  • About having your sins washed away.

 

“I actually heard preachers name sin from the pulpit.

“Wayward saints got rebuked openly from the pulpit, that others might fear.

“Hearing the phrase: ‘Holiness or Hell,’ was common.

 

“Holiness and modesty were expected among all Holy Ghost filled saints.

“If the pastor said it, young people obeyed without questioning his reasons or his authority.

“No saint ever chewed gum in church. It was too disrespectful.

 

“Expectant mothers wore loose attire that only revealed a minimum of information.

“Sword Drills were common in youth services.

“A Sunday morning service included a Bible class, a second worship service, and preaching.

 

“Sunday night church was always expected.

“Mid-week schedule of services included a Tuesday and Thursday or a Wednesday and Friday.

“Revivals were held every night but Monday.

 

“Preachers wore white shirts to church and they always wore a tie.

“Rings on a preacher were noticed by everyone.

“When the preacher announced his text, the sound of Bible pages turning would be discerned by everyone.

 

“The spirit of Conviction was the norm in most every service.

“Messages in tongues were not uncommon.

“The sounds of Intercessory Prayer were heard in most churches.

 

“The preaching wasn’t politically correct.

“No one claimed to be living for God with a TV in their house.

“When saints never went to ball games or movies.

 

“When Apostolic saints shunned all of Hollywood.

“When church services often went past 10 pm.

“When New Year’s Eve Watch Night Service most often included a confession service as well.

 

“When we bragged about carrying folks home drunk on the Holy Ghost.

“When folks who disregarded standards were called backsliders.

“When young men didn’t justify wearing shorts just because they came to the knee.

 

“When saintly women abhorred the wearing of any type of makeup because they didn’t want to look like a Jezebel and ruin their testimony.

“When the lights weren’t turned down low at the altar call, and everyone could see who needed to pray.

“When doctrine and standards were openly preached and wonderfully received.

 

“When preachers didn’t teach doctrine and standards in private classes so as not to scare any visitors.

“When Break-Out Sessions were unheard of.

“When those whose prophecies didn’t come to pass were called false prophets.

 

But now…

We’ve moved ‘up’ to the next level of Pentecost!!

 

“You didn’t actually answer my question, Brother Ballestero! You still haven’t told me how old you are. How old are you?”

 

Again, My Response…

“Old enough to want to hear doctrine preached and not some feel-good pop psychology type sermon.

 

“I’m so old that I search for churches that still have that old-time Apostolic feeling.

“I look for churches that still want to hear preaching like it used to be.

“Where testimonies have that New Jerusalem ring to them.

 

“I look for churches that haven’t thrown all the old songs away.

“I want to find places where holiness is still in style.

“Where ALL of the Bible is preached without apology.”

 

“That’s how old I am!”

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 29, 2019 at 10:30 pm