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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Our Hope and Our Faith Part 3


“He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world”

I’ve contemplated these ten words for the longest time. They’ve been with me ever since I first read them many, many years ago, and they are a source of much comfort in my life.

Within these ten words we see clearly that God did not scramble, He didn’t send Jesus on a whim to try and save face because His creation went off the rails, the coming of the Son, His being raised from the dead, and being given glory was all foreordained before the foundation of the world.

That sort of throws a wrench into the whole ‘God’s just as surprised as you or I about what’s happening in the world’ mentality that a certain segment of the church has embraced, seeing as before the foundation of the world the coming of the Christ was foreordained.

My faith and my hope are in God through Christ because I know that He knows the end from the beginning, and has seen to my protection, my safety, and my provision, long before there was need of these things.

I do not fear for tomorrow, nor do I fear for today, because the God who foreordained the coming of the Christ from the foundation of the world also promised that not a hair from my head would fall without Him making note of it.

Because we have faith in what Jesus did on the cross, because we believe God raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, we also have hope. It is not a false hope, it is not a vain hope, it is a hope rooted in the reality of who Jesus is, and the love God manifested for mankind in the person of the Christ.

If our hope and faith are not through Christ in God, then they are vain, and void of substance. Being positive, having self-esteem, or having some quirky mantra you tell yourself in the mirror every morning, all these things are illusions of hope that implode upon gentle prodding. They are the means the world employs to keep trudging along, and not fall into despair altogether, and sadly in recent years much of the church has been employing the selfsame means.

Why would I need anything more to get me through the day when I retain the knowledge of God through Christ? Why would I need a band aid, a distraction, a diversion, or even medication to get me through the day when I know that my redeemer lives, and that I will live with Him?

Is it possible that those who claim to know Christ yet live lives of quiet desperation, utterly joyless and absent of peace don’t really know Him at all?

Christ transforms us. Our faith in Christ gives us hope, it gives us peace, it gives us joy, it tethers us to the Kingdom and allows us to see the plan of God for our lives even when in the present we endure hardships and tribulations.

There is nothing in the world that compares with the freedom we have when we possess true faith and hope in God through Christ, and it is something that the world cannot take away, that persecution cannot take away, that lack, need, or hardship cannot take away, but that we often times willingly abandon for the promise of faux liberty to pursue the lusts of the flesh, that never truly materializes as we had hoped.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Our Hope and Our Faith Part 2


While the enemy is doing his utmost to minimize Jesus, not to be outdone, by and large the spiritual leaders of the day, regardless of denominational affiliation, are themselves busy tearing down the household of faith brick by brick. One of the most useful and effective tools these men have in their arsenal as pertains to their pursuit of making the house of God wholly unrecognizable, is the notion of cultural relevancy.

Think back on it, and you will be surprised how many times you’ve heard preachers insist that the church has to be culturally relevant in order to reach the world.

If it were not so tragic, the notion of cultural relevancy would be downright funny. It is absurd on its face to think that in order to pull someone out of the muck you must first do a summersault into the muck, and backstroke alongside those in the mire in order to relate, and be relevant in their worldview.

Maybe it’s my translation of the Bible, perhaps I missed it somewhere along the way, but having read the gospels pretty regularly for the last quarter of a century or so, I have yet to find any passage wherein Jesus insisted we must be culturally relevant.

He didn’t say, ‘go into all the world and be culturally relevant,’ He said, ‘go and preach the Gospel!’

The problem with cultural relevance is that culture is always trying to push the envelope. The culture of yesteryear is not the culture of today, and sadly, the culture of tomorrow will look very little like the present culture. A small stud in the ear becomes a gauge (if you haven’t seen these things they are downright scary, it’s where people actually stretch out their ear skin until it just flaps there) then two gauges, a nose ring, an eyebrow ring, tattoo sleeves, face tattoos, branding, cutting, and whatever else culture seems as hip, and relevant. I’m waiting for the first guy just to peel off his face like a grape, and see the trend take off like gangbusters.

Pretty soon, unless you’re a transgender taking the pulpit in full drag, while having a lesbian parishioner carrying your gender neutral child whom you plan on naming Quince, well, you’re just an old fuddy-duddy who refuses to change with the times, and embrace the new culture.

I’ve been keeping track of the culturally relevant churches throughout this once great nation, and one thing is demonstrably undeniable: the more culturally relevant a church becomes, the less spiritually relevant it is!

In the end what we end up doing is offering the same kind of worldliness as the world offers, only at a 10% cost of one’s yearly income. If there is no difference between the house of God and the children of darkness except that I perpetually sow seeds in the hopes of reaping a financial harvest, why not cut out the middle man and just buy lotto tickets with that money?

While we’re on the topic, we give because our hearts compel us to give, we give because we want to meet a need, or feed a hungry individual, or clothe a naked one, or care for an orphan, or help spread the gospel, but not because Jesus will send me a check for 1000% of my invested capital at the end of first quarter.

Jesus didn’t die so that we would be culturally relevant. Jesus died that through Him and His shed blood we might be saved, believe in God, and have our faith and hope anchored in Him.

So what’s the point of today’s post? The point is a simple one. If you are in a church striving to be more culturally relevant than scripturally sound, you are wasting your time and your energy, and sooner rather than later the things that will become accepted practice within its walls will make your gag reflex kick in like nobody’s business.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Our Hope and Our Faith Part 1


1 Peter 1:20-21, “He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

For all of this century and the better part of last century there has been an unabashed, enthusiastic, and merciless assault on the Christ, the singularity of Him, the nature of Him, the uniqueness of Him, and the divinity of Him.

From without and from within the church, wherever you turn nowadays there is someone somewhere eager to besmirch the name Jesus, to minimize His importance in our redemption, to lower Him to nothing more than a nice guy who said quaint things that made a lot of sense, but nowhere near the only begotten Son of God through whom we come to believe and have life everlasting.

Men today are no longer servants of Christ, they are spiritual people, with spiritual awareness, and spiritual sensitivity, who are open to the possibility of there being many paths to God, and even to their being many gods in what we, as open minded global citizens, have come to term Zion, paradise, heaven, Valhalla, Nirvana, Arcadia, Elysium, bliss, or the Promised Land, depending on your flavor of spirituality and the doctrine you’ve formulated all by your lonesome regarding the afterlife.

Each god gets a patch of real estate wherein they entertain their most loyal of servants, and rather than hold true to the Biblical edict that there is but one God and one heaven, we’re teaching people that it’s more like the United States of Paradise than one singular place.

If the devil is fighting this hard at trying to accomplish something for so long, in this case minimizing the need for Jesus, our first and most important questions must be, why?

The devil is not your friend. He is not trying to expand your thinking, he is not trying to make you a better individual, nor is he attempting to make you more tolerant and all-embracing for your spiritual betterment. So why is he trying so hard to do away with Jesus?

Because he knows the truth of what Peter asserts, a truth much of the church seems to have chosen to ignore, the very true reality that it is through Christ that we come to believe in God.

Without Jesus, there is no path to God. Without Jesus, there is no way, there is no truth, and subsequently there is no life.  

The enemy has one purpose, and that is to keep as many of God’s creation out of the place Jesus went to prepare for those who believe. He will do all that is in his power to do, he will lie, cajole, misrepresent, obfuscate, omit, and pull every underhanded trick you could possibly imagine and twice as many that you likely couldn’t, to derail you from the path, and compromise you in some manner or fashion.

To believe that the enemy is giving advice to Christians out of the goodness of his heart and because he is such a magnanimous fellow, is as funny and simultaneously impossible as one political party giving sage advice to the other as to how they could better win elections.

People who shoot themselves in the foot are not long for this world, and the enemy’s been around long enough to know better.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Time of Our Sojourning Here Part 5


We’ve become averse to talking about difficult topics. We’ve grown averse to broaching and delving into difficult things, taking a page out of the world’s book and just glossing over them or pretending they do not exist. The more we pretend the worse things get, the worse things get the more callous we become, until a ‘pastor’ giving aids to the parishioners he slept with is half a story at best, and the fact that he refuses to step down from the pulpit is treated with uttermost indifference.

It is downright scary how quickly we’ve descended into the mire and how few in the church voice any opposition to it. The sheep are told to know their place, the leadership appropriates powers and indulgences they have no business appropriating, and we hobble along as anything of virtue, anything noble, anything good and wholesome gets dismantled piece by piece by the godless among us.

‘But it’s okay, it really is, we’re on track to meet the budget this year, and break ground on the new building which will outshine the old one, and have a nice shiny cross on its roof that can be seen from space.’

Perhaps somewhere on a subconscious level, many have realized their messages lack power, substance, Christ, repentance, holiness, the cross, and self-denial, and as such have no power to transform anyone. It is because of this inescapable reality that they need the projects, and the events, and the distractions just to keep people placated and distracted from the reality that theirs is a hollow spirituality.

We wander aimlessly about, comforting each other with the tired adage of ‘well get them next time’, or ‘we may have lost the battle but not yet the war.’ But why? Why are we losing battle after battle, why is the darkness never impeded and the light always sacrificed? Why do we make concessions, and give up ground, why do we keep making our arguments only halfheartedly, and why is there always some apologist in the church who is ready to stand up for sin and insist that we must understand it and learn to live with it?

It is likely I’ve said this before because it’s true, but it bears repeating, it is because much of what we call the church today is itself compromised that we are so timid and fainthearted in our defense of truth.

Confronting sin in the church is a difficult thing. Confronting sin in the leadership of the church is an all the more difficult thing, and this is why much of the time it is the world that exposes the dereliction of church leadership rather than the church body exposing it.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, it goes back to the genesis, to the root cause of why the church is in the sad shape that it’s in, and among the many reasons is the absence of the fear of the Lord.

When we fear the opinion or even backlash of the world more than we fear God Himself, when we try to accommodate the darkness rather than defend the light, then we are become a detriment to the household of faith, and an unfaithful servant to our Master.   

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Where We Go From Here


As perfect storms go, the one currently brewing is a doozy. If this were a military assault it would be like looking at simultaneous attacks from air, land, and sea, with little to no ability to mount a defense, never mind an offense.

It seems like every day I see ten different things I can write about, but I’ve come to realize it is all low hanging fruit. The nation has chosen sin over God, rebellion over obedience, and now, everyone’s part of the evening, the bill is coming due and we’re all thinking we got overcharged.

We didn’t. God keeps good records, and though we might have forgotten about it, or dismissed it as innocuous, everything we have done as a nation in diametrical opposition to His will and ways, every decision we that broke His heart, every sin we embraced and virtue we rejected, is itemized and accounted for.

This weekend I travel with my brother and a friend to pray for someone who is suffering untold pain. Please keep us in your prayers, and pray the Lord will do as He wills in regards to this situation. We know we serve a God who is able, a God who can heal and who can restore, and we have the faith that He will work in a mighty way.

When I return we will delve back into Peter’s first epistle to see what more the Lord would teach us.

I’m guessing you get enough Ebola talk from everyone else, so me piling on won’t help matters any. We fear not, for we know the One we serve. We fear not, for we have been buried with Christ, and with Him raised to a new life.

Will it get worse? Most definitely. The Book says men’s hearts will fail them for fear of those things coming, and looking at the current landscape of this broken world, one can already see a handful of things that would cause one to have palpitations, if not outright stop their heart.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fulfillment


How many warnings must fall on deaf ears before even God Himself is accused of crying wolf? How many unheeded messages and messengers, how many unheeded dreams, how many unheeded prophecies, how many unheeded calls to prepare and sanctify ourselves before even we must admit that God has been more than gracious, and merciful and patient with us?

How long before we, ourselves, begin to cry out for judgment rather than mercy?

Although ‘what’s the Lord saying’ is by far the most popular question I get in my correspondence, whenever things begin to heat up and we begin to see more pieces falling into place, a quiet hum becomes a roar, and I have to wade through e-mail after e-mail asking the same question over and over.

I understand the need or desire to want to know what the Lord is saying, but the Lord has been saying many things, for many years, all of which have gone wholly unheeded.

‘Humble yourselves, repent, turn from your wickedness, and pray!’

‘Yeah, we don’t want to do that, so, what else is the Lord saying?’

‘Prepare yourselves, sanctify yourselves, and steel yourselves for what is to come.’

‘I think we’ll pass on that one too…just tell us what’s going to happen and be specific.’

God has spoken, and He is still speaking, but He is not saying the things the church wants to hear, so the church has chosen to ignore Him altogether.

Even when He is specific, even when God in His love and mercy outlines everything that will unfold, if it doesn’t happen within a hair’s breadth of being uttered, well, then it must have been a false prophecy. We want the quick turnaround. Utter today, fulfill tomorrow, ask no more of us than what we’re already doing for the Kingdom, and we can all go about our business. Never mind the fact that God warns far enough in advance to give people time to repent. Never mind the fact that most true revelation is uttered far enough in advance as to be deemed improbable if not outright impossible at the time it is put forth. We took the initiative and changed the rules on God, and He’d better adhere to our new parameters, otherwise we’ll throw a hissy fit like the spoiled children we are.

So what is the Lord saying? There is one resounding message that the Lord is speaking today. It is clear, perhaps clearer than any other message I’ve received in recent years, and that message is fulfillment.

One word, but it encompasses everything we need to know concerning the season into which have entered. Fulfillment! Of what, you might ask? Of everything God has said is coming, of everything the Word of God forewarned us will take place in the latter days, and all the optimism and platitudes and wishful thinking and positive attitude in the world will not spare the unprepared from the horrors that are on the horizon.

Even those speaking messages of warning got caught up in thinking they had more time, that the things they had been shown were something afar off, perhaps ordained to take place after they would have passed from this life to the next, but we are seeing it is not so. The time is not afar off, the time is now, and if we are not in Christ, if He is not our anchor, our rock, our foundation, our refuge, our hope, our peace, our strength, our provision, and our joy, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

We have had ample time. But alas, time has run out.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Upended


We make heroes of monsters, and monsters of good men. We idolize the perverted and depraved, while mocking innocence and making light of hard work. We are barreling headfirst toward destruction laughing raucously all the way, not realizing we are the joke. We are the punchline the world is laughing at, and we no longer even entertain the idea that they’re just laughing with us. We now know they are laughing at us.

Everyone squeaks and squawks about equality, but equality isn’t really what anybody’s after. The desired result, what is being sought and pursued with vigor, is for the majority to be culled, made to heel, and to be ruled by a minority. This is the only equality that they will accept, and most people are indolent enough, concerned only with instant gratification rather than the long term effects of what is being done, to be bothered.

Give them bread, and give them circus, and the vast majority will care not a whit about what is being done behind the scenes, or the perilous edge their nation is balancing upon.

We treat more harshly one who forgets to feed their pet breakfast, than one who willfully murders an unborn baby. We laugh at sin, and refuse to acknowledge the consequences of it, finally finding someone else to blame for the shambles our life has become once the cancer of depravity has run its course and all that remains is an empty shell with broken dreams and a dark and haunted future.

The church, the one place that ought to be safe haven for the broken, bruised, and hungry has become home to thieves and hucksters, two bit con artists and confidence men who come up with wilder and wilder stories, promising bigger and bigger returns on one’s investment, hoping to snare another gullible innocent in their web.

Indulgences are readily available for the right price, and if you’ve got enough cash, you will surely find someone to talk you right through the pearly gates, into Abraham’s bosom, using the VIP entrance.

Maintaining one’s integrity in a climate such as this is becoming more and more of a struggle, especially when you know you can come up with better shtick on your worst day, than most of the oily peacocks prancing about on stage.

From time to time you find yourself growing envious of the naïve and ignorant as well. You know the ones, those waiting at the bus stop for one way charter to heaven, because at least for now, it seems their ignorance affords them a blanket of bliss that knowledge stripped from you long ago.

I find myself becoming more cynical and I don’t like it. I find myself looking for the angle, even with those who identify themselves as Christians, and the sad reality is that most often the angle they’re playing at isn’t very well concealed.

Worst by far, at least as far as I’m concerned, is that by and large the enemy has deceived much of the church into believing the lie that though they serve a supernatural God, He no longer does supernatural works. We are a world upended, and sadly a church upended, and because we no longer believe in the manifest power of an engaged God, we mistake darkness for light far too often, and reject truth as though it were a lie with startling regularity.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.