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Thursday, February 19, 2015

And Now You Know!

Some months back, when I called Rob Bell a heretic, I got a ton of hate mail calling me unloving, intolerant, a knuckle dragger unwilling to see beyond my own legalistic dogma, jealous, envious of another man’s success, and a few other choice things that I cannot repeat here lest children happen upon my blog.

Recently, Mister Bell pulled the mask off altogether and spewed a few more nuggets of worldly wisdom that has all of Christendom apoplectic, wondering why they couldn’t see the man for what he was sooner.

I’m not much for ‘I told you so’. Not to toot my own horn, but if I were a fan of the ‘I told you so’ fad, I’d spend half my waking hours telling people, ‘I told you so’.

That this man is still called a pastor is an outrage to reason and sensibility. That this man is still touted as a man of God is beyond the pale, and anyone calling themselves a Christian still defending his teaching should really consider visiting a mental health specialist sooner rather than later.

To answer the question that is on so many a mind, the question being how exactly Mister Bell could come to the conclusion that the church is a hair’s breadth away from embracing every vile and wicked act as being the embodiment of love, one must look at what he thinks of the Word of God, then look no further than that.

Since I do not want to be accused of putting words in Mister Bell’s mouth, I will quote verbatim his response to a question posed by yet another luminary of the modern day American Church and Spiritual movement, Oprah Winfrey, regarding what seems to be the gotcha topic of the moment, homosexual unions.

“I think culture is already there and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense, when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and co-workers and neighbors, and they love each other and just want to go through life with someone.”

Bravo, well done, hip hip, you virtuous and brave defender of the faith, you. To call this man a pastor is like calling someone who mutilates cats in their basement a doctor. I’m sorry, I can’t do this anymore. Seriously! How much more idiocy must we put up with until there is a resounding chorus of ‘enough’ from the household of faith? Does anyone even care anymore? If no one else does, why should I?

As I said, one need only look at Mister Bell’s reply to understand how little he thinks of the God of the Bible, and the Bible itself. Rather than calling it the inerrant, infallible, absolute Word of God, Mister Bell refers to the Bible as simply letters from 2,000 years ago, chiding those who would quote it as less than intelligent individuals who are waging a losing battle. In his not so humble opinion, if your only defense for the position you hold is the Bible, then you are a fool, an imbecile, a clueless troglodyte who deserves to be segregated to some desert somewhere, where you can live out the rest of your days quoting 2,000 year old letters to others of your ilk. This man still calls himself a pastor and others refers to him as a pastor! I’m sorry I feel the need to reiterate this, but it’s just beyond me.

It is because he thinks of the Bible as nothing more than a collection of letters that he can spout the idiocies he spouts without an iota of apprehension or fear.

These are the men you have chosen to lead you to green pastures and pure waters. These are the men to whom you’ve entrusted your spiritual wellbeing. These are the men who are held in high esteem, and seen as forward thinking luminaries of the new spirituality. These are the men who are supposed to introduce you to Jesus. Good luck with that.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Consequence of Everything

There are consequences to everything in life. There are consequences to action, as well as to inaction, to ignorance as well as to knowledge, to foolishness as well as to wisdom. Nothing we choose to do or not do, say or not say, embrace or shun, is absent consequence both in the instant we’ve made said choice, as well as from that point forward throughout your existence, and oftentimes far beyond.

I believe we’ve lost sight of this all important fact as a society, and it is one of a handful of reasons we are in the condition we are in, circling the drain ever so precipitously, clinging to anything whether it be a straw or a clump of earth just as long as we can keep alive the flicker of hope that we can return to former glory, and rediscover the righteous path we’ve long abandoned.

The problem as I see it is that all most of us do is hope. We don’t act, we don’t speak, we don’t exhibit righteous anger as the grossest of perversions befouls what ought to be the most sacred of places, we keep silent, keep our head down, go about our daily labors, and hope.

While we’re doing all the hoping, they’re doing all the acting, and in case you haven’t looked at the scorecard lately, we’re down by a lot more points than we’d like to admit.

Even our prayers are a cross between resignation and acquiescence, no longer praying for God’s will to be done, no longer praying for His justice to shine forth, no longer praying that He judge righteously, but rather just praying that the disease stops short of our doorstep though it may engulf the rest of our town.

We tell each other our tales of sorrow, and even then in hushed tones, because we fear reprisal, we fear the spotlight, we fear being singled out by the machine,  we fear being thoroughly chewed up, spat out, and left for dead, and this fear is what the darkness is betting on to keep us silent. The silence of the righteous is like catnip for the devil, and with each silenced voice he grows all the more emboldened.

Given what we’ve seen of late, this fear is completely justified, and the fact that Christians, and men of substance are being targeted is not just your jangly nerves working overtime, but a present reality. As children of God, however, we must move beyond the fear, and by faith override the inherent need for self-preservation, for only then will we have the wherewithal to stand boldly and declare sin for what it is, knowing that reprisal is a given.

We are seeing the consequences of silence and acquiescence all too vividly in our society, and the longer we remain silent, the worse it will become.

When the bell tolls, and the bill comes due, we will likely be in a mad rush to find someone to blame, someone to pass the buck to, but will ultimately realize that though the blame can likely be spread around a bit, by and large the brunt of it must be appropriated by those who chose silence over vocal opposition to the darkness, and who having done the math realized that going along to get along would ensure their comfort and ease far longer than standing up for the truth would have.

Every man values one thing above another. We either value truth more than we value our flesh, or we value our flesh more than we value truth. Our actions will speak the truth of it even if our lips might not.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Almost Funny

‘I will not eat you,’ said the wolf to the lamb. ‘Just climb into my mouth for warmth.’

I have been relishing peace of late. I have been watching my daughter grow, enjoying the calmness of the world, at least calm compared to what is about to descend like a thunderclap, and spending quiet time with God. Simplicity is good for me. Simplicity works.

It’s not that I’ve willed myself not to write anything the last few weeks, it just hasn’t happened. Between feedings, naps, diaper changes, walks, and other mundane things that bring me great joy for some inexplicable reason, I go to bed exhausted each night, only to get up and do it all over again. This morning I finally gave in and checked to see what’s happening in this world of ours, and although it came as no surprise, I found it sad that things are continuing to escalate.

I am still fascinated by some men’s willingness to believe their sworn enemies at their word. I am still unable to process how some actually believe that advice given by another who intends to do them harm is in their own best interest.

Some world leaders are not amateurs, and they know exactly what they are doing. Some of them have big plans, big dreams, big aspirations, and what’s more they are ruthless enough to succeed given the right opportunity and set of global circumstances.

One of the first things any form of combat teaches you – whether it be boxing, judo, karate, or the dozens upon dozens of martial arts disciplines – is to never telegraph your next move. Telegraphing your next punch, means that your enemy will be able to defend himself against it, then retaliate to such an extent as his abilities will allow.

If your opponent is truly skilled, then if he feigns left, usually the next blow will come from the right, and if he telegraphs his next move, knowing his skill level, you dismiss it outright because you know it’s a feign.

Another golden rule of battlefield strategy is to know your enemy. Only once you have come to know your enemy can you understand what motivates him, what drives him, and what his endgame is.

The moment someone with an undeniably strategic mind moves the first piece on the chess board, your question must be, ‘what is his endgame?’

Once you’ve identified what the endgame is, you can rightly predict your opponent’s next move, even if he tells you his intent is the complete opposite.

If not for the outright incompetence on display regarding Russia and their strategy, this entire situation would be almost funny. If not for the imminent danger the world is in, one might just shrug their shoulders and go on to the next story.

Contrary to their recent statement, Russia has big plans, and annexing what they perceive to be prodigal children of the old Soviet empire is just the beginning.

Some are breathing a sigh of relief thinking that the entire drama in the region has reached its apex, and is ready to die down, not realizing that the unpleasantness with Ukraine was the first calculated move, soon to be followed by many others, and with each move that goes unopposed they grow all the more emboldened in their pursuits.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Fervent Love Part 5

While she was alive my mother was known as the generous lady. If you had a problem, a pressing need, some issue you couldn’t see yourself out of on your own, it was common knowledge that you went to ‘the lady with the orphanage’ and if there was any way that she could help you, she would.

Even when there was no money to give out, there was always a sympathetic ear, a hug, a shared cry, and for many these gestures of heartfelt empathy were enough, because they realized someone actually did care, someone actually did take an interest.

We garner reputations by the way we live our lives both within the household of faith and without. Are you known as the guy with the face tattoo and eye piercings, or the guy who spends much of his free time reading to the elderly in the retirement home? Are you known as the lady who screamed at the bag boy for bagging your groceries in paper instead of plastic bags, or as the lady who makes Christmas boxes throughout the year for the poor kids in the community?

Our actions define us more than our words ever will. I can tell everyone within earshot that I am generous and magnanimous, that I give of myself, of my time, and of my resources, or I can do these things consistently without bothering to see if anyone is noticing, and eventually you will be known for it, because men notice.

Men likewise notice when we call ourselves believers, Christians, followers of Christ, and soldiers of the cross, yet equal them in their thirst for debauchery and lawlessness.

It is the same within the household of faith.

If you are always the one comforting the bruised and broken, if you are always the one reaching out a hand to help those who have stumbled, the body will take note, and you will be identified as one who has fervent love for the brethren, and as one who realizes that when one member suffers, the whole body suffers.

Likewise, if you are always the one beating a brother when he’s down, if you’re always the one trying to trip everyone else up just to get a few paces ahead of the crowd, it will be noted, and you will likewise be labeled as what you rightly are.

Are you a defender of the Gospel, or are you a cowardly lemming trying to keep from being seen and singled out? Your actions will determine how you are perceived, not the words you speak about yourself.

I am a man of words, but I also realize the futility of words, especially when it comes to the titles we afford ourselves and the accolades we shower upon ourselves. There’s a reason public relations firms make so much money, and it’s not because they tell the truth about their clients.

It is because those who hire such companies have no substantial accomplishments, and are not known for anything they’ve done in life, that they must resort to fanciful reinterpretations of their endeavors, and downright lies to make them seem more than they are.
An individual whose accomplishments are evident need not brag or boast about themselves, nor do they need to publicize what they do. They will be known organically, by their very nature, because eventually who you are, what you are, will be made clear to one and all, whether to your glory or to your shame.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fervent Love Part 4

This idea of a compromising god, this idea of a god which is, at the drop of a hat, more than eager to make any concession we deem necessary, is a god fashioned by compromised men, for compromised men, and has no resemblance or similarity to the one true God, the God of the Bible.

No matter whom we think ourselves to be, no matter the pedigree we boast of and hold in high esteem, no matter the works we have worked, no matter the sermons we have preached, no matter the accolades we’ve received, God will not compromise for our sake.

The thought that God makes concessions, or that He will acquiesce to our whining and complaining is utter folly. Stories told by immature children to other immature children.

Within the framework of such discussions, many are quick to point to David as the go to, although, oddly enough, no one ever seems to point to Uzzah. If we do our due diligence we soon discover that God made no compromises with David, and that He dealt with him justly, but all many seem to remember is that he got away with the whole Bathsheba debacle, even though he really didn’t.

What’s more, you’re not David, and neither am I, and while he was under law, we are under grace, the blood that was spilled on our behalf far more precious than that of goats, lambs, and oxen.

Many a soul have cherry picked their way out of the presence of God, into the deepest of darkness, because rather than submit to the authority of He who was, and is, and is to come, they tried to find loopholes and excuses for their pet sins and vices. Enamored with ourselves as we might be, God doesn’t play favorites, nor does He believe, as many of us tend to do sometimes, that we are indispensable, essential, and necessary to the Kingdom, and as such God will have no choice but to turn a blind eye, swallow bitterly at the lawlessness we practice, but in the end do nothing concerning the matter because He needs us so.

I’ve heard enough people say they were integral to the plan of God, then turned out not to be so integral after all, that I’ve come to realize, each man, to the last is expendable, and as soon as they remove themselves from beneath the covering and the authority of God, as soon as they cease to walk in obedience and humility, God will find another way of bringing His plan to fulfillment.

The thought that we are somehow more special than our fellow man, more special than those we sit next to in church on Sunday, or more special than those we come in contact with on a daily basis, is oddly comforting to some folks. Never once does it cross their minds however, that the person sitting next to them in church is having the exact same thoughts about themselves, thinking themselves somehow special, and preferred in some way or fashion of God.

How we can gloss over the written Word wherein we are told that there is no partiality with God is a mystery I have yet to solve, but just because we think ourselves a certain thing, it does not mean God is beholden to share the selfsame thoughts.

Oddly enough, it is God who likewise says His thoughts are not as our thoughts, but He must have been talking about something else, not about how special we are, because let’s face it, how couldn’t God think that we’re special?

Seriously though, if we put as much effort into seeking after humility as we do thinking we are somehow superior to others, many of us would be much further along in regards to our spiritual maturity than we are at present.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Life's Profound Lessons

One cannot plan for life’s profound lessons. There is no way of marking the date on our calendar, of foreseeing when and how and via what circumstance or event our eyes will be opened to a new, as yet undiscovered reality, but throughout our existence, throughout our journey here on earth, we learn, and grow, and mature, and come to understand deeper truths concerning our walk, as well as our relationship with God.

I had just such an experience recently, one I shared with my wife, and which came via our baby girl. Oftentimes it is in the strangest of circumstances that we learn the most profound of truths, and this instance was no exception.

As a friend of mine once said to me, you cannot truly know the love God has for mankind until you become a parent. You cannot truly know the intensity, fervor, and completeness with which God loves until you hold your own child in your arms, look into its eyes, and know that you would gladly lay down your life for theirs, you will work night and day to make sure they have a roof over their heads, and you will do your utmost to be a good example throughout your life so that your child can in turn climb far greater peaks than ever you dreamed.

Recently we’ve been incorporating foods other than mother’s milk in Victoria’s diet, and that led to an unforeseen issue. To put it mildly, she was constipated for a few days, and after day two both her mother and I began to be concerned. When day three rolled around and still nothing in the diaper, we started making plans to go buy suppositories, feed her some prunes, and other things first time parents the world over tend to do.

It was near the tail end of day three that we heard a couple grunts, and the all familiar sound that signaled she had crossed the Rubicon and at long last had a bowel movement.

Both my wife and I were grinning ear to ear, happy and jubilant, until finally I looked at my wife and said, ‘you do realize we’re excited about poop.’

We were over the moon because our child had done something normal, biologically ordinary, something common and routine, something all children the world over do.

She didn’t start doodling algebraic equations with her fingers, she didn’t start playing the piano, she didn’t recite a poem, or even say any specific word…she pooped, and we were elated.

We often think that we have to accomplish some magnificent deed in order for God to be elated. We often think that unless we can add our name to the list of mighty men and women of valor in the Kingdom, then God simply shrugs his shoulders, lifts the velvet rope, and waves us on through to heaven, without really knowing who we are.

God is our heavenly Father, and as a father He gets excited over the little things His children accomplish. God is on our side. He is joyful when we begin to understand the callings to which we have been called, and to walk in them, even though it is a natural function, and something every child of God ought to be doing anyway.

When you really think about it, Job had not done anything extraordinary. He had not called fire down from heaven, he had not put armies to flight, he was simply a blameless and upright man, yet God boasted of him. Granted, there was none like him on earth, but still, as far as accomplishing something goes, Job was just living his life in accordance to the will and precepts of God.

God notices the little things. He is ever engaged in our existence, and even boasts of us when we endeavor to be more like His Son Jesus.
This is the lesson I learned as I stood over my daughter, changing her diaper, and smiling at my wife from ear to ear.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Hardest Part

Sometimes waiting is the hardest part. Man, up until the advent of the social safety net, was wired to try and do his utmost to solve the problems in his path, and overcome the obstacles he was faced with. The math was simple. If you didn’t work you didn’t eat, if you didn’t eat you starved, if you starved you died.

For many it’s not the case so much anymore. Since they know that even if they don’t try there will be a fallback, some entity they can go to for aid, some governmental agency that will step in and help allowing them to bypass hard work, there are many souls who are content with floating through life taking what they can get.

Not wanting to start an entirely new conversation on this topic, I will make the following clarifications forthwith:

I am not referring to those who cannot fend for themselves due to illness or other issues. I am not referring to those who have fallen on hard times and need a little help for a little while until they get back on their feet. I am not referring to those who simply can’t find a job in this economy. I am referring to those who are able bodied, sound of mind, could get work if they wanted, but just choose to take the freebies instead.

This article is not about social ills, or economic unsustainability, however, it is about the mindset of many believers today, who insist, and vehemently so that there’s got to be something they can do in the physical, some way they can prepare, some ethereal three step manner by which they can hedge their bets and be just a bit better off than their neighbor when the hammer drops and the music stops.

I get countless e-mails asking if I think it’s a good idea for people to buy gold, silver, build shelters, store food, stock up on guns and ammunition, and a dozen other things that are reasonable and logical on the surface, but become dangerous crutches when we tend to lean on them rather than the mighty hand of God to carry us through.

Crutches don’t always hold. Sometimes they break, sometimes they slip, and if we were resting the entire weight of our being on that crutch, when it snaps, we will likely tumble as well.

I realize some of you want concrete answers. Some are even very insistent upon it, but telling you what I believe will work for me in the physical and encouraging you to do likewise would be presumptuous and foolhardy of me.

If in your heart you feel led to store up some food, than do so. If in your heart you feel led to purchase precious metals, than do so. Whatever it is that you choose to do however, always keep in mind that these are just precautions that in the end might not aid you in the least.

You may have to flee and leave the food behind; a loaf of bread might be worth more than all the gold you’ve been able to accumulate. There are countless scenarios that can and will play out that we cannot possibly conceive of at this moment in time.

I realize how powerful a need it is for some of us to do something, anything knowing what is coming. I have six month baby girl and a wife to care for. I’ve got skin in the game. I know what you’re going through, but in the end I know that try as I might, in and of myself I can do very little to keep them safe.

Hence the reason I continue to stress the only thing that will truly matter in the days to come, and that is a true, profound, deeply rooted, sincere, and intimate relationship with God.

Once that is established, then and only then will we know that waiting on the Lord is not wasting time, it is not cowardice, it is not refusal to see the world before us as it is, but it is doing what we were commanded to do in His Word.

If you know that you are His, if you know yourself to be redeemed, sanctified, born again, and walking in righteousness, then hard as it might be in the beginning, wait on the Lord, and He will renew your strength. Wait on Him, for He is never late, and He can do in an instant, in a breath, in the blink of an eye, what we could not manage in an entire lifetime, or ten lifetimes for that matter.
I have seen the goodness of the Lord up-close. I have seen His ability to provide, to shelter, to protect, and to comfort far too many times to ever doubt Him, or attempt to minimize what He can do. He is able. He will keep His word. In the year to come, take heart in the knowledge that He is on the throne now and forevermore.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.