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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Save For the Gospel


At first I thought I missed it. I am by no means infallible, and though I’d read certain passages within God’s Word vehemently contradicting what I was hearing from not one, or two, but more and more preachers and teachers – and continue to hear to this day – I was open to the possibility that perhaps I’d read certain passages too fast, or didn’t see certain words as I ought have.

There were too many men claiming certain theories as undeniable fact, and doing so with such authority and vehemence that I began to wonder if I’d somehow missed the boat, if I’d somehow misread the Word and had for all these years decided to make life harder on myself just because I was striving for some unattainable figment of my own imagining.

Persecution hasn’t even started in America, yet more and more believers are looking for justification and permission to deny Jesus, save their skin, and apologize later. If, as some major Christian figures have stated we can be first in line for the mark of the beast and still make it into heaven long before the door is shut, who is a little denial of one’s Lord and Savior going to harm?

It’s not like we would really mean it, and we can always apologize after the fact, having been wise enough to spare ourselves undue distress.

Save for the Gospel, the excuses, justifications, and explanations we give to ourselves for having hypothetically denied Jesus if we were ever called upon to suffer for His name’s sake, are plausible and would even serve to appease our burdened conscience for a season.

It is the Gospel that dispels these childish notions, and clarifies this position once and for all.

I did. I wanted to be sure. I went back and read all the relevant passages, and though I find myself in the minority, I realize I didn’t miss it on this one, and when Jesus said, ‘If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father in heaven,’ He didn’t qualify it at all.

He didn’t say, ‘If you deny me before men, and really mean it,’ or ‘if you deny me before men and don’t cross your fingers before you do,’ or, ‘if you deny me before men and don’t apologize afterwards.’

Matthew 10:33, “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”

Mathew 10:38, “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”

Matthew 16:25, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My name’s sake will find it.”

Maybe it’s just my translation of the Bible. I’ll bet that’s what it is. There couldn’t really be that many preachers out there teaching things contrary to the words of Jesus just to placate the cowards in their pews could there?

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there are no qualifiers when it comes to denying Jesus. You can’t do it just on Wednesdays, you can’t do it if you plan of apologizing after, and you can’t do it only if your life is in mortal danger. Jesus did not qualify His statement with any adjectives. He simply said, ‘if you deny Me, I will deny you!’

We can’t allow for personal opinion when it comes to Scripturally established issues, and though we might be tempted to twist ourselves into a pretzel trying to make these passages say something they don’t, the truth is far simpler, if ever more unpleasant a thing to contend with for the flesh.

‘Whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.’ Seems pretty straightforward to me, but then again, I don’t have the weight of a seminary degree to tilt my perception to the left.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

And So It Begins


It happened sooner than I thought it would, and that is not a good thing. A United States citizen was beheaded on U.S. soil, of all places in Oklahoma. There will be plenty of people trying to spin this story and call it workplace violence, or some other politically correct euphemism, but the reality is what it is, and no amount of spin can change it.

A woman was beheaded in America, by a man who professed to be a Muslim convert.

To all of you who left the lovely comments about me being a fear monger, hate monger, war monger, intolerant of other cultures and whatnot a couple weeks ago when I wrote my article on moral equivalency, what say you now?

How many will it take for this nation to wake up and realize that it’s not the Bible bangers, Jesus freaks, turn or burn crowd, or churchgoers that are the imminent danger?

Will it take five? Will it take ten? Will it take fifty beheadings throughout this country before it becomes impossible to cover up the truth of what is happening?

This is the inevitability of what occurs when you glamorize sadists. This is what happens when you show the guys in the ninja suits walking in slow motion, carrying their black flags in the desert, and never mention that they likely smell like stale sweat and week old sheep lard, or that they’ve likely never been privy to a running shower. Am I profiling? No, not in the way you might think. Are the brain dead among us going to miss the point of this post altogether and start ranting about how I’ve proven my intolerance?  It is likely.

We’ve romanticized murderers and homicidal psychopaths, but this is nothing new. It has been going on for long and long, from Charles Manson, to the two brothers in Boston a couple years ago, to a handful of others the mass media has decided to glamorize and romanticize as though they were something other than the sick and evil twists they are.

I have always been a prepare for the worst, and hope for the best sort of guy. Oddly enough, I think the worst most folks are preparing for is far less than the reality we will be confronted with will be. When you place butchers among sheep, even a handful can rack up a hefty body count.

For the most part, I cannot say most people are ill equipped, but they are ill prepared for the brutality with which these individuals are pursuing their agenda, and the inevitable reality that if such events increase in number and frequency, their lives will forever be changed.

What can we do but steel ourselves? What can we do but be prayed up, and certain of our place in God? What can we do but what we’ve been doing for long and long, and simply be faithful servants of Christ Jesus even unto death?

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Not God's Best!


There are certain expressions, within certain contexts that really get my goat. It’s not just that they’re annoying and foolhardy, they actually make me angry. Although the list hasn’t grown for a while, of late I have steadily been adding expressions to it. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just me getting older and becoming more of a curmudgeon, but in hindsight I think anger and annoyance are the proper response to these expressions.

For long and long, somewhere at the top of my list were either the drunk drivers or texting tweens who plowed into an innocent and killed them, employing the go to line, ‘I wish it was me instead of them.’ I’m sure you do. I’m sure the individual’s family wishes it were so as well, but if wishes were horses we’d all have stables, and there would be allot more cowboys about.

Every time I hear the line, it just angers me instantly. You chose to drink and drive, you chose to text and drive, you took a life because you were reckless and foolish, and you wishing it’d been you and a quarter will get you a stick of gum, if that.

Another expression that really gets me fired up is ‘he is a good boy,’ within the context of some testosterone filled young man or another doing something truly awful, then having his aged mother come to his defense. Obviously he is not a good boy, madam! He shot three people, killed one, and tried to run over a police officer with his car. He is not a good boy, and you saying it does not change the reality of what he has become. Perhaps, when he was younger, playing with his Legos or Tonka trucks he was a good boy, but now he is a full grown adult who has taken a human life, and his having been a good boy at one point does not change the present reality.

Now lately I’ve been hearing another expression coming from America’s spiritual luminaries, and it has the capacity to infuriate me more than any other. If we were to look back, I believe the originator and purveyor of this expression is none other than everyone’s favorite theological powerhouse Joel Osteen.

Whenever any pastor who doesn’t want to get his hands dirty is asked about his opinion on homosexual marriage, polygamy, or any of a dozen other aberrant practices, they put on the plastic smile and deliver the line they must have practiced in the mirror a hundred times: ‘Well, I don’t believe it’s God’s best for them.’

Oh, really? Not God’s best? Is it that difficult to utter the word sin? Is it that difficult to grow a spine and say with the conviction requisite your station that it is in fact a sinful act, and if not repented of will lead men to damnation?

By this logic, whatever it is that men practice, whatever perversion or sinful act, simply isn’t God’s best. Are you a polygamist, a pedophile, or a zoophile? Well, you know, it’s not God’s best don’t you? Is this the most accurate Biblical answer we can give? We couldn’t come with something more substantial, or dare I say Scriptural?

We’re not even talking about lying, cheating, fornication, adultery, licentiousness, avarice, greed, or covetousness anymore. These things are so rampant within the church that to speak against them would be to empty out an entire congregation faster than if someone rolled a live grenade down the center aisle. We are talking about things that God Himself sees as abominations, and it is these things that our spiritual better see not as sin, but simply not God’s best!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Sad State of Affairs


For the most part the watchmen are no more. Some just grew weary and disillusioned and out of utter frustration abandoned the watchtower, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t blame them. I’ve been there, experienced the frustration, constantly feeling as though I was just screaming into the void, having my words misunderstood, being made to wonder why I put myself through it all, if perhaps I’m just an intellectual masochist who needs to feel pain to know he’s alive. But, since I’ve never been a quitter, and there are extenuating circumstances to consider such as standing before God one day, I press on, each day wearier than its predecessor, taking delight in the little things life offers when they are offered.

Others, more shrewd and self-serving absconded as well, but not before ransacking the castle treasury and taking as much as they could carry. Either way, the end result is no more watchmen on the wall, and that ought to be a thing of great concern for all.

Meanwhile the people of the city revel as though the enemy were not at the gate, and as though they were not in imminent and mortal danger. Even though something doesn’t feel right, most choose to ignore it, finding more distractions to fill their time rather than seriously consider what is happening all around them. Sometimes truth itself is overwhelming. The magnitude of it, the sheer force of it, will often paralyze an individual for an instant or for the rest of their lives depending on their constitution, but I would rather have the truth than the lie any day of the week.

I have epiphanies in the strangest places. One such place was an asylum for the mentally insane in Romania, during a visit to see how we could help, whether monetarily, with foodstuffs, clothes, or any other things we had available at the time.

The doctor in charge asked if I would like a tour, and since I’d never been to an insane asylum before I nodded in the affirmative, and we began the walkthrough. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I grew up in the early nineties, and snuck over to the neighbors often enough to watch television to have formed an opinion as to what I was going to see. It was nothing like that. Yes, some of the residents were obviously disturbed, but most were just sitting alone by themselves, either drawing or playing with some object or another.

There was one woman that drew my eye, not because of how she looked, but because of what she was doing. She looked normal enough, had on a bathrobe, and her hair was combed, but she was standing in the corner and bleating like a sheep. The whole time we talked, the whole time we walked through the recreational area, this woman did not move, she just stood in the corner, facing the wall, and bleated.

‘Does she ever stop I asked the doctor?’

‘Not unless she’s heavily medicated,’ he answered, ‘what else does she have to do anyway?’

That’s when I had my epiphany. What else do the instigators, flame throwers, baiters, the professionally offended, and the litigiously prone have to do?

Other than the clear departure from godliness, one of the things that has brought about the sad state of affairs we currently find ourselves in is that we’ve given ear to the crazies, and not only that but convinced them that they are not in fact crazy, but perfectly sane when calling for the wholesale slaughter of one ethnic group or another, the murder of unborn babies without apology, the destruction of the family, or a dozen other things that I would rather not go into because I’m about to put my daughter to bed, and I want to be able to smile at her.

We pander to the lowest common denominator, and elevate them to celebrity status.

Case and point, there are tens upon tens of thousands of men and women serving in the armed forces, and honorably so, and other than the thirty second blurb from time to time informing us that they are not being given the medical attention and treatment they rightly deserve for having served this country, they are rarely mentioned.

One of them decides to put on a skirt, some lipstick and some eyeliner, and he gets an hour long special on one of the premiere news outlets of this nation.

Are you married with children working hard just to get by? Eh, so what, you’re boring.

Are you barely twelve, unwed, and on your second pregnancy? Perfect! We’ll give you a television show.

And so, the state of affairs gets sadder still, until it did not surprise me one bit when an effeminate fellow called me a breeder under his breath as he attempted to sit my family and I in a restaurant recently.

Two cheers for progress. Hip! Hip!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Most Dangerous Theory


There is a most dangerous theory making its way through the ether infecting both believers and non-believers alike. It would seem at the height of political correctness, it decided to couple with utter idiocy, and this theory is their lovechild. It pains me to hear anyone spout such nonsense, but it pains me doubly so when I hear believers defend this nonsense in their never ending quest to be relevant, edgy, cool, non-offensive, and all inclusive.

The theory I speak of is that of moral equivalency. In the eyes of the proponents of this theory, there is absolutely no difference between the little old lady dressed in her best outfit making her way up the church steps on a Sunday morning clinging to her Bible, and the bloodthirsty brute who in the name of his god slaughters innocent men, women, and children with no more a dilemma regarding the matter than one would have between ordering the chicken or the pasta on a transatlantic flight.

Even to one who could never be accused of brilliance or genius, the stark difference is evident between the two. One of these things is not like the other, yet many, some even within Christendom insist on the notion of moral equivalency, as though that is some excuse for murder and mayhem.

We are reticent to call things by their proper name in this country due to political correctness, and I fear the day will come when our insistence upon this foolishness will be our own undoing.

I’m sorry to be blunt, but if you believe the dad trying to keep a roof over his family’s head and food on the table while teaching his kids a sense of morals in an world absent morals by taking them to church on Sunday morning is on par, and on equal moral footing with guys who go around crucifying people and beheading them, then you’re an idiot and there is nothing I can do to help you.

Yes, I know, the overly sensitive will be all aflutter because I called a certain and by my estimation quite large segment of the population idiots, but it’s a little late in the day to sugarcoat things for the sake of sparing the crazies their feelings.

My next article will be called ‘The Sad State of Affairs’ and it will tackle how we got here, and yes, a large, overwhelming part of it has to do with promoting, elevating, and honoring the crazies and the perverts of our society rather than seek to show them the error of their ways.

But back to today’s rant….

To the proponents of moral equivalency, and those who continue to trumpet the lunacy that there is no difference whatsoever between Christianity and Islam, perhaps it will take some goat herder or failed rapper standing behind your kneeling form, cupping your chin, and gleefully sawing away at arteries and viscera to make you realize that the danger lay elsewhere, and not in the group of individuals whose only form of condoned killing, is to kill folks with kindness.

To those believers who continue to insist upon this theory and support it, I say stop embarrassing yourselves and making yourselves look the fool. If you believe these two opposing religions to be on equal moral footing, then you don’t know Jesus, you don’t know the message of the cross, nor do I believe were you truly saved and renewed in mind and heart. Take a long hard look in the mirror, contemplate the things you have been saying, and for the sake of all sane, rational folks who are trying their utmost to continue pointing the way to Jesus, and highlighting the fact that He is unique, one of a kind, Lord, King, and Master, shut up.
 
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Your Lord or Your Idol?


The main stream media has a new evangelical darling, and all it took was for him to blurt out something they agreed wholeheartedly with to make him a sensation, a star, an up and coming theological powerhouse the likes of which we have not seen since Joel Osteen.
 
In a moment of profound umbrage, fed up with being fed up, a pastor of some sixteen thousand congregants recently declared, ‘I’m done with stupid rules’, and that’s all it took for this profoundly simplistic utterance to go viral.
 
I don’t know the man, I don’t presume to judge the man – in the end God will judge us all anyway so why should I tire myself out – but his words got me to thinking about a broader implication, and why it is we are seeing such a lethargic, impotent, woefully inept and ignorant church prancing about as though they’ve seized upon the key to all wisdom for the first time in human history.
 
Whether Jesus is your Lord and your King, or He has become an idol of your own making, is the key to determining how you live your life, how you conduct yourself, and how you will view the ‘stupid rules’ set about in Scripture, spoken by none other than Christ Jesus, such as daily denying oneself, picking up our crosses, and following after Him.
 
You obey a Lord, you obey a King, but you don’t have to obey an idol. An idol can be anything you want it to be, demanding nothing of you for it can make no demands. It is an idol, formed by the hands of men, worshipped for no other reason than to placate the burdened conscience, and compel certain individuals to think of themselves as spiritual.
 
All idols require is worship. Jesus demands transformation.
 
Rather than being Lord of their lives, for many a soul today, Jesus has become an idol. Jesus is whatever they want Him to be, whatever they need Him to be, without the burdensome issues of obedience, servitude, self-denial, regeneration, transformation, and other things we need not fret ourselves with, muddying up the waters.
 
We want Jesus on our terms, He wants us on His terms, and the only way we’ve found to get around this sticky wicket, is to pretend to worship and obey Jesus, but a Jesus of our own construct, who doesn’t have any of those stupid rules, who doesn’t require any life change, who doesn’t demand repentance, or a breaking of ties with the darkness, but is simply overwhelmed with emotion at the sight of you sitting in a pew every other Sunday chewing gum and wondering when the service is going to be over, or if you’re going to have to wait in line at the local buffet if the preacher drags the closing prayer on longer than he ought.
 
This is largely the reason the Western Christian cannot wrap their minds around men and women being martyred for the cause of Christ, unwilling to deny Him, unwilling to betray Him, but going to their deaths faithful to the end as a true servant ought.
 
You can change idols easily enough, but to change Kings is to knowingly betray your King for His enemy, to knowingly become a traitor to He who has shown you boundless love, mercy, grace and goodness.
 
You hear these inane ruminations that could only come from the mind of a lazy, fattened, ignorant, casual Christian, such as ‘why didn’t they just lie and say they would convert to Islam’, or ‘why didn’t they just cross their fingers and say whatever the masked men wanted them to?’
 
Because they understood the difference between worshipping an idol, and serving a King! They understood, and paid the ultimate price, fully understanding what it means to follow those stupid rules, and lay down your life for the cause of Christ.
 
At this point, we the Christians of America ought to burn with shame. Our cheeks ought to glow red, we ought to avert our gaze, but we have long since lost the ability to blush, we have long since lost the ability to feel shame, and as long as there’s one or two luminaries out there telling us they’re tired of all the stupid rules, or that willful, continual, habitual sin isn’t really sin, but merely not God’s best for your life, we stumble ever onward toward eternity, believing wholeheartedly that we’ve outwitted God, and discovered the loophole that will let us into heaven while our hearts are firmly tethered to hell.
 
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Foolishness of Foolish Fools


When was the last time your God asked you to behead someone with a knife? How about to simply kidnap someone and declare them your betrothed, your one and only, the half that completes you ‘til death does you part? Perhaps it wasn’t an act, but rather a declaration such as vowing to drown everyone else on the planet except for your little clique in their own infidel blood. When was the last time God asked you to make such a declaration? Not recently? Perhaps never?

Yet here we are, being told by our spiritual betters that all religions are religions of peace, and the god of each is so similar that it would not be untoward in the least to broad brush the entire matter and say we all serve the same god just under different pseudonyms.

Remember that time, in the not so distant past when religious leaders of every stripe were falling all over themselves trying to be the first to lick the boot of power and echo the ramblings of other fools who said that we had nothing to concern ourselves over in regards to the religion of peace? Remember how we were told time and again that all they do is bake muffins for the cripple, make paper-mache dolls for pyromaniac adolescents, and knit booties for three legged kittens? We just thought they were different because they had beards…never mind the meat cleaver in the grizzled gentleman’s hand, go give him a hug.

There is politically driven rhetoric, there is religiously driven rhetoric, but what stinks worse than a rotting carcass in the midday sun is politically driven religious rhetoric. For the sake of a seat at the table that never materialized, your spiritual leaders betrayed you, sold you out, pimped you out, deceived you, and lied right to your face.

They were almost sycophantic in their demeanor, slavish in their devotion, ever eager to parrot the nonsense they were fed, about us just not understanding traditional quirks and so finding such things as dismemberment, mutilation, decapitation, torture, murder, rape, and slave owning off-putting was done so out of ignorance rather than out of a justified sense of moral outrage.

We were purpose driven right into heresy, and anyone who tried to warn that these people neither walked like a duck, quacked like a duck, nor wanted to hug you, were branded haters and closed minded.

What I want to know now is if such esteemed luminaries as Rick Warren will own their words, or backpedal as though their life depended on it, insisting that they didn’t say what we thought they said, and if they did say it then we heard it wrong, and even if we heard it right, we’re only talking about a small, minute, infinitesimal number of individuals, a few hundred thousand at most, who want to see us drown in our own blood, so what’s the big deal anyway?

Sometimes the foolishness of fools is breathtaking to behold, and what’s even more astounding is that no one calls them out on it. Will anyone ever point to that Hillsong fellow and call him a deceiver and a heretic? Likely not because they have good music, and he’s more of a positive motivator than one of those stuffy preachers who insist on sanctification and the such. He never claimed to know the Bible, or teach the Bible, but rather to inspire people to be better versions of themselves, to be positive, to believe in prosperity, or whatever else rehashed drivel is popular nowadays.

If the sheep didn’t love it, such shepherds would cease to exist. Because the sheep love to be deceived, because they are willing to believe even the most aberrant of lies if it means that they can hang on to their sin, then it’s alright by them, and when they are told that murderers, rapists, and other such fellows who revel in the taking of life and shedding of blood worship the selfsame god that they do, they nod their heads, and smile, and go on about their day.