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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Fervent Love Part 2

So what is obedience? Yes, I know, basic. Evidently, given the spiritual climate of this present generation basic is what we need to get back to, reiterate, reinforce, and reacquaint ourselves with.

At first glance it seems we’ve all become some sort of pseudo-mystics and faux-prophets who are a step away from reading tea leaves and cat entrails, making pronouncements about the future of mankind willy-nilly, because a black-footed ferret only blew mucus out of one of its nostrils and not both on the third day of December, which coincides with some other day that was celebrated by a Inuit tribe six hundred years ago.

We have abandoned simplicity, we have abandoned basic Christianity, and as such we are become a mockery and a reason for derision.

Speak of obedience and men will either yawn, or attempt to stifle a yawn depending on their upbringing, but speak of planetary alignments and pole shifts, and magnetic discombobulations, and they’re all ears.

I’ve been rebuked by people I know for not incessantly trumpeting what our ministry has been given regarding these last days, and how what is happening now mirrors it quite literally, because ‘people should know you said it first’, and my only response is, ‘so what?’

Do I get a cookie? Does our ministry get a gold star? Do we get to jump the line at the local buffet because we were first to speak of the things that are currently happening in America and throughout the world?

The children of God ought to have enough discernment to know the authentic from the counterfeit, the newly minted prophets who merely regurgitate what they saw on the evening news from the ones to whom God truly spoke long ago, far enough in advance wherein when the words were uttered, men laughed and mocked.

God speaks so His children have the blessed assurance that He is in control, He knows the end from the beginning, and He will by no means leave His beloved to wallow in ignorance. What was spoken was spoken, we are seeing it come to pass, but the overshadowing message, the one that we must continue to trumpet and hammer home, is that of living out one’s salvation, walking in obedience, and pursuing closeness with God, that we might be sheltered and kept during the coming days, and more importantly be welcomed into His eternal kingdom. 

If you don’t have the basics down, if you are not pursuing obedience of truth in the Spirit, then all this other tertiary knowledge is utterly useless. For some it is even dangerous, because they come to believe that by retaining this mystical knowledge they have somehow found a way of bypassing the need for repentance, obedience, and fervent love.

So, back to basics we go. What is obedience?

Simply put, obedience is the quality or state of being obedient. To be obedient, is to comply, conform, submit, or subordinate oneself to another’s authority, in this case, the authority in question being truth. Since Christ identified Himself as truth, it is not a stretch to then therefore put forth the notion, that by submitting ourselves to Christ through the Spirit, are souls are purified and we have been born again of incorruptible seed.

For the life of me I could not find anywhere in the Bible where God would rather we dialogue, or negotiate, than obey Him.

Yet, here we are being told time and again that what God really wants is a dialogue with us. Here we are being told time and again, that God is willing to meet us somewhere in the blurry middle, where we don’t exactly do as He commands, but we don’t get our way the whole way either.

‘Neither party gets 100% of what they want, but they can both live with the compromise.’

I fear God cannot live with the compromise, He will not live with the compromise, nor is He beholden to live with the compromise. God is God, but we think so little of His wondrous person nowadays, that saying He is evokes no emotion, no fear, no trembling of the soul as it ought.

And so, rather than the simplicity of obedience throughout our sojourning here on earth, we have grown comfortable with what amounts to joint custody of our eternal souls, where in God gets them on Sundays, Christmas, Easter, and a few other days here and there, and the devil has them the rest of the time.

Sadly, even in these instances, wherein we think joint custody is accepted practice, the devil seems to have possession an inordinately more amount of time than does God, but that’s a different matter altogether.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Fervent Love Part 1

1 Peter 1:22-25, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because ‘all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.’”

Peter begins these three verses with an educated assumption based on the individuals to whom he was writing. He presupposes that those who would be reading his words had already purified their souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren.

Long before we can delve into the discussion of fervent love, what it is, why we ought to possess it, and who it ought to be focused upon, we must determine whether or not our souls have been purified in obeying the truth through the Spirit.

If this has not occurred, if this purification has not taken place, then discussion of the latter things will prove pointless, and will only end up frustrating us to no end, for without having had our souls purified by obeying truth, it is impossible to grasp the meaning of fervent love, and what it is to have been born again of incorruptible seed.

The problem with dumbing down the gospel is that certain things just can’t be dumbed down. We have oversimplified the process, hoping to attract more souls, but in so doing we have nullified the process altogether because the primary ingredients, those things required to make one’s soul regenerate, and an individual born again, have been removed.

The first step on this journey is always the submitting of oneself to the truth. We come humbly before the throne of God, we ask forgiveness with repentance and sincerity, then in having truth revealed to us, we obey it through the Spirit, without attempting to alter it, twist it, or otherwise make it something it is not.

The modern day spiritual person loves the idea of fellowship with God, but loathes the notion of obedience to the truth. They want to do what they want to do, and still enjoy intimacy with the Creator, even though the Word clearly tells us this is an impossible thing.

It is in obeying the truth through the Spirit that we purify our souls, not in signing up to a particular denomination, sitting under a certain individual’s teaching, or uttering some inane mantra upon waking from our slumber every morning.

Obedience of truth is a prerequisite, and knowing this, Peter assumed that those to whom he was writing were already far enough along wherein their souls had been purified in obeying the truth through the Spirit.

Obedience is not a one-off endeavor. We don’t obey truth once, and then go about our merry lives nevermore giving it another moment’s thought. Obedience is an ongoing practice, something we endeavor to, and aspire to, and strive for every single day of our lives, for we know that in obedience of truth we discover the key to the purification of our souls and being reborn of incorruptible seed.

We read the words of Jesus concerning the end times, essentially prophesying that the love of many will wax cold and that brother will turn against brother, and as little as a handful of years ago we could not see how this could be. Well, the picture is becoming clearer, the love of many is no more than cold ash, animosity toward one’s fellow man is at an all-time high, and at the heart of it all is the absence of obedience to the truth.

When first we stray from truth, we begin a journey toward the heart of darkness that only repentance and obedience can subvert.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Yet Still Among The Living

I’m not dead…obviously. Nor have I absconded, fled, or otherwise abandoned my post in lieu of what is to come. I am still very much alive, but I’ve had to pay down some bills, and I did so the only way I know how, by working.

Unless you were born with a silver spoon, or platinum rattle, you know what I’m talking about, and hopefully can sympathize.

There really isn’t much to say, to be honest. Everything is playing out before our very eyes, and I catch myself wondering if, when they do the post mortem on this nation, cause of death will be suicide, hubris, or stupidity.

It’s sad what’s happening, and it will get sadder. Of this I am certain.

I’ve been getting tons of e-mails asking of this is what my grandfather saw back in 1984, about an internal revolution started by the communists in the middle of the country, and I will say to you what I said last night on a radio show, they picked the wrong martyr to anchor a revolution on, but eventually the right one will come along.

What we ought to take away from what’s been happening in recent weeks is the speed with which civil order and the illusion of safety we’ve fashioned for ourselves can be utterly demolished. If nothing else, that should be of grave concern indeed.

In a few days I will be traveling back to Romania with my wife and our daughter, and things will be a bit less hectic. As such, unless something unexpected happens, I will resume the study on 1 Peter sometime next week.

Just a friendly word of advice for those who as yet do not have children but plan on having them, sleep now, as much as you can, as often as you can, as deeply as you can, because sleep will be a long forgotten memory once the little one decides it’s play time in the middle of the night for two straight weeks.

Many of us have been talking about the end as though it will never get here, and now that it’s on the horizon the sheer reality of it just takes your breath away.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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.