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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Chapter 1: Who Taught You How To Fight?

The following is the first chapter of the upcoming book. I still haven't decided how many of the chapters I will be publishing on the blog, but we'll start with one and go from there. God bless, and enjoy.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

In the physical, when it comes to the craft of war and the doing of battle some men are self-taught, others have teachers, while others still enlist in the armed forces wherein they learn the basics of battle – insofar as they can defend themselves and reasonably hope to fell their enemies – in a matter of weeks.

For some, learning how to fight is a necessity, for others it is a hobby, and for a select few it is an identity, and something their entire existence revolves around.

There are warriors and there are warriors. There are men who enlist, put in their time, get their college paid for, and nevermore dwell on combat. Then there are those whose lifelong pursuit is the art of war, and their skillset grows exponentially throughout their lives.

Some men see soldiering as a means to an end, while others see soldiering and learning the finite details of warfare as the end itself.

As battle ready believers our learning never stops, nor does our training. It becomes so engrained in us, it becomes such an important part of our lives that we learn to exercise our spiritual gifts and go through a checklist of our spiritual weapons each morning upon waking, without fail.

As is the case with most things, repetition is the key to learning and the mother of all skill. In order to have something to repeat and thereby grow skillful at, however, one must have first been taught, and taught by someone who knew what they were talking about.

Unfortunately there are many instances wherein the spiritual mirrors the physical. As is the case in the physical wherein many an impostor comes off as something they are not and hoodwinks unsuspecting innocents into believing they are black belts in the Martial Arts, there are countless individuals when it comes to spiritual matters that pretend at being men of substance but are nothing more than profiteers and bandits.

These are men who will often boast of themselves, of their accomplishments, but give very little time and make very little effort to highlight their General, to highlight the Christ, and point the way to Him.

True soldiers know that they are one part of the whole, members of one unit, and as such never attempt to steal the spotlight or draw attention to themselves. True soldiers know what it is to work in unity, as a cohesive body, doing their part in ensuring that everyone makes it home alive and with as few wounds as possible.

Just as is the case in the physical, when one member of a unit drops the ball, when they fail to do their duty, when they don’t act quickly enough, decisively enough, or wisely enough, the whole body suffers, and is placed in mortal danger.

One bad apple can and oftentimes does spoil the bunch. One false teaching with no opposition, one false doctrine with no refutation, one false teacher with no renunciation, and the truth is slowly undermined, the hearts of men turned, and before you know it you have an entire denomination embracing abomination as though it were virtue itself.

Because false doctrine and false teaching often times comes via false teachers, I want to spend some time on this oft avoided topic within the household of faith.

Throughout the Word of God we are warned about false teachers and commanded to be weary, to be wise, to contend for the faith, and to stand up for truth no matter how unpopular our stance might be.

Jude 1:3, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

When we are told to contend, we are in fact told to struggle, and by doing so surmount any difficulty or danger. When we are told to contend earnestly, we are in fact told to contend with zeal, steadfastness, and unwavering commitment.

Speak of these things to some in the church and they’ll start screaming ‘works’ as though their hair was on fire, but it’s not me they must contend with, it is the Word of God. More and more I get the feeling that many within the church are simply too lazy to lift a finger in defense of the Gospel, and rather than admit the truth to themselves they’d rather label everyone else a legalist.

It is our duty to fight, to contend, to do battle, every time a heresy arises, every time apostasy arises, every time false teachers emerge, and the truth of God is attacked.

Jude 1:4, “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Unfortunately it is such men – men who have crept unnoticed – within the household of faith but who have long been marked for condemnation that are growing in popularity and attempting to teach others what it is to be battle ready when they themselves have not a clue.

Few things stand in starker contrast than the theory of warfare and the practice thereof. Anyone can spout off theory. Anyone can armchair quarterback a battle that has already taken place, or point out the failures of soldiers who came before them, men and women who fought valiantly, who stood their ground, and who are no more. Anyone can move their hands about and seem as though they know what they are doing, but the tale is told when the rubber meets the road, and when the clash of swords breaks the silence.

Individuals who pretend to know more than they do are a danger to the household of faith as a whole, and to the children of God as individuals. Many a soul take their words for gospel, mimic their actions, and when the time comes to do battle they are trodden underfoot before they realize it.

So the next time we decide to give one of these men a pass, or give them the benefit of the doubt, or defend what they said because we like their bubbling personality, just so we’re clear, the Word calls them ungodly men and men who were long ago marked out for condemnation.

What is their primary characteristic? Well, turning the grace of God into licentiousness is a good indicator, as is denying the singularity of Jesus, the Divinity of Jesus, the Lordship of Jesus, and the Kingship of Jesus.

Since this is not a book on false teachers, I’ll let you figure out who they are on your own!

It is only when we minimize what our enemy’s ultimate intent is and how single minded he is about attaining his objective that we become indifferent and even flippant about his minions and what they are doing within the household of faith.

The devil isn’t out to bruise you, or skin your knee, or call you nasty names. The devil is out to kill you, and every single individual who does his bidding, every single one roaming about already marked for condemnation, has the selfsame objective in mind.

Men teach heresy for the singular purpose of destroying other men spiritually!

In the end that is the root of every false teaching, false doctrine, and false interpretation. The devil knows the battle he is in but sadly much of the church does not. The devil knows the stakes of this battle but sadly the church seems to have forgotten, thinking that somehow if they are trampled underfoot, if they are overcome rather than overcomers, they’ll just end up in a less glitzy part of heaven, but heaven nevertheless.

After outlining a pretty grim picture of the end times, speaking of wars, rumors of wars, and how we would be hated by all nations for His name’s sake, Jesus went on to speak some heavy, heavy words for every believer who thinks they can wing it or somehow get through what’s coming without being fully equipped, fully trained, and fully sold out for Christ.

Matthew 24:13, “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

Jesus didn’t say “he who tries, attempts, or thinks they can endure to the end,” Jesus said, “he who endures to the end!”

Valiant efforts won’t cut it, nor will halfhearted attempts at enduring. If we believe the words of Jesus – and we have no reason to doubt Him – then only he who endures to the end shall be saved!

The whole point of this book is to prepare you spiritually, and open your eyes to the reality that you are more than what you’ve been told you are by those pretending to be your spiritual betters. The whole point of this book is to make sure you are a battle ready believer, and it all begins with who taught you how to fight.

If the one who taught you how to fight was not taught by Christ, if the one who taught you how to fight did not have the Word of God as his foundation, then you don’t know how to fight at all. True skill is not flashy; it is efficient. True skill is not interested in entertaining onlookers; it is only interesting in felling its enemy, and permanently so.

We can shadow box until we’re blue in the face but until we’ve taken a punch to the nose, felt tears well up in our eyes, and made the conscious decision to counterattack, all we’ve been doing is pretend fighting.  

The devil is not pretend fighting. He is not pulling punches, and he won’t give second chances.

As such, feelings, emotions, or opinions are irrelevant. The only thing of import, the only thing of relevance, the only thing that matters is if you were taught to fight by God through His Word, or if the individual who taught you was taught of God.  Because the topic of this book oftentimes compels me to be less than gentle in my approach, for those who are not yet ready to hear them, my words may seem downright offensive.

If you are offended, so be it! The stakes are too high, and the outcome of this battle too important for me to try and sugarcoat this in any way in an attempt to spare feelings.

If you were taught by a fool, modeled your life after a fool, and followed after a fool, then you are a fool. If you were taught by Christ, modeled your life after Christ, and followed after Christ, then you are like Christ.

We can try ty split heirs but why waste the time?

Once we understand the truth of the battle we find ourselves in, once we understand we are facing an enemy who takes no prisoners, then we will realize just how irrelevant our feelings or bruised egos are.

God doesn’t coddle soldiers, and we’re too old to be infants!

The lateness of the hour is evident to one and all perhaps with the exception of the church which is still under the misconception that when the Word tells believers to put on the whole armor of God somehow it doesn’t apply to them but to someone else.

Were you taught to fight by a man of God or a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Were you taught to fight by a true shepherd or a hireling whose insistence on your sowing seed and paying tithes bordered on psychotic?

Did you learn how to fight or were you just sheered of your wool like so many sheep, then left to wander about thinking yourself invincible when in fact you were defenseless?

In your heart you already know the answers to these questions. In your heart you know if you followed after a man of God or after an empty suit. You know who taught you to fight or even if fighting ever came up in between the lengthy sermons on the widow of Zarephath because let’s face it, spiritual warfare is not high on many a preacher’s agenda nowadays. You know! Now all that is required is for you to be honest enough with yourself to admit the truth and take the painful but necessary steps to remedy the situation you find yourself in.

One surefire way to keep from being deceived is to go directly to the source and learn from Jesus Himself. Yes, there are still well intentioned servants from whom you can learn, yes there are still messengers whom God sends, but you must be ever vigilant as to whom you allow to speak into your life, and who you allow to feed you spiritually.

No matter how bright their smile or how crisp their suit, a messenger will always be just a messenger; an envoy of the One who sent him. If they are true servants they will walk in the authority of their Master, and as such wield power. They will also possess the knowledge and ability to do battle, being someone you can learn from. Even so, always keep in mind that to elevate a servant to the position of master is to commit sin.  

I learned how to fight from my grandfather. He was a rare man. He was a man who loved God above all else, and his love for God knew no limits or delineations. I spent most of my childhood with my grandfather since my father was at work trying to put food on the table, and throughout my adolescence he taught me love for God. Not with words but with actions.

My grandfather never preached at me. He simply lived his life sold out to God, and this resounded with me more effectively than ten thousand sermons. His love for Jesus was obvious in his everyday life, and this love flowed out of him like a stream.

As I grew older he began to teach me deeper truths, but no matter what it was he taught me it was always tethered in the Word, and he insisted that I search it out for myself.

The first and most important thing my grandfather taught me about spiritual warfare is to always be prepared for battle. The devil is not a gentleman. He doesn’t fight fair. If the enemy can attack you when you are not paying attention or are distracted, that is exactly when he will attack.

As men and women of God our duty is to be perpetually hypervigilant for one of the enemy’s attacks. We cannot allow the enemy to take us by surprise, and the only way to guard against it is to watch and pray and be vigilant at all times. This does not mean we look for demons under every rock and around every tree. What it means is that we are continually tapped into the spiritual realm, and trust our warrior instincts when it comes to imminent attacks.

Whether or not they possessed this hypervigilance of which I speak was one of the ways God chose to whittle down Gideon’s army from 10,000 men to 300 men. At first there were 22,000 men, a healthy number to be sure, but after being told that if they were afraid they were free to return to their homes, only 10,000 men remained.

Of these 10,000 only 300 lapped water by putting their hand to their mouth, while the rest knelt to drink. A kneeling man starts out at a disadvantage. He cannot defend himself as readily as if he was standing, and by kneeling to drink he diminishes his ability to be aware of his surroundings.  God told Gideon to keep only those who were hypervigilant, and with a handful of men, the day was won.

I have been traveling pretty much nonstop since early adolescence. I was twelve years old when I began traveling as my grandfather’s interpreter, and although I turned 40 recently I’m still on the road. One of the first things I learned to do no matter where I found myself was to be aware of my surroundings. Whether in downtown Chicago, Istanbul, Miami, Sydney, or a small Amish town in Pennsylvania, my head is always on a swivel, and I am always aware of everything going on around me.

To this day I have not been mugged, held up, carjacked, or menaced in any way, even though I’ve traveled to dangerous places, and walked through dangerous neighborhoods. The reason I’ve never had a negative experience in these places is because I know how to gauge a situation, I am perpetually aware of my surroundings, and I act immediately upon getting that intangible feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Experience will teach you to anticipate the enemy’s attacks because no matter how well he attempts to camouflage his actions, no matter how well he tries to mask his intent there is always that moment when your hair stands on end, and you get that feeling in your gut that something’s coming. Trust those feelings, and be ready for when the attack commences.

The second thing my grandfather taught me when it came to spiritual warfare was to stand one’s ground. It matters not whether you are outnumbered, it matters not if you are the only one on the battlefield, stand your ground.

The amazing thing is that once we commit to standing our ground, once we are resolute in our stance that nothing and no one will move us from the spot we are defending, everything becomes crystal clear. All the thoughts, all the doubts, all the second guessing, they all disappear, and all that remains is you doing your all to remain steadfast. It is in those moments of total commitment wherein we are not trying to find a way out of the battle but simply to man our post that we will notice we are being helped and aided by He who is always fighting alongside us.

Even if you are the only one on the battlefield you are still a majority. You are a one man or one woman army because God and the hosts of heaven stand with you. It is this knowledge that must embolden us and give us courage. It is this knowledge that must fuel us and drive us to defend the Gospel and the name of our God.

The third thing I learned from my grandfather regarding doing battle with the enemy is to never trust in oneself. No matter how proficient you become, no matter how mature, no matter how knowledgeable, never trust in the arm of the flesh.

History is littered with the corpses of those who forgot this all-important rule. There are countless examples of men and women who started out on the right path, laboring on behalf of the kingdom, trusting in the arm of God to see them through, then suddenly, without warning, they began to think themselves above the need to give all glory and honor to God. They began to think themselves strong in and of themselves, able to vanquish the enemy without any help, only to find themselves face down in the mud, vanquished and humiliated.

We ought to be wise enough to know our own limitations by now. We ought to be wise enough to acknowledge the presence of God in the midst of our battle, and give Him the glory He deserves for having given us the strength and having fought on our behalf.

It is human nature to try and take credit for things we didn’t do, and this is not anything new. This goes back to the beginning of creation, and whenever men had the opportunity to take credit for something God did, for many the temptation was too much to resist.

It is God who goes before us. It is God who aids us in battle. He is our General, he is our commanding officer, and He will always be on the frontlines of any battle.

God does not lead from behind. He does not simply give orders then hopes that His soldiers succeed. God is ever present in the battle, always there to lend a hand, and even when all seems lost, when we see ourselves as outnumbered and the outcome of our endeavor all but lost, God steps in and turns it around in an instant.

If the individual who taught you to fight was proficient, if their purpose was to train you to do battle on your own rather than keep you dependent upon them, then you know what it is to put on your armor and step onto the battlefield. Do so with the full assurance that God stands with you as long as you stand with Him.

Depending on who taught you to fight you will also have a predisposition toward a certain discipline. Some will have a predisposition toward exegesis, others will have predisposition toward certain gifts of the Holy Spirit, others still will have a predisposition toward the prophetic, and although they become well versed in every discipline becoming a complete Christian, those preferences and predispositions exist and carry throughout.
Soldiers recognize other soldiers even if they happen to serve in other branches of the armed forces. True soldiers need not advertise, and they need not put on a beret or wear camouflage pants. Soldiers just know other soldiers either by their demeanor, a look in their eye, or some inane sense that you have happened upon a brother in arms.

I am leery of any man who tries to draw attention to the fact that he is a soldier, and this is doubly true of those who go around telling one and all how they are a spiritual warrior the likes of which the world has never seen.

Titles don’t impress me; men of God do. Nowadays anyone can claim any title for themselves, but until they’ve been in the mud, until they’ve stared down the enemy, until we can compare scars and tell war stories, your title does nothing to endear me to you.

There are four things we must do as wise followers of Christ when it comes to this all important question of who taught us how to fight and those four things are: identify, analyze, resolve, and take the appropriate action.

1.      Identify the individual who taught you to fight.

2.      Analyze their life, character, conduct, and fruit thereby determining whether or not they were a true follower of Christ.

3.      Resolve whether or not you possess fighting knowhow given who taught you how to fight.

4.      Take the appropriate action whether that action is starting over and learning anew the art of war, or growing in your skill as a warrior, having a true and right foundation in place.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Request for Input

The following is the introduction to the next book I will be publishing, Lord willing, within the next few weeks. I know it is a project God kept putting on my heart until I finally relented and put it together. The book is called The Battle Ready Believer, and I believe it is relevant for the times we are living in.
I would appreciate your input on what amounts to the synopsis of this upcoming book, as well as any other chapters you believe should be included. Thanks in advance for taking the time, and God bless.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

We are living amidst a generation of spiritual marshmallows. A disproportionate number of those calling themselves soldiers for Christ and warriors of the cross know nothing of spiritual warfare, the weapons employed in said warfare, or what it means to stand one’s ground before the onslaught of the enemy. By and large they are soft, sickly sweet with political correctness, full of air, and melt at the first sign of heat just like a marshmallow.
We have replaced character and moral fortitude with snarky condescension, and rather than aspire to spiritual greatness like those who came before us we find reasons to demean them and degrade their accomplishments on behalf of the Kingdom.
Since when do hipsters with questionable degrees from online seminaries have the right to question Paul, Peter, John, Luke, Mark, or even Jesus Himself? Since when does a spiritual homunculus have the right to contradict the Word of God itself, and still have the temerity to call himself a pastor of one of the largest congregations in the world?
In the estimation of this present generation martyrs were only martyrs because they weren’t bright enough to doubletalk their way out of their predicaments. There is little to no understanding of duty in today’s modern church, and what passes for spiritual maturity is a cross between pathetic and terrifying.
When compromise becomes our banner and cowardice is seen as virtue is it any wonder that so few among professing believers today are battle ready?
We have been seduced. We have become so enamored with the world and this present life that we give not a thought to the reality that eternity beckons with every breath, and the enemy’s sole purpose is to keep us from spending eternity with God.
A battle is coming whether the church is ready for it or not. The enemy has assembled his armies, they have amassed on the battlefield, and in short order the final assault against the children of God will commence.
The level of your spiritual readiness will determine whether you will survive the battle or be so much fodder having fallen like so many others. One cannot prepare for battle on the battlefield. One cannot begin to know the weapons of his warfare as the enemy is charging, and the air is thick with the expectation of battle.
In understanding that battle is inevitable the wise will ready themselves in advance, learning what it is to be a soldier and taking the necessary steps to become it.
Men wage war for various reasons at various times. While some are compelled by patriotism or religious beliefs, others still are driven by ambition or lust for power. Whatever the underlying reason for war, it is powerful enough to cause an individual to risk their life for it.
In any battle, in any war, the possible loss of one’s life is implied. There has never been a war waged without casualties, and every individual who enlists does so with the full knowledge that it may very well mean their life.
Physical war is bloody, brutal, and taxing in every way possible. What believers seem to have forgotten over the years is that spiritual warfare is just as brutal, just as taxing, and just as ruthless as any war in the physical. Spiritual warfare also carries greater far reaching consequences than war in the natural does, because the consequences of spiritual warfare are eternal in their scope.
Wherever I happen to be on any given Sunday it seems I hear more about the victory party after the battle than I do about the battle itself anymore. Preachers don’t like to preach on spiritual warfare, parishioners don’t like to hear about spiritual warfare, and so we focus on the hereafter instead. We focus on that moment beyond time when the last sword will have been swung and the last blow will have been struck, utterly failing to prepare or even make the individual aware of the war they are currently embroiled in.
If you call yourself a son or daughter of God then you are at war. Since the fact that you are already at war is a foregone reality and you have no say in the matter would it not be wise and prudent to learn all you can about your enemy and about the weapons you have at your disposal?
Would it not be wisdom itself to learn how we can defend ourselves and even go on the offensive against an enemy who has already made it perfectly clear that he will take no prisoners?
Even though the spectator stands are overflowing and the warriors on the field of battle are decreasing in number at an alarming rate we who remain cannot give up the fight. We cannot lay down our arms, we cannot take off our armor, and we cannot surrender to the enemy, for if we do we will be counted among the rebellious and disobedient. We will be counted among those who ought to have known what it is to stand, to fight, and to overcome an enemy who fears our General, and who has given us the privilege and right to walk in His authority.  
Many claim bravery when there is no call for it, but very few exhibit bravery in the face of certain violence or mortal danger. In modern day parlance many Christians talk a good game, but when their mettle is tested, when the battle is upon them, they turn tail and run. They surrender to the enemy, or worse still become traitors to the cause of Christ attempting to weaken the household of faith from within.
If all we can do is talk a good game, if we have not trained, equipped, prepared, and honed our spiritual selves, when the day of battle is upon us, though we may think ourselves brave, though we may think ourselves steadfast, we will flee from before the onslaught of the enemy.
Battle presupposes many things, but certain ones are essential. Among the essentials of any conflict are armies, arms, tactics, strategy, and the knowledge of one’s adversary. If any of these essentials is missing, one’s loss of the battle is ensured even before the first blow is struck.
Without having the right soldiers, the right arms, the right strategy and a fundamental understanding of one’s enemy, we are inhibited and stunted in our ability to fight the fight in such a manner that victory is certain.
Brutal and coldhearted as it may seem, one need only give a passing glance to the current church to realize that though we might call ourselves an army we are weaponless, absent of strategy, ignorant of tactics, and woefully unaware of our enemy, what he can do, and the lengths he will go to in any conflict.
A soldier’s ignorance of his weapons on the battlefield will almost always ensure his demise. If he stands face to face against his enemy and does not know how to wield his sword, raise his shield, or have a passing knowledge of all the weapons in his arsenal, that moment of hesitation, the fumbling with one’s scabbard, the overreach of one’s sword, the wrong placement of one’s shield, and the enemy will strike the mortal blow.
By the same token, a soldier who does not know the tactics of his enemy or how to defend against them is at a serious disadvantage on the battlefield. We are warned, and forthrightly so in God’s word not to be ignorant of the devil’s devices. The reason this warning is found within the pages of scripture is because once we are aware of the devil’s devices, we will naturally begin to take steps to protect ourselves against them and guard our hearts against their influences.
If battle finds us unprepared, if the enemy finds us defenseless, if we find ourselves standing on the battlefield with no weapons of either defense or offense, know that our ill preparedness was not God’s fault but our own. We have been warned and repeatedly so to prepare, to put on our armor, to know how to wield the power granted to us by  the blood of the Lamb, and if we have failed to do these things, or believed that they somehow did not pertain to us, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
A wise man prepares. A wise man does his utmost to make certain that he has done his utmost, then trusts in the arm of God to do what he cannot.
Laziness has made many within the church indifferent toward the reality of the times they are living in and though the Word of God urges us to prepare, to be as faithful soldiers, to know the weapons of our warfare and be diligent about growing spiritually, many roll their eyes and fail at stifling their yawns.
This book is not meant for the indifferent. This book is not meant for the spiritually lazy. This book is meant for those who see the storm clouds on the horizon, those that understand on an very basic level that battle is inevitable, and who realize that they have little time to prepare but prepare they must.
This book is meant for those searching for truth, those who refuse to buy into the lie that we are impotent in the face of the enemy, that we have no weapons to speak of, or that we are at the mercy of evil and evil men.

We are sons and daughters of the Most High God. We were commanded to stand, and do all to stand, being fearless in our battle against the darkness, knowing that God stands with us, and fights alongside us.
By the end of this book you will hopefully be able to answer the following questions for yourself:
1.      Who taught you how to fight?

2.      What are you fighting for?

3.      How far are you willing to go?

4.      Are you mature enough?

5.      Have you built up your endurance?

6.      Do you understand your authority?

7.      Do you know your weapons?

8.      Do you know your General?

9.      Do you know your weakness?

10.  Do you know your enemy?

These are all questions we must answer individually, being honest with ourselves, and making the requisite changes if and where they are needed.
The time for sailing through our spiritual existence without consequence is far past. The time for spiritual immaturity has long since expired, and though many a man continue to espouse the fallacy that being battle ready is a choice rather than a requirement, what we are witnessing with our own eyes throughout the world is exposing such men for the liars they are.
In His grace God has given us time to prepare for the battle but whether or not we take advantage of this grace and actually do prepare spiritually is wholly and solely on us. God will not do for us what we can do for ourselves, nor will He force us to train and exercise our spiritual selves even if we don’t want to.
It is incumbent upon us as individuals to understand the days in which we are living and act accordingly. It is incumbent upon us as individuals to put away the childish things, and grow into the warriors God expects us to be.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Timely Sermon

I preached this sermon some three years ago. I believe it is more timely now than ever before. Someone e-mailed me and reminded me of it, and since it is on YouTube i thought I'd share it. 

I may be biased, but I believe it's worth the 50 minutes. 

As for me, I am back in the States with the family, trying to juggle more projects than I have a reasonable expectation of completing, but feeling pulled to each one for a different reason. 
Please keep my family and I in your prayers. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Choose Ye a Champion

For some time now everyone’s been wondering who it would be. Who would be the one to take a stand? Who would be the one to draw the proverbial line in the sand? Who would waive the banner of truth unashamedly for all to see?

Would it be the theological homunculus with the capped teeth who’s always going on about abomination not being God’s best? Would it be the man who would win the world for Christ but for his lack of a multimillion dollar jet to do it in? Or, perhaps, the man whose arm was forcibly twisted until he finally saw the light, and halfheartedly made some sort of retraction about endorsing that which God abhors?

The field was wide ranging, hearts were aflutter, everyone was anxious, and to everyone’s surprise save those who actually bother to read the Word of God, the person who would stand was some no name city clerk, in a little known town, in Kentucky of all places.

In case this is the first you are hearing of this, the backstory in its most basic form is that a city clerk is currently in jail because she refused to sign a marriage license for two homosexuals, citing that it would conflict with God’s definition of marriage.

As a sidebar, to all the dullard faux-Christians who were excitedly waving rainbow flags in front of their churches and insisting that they were the tolerant sort of Christian and very different from the curmudgeonly Bible believing ones, you have cast your lot. That whole spiel you swallowed and regurgitated about homosexuals having no agenda and simply being good at coordinating their wardrobe, knowing good wine, and keeping the stinky cheese industry afloat, has proven itself the lie it always was, and now all you can do is sit there and stew in your tolerance and pray God have mercy on your soul. You wretched things! You betrayers of truth!

What was it you were calling those who were warning of what would be unleashed against the church? Delusional fear mongers, bigots, knuckle draggers, and worse? All in the hope that some pervert or another would point out how fiercely you defend their perversion.  Are you still as orgasmic in your unfettered support of abomination now that you see it’s not so harmless after all? You slavish fools! You useful idiots! You have made the heart of the righteous sad. For this, and all your other atrocities, may God judge you rightly and speedily.

What surprised me is the surprise which much of the church exhibited at who it was that finally took a stand for righteousness. Why haven’t we as yet grasped the simple truth that the true men and women of God aren’t being wined and dined by Oprah, flown around in private jets, and adored by the world? Why haven’t we as yet grasped that all these prophets of Baal passing themselves off as true believers are already bought and paid for, pipers for their overseers who in turn shower them with baubles and material excesses?

These men will continue to remain silent because they do not want to risk having their baubles taken away. The only time any of them seem to raise a stink is when there is a senate inquiry into their finances and lavish lifestyles, but that’s a different matter for a different time.

Those who will astound in the coming days will not be the famous or well known, but men and women as yet unheard of who are living out their faith daily, and manifesting that faith in their lives. Before David picked five stones out of a brook and stood to face Goliath, he was a mere sheep herder. Before Gideon stood to face the Midianites he was a scared young man hiding in a cave.

We must stop expecting our champions to be named men among Christendom and simply pray that God raise up faithful men and women whose lives have already become forfeit, who are already buried with Christ in God, and as such have nothing to lose when the enemy attempts to force them into subservience.

A storm is coming in which the true men and women of God will shine bright as the sun. As for the chaff it will blow away in the coming storm, leaving behind only that which is true, and pure, and godly.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, August 31, 2015

How Far We've Fallen

High standards seem to be a thing of the past. What once was ordinary and expected of everyone is now deemed gifted, talented, and exceptional. Even simple things like being able to write longhand are considered extraordinary, and if perchance you happen to be an immigrant that speaks fluent English without the frequent insertion of ‘know what I’m sayin’?’ in your dialogue, people are surprised and dumbfounded.

We have consistently lowered the bar to accommodate the lazy and uninspired, and although that is a choice the world is free to make it ought not to be so when it comes to those responsible for the spiritual welfare of the household of faith.

The quality of shepherd has been steadily diminishing during the first few decades. We have let things slide, we have ignored the warning signs, and now the quality of shepherd has diminished to the point that no one seems to be put off by the idea that some 400 pastors, deacons, elders, and other church leadership have enrolled themselves and pay fees to a website whose sole purpose is to provide partners for illicit extramarital affairs.

In layman’s terms, they pay a subscription to facilitate the commission of adultery with other individuals who pay a subscription to likewise commit adultery on their significant other.

The surprise in the church was almost nonexistent. Some are even breathing a sigh of relief that the names of these pastors and elders were found on a website that facilitates heterosexual intercourse rather than one providing hookups for men to reciprocally sodomize each other.

At least they were looking to commit adultery with women. The fact that we can even think of framing the argument in such a manner proves how far we’ve fallen and how little is expected of our spiritual leaders nowadays.
It used to be men whose function was to serve food to widows were expected to be of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Nowadays, as long as you can fit into a pair of skinny jeans and look hip enough wearing a pair of horn rimmed glasses, your spiritual pedigree, how much you know of the Word, or even what you believe is no longer relevant.

We make idols of men only to be overcome by hopelessness and despair once our idols turn out to be less then human, never mind a demigod.

In this entire unfolding there are no innocents. Everyone is culpable for the spiritual condition we find ourselves in. Everyone is culpable for the lukewarm, halfhearted, heretical offerings we bring before God, thinking we are doing Him a favor, and expecting to be generously rewarded via the material for our efforts.

The leaders are culpable because they stopped preaching truth, and began floating the idea that sin is no longer sin, and what you do  the rest of the week is irrelevant as long as you pay your tithe and show up on Sunday.

The sheep are culpable because they desired a wider path than that the Bible prescribes, and found themselves teachers to suit their proclivities and give them license to sin.

Those still preaching truth are likewise culpable, because they didn’t yell loud enough, or long enough, or often enough, but in their defense, even a dog can only be smacked upon the head so many times by those he considers friends before he just gives up his barking, and goes to sit in a corner somewhere.

We tried preaching the Word, and were called legalists. We tried preaching righteousness and were called zealots. We tried preaching the power of the Holy Spirit and were called mystics. We tried preaching Jesus and were called intolerant. We tried preaching the narrow path and were called exclusivists. We tried preaching the cross and were called old-fashioned, outmoded, and obsolete.
We were not called these things by the world; it was not the world that was persecuting us, but those who claimed to be of the household of faith, those who claimed to be of Christ, those who claimed to stand for truth. Yes, the selfsame individuals who now embrace sin with open arms, who see no problems with adultery, and whose notion of salvation is one even a toddler can poke holes in until it looks like a slice of Swiss cheese.

Who have we to blame for the world we’ve created but ourselves?

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Much Needed Perspective

‘I’m going to kill you! I want to kill you! My loftiest dream, the pinnacle of my existence is to bathe in your blood!’

What if you had a neighbor who repeated these lines every time he got the chance? What if you had a neighbor who on any given day went out of his way to remind you that you are nothing, that your very existence offends him, and as soon as he is able he will end your life by any means available to him? What if said neighbor took it beyond mere words every time he got a chance, breaking your windows, killing your pets, assaulting your family, and even financing others to do you harm? Would you ignore this individual? Would you just shrug your shoulders and go about your business?  Would you just roll your eyes and call him a silly rascal? Would you not take him seriously? Would you entertain the idea that this was all a farce as some insist even though the manner in which he threatens your life bears no semblance of it being a joke or a slip of the tongue?

Let’s look at this a different way, because I really want to get the absolute lunacy of what we are seeing play out before our eyes through to you.

Imagine you are witnessing the following conversation between two people:

“I’m going to kill you.”

“No you are not.”

“But I’ve been referring to you as the great Satan and calling for your destruction for decades.”

“No you haven’t.”

“But I have a knife and I’m going to stab you with it.”

“I don’t believe you, but here’s a gun in any case.”

“You just made it easier for me to kill you.”

“No I didn’t.”

“I just pulled the trigger.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“You are bleeding.”

“No I’m not.”

At this point would you not be questioning the mental wherewithal of the second individual? At this point would you not be wondering, perhaps aloud, if the need for a psych evaluation were not preeminent?

There is something incongruent with logic and reason when we attempt to go out of our way to further militarize a people whose stated purpose is our destruction. The reality of the situation is so obvious, that one rightly wonders whether or not our leaders have been blinded by an invisible hand, and are setting about doing things antithetical to their own self-preservation.

We are living days the likes of which the world has never seen, and will never see again. We are living prophetic times, and are made witness to the fulfillment of Scripture almost comparable in scope to the birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection of the Christ.

The nagging question isn’t so much what will occur in the short term. It is what sort of persons ought we to be, knowing what we know of the end times landscape.  

Perhaps an even more relevant question is: are we the persons we ought to be, in holy conduct and godliness as Scripture commands? Because knowing a thing and doing a thing are two very different things and many a soul today possess the knowledge of what they ought to be but not the wherewithal to make the necessary changes in order to be it.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, August 17, 2015

All the King's Horses

I will begin this post by stating that I am no financial wizard. Like most of you, at the end of the month I’m looking through the couch cushions for spare change, but in my defense diapers aren’t cheap, and I think they set the price for baby formula by the gold standard.

That said, I recently read that Puerto Rico defaulted on a $58 million dollar debt. Sure, for us mere mortals that seems like a lot of money, but when you juxtapose our national debt, which is currently weighing in at an obese $18.6 trillion, $58 million seems downright paltry, anorexic even.

Some things there is no coming back from. Some things take such a toll that try as one might to rectify their past mistakes, it is impossible. I’ve known people who abused their bodies over the course of decades in a systematic fashion with alcohol and drugs, only to try and right the ship, better themselves, and get healthier, when their livers were already shot, their lungs were black with cancer, and their hearts had swelled to the size of a cantaloupe.

Sometimes it takes a physical, other times a blood test, but something has to awaken an individual to the reality of the sad shape they’re in, in order for them to see that no matter how much you try to put it off, eventually the bill comes due for everything in this life.

We’ve been buying things we don’t need with money we don’t have for years and years now. What ought to have stirred us to wakefulness and shown us the approaching disaster only served to embolden us to more spending. Even though you can only sleep in one bed and sit in one chair and eat at one table the magnitude and sheer size of our adobes have become so mammoth that many a soul could easily convert their homes into mid-size bed and breakfasts, and still have plenty of room for themselves.

Am I judging people with big homes? Far from it. If you earned it, it’s your right to spend it however you see fit. What I do have an issue with are people who know in their heart of hearts they could never afford the mansion, but still sign the papers and get themselves into debt far exceeding what they can hope to repay, sort of like our country at this point in time.

The end result is an inevitable one. Sooner or later both the individual with the too high mortgage, as well as the nation in question begin to default on their debt, and no optimistic outlook or more printing of money can circumvent this reality.

The only thing that can be done is to kick the can down the road a ways, to put off the inevitable, but with each passing day, with every delay, the pain of it all will be that much greater when it finally comes crashing to the ground.

So what’s the point of this post? Why talk about this? Because there are many today, even within the household of faith who trust in the arm of the flesh, who trust in the system, who trust in the things they can see, and do not exercise their faith, or build up their intimacy with God. Their perceived security and the amassing of more perceived security makes them lethargic when it comes to their spiritual growth, their myopic view keeping them from seeking the fullness of relationship with God while the birds are still chirping and the sun is still shining.

Do you know God, or do you know of God? Does He know you? Are you a son or daughter, or some illegitimate offspring whom God does not acknowledge as His own? These are questions we must answer far in advance of what is now a certain collapse, questions of far greater import than how long we can manage to delay the inevitable.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.