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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Short Takes on A Long Week

It has been an interesting week in the Boldea household. For the first time in a long time we saw the sun in Wisconsin, and I don't believe anyone should be that happy to see the thermostat inch over seventy degrees, especially the last week of May, but there we were, my wife and I giddy as school children.
We decided it would be the perfect time to buy a grill, we had been talking about it for some time, and I went to the local have it all warehouse, and bought a gas grill, since we are not allowed charcoal on our balcony, which had the reassuring words, "some assembly required" stenciled on the side.
Some assembly turned out to be over one hundred odd shaped pieces, with four different kinds of screws, two screwdrivers, an an instruction manual that looked like a good sized magazine. Since we know that grill manufacturers are known for their honesty, and the instruction manual promised I would have it done in under forty five minutes, I set to work, being careful in the assembly process, because I had not stenciled in permanent damage,facial scarring, or third degree burns for that particular day. Four hours later I was still tinkering with the grill, and when I finally got it done it was too late to cook anything, and we decided to leave it for the next day.
I was too cheap to buy a cover for it, and it rained through the night, so the next day I spent most of my time trying to dry out the grill I had wisely placed on the balcony the night before.
Two brats, two hot dogs, and one strip of bacon later, I am now a grill master of the first order. No explosions, no burns, no scarring.
Throw a wedding, television filming, finishing a book I've been working on for the past six months into the mix, and the week evaporated as though it never was. Yes, this is my exciting life, and some still wonder why I snicker when I hear people say they are envious of me.
I guess what I'm trying to say, is that the final teaching on the conversion of Saul will be up sometime tomorrow. My apologies for taking so long.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Saul of Tarsus Part 8

First, my apologies for not posting anything in over a week. I was on the road and between driving and preaching had no time to sit down and pen my thoughts on what will be the second to last post on the conversion of Saul.
Second, the Hand of Help staff has started an e-newsletter, and it will have exclusive content whenever it is published. If you would like to receive it, please go to www.handofhelp.com and sign up there. The first issue will be e-mailed sometime next week.
As always, thank you for your patience, understanding, and prayers.
Acts 9:13-14, “Then Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”
There is one undeniable fact that all true servants of God learn throughout their journey of obedience, that when God sends you, you no longer take into account the roadblocks, or the insurmountable odds, but you go in His name, and He will ensure your victory. Often we are called to step out in faith in ways that are contrary to human reason, or the process of logic we have grown accustomed to applying to our every day decisions. After hearing what the Lord would have him do, Ananias applied just such a process of logic, and came to the conclusion that from a physical standpoint, through the prism of solely human understanding, it would not be wise to approach one who had the authority to bind him, and whose reputation eluded to the fact that he would have no qualms about doing just that.
If Ananias were to lean more on his own understanding than trust in the wisdom and authority of the Lord, by merely analyzing the facts he had at his disposal, and seeing the havoc Saul had already wreaked upon the followers of Christ, he could have easily talked himself into not obeying, not doing what he was told, shrugging off the entire experience as an incident where perhaps God did not have all the information after all.
Often God gives us specific instruction, and thinking that perhaps we know better, even if we would never verbalize such sentiment, we either drag our feet in obeying, or choose to disobey altogether. Ananias knew to place his trust in the Lord, and he also knew that even if all the hosts of hell would come against him, they could do him no harm, for he was walking in the perfect will of God. When God sends you out to perform a duty on His behalf, no matter how difficult it may seem to the naked eye, believe that He will bring it to fruition.
I have often contemplated Ananias’s reaction toward the voice of the Lord, as opposed to Saul’s reaction when he heard the voice. God spoke softly to Ananias, gently urging him to go and encounter Saul, and Ananias had a flicker of doubt, he questioned the Lord. Saul on the other hand had been felled to the ground by the awesome light of the Lord’s presence, and when he was told what to do, he obeyed without question or delay.
Looking at the situation from a purely human standpoint, knowing that Ananias was aware of Saul’s plan to destroy the church, he was simply trying to protect the body of Christ, and spare them any further harm. Ananias was among the first of Christ’s followers to be tempted into thinking that he somehow knew better than the Master that although the Lord’s command had been simple and to the point, He had somehow misspoken, or had been misunderstood.
Yes, the chief priests had given their authority to Saul that he may bind all who call on Christ’s name, but the Great High Priest had countermanded their authority, spoiled their plans, and confounded them by transforming one of the most aggressive persecutors of the church, into one of the most ardent defenders of the faith.
Man appointed and man sanctioned priests are only able to bind, to imprison, to hinder and to stifle, but the Great High Priest, Christ Jesus, is the One who is able to free, to restore, to make new, and transform. The origins of one’s authority are as important as the authority he possesses. If our authority comes from men, it is worthless in the eyes of God, and we are no better than the priests of old who went insofar as imprisonment and murder of those who opposed them for fear of losing their station, and their place of prominence. If our authority comes from God however, our singular concern is truth, our singular passion Christ, and promoting our agenda or denomination never enters into the equation. When the desire to advance an agenda, denomination, or any one particular person overshadows the desire to advance Jesus, we have failed in our mission, our calling, and our primary duty toward the body of Christ.
Acts 9:15-16, “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
Publilius Syrus a Roman author during the first century once wrote, ‘a good reputation is more valuable than money.’ Saul of Tarsus was not a man of good reputation by any stretch of the imagination, at least not when it came to the followers of Christ. All but God drew conclusions based on what they knew of the man’s actions, by chronicling what he had done, and coming to a rightful assumption concerning his character. We may know of men only what they are willing to disclose of themselves, only what they are willing to share, or what they are discovered to be when some dark and deeply buried secret makes its way to the surface of the general consciousness. God however, sees beyond the now, beyond what we might have done in the past, and knows what we may well become if we yield and submit to His chiseling and molding. The Lord spoke to Ananias, and commanded him to go to Saul of Tarsus, for he was a chosen vessel, one who would bear His name to Jew and Gentile alike.
It is interesting to witness the progression of Saul’s journey, first becoming a child of God by believing in the risen Christ, then becoming a servant of Christ, and lastly becoming a vessel. From child to servant, from servant to vessel, this is the natural progression of one who has been redeemed by faith in the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ Jesus. For Saul, the progress came in quick succession, one quickly followed by the other, in fact almost instantaneous, but for others the growth comes after a period of spiritual growth.
A child cannot be made to labor, for it is a child, and must be allowed to grow. Even after a child has grown, and has become an heir, he or she can still resist a parent’s request to labor.
A servant is able bodied and able to work from day one, and since he or she is not an heir, the servant performs the labors and required tasks with no sense of entitlement or presupposed favor.
Luke 17:10, “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘we are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.”
Even so, a servant can choose to be lazy, to bury his talent, and be an unprofitable servant. As the parable of the talents so aptly describes, even when a servant is given what he needs in order to perform aptly for his Master, and bring his Master profit, his profitability is not ensured, for it is dependent on what he does with the talent with which he has been entrusted.
When one ascends to the humbling honor of being called a vessel however, he or she has reached the pinnacle of submission and obedience. A vessel cannot resist. A vessel cannot doubt, a vessel cannot justify inaction; a vessel cannot refuse to labor. When one is called a vessel of the Lord, he or she is at the Master’s disposal in totality. The Master picks up a vessel whenever He chooses, He uses it for its intended purpose for however long He chooses, and lays it down whenever He chooses. The vessel does not protest, neither does it resist. A vessel has no will of its own, it has no agenda, no aspirations, no dreams of greatness or grandeur, it is in its Master’s house, waiting to be used.
2 Timothy 2:20-21, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.”
Saul was named a chosen vessel by the Lord, and this particular vessel’s function and responsibility would be to bear the name of Christ to kings, Gentiles, and the children of Israel. This is the duty of every vessel, for we are all called to bear the name of Christ, and declare that He is Lord. Christ determines our function and duty in His body, but we all work toward the same goal, to proclaim the name of Jesus. Some are called to be hands, while other feet, while other eyes, while others lips, and as long as we are all aware of our calling, and the talent with which we have been entrusted, we will fulfill our duty every day of our lives. Whether in greater or lesser measure, we must all labor; we must all do our part. More could be said on the topic of vessels, those of honor and dishonor alike, but desiring to maintain the integrity of the whole, and keep my focus on Saul, I will save that teaching for perhaps another time.
While reading the sixteenth verse of the ninth chapter in Acts, I came to realize that Christ never sugar coated anything. He did not tell Ananias that He would show Saul how much he would prosper in this life, how great a ministry he would have, what an impact his life would be on humanity as a whole, but rather that he would be shown how many things he must suffer for Christ’s name.
For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, a great lesson lies within this verse. From the beginning of the faith, to the end of time itself, every true believer must first know the cross, then the duty. Only those who know to carry their cross are able to be vessels of honor for God, and worthy of the future glory.
Every man suffers for something. There are men who sacrifice their youth and their health for their dream home or their dream car, there are men who sacrifice their standards and compromise their beliefs to get ahead, but only suffering for the name of Christ will bring eternal reward.
The man or woman, who knows to suffer for the name of Christ, will carry the burden of all other suffering with ease. Just as Christ told his Apostles that they would have to suffer for His name’s sake, He would now be revealing the extent of his suffering to Saul. The first seventy years after Christ’s crucifixion, were the bleakest and darkest for the followers of Christ in the history of mankind. The cruelties to which the martyrs of old were exposed are unspeakable, their faithfulness awe-inspiring.
The persecution of the saints gave them an opportunity to proclaim the name of Christ, to men they would have never encountered otherwise. As they stood before judges and governors, kings and soldiers alike, they testified of Christ, inspired and compelled by the power of the Holy Spirit. Remembering the Lord, His courage, his long suffering, His desire to fulfill the Father’s will, even when the were subjected to the greatest of suffering, they were ready to receive it gladly, considering it unworthy to be compared to the glory that would be revealed in them. His grace was sufficient, even unto death, and His grace is sufficient still.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Saul of Tarsus Part 7

I realize some will have noticed that the font being used for this particular post is different than the others. I have been trying to make it the same as the others but to no avail, and this is also the reason why the verses are not in bold and italics. Sometimes I think computers have a mind of their own, or I'm not smart enough to figure out the most basic of instructions. Either way, I did not want to delay posting this teaching.
Acts 9:11, “So the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus for behold, he is praying.”
We live in an age where multitudes of men go, without being sent. Coincidentally men who are not sent never seem to go to places or embark upon ministries which may be difficult for the flesh, which may be counterintuitive, or counterproductive to their own bottom line and lifestyle. When the Lord sends one of his disciples out however, it is often to places few would venture, to minister to people few would give the time of day to, but who go nonetheless, for to be a true disciple one must live in perpetual obedience of the master.
Ananias, was a faithful disciple, one who went even though the man he was being sent to minister to had a reputation that preceded him. Ananias had heard about Saul, the great persecutor of the brethren, and was terrified by what he had heard of him. To human reason, going out of one’s way to run into Saul of Tarsus, would have been foolish, but Ananias had no choice but to go, strengthened by the fact that the Lord had commanded it.
When the Lord commands us to embark upon a journey, to arise and go, we go emboldened by the knowledge that even though to human eyes our endeavor is doomed to failure, God will make a way. Too few see the power of God, and the miracles of God in their lives, because they choose not to take that first step, they choose not to obey the command justifying their inaction by listing all the reasons they will likely fail. God can only prove Himself once we have taken that step of faith and obeyed His command to arise and go. God is always speaking to His people, but in order for His people to hear His voice, they must have their spiritual ears open, listening for the voice of the Father. When our spiritual ears are open and the Father speaks, we arise from our comfort zone, from our day-to-day lives, and go wherever He sends us.
God gave Ananias a precise address, entrusting him to perform a specific task, knowing the sure fruit that his obedience would produce. This is the way God works. When He sends us, He instructs us, telling us what we must do, leaving nothing to chance.
Saul, the one who previously breathed threats of murder against the followers of Christ, had been transformed into a man who prayed. Saul not only fought against God persecuting the Christians, he was the bane of their existence, arousing terror by his actions, and no one dared to approach him. Now this same man had been brought low and humbled, now blind and unable to care for himself. This impotence and blindness however, were full of as yet unseen blessing.
One crucial lesson in analyzing the conversion of Saul, is acknowledging the fact that when we can no longer trust in ourselves, or lean on our understanding, when our strength has failed us, and our sight has left us, we must look for help elsewhere, outside of ourselves. When we are brought to this place in our lives, we no longer boast of our accomplishments, we no longer revel in our wisdom, we no longer trust in our strength, but surrender our all to Christ, acknowledging Him as being our strength and our shield, our joy and our peace, our comfort and our provision.
No longer is Saul the aggressor, no longer is he a man that overcomes people by force, no longer does he aspire to imprison people in cells of stone and brick. He is now transformed into a servant, forsaking the way of violence for that of love, compelling all who would hear to embrace the love of Christ, and be made free. At the house of Judas, Saul of Tarsus prayed, waiting patiently for the next piece of the puzzle to fall into place, for the next leg of his journey to be made known to him. Although none of those who journeyed with him had yet seen any virtue in Saul, God already had, making known to Ananias, that Saul was praying.
Often God sees virtue in us far in advance of man; He sees the potential that is there, even if those around us see nothing worthwhile or redeeming. Saul had taken the leap into the unknown. This was new territory for him, no longer being in control, but blind and impotent humbling himself in prayer.
What Christ requires of the penitent souls is that they trust Him to the point of flinging themselves into His embrace regardless of the murmurs of friends, family or acquaintances. It is human nature to cling to those things we can see, and those things we can touch, but Christ asks that we take a step of faith toward Him. The moment Saul fell to his knees in prayer heaven took notice, knowing that the work had begun. Saul was praying.
Only a heart that has been awakened and revived can utter a true prayer, a prayer that comes from that place of groaning, a prayer not neatly fitting into the mold of formula or ceremony, absent of pharisaical boasts, but simple, sincere and heartfelt. The length of our prayers or the use of big words does not impress God. He is not impressed by the correct inflection and cadence of the sentence structure. What stirs God’s heart, is sincerity and yearning, a desire to know Him more fully and deeply.
When the heart is stirred to prayer, knowing that it must either cry out, or fall beneath the burden threatening to overwhelm it, the prayer is genuine, and honest. Unpolished as such a prayer might be it stirs the heart of God every time. When the heart is full it must pour itself out. Even if the words escape us, the heart will speak what the lips never could, before the omniscience of our heavenly Father. True prayer is done with the heart rather than the lips.
Although it is a lesson for another time, I would be remiss if I did not point out the following: A life absent of prayer is a life absent of fruit. A life absent of prayer is a life absent of victory. If there was a time when you had a prayer life, when you found joy and comfort in spending time with the Father, but now find reason to put it off for another day, may you with all diligence look into the mirror of God’s word and search out the areas in which you have grown cold toward His grace. When prayer is not found in the life of a believer, given enough time, one can witness the starvation of the spirit. A prayer life nourishes the spirit, it gives us strength and courage, it emboldens us to search deeper, and grow in God.
Prayer should not be our last resort. Prayer is not the life raft of life, there to be utilized when we start to sink and have no other place to turn to, prayer is the means by which we fellowship with the Father, by which we commune with Him, and grow in Him daily. May we rightly assign prayer the proper place on our list of priorities, and endeavor to grow our prayer life in perpetuity.
Acts 9:12, “And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”
Because Ananias was a disciple of Christ, the Lord already knew he would obey. Ananias had been assigned this specific task of going and seeking out Saul of Tarsus, and at the same time Saul of Tarsus was being shown a vision of a man named Ananias coming and putting his hands on him that he might receive his sight. This vision was an answer to Saul’s prayer, showing him that the time of blindness would soon come to an end.
It is encouraging to see that God does not leave a work undone. If He has begun it, He will finish it. There are no half measures with God. Both men were shown that they would meet one another, that one would lay hands, and the other would receive his sight.
Once again it is worth noting the importance of prayer in the life of God’s children. For only by prayer can we receive light, and see things unseen by the eyes of flesh. God reveals Himself to all who pray, in greater or lesser measure.
Saul not only saw Ananias in his vision, he even knew his name. The works of God can be seen and perceived without the aid of our physical eyes. After all that Saul had done, after all the persecution that had been suffered at his hand, the Lord whom he had been persecuting was extending grace and mercy, revealing the measure of His love for even one such as Saul. When the mercy of God envelops an individual, that individual receives their sight and no longer walks in the darkness of the world. Soon, Saul’s conversion and restoration would be complete, and the new man would emerge, the fearless warrior, the obedient servant, the selfless disciple that would spend the rest of his days telling all who would hear of the grace that saved him, the love that filled him, and the blood that redeemed him.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Intermission

We will be continuing the study of Paul's conversion shortly, but for now I would just like to take a few minutes and wish all the mothers who read this web log, a heartfelt happy mother's day.
To those whose mothers are still living, cherish them, for they are precious. Often one does not know the true worth of what they have until it is taken from them. Whether one is fifteen or fifty, they are still their mother's son or daughter, and as such need to make precious the time they are able to share together.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Saul of Tarsus Part 6

Acts 9:9, “And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.”
When a soul encounters God and is compelled to repentance, it is a daunting experience, a shaking at the most basic level so much so that at first even the physical needs are neglected or all but forgotten. The transformation, bring one under the guidance of the law of the Spirit of life, thereby making those things the flesh once thought important and mandatory, irrelevant and unnecessary.
Saul spent three day with Christ in the spirit, separated from the physical, just as the Savior spent three days in the grave, rising from the tomb in a new state.
The time that elapses between one’s encounter with Christ, and their receiving spiritual insight, and a desire for spiritual nourishment is relatively short. Once a man or woman’s eyes are opened to the reality of who Jesus is, and what He is offering them, they are quick to pursue Him and desire more of His love and grace.
Once we have become blind to the world, our spiritual eyes can be opened that we may perceive the mysteries of the kingdom of God. If we are focused on the worldly things, and only catch a glimpse of the Kingdom from our peripheral vision, we will never be able to enter in, to know the fullness of that which God offers His beloved, nor will we be able to walk in the authority and power rightly ours.
After three days, for the first time in his life Saul was able to truly see. The eyes of his understanding had been opened, and he was no longer a blind man. From this point forward in his existence, all would be seen in a new light, the true light, retaining the truth that Jesus is Lord as the one constant throughout his life. This light brought about a new countenance in Saul, although his physical sight had been taken from him, a far greater sight had replaced it still. Although Saul was blind, he was not perturbed. He did not cry out in desperation, he did not seek out healers, he waited patiently for the plan of God to come to its rightful end, accepting all that God had ordained with gladness and absent of murmuring.
The men that journeyed with Saul had to return to Jerusalem alone. Saul obeyed the command of the Lord and went into the city; he remained in Damascus. From now Saul would never persecute again, rather, he would become the object of the very persecution he unleashed.
Acts 9:10, “Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, ‘Ananias’. And he said, ‘here I am, Lord.”
Although this verse is simple and straightforward enough, it raises some questions for those of us living in this generation. Can it be said of us, as it was said of Ananias, that we are truly disciples of Christ, no matter the city we might be living in? If not, why not? Undercover Christianity is as dangerous and counterproductive as the indifference toward the duty all of us are commanded to undertake. Speaking to the lost and the dying about the love and mercy of our Lord was not a command directed only toward pastors and evangelists, it was not a command directed only to deacons and elders, but to all who claim the name of Christ, who have been redeemed by the blood of His sacrifice and walk in the light of His love.
A faithful disciple will always learn from his or her master, and one can readily ascertain who the disciple’s master is by their conduct, their actions, their speech and their desires. If we are Disciples of Christ, we must learn from Christ, and daily grow to be more like Christ in all we endeavor to do. Eventually those with whom we come in contact with will no longer see us, but Christ in us, identifying the Master by the actions of His disciple.
So who was Ananias? The name Ananias can be translated to mean the Lord is compassionate, but it can also be translated to mean the Lord is my defense. Other than the fact that he was a disciple of Christ, and a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony, not much is known of him.
It is enough to know that when the Lord spoke to him, Ananias was quick to answer, willing to be the vessel God would use to fulfill his plan. The prompt response, and unflinching obedience to the voice of the Lord is the sign that is ever present in the lives of those who follow after the One who was obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Philippians 2:8, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
Because he was a faithful and obedient disciple of Christ, Ananias not only heard the voice of the Lord, but also did according to the Lord’s command even if in the beginning he was a little hesitant. Within Ananias’s reaction lies a lesson for all of us who aspire to grow in God, and reach a new level of maturity. Sometimes God will ask us to perform tasks and speak to souls that will take us out of our comfort zone, that will challenge logic itself, but we must be obedient nonetheless. Ananias knew of Saul’s reputation, he knew that he was largely the source of the church’s troubles, yet when the Lord spoke he had no choice but to obey. The goodness of Christ is made all the more evident by this act of sending Ananias to meet the former persecutor of the brethren.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Saul of Tarsus Part 5

Acts 9:7, “And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.”
The presence of Christ in any given environment changes the attitude and perception of those who are present. This truth is one that remains a constant, from age to age and generation to generation. The presence of a burning fire in a dark and cold room changes the character of the edifice, bringing light and warmth where once there was darkness and cold.
It is inevitable that once the light of Christ shines in a soul, those who journey with him or her, those who are close and know this individual on a personal level, will witness the change and transformation. Some will stand speechless unable to perceive what is happening, while others will inquire as to the origin of the power that was so able to transform and make whole. What do those who journey with us, see in us? Is Christ daily evident in our actions, conduct, speech and walk?
If we have encountered the Christ, and He has revealed Himself to us, such an experience cannot be hidden from those closest to us. The encounter and the subsequent changes in one’s life can’t help but be noticed, even by the most undiscerning among us. Even if they don’t understand the specifics of what has occurred in your life, they must see or hear something different, perhaps to them even unusual in your countenance and conduct. An encounter with the Savior, transforms the life of an individual from its very foundation, and such a drastic change cannot go unnoticed.
A true Christian is an individual who having had an encounter with the Christ, has been transformed and has become a new creation, no longer shackled to the darkness, no longer subject to the desires of the old flesh, no longer fearful and wandering. Our encounter with Christ is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives, what is old, that which was, is wiped away and cast into the sea of forgetfulness, and what is before us is revealed in a new and clear light.
The men who journeyed with Saul saw no one, yet they heard the voice. May the prayer of our hearts always be to hear the voice of God, even if we do not see with our physical eyes. Spiritual acuity is necessary for every believer in times such as these, for it encourages them to lean not on the things they can see, or on the things they can touch, but to step out in faith, and obey the voice of the heavenly Father. By trusting in our physical senses, and stifling our spiritual ones, we often find ourselves in confusing and uncertain situations, not knowing what our next step should be, or what course of action we ought to undertake.
There is something I learned through over two decades of ministry, and that is what seems as the right course of action for the senses, for the physical mind, and the understanding of man, will often conflict with the spiritual mind, and the instruction and direction of God. The physical mind can only perceive and come to a conclusion based on the information at hand, while the spiritual mind, inspired by the power of God comes to a conclusion based on the situation as a whole, from start to finish seeing beyond the capacity of the physical mind. What may seem perfectly right to the physical mind today, might have tragic consequences tomorrow or the day after, while what seems counterintuitive to the physical mind might turn out to be a blessing and a means by which God can manifest His power and authority.
There is one example that springs to mind, that of the orphanage our ministry built in Romania. To the human mind, to the physical senses and the analytical and deductive parts of the brain, breaking ground on a mammoth building, when you only had a few dollars in the bank would seem foolish and ill conceived. Yet by faith, we obeyed the voice of God, countermanding the obvious setbacks of what our physical mind perceived as an impossible endeavor, and as such saw the hand of God perform miracle upon miracle, until the building was complete. Because we chose to step out in faith, to operate by faith and not by sight, there are now around one hundred children that are being fed, clothed, offered a place to sleep, and being taught the Word of God in that orphanage.
When God commands us to do something, we cannot begin the endeavor by pointing out all the reasons the flesh thinks it is going to fail, but by perpetually reminding ourselves that nothing is impossible to our God. It matters not if what I am doing seems foolish and impossible in the eyes of the world, all that matters is that God commissioned it, and commanded it. If it is God’s will, He will make a way.
There are countless examples in the Word, wherein faith and obedience accomplished, what many perceived as impossible. From Noah building the Ark, to Gideon and his small band of warriors vanquishing an overwhelming enemy force, to young David vanquishing Goliath, to the walls of Jericho falling, and countless other examples, all it took was faith and obedience.
Acts 9:8, “Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.”
One encounter with Christ was more than enough to fell Saul to the ground, only to arise a new man, ready for a new work. Everything he had believed had been shattered; from his opinions on Christ and His followers to the way he viewed the world. Even though he was felled to the ground, Saul did not remain there. Even if one’s encounter with Christ first produces such felling of the flesh, which it always does, he or she soon arises from the ground, and begins to walk the path the Savior commanded.
Arise from everything that is of this earth. Arise from everything that keeps your heart tethered to this plain, even if you do not perceive all of God’s truths, even if you do not see, arise and follow. After you arise, you will be told what you must do, but fist you must arise.
It is not the place where you encountered Christ that is of significance, but the fact that you encountered him, and the transformation that took place in your heart as a result of this encounter. After Saul of Tarsus had his encounter with the Savior, he was sent to Damascus, and from Damascus into the entire world. His heart was not tied to that spot on the road to Damascus where he encountered Jesus, nor to Damascus itself where he was sent. His heart was tethered to eternity and to his beloved Savior, the One who saved him from sin, and blinding him opened his eyes.
If we encountered Christ in a certain denomination, may we be cautious that are hearts not become tethered to that denomination, or to any man in particular. Christ’s desire is not for us to bind our hearts to places, or to men, but to Him, ready and willing to hear His word, and obey His commands.
Anything that takes the pace of Christ in our hearts, anything that acts as a surrogate or replacement for the person and essence of Jesus, becomes an idol, even if it happens to be the work of Christ, rather than the person of Christ. First the person of our Lord Jesus must be preeminent in our hearts, then His work, whenever He so chooses to send us. This is a truth that even the most seasoned of servants tend to overlook in their desire to do the work of God. We cannot neglect our personal relationships with Christ, in lieu of laboring on His behalf, because if the relationship is neglected, soon the spirit grows weak, the cup runs dry, and we are relying on our on strength rather than His strength, on our own wisdom, rather than His wisdom.
Saul’s physical sight was taken from him. He could see no one, he was by all accounts blind, but in return he had received a new and spiritual sight, a light that shone in his heart, one, which he had not possessed prior to encountering Christ. One can have perfect vision, yet still be blind to spiritual things. In order to perceive spiritual things, one must possess spiritual vision, the eyes of the new creation born of faith in Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
John 1:12-13, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
When God removes sight, even if your eyes are open, you see nothing. When God gives sight however, even if your eyes are closed, you are readily able to see more clearly than those with perfect sight. When the light of God shines within a soul, it makes them blind to the earthly things, it makes them blind to the temptations of sin, and the old life they left behind.
Putting one foot in front of the other Saul nears Damascus, led by the hand, at the mercy of those journeying with him, making his entrance into the city very different than how he had fist envisioned it. Saul did not enter Damascus as one who would conquer, and vanquish, as the leader of a military contingent, not as one who would imprison and subjugate others, but as one who had been vanquished, whose pride had been shattered, blind and led by the hand as a babe barely able to stand on its own two feet.
When a man or woman begins their journey, their new life in Christ, they are often in need of aid from those who have already grown and matured in the faith. Some need to be taken by the hand and led down the path, until they are able to see it for themselves, and walk it faithfully thereafter. God always sends His servants to lead the one who has encountered Christ, to the place they must go. May we be humble and discerning enough to know when we are called to be signposts, and guides, when we are called to take the babes in Christ by the hand and lead them on the path of righteousness.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.