Follow by Email

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Principled Defense

In all fairness, and the spirit of full disclosure, I had not planned on posting this article. It is in fact an article that I wrote for the hand of help newsletter, that will go out to those of you who receive it shortly. At the behest of staff and friends alike however, I have decided to post it on the blog. Thank you all for your prayers, and your words of encouragement. They mean more than you will ever know.
One need only look at the history of the church within the last generation or so, to see that our resolve has been weakened, and is almost nonexistent when it comes to defending the truth, or standing up for what we know to be just and right. For most people, silence and retreat is more acceptable than the defense of truth, because chances are very slim that one will get wounded while retreating. We weigh the matter judiciously, conclude that it’s too small a thing to get worked up about, and back away slowly as to not stir the attention of the enemy. We don’t like making waves and the enemy knows this. We have an aversion to being marginalized, to being mocked, to being ridiculed, to being persecuted, and so we would rather slink away in the middle of the night than confront the enemy. We have taken it upon ourselves to become negotiators, when we have been called to be messengers, to be spectators when we have been called to be soldiers. We have become passionately passionless, and purposefully purposeless for fear of offending the unregenerate and unrepentant.
With every retreat the enemy gains more ground, with every omission, with every act of cowardice on our part the enemy gets that much bolder, and continues his steady march.
For some reason we’ve come to believe that the enemy will simply stop short of our citadels, that he will stop short of besieging the towers if we just give up enough ground. Surely the enemy will be content with a partial victory, surely his desire is not to overrun the entire house of God. If this is what you believe, if you believe that the enemy will stop short, than you don’t really know the enemy we face. His desire is the utter destruction of God’s house, and he will not stop short of his goal. This is why we must stand, this is why we must boldly proclaim the truth and defend even those things we consider as insignificant or of little importance.
There is a passage in first Chronicles that details what I’m attempting to convey. At the beginning of David’s reign, the Chronicler of the time took a census of David’s mighty men, and among them was a man named Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite.
1 Chronicles 11:13-14, “He was with David at Pasdammim. Now there the Philistines were gathered for battle and there was a piece of ground full of barley. And the people fled from the Philistines. But they stationed themselves in the midst of that field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. And the Lord saved them by a great deliverance.”
Here was David and Eleazar, defending what amounted to a piece of ground full of barley. It wasn’t like they were defending a city, it wasn’t like they were defending Jerusalem, it was just some barley in a field. All of the people had fled, the Philistines were on their way, and they came to the conclusion that it was easier to let the Philistines have the piece of ground full of barley, than to risk their lives in order to defend it. David and Eleazar however, decided to stay and fight, they decided to make their stand for a piece of ground full of barley, and even risk their lives in order to defend it.
What we must understand, is that it wasn’t the barley they were defending and risking their lives for, it was the principle of giving up ground to the enemy. David’s principle was simple. We leave nothing to the Philistines. Whether a patch of earth or a handful of barley, David and Eleazar decided and purposed in their hearts, that they would give nothing to the enemy.
The spiritual principle that we learn from this exchange is as simple as it is profound. We must not be willing to leave anything for the enemy. If it comes to it, we must be ready and willing to go to war with Satan himself, even over something small, something that the world would look at and mock us for defending. Leave nothing for the enemy to exploit!
The sad and lamentable truth, is that the church in our modern age has given up allot of ground. Those who ought to have been mighty men, those who ought to have been warriors, decided it wasn’t worth fighting over a patch of earth, it wasn’t worth defending a handful of barley, so they simply retreated, and gave up ground. We refused to defend the small things because we thought them unworthy of our efforts, and the more ground we gave up, the bolder the enemy became. Soon enough, here the enemy stood at the castle walls, and now the church has gotten so used to running it has gotten so used to giving up ground, that it is having a difficult time mustering up the courage to defend the city itself.
Those of you with spiritual eyes and ears know exactly what I am talking about!
The last part of the verse we read is also worth repeating, because it reveals a second essential spiritual truth. When we stand our ground, when we defend the truth of God’s word, when we are willing to put our reputations on the line for the sake of Christ, and suffer the mocking and scorn that will surely come from the godless, it is the Lord that will fight alongside us; it is the Lord who will ensure our victory.
All they had to do was stand and fight, all they had to do was be determined that they would not retreat, that they would not back down, that they would not give up ground to the Philistines.
The Word is very clear as to who gave David and Eleazar the victory.
“And the Lord saved them by a great deliverance.”
It’s not that the church is continually suffering defeat; it’s that it hasn’t even made its stand yet. Between those who prefer to be mere spectators, and consider that taking a stand for the truth isn’t really for them, because well, they just want to preach a positive message, and be positive and create an atmosphere of positivity, and those who surrender to the enemy before the first sword is drawn or the first bow is strung, the number of true warriors, the number of those who are willing to defend the truth and make their stand is small indeed.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I do not trust men who call themselves warriors yet have no scars. I do not trust men who call themselves warriors yet their armor is in pristine condition, as though they had it pressed for a military funeral rather than scarred and worn as though they were standing on the front lines.
Make no mistake, we are at war, and this spiritual war is one in which there can be no spectators. There are only three options. We either flee from before the enemy, surrender to the enemy, or make our stand against the enemy.
I realize full well that some continue to be under the misconception that they can strike a truce with the enemy and somehow coexist. The only problem is that the enemy never honors your terms of surrender, and you will be a slave, and subject to his whims. Knowing that the enemy is merciless, ruthless, vile and heartless, his whims will always gravitate toward creating an environment of pain, sorrow and heartache for those who surrender and give up the fight.
When we are faithful, when we honor God in the little things, when we look upon a patch of land and a handful of barley as David and Eleazar did and say in our hearts it is not dispensable, it is not expendable, it is worth defending and worth standing our ground over, we know that God stands with us, and though the enemy might outnumber us, it is the Lord who will save us by a great deliverance.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Integrity

There are some who have a romanticized view of the past who contend that men absent of integrity have only started sprouting up like mushrooms after a spring rain within the past few decades. The truth of the matter however, is that there have always been men lacking in integrity, or otherwise completely absent of integrity, and even men such as Apostle Paul had to contend with them from time to time.
Now when I speak of integrity, I do not speak of it in broad terms such as business dealings, or dealing with the world at large, but in the more focused arena of rightly handling and dividing the Word of God. Men who would pervert, or otherwise twist the word of God for personal gain have always existed, and Paul did his best to both disassociate himself from such men, and rebuke their conduct.
2 Corinthians 2:17, “For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.”
Most theologians and learned men agree that the second epistle to the Corinthians was written some time during the latter end of 56 A.D. It had not been long since Jesus had walked among them, it had not been long since the death and resurrection of Christ, yet as Paul pens these words, he feels the need to point out that he along with Titus and the other man with whom he entrusted this epistle, were not as so many, peddling the word of God.
A handful of years had passed, yet already there were many who were peddling the word of God, many who adulterated and twisted it for gain. It is not a new phenomenon, but one that the word warns us will only grow in intensity. The Word speaks of a future time, when false teachers will abound and secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
What the Word once spoke of in future tense has now become the present, and as the Word forewarned, many are following these destructive heresies, and because of these men who have brought them in, the way of truth is being blasphemed.
2 Peter 2:3, “By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”
What we are seeing in this present age, is that men who call themselves preachers, pastors, and evangelists, are actively denying the divinity of Christ, and also exploiting the sheep of God’s house by promoting an envious eagerness to possess something. In short, these men are using greed, to manipulate the innocents of God’s house.
So the question that we must ask ourselves as individuals, is are we part of the many who are peddling the word of God, or part of the few who out of sincerity speak as from God, and in the sight of God in Christ?
When it comes to handling and rightly dividing the word of God, we must have absolute and unwavering integrity. We cannot choose to have integrity only when it suits us, we cannot choose to employ integrity only when it is profitable to us, but in perpetuity, regardless of the aftereffects we might be confronted with.
The written word of God has a single purpose on this earth, that of bringing the wayward man into the heavenly Father’s house, to remake him in the image and likeness of God after these were lost due to man’s fall. The written word of God reveals the Christ to us, the one by which man might be saved. In the Word we see the Son of God in all His glory, and all His humility. We behold Him as he pays the ultimate price for our redemption and as he ascends into heaven to take His rightful place.
John 20:30-31, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
A believer in possession of integrity will always bring Christ to the forefront, and present Him to those who are willing to hear. It is not difficult to identify those who are peddling the word, if you know what to look for. When someone speaks more about themselves, their possessions, their exploits or their recent acquisitions of high end items than they do about Jesus, chances are they are counted among the many that do nothing more than peddling the word of God for personal gain. When someone omits certain scriptural and fundamental truths for fear of offending or being deemed an extremist or a zealot, they are doing nothing more than peddling the word of God.
It would seem many today are struggling not to lift high the name of Christ, or to preach Jesus, but to distance themselves as far as humanly possible from certain affirmations that Jesus Himself made.
It was Jesus who said that He is the way, the truth and the life. It was Jesus who said that no man comes to the Father but by Him, but some are taking it upon themselves to question the veracity of Christ’s affirmations, or denying this truth altogether. Those who are questioning or outright denying these words of Jesus, are neither atheists nor worldly men, but the selfsame men that stand behind pulpits and call themselves the mouthpieces of God.
This is just one of many examples, one of many issues that need to be confronted and dealt with within the house of God. There is simplicity in integrity, but there is also power and conviction.
2 Corinthians 1:12, “For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.”
In the life of every believer, the most steadfast and consistent watchman, second only to the Word of God, is the conscience that has been enlightened by the Holy Spirit. When our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world by the grace of God, in simplicity and godly sincerity, it gives us boldness and courage in our confession. It is also when we walk in simplicity and godly sincerity that we learn not to trust in our own wisdom, our own intellect or our own abilities. We learn that earthly wisdom can do nothing when it comes to reaching the hearts of men, and drawing them toward truth and light. We lean on the wisdom of God, we trust in the power of God, and we walk in the grace of God. When we speak with sincerity, as from God, and in His sight, we have the unshakable trust that God will be faithful in watering the seed that is planted by the simple words we utter, and the good news of the gospel that we present.
Walk in integrity, and you will walk in wisdom. Walk in integrity and you will walk in victory. Walk in integrity, and you will walk in the knowledge that God will fight on your behalf, and touch the hearts of those with which you share. Yes, there are many who peddle the word of God, but there are still those faithful few who will not compromise the truth, who will stand on the word of God, and who will boldly proclaim the name of Christ. Pray for such individuals, and aspire to be such individuals. As an old adage so aptly puts it the greater the darkness the greater the need for light; and the greater the deception, the greater the need for truth.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Matters Most

I realize it has been some time since my last post, but there is a perfectly good explanation. First, my little brother Daniel got married, so I had to fly to Romania and attend his wedding, and I've been living with my parents in law ever since then. It has been some time since I've lived in a group setting, and if you throw in the barking dogs and other distractions, it is not at all an environment conducive to deep thought and reflection.
As a sidebar, please keep the children at the hand of help orphanage in your prayers, as well as the staff, and their families. As yet  we have been spared any malady, such as the swine flu, or what is being leaked out of the Ukraine as something akin to the plague of the early 1900's. Botosani, the area where we live, has had the most confirmed cases of the swine flu in the entire country in the past few days. Thank you for your understanding, and your prayers.
We are all, from the moment of our birth until the day our aged flesh goes into the earth, subjected to our own dreams and flights of fancy. It would seem we are all born with aspirations, our dreams taking on wings of their own, and soaring high above our current circumstances. Although we peer into an uncertain and unknown future, as far as we as individuals are concerned, most of us daydream about the best possible outcome, looking down the tunnel of future time and seeing our teeth straighter absent the use of braces, and the weight having melted off absent the facilitation of neither diet nor exercise.
As adolescents, we dream of bicycles and slingshots, as teenagers of fast cars and cool clothes, then as the march of time matures us, perhaps of a wife or a husband, of our children moving into their own homes, and eventually of retirement, and not having achy joints or rheumatoid arthritis in the twilights of our lives.
We all dream to a greater or lesser degree and the dreams of some are more realistic and attainable than of others. In the gospel according to John, there was a man whose dreams had been reduced to nothing more than receiving enough change from those passing by, to buy himself a loaf of bread. For thirty eight years this man had been suffering the same malady, and as we all know there is nothing more certain than an infirmity to bring us back to the real world, to replant our feet firmly upon the ground, and cause us to stop dreaming dreams. This man’s dream was to be normal, to be healthy, to have some vitality in his body, to stop depending on others for his daily care, something we all take for granted on a daily basis. He lay by the pool at Bethesda, waiting for the angel to come and stir the waters, hoping against hope that someone would have the heart to help him into the water. The chances of this happening were very slim, because multitudes gathered at this pool, some less frail and sickly than this man, others who had family and friends to help them, and all desiring to be the first one in, because only the first one into the pool after the angel stirred the waters would be made well of whatever disease they had.
It would have taken the kind of selflessness that only one Man throughout history has shown, to help another into the pool knowing they would be made well instead of you, or your loved one. Yes, the man was lame, yes the man was pitiable, yes the man was there alone, watching as others leapt out of the pool, exuberant and ecstatic, having been made whole, dreaming what for him was most likely an impossible dream, that of being made whole himself, that of someone sacrificing their own wellbeing, their own comfort, their own healing, for his own.
As it so happened, one day Jesus was passing by Bethesda, and as He beholds the multitude of sick, suffering from an array of incurable infirmities such as blindness, paralysis, and lameness, this one man catches His eye. This one man stands out in the crowd.
Their interaction was by no means long or laborious, and there was no drawn out conversation. In fact, Jesus spoke a total of fourteen words to the man, but they were words that changed his life, and allowed him to dream again.
John 5:5-6, “Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’”
John 5:8, “Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.”
Within the span of these fourteen words there are three fundamental truths that Jesus imparts, three necessary realizations that we as individuals must come to, that are as relevant and impacting for us today, as they were for the lame man two thousand years ago. In fact we will be focusing on seven words that Jesus spoke, three of which were action verbs that demanded an action and a reaction from the lame man. These three truths are the essence of the message of the gospel, and what matters most when it comes to having a right heart, and a right spirit that we might receive the truth, and be transformed by it.
The first of three truths or realizations that we must come to terms with is the present circumstance or situation that we currently find ourselves in.
This man knew that he was lame; this man knew that he was helpless; this man knew that he needed help. So often our pride will not allow us to admit our shortcomings, or the fact that we need help, we need prayer, and we need encouragement. This man had come to terms with the reality of his present circumstance, and when Jesus told him to rise, he didn’t say that he was perfectly fine where he was at, or that he didn’t really need any help, but was broken enough and humble enough to know he needed to be saved and restored.
If you happen to be reading these words, and are not saved, you too have certain truths with which you must come to terms with.
The first is that you are a sinner. You are weak, you are blind, you are proud, and you are lame. Your sin has rendered you helpless and you lay on the ground as this man did, unable to save yourself.
The second truth you must come to terms with, is that you are living in an exceedingly sinful and evil world. No matter what country you hail from, in your country, and at this very moment babies are being murdered in their mother’s wombs, the bars are overflowing with patrons desiring to drown their hopelessness and despair, the courts are full of divorce cases waiting to be tried, and sin is marching on largely unopposed by those calling themselves Christians. This is just the reality of the world we are living in.
The third truth that you must acknowledge is that you desperately need a change. Many today believe that change will come about by way of educating the masses, yet there is not a single day without war in a world full of universities and edifices dedicated to higher learning.
Another popular theory is that we are all products of our environment, and if we can change people’s environment we will surely transform their character. This theory is largely nullified when taking into account the countless exceptional parents, who provided a loving and positive environment, yet are largely forgotten and left to wither away into nothingness in hospices and senior care facilities, sent there by their own blood and offspring.
Not even religion is able to bring about the change we need, since much blood has been shed in the name of God, and putting two men of different denominational affiliation in the same room is likely to result in a heated argument if not outright violence.
Another reality that you cannot circumvent or otherwise ignore is that a price was paid for you. Whoever you are, however irrelevant you might consider yourself to be, know that the greatest ransom in the history of the universe was paid for you. The Word tells us that we were not bought with anything perishable, or with easily attainable things such as silver or gold, but with the blood of the only begotten Son of God. During the reign of Pontius Pilate, on a fateful day that will forever be remembered, Jesus Christ paid the price in full for you and for me. God gave the best He had, and what was most precious to Him, that we might have life in Him and through Him.
The last thing you must come to terms with, and acknowledge if as yet you have not received Christ in your heart, and made Him Lord of all, is that there is a future judgment. I realize no one wants to hear the word judgment; it has become as unwelcome even in Christian circles as the word plague, but future judgment is as tangible a reality as the sun rising every morning.
Romans 2:5-6, “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds.’”
Why am I so certain of future judgment? I am certain of this truth because the Bible speaks of it often, and because judgment is the essence of God’s righteousness and holiness, as well as the manifestation of His justice.
After commanding the lame man to rise, Jesus commanded him to pick up his bed. Spiritually speaking, this is a command to renounce and turn our back on our old life, and everything it entailed. Everything that could have reminded the lame man of his previous hopeless existence had to be removed and done away with. True repentance and a true Christian walk is not changing the congregation you attend, but changing your life. It is replacing your old life, with the new life you’ve been given in Jesus.
Too many today have come to believe that repentance is the adaptation of divine faith to the old life. The popularity of teachings that insist that one can have the best of both worlds, that one can live in sin and yet infuse faith into their lives is more popular today than ever before. Such teachings however, are as wrong today as they have ever been. True repentance, is the cross, true repentance is the yoke of Christ, and these things presuppose a separation from our old lives, and from the world itself.
The old thoughts, the old desires, the old vocabulary, the old conduct, and the old lifestyle must all be done away with, and never again revisited. Once you take up the cross of Christ, once you take upon you the yoke of Christ, you are forever changed and transformed. Peter never did return to his fishing business, Matthew never did resume his work as a tax collector, and Luke never again opened a clinic. They were men transformed, men renewed, men that had received a new purpose and desire for their lives.
The last command that Jesus gave the lame man, was to walk. From a spiritual perspective, this means to begin living a new life. The danger of becoming a static Christian is ever present in our lives. God has no use for, nor does He desire us to be some fragile thing, placed upon a mantle, only to be dusted once in awhile, like some Faberge egg that no one can touch or handle. God desires us to be a new creation in Him, that is as visible in a sinful world as a light is in the midst of darkness. As living testimonies of the power and presence of God in our lives, we must possess a new mind, a new heart, new priorities and a new hope, that all would see Christ in us and working through us.
Rise, take up your bed and walk! These words are as powerful and life changing for us as individuals today, as they were for the lame man some two thousand years ago. The only questions that remain to be answered, are do we have ears to hear, and will we obey Christ’s command?

With love in Christ,
 
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The True Christian Life

There are many churches today that keep a strict accounting of how many people they drew to Christ, whether through street witnessing, evangelistic crusades, or other means of outreach. This is all well and good, but too few keep an accounting of how many people they turned off to the gospel of Christ, by not living what they preach, by focusing more on the things of this earth than the kingdom of God, and by not being a living testimony of the grace and work of Jesus.
One of the most subtle and destructive works of the enemy, is that of taking sincere souls and convincing them to practice a false Christianity, a hyper spirituality that has nothing to do with the work of God in their lives, but that is simultaneously close enough to doctrinal truth that they feel justified in their practice.
Before going any further, I need to make two points that I realize will not sit well with some. First, true Christianity does not require a publicity agent, and it does not require a public relations campaign; true Christianity requires true Christians, devoted Christians, humble Christians, and obedient Christians. Second, there are clear signs, unmistakable signs that define and characterize a true Christian, living a true Christian life.
In defending his apostleship and his authority to the church of Corinth, the Apostle Paul presents four clear signs, four unmistakable characteristics of a true Christian living a true Christian life.
2 Corinthians 2:14, “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
The first sign that an individual is living a true Christian life is undying optimism. Now before anyone starts rolling their eyes thinking I’ve switched camps and will soon start giving you the ten secrets to living prosperous lives, I did not say undying positivity, I said undying optimism.
Although the two words might seem similar, in their definition they are quite different.
Positivity is defined as a quality or state characterized by certainty or acceptance or affirmation and dogmatic assertiveness.
Optimism however is defined as the belief that in the end all is going to turn out well or that good will eventually triumph over evil.
In spite of all the hardships, in spite of all the persecution, in spite of all the trials and tribulations that Paul endured, the most dominant note in this particular verse is one of thanks.
“Now thanks be to God” because we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, and those who are called according to His purpose.
“Now thanks be to God” because although today I might be hurting, today I might feel helpless, today I might be tried, I know that I have already obtained the victory, I have already overcome in Jesus and through Jesus.
“Now thanks be to God” because although the world might see me as an outcast, as a nuisance, as a strange thing worthy of scorn and pity, God sees me as His beloved child, and He cares for me and loves me more than I can say.
This is not the kind of thanks that comes from a pious heart, which doesn’t really believe what it is saying. These are words penned by a man who endured more than we can imagine, a man who was rejected by his contemporaries for his faith in Jesus, a man whom God had to bring low in order to remake, and through it all, he is able to stand and say, “Now thanks be to God.”
A true and authentic Christianity feels pain, it feels hurt, it feels rejection, it feels isolation, but it also knows that if God allowed these things, He has a plan, and in the end it will work together for good. Our optimism isn’t rooted in earthly things, it isn’t rooted in men or in ourselves, it is rooted in the promise of God, and the omnipotence of God.
When Paul and Silas found themselves in prison, their feet fastened in stocks, with an uncertain future before them, they were able to sing, they were able to rejoice, they were able to praise God because of their undying optimism and belief that it would all turn out well. They had received no special revelation as to what was to occur, but because they trusted God they were able to praise Him.
The second defining characteristic of a true believer, and one who is living a true Christian life, is the certainty of success.
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.” It’s not occasionally, it’s not some of the time, it isn’t even most of the time that God leads us in triumph in Christ, but always. When Paul speaks of this triumph, he speaks of a constant, unchanging, consistent and invariable triumph.
These words were not penned by a pastor of a mega church, they were not penned by someone living in a mansion with an indoor pool and chauffeured limo service, they were penned by a man who was beaten, persecuted, shipwrecked and whipped, but one who knew that every obstacle becomes an opportunity. This does not mean that Paul’s plans always came to fruition; it does not mean that Paul’s goals were always realized, but it does mean that the will of God was always done. Paul was in prison, yet the gospel of the kingdom of God was still being preached.
Philippians 1:12-14, “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
Even in his shackles, Paul discovered freedom, and even led those of the house of Caesar to Christ. Hearing of his imprisonment other brethren also became more confident, preaching the gospel fearlessly, with boldness and conviction.
What amazes me, is that it’s not the churches Paul planted while he was free that remained, it is not what he did in his freedom that stood the test of time, but the epistles he wrote while in prison. These are what remained to this day, and will remain in perpetuity.
The impact that a true Christian makes in the lives of those they encounter is unforgettable. As Paul so aptly puts it, we to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. A true Christian leaves a mark, a Christian life makes an impact. When a true Christian is encountered by one in the world, that one cannot remain neutral concerning the things of God.
There is an incontestable reality in one who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk of a believer. Their lives are visibly transformed, and they are no longer as they once were, slaves to sin and corruption. It is not calling ourselves Christians that produces these qualities, these visible fruit, but living the life of a believer.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A servant's affliction

Servants are not born, they are made. When God chooses an individual to be a servant, He begins by forming them, molding them, and chiseling them, that they might be vessels of honor in His hands. The more a servant experiences the presence and work of God in their life, the more they comes to view their present circumstances as the means by which God is purifying and renewing them. A servant views trials and affliction in their life very differently than the world does, because a servant is continually and fully trusting of the Master and His plan for their continued growth in both faith and grace.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18, “For our light affliction, which is but a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
No words can more adequately portray the two ideas of affliction and glory than these written by Paul some two thousand years ago. These words are altogether powerful and appropriate, preparing the heart for the possibility of affliction, but encouraging it by highlighting the aftereffects and positive aspects of what affliction will produce.
It is as though Paul is taking a scale, and placing the weight of affliction on one side, counterbalances it with the glory that is soon to follow. The difference is staggering. The weight of our afflictions, when counterbalanced with the eternal weight of glory, is both momentary and light, not worthy of mention or contemplation.
I realize afflictions and hardships are never easy, and that no matter how light, suffering is always a serious concern. I am not attempting to minimize heartache, affliction or suffering, or their affect but rather to open your eyes to the reality that if the foundation from which you perceive hardship is shifted from the physical to the spiritual, you will not perceive it as a catastrophe, but as a light and momentary occurrence that soon passes giving way to a far more exceeding and eternal glory.
Without faith, without hope, even the smallest setback seems like the end of the world, so much so that it doesn’t take an earth shattering event to bring some to the edge of hopelessness and despair.
In the midst of trials and hardships, faith sees the means by which God sends His blessings and makes us fruitful. Absence of faith looks upon trials and hardships as enemies whose singular desire is to destroy one’s life. Afflictions compel us not to trust in the things that are seen, but rather in those things that are not seen. It is in our times of distress, in our times of hardship that we press in, and discover the greatness of God’s love, and it is when we are surrounded by greatest of darkness that we see all the more clearly His brilliant light.
As believers, as servants of God, we do not seek out affliction, but when it comes, we are at peace knowing that we rest in the embrace of our heavenly Father. We know by faith, that God has prepared a blessing for us, even though momentarily we see only the affliction, we know that by way of the cross, we will enter into His providence. Affliction and victory go hand in hand, and if we have victory without affliction it only means that others suffered the affliction in our stead. By the same token, if we experience affliction without victory, may we take strength in the knowledge that those who will follow after us will obtain the victory of our afflictions.
No matter the circumstance, no matter the affliction or the hardship, a servant of God, and a follower of Christ sees them as profitable and worthwhile experiences. As an elderly preacher once said, affliction is the plough that tills the soil of the soul in preparation for receiving eternal truth, and removes the stones in its path that the glory of God might have no obstacles standing in its way.
Affliction forms us, and seeing the aftereffects, the finished product, the growth and the maturity that God worked in us gives us confidence and strengthens our faith. True faith has open eyes by which it perceives and seeks after spiritual things. There is an inconsistency in the lives of many who call themselves believers today, because while they claim to be followers of Christ, they are wholly given over the seeking after and desiring temporal and earthly things. When someone claims to have faith, yet ignores the spiritual in favor of the physical, then their faith is either a false faith, or an immature faith that as yet has not had its eyes open to the beauty of the kingdom of God.
Those who have not had their eyes opened to the beauty of God’s kingdom, are impatient and unwilling to wait that they might receive eternal joy, the only joy that remains, and so go about attempting to manufacture joy here on earth, a joy that is fleeting and illusive. Whatever joy some might find in sin, it is only temporary, followed by the pain and heartache of its consequences. But like impatient children, who are unwilling to wait for the grapes to ripen on the vine, the world today takes fistfuls of unripe grapes and hungrily eats them, only to be left with a sour taste in their mouth, and an uneasy feeling in the pit of their stomach.
Even in the midst of affliction a servant of God retains his joy, because his joy is cocooned in hope, and protected from the direct affects of hardship and trial. Our hope comes by way of knowing fully and wholeheartedly that whatever hardship or affliction we might be going through, God has a purpose and a plan.
It is with eyes of faith that we see beyond our present circumstance, it is with eyes of faith that we see past our present afflictions, and with full assurance that when the glory of God is revealed in us, when we journey from the valley and ascend to the mountaintop, we will count these afflictions as light and momentary.
Our goal is eternity, the final destination for every faithful servant and believer. Come what may in this life, come what may in this fleeting existence on this earth, we must view it in contrast with the home that Jesus went to prepare of us. When we view this present life in light of the life to come, when we view our present affliction as ways and means by which God is molding and chiseling us, we will continue to have hope, we will continue to rejoice, we will continue to give glory to God, not because of our circumstances but in spite of our circumstances. This is one of the great differences between the servants of God, and those still shackled by the things of the world. The children of God do not require a life of ease and opulence on this earth in order to have joy, we do not require the absence of trials and afflictions in order to posses peace, but we have joy and peace in spite of the hardships we endure, because we know that God stands with us, and in His love He is forming us into that true and faithful servant that He desires us to be.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Playing the Pharisee

Long before the Pharisees became an institution, long before they were the premiere religious power brokers of their time, there was the pharisaical spirit. The pharisaical spirit was alive and well long before the Pharisees attempted to bait Jesus hoping He would say something wrong or misspeak, and although the Pharisees are long gone, the spirit of the Pharisee is alive and well to this day.
The one defining trait of the pharisaical spirit is that when it asks a question, it expects the answer it had already established in its own heart and mind. When a modern day Pharisee asks a question, just like the Pharisees of old, it does not ask desiring to learn truth or to be taught the Word of God, but to be affirmed and agreed with.
Whenever we find something in the Word that does not suit our preconceived notions, whenever we hear a sermon that convicts us, we love to play the Pharisee and look for loopholes or ways by which we can reject the entire scripture or sermon.
It is rare, but there have been instances when the entire nation has played the Pharisee, not with any one man, but with the very God they claimed to serve and worship. Although it might seem inconsequential or irrelevant to some, this is a necessary topic of discussion, because there are many today, claiming to be children of God, who choose to adopt the mindset and spirit of the Pharisee, and dictate the terms of their worship and service to God. They do not inquire of God, desiring to know His mind, heart, and will, but rather that God would merely confirm, and rubber stamp their decisions and the conclusions to which their logic took them.
One of the most glaring examples of a pharisaical heart is played out during the twilight of the Prophet Samuel’s life. As Samuel grew old, and was nearing retirement age, the people of Israel sent the elders on their behalf to have a heart to heart with the man whom God had appointed as the leader of Israel.
After living his entire life in the service of God, and as the messenger of God for the people of Israel, it would have done Samuel’s heart good for the elders to have come to him, and conclude that it was a noble thing to live under the guidance and leadership of God. It would have done Samuel’s heart good for the elders to have approached him, and thank him for his years of service, and ask him to inquire of the Lord who the next prophet would be, and whom God had chosen as his successor to convey direction and truth to them.
Instead, the elders came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, ‘Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make for us a king to judge us like all the nations.’
Although these are the words that Samuel heard the elders speak, in his hear the understood what they meant. It wasn’t that he was getting old that was their main issue, their singular desire was to come out from under the direct leadership and guidance of God. After so many years of teaching the people that they had to belong to God in their entirety, after so many years of teaching them that they had to submit to the authority of God, the conclusion the people came to was that it would be better for them not to remain under the direct guidance and authority of God.
This is the provocation of scripture for every individual, regardless of the century or generation they are living in. God expects us to live under His authority and guidance, not just some of the time, but all of the time. He will not accept being a part time God, He will not accept being the God of your difficult days, He will not accept being your God only long enough to get you through the valley, His expectation, and demand is that He be your perpetual God.
If He is God, then He is God of your entire life, every minute of every hour, every hour of every day. He is not interested in being your emergency contact person in case everything goes horribly wrong, but your Lord and God in good days and bad.
When God calls us into covenant and fellowship with Him, it is not only on major holidays, certain days of the week, or during the feasts. God calls us to live in obedience of Him, in permanence.
Just as Israel however, there are countless souls today who desire to come out from under God’s guidance and lordship, and although they won’t come out and say as such, they concoct all manner of excuses and justifications in order to accomplish just that.
When we are tempted to play the Pharisee, may it not be with unfounded and baseless motivations. Consider that the best motivation for Israel wanting a king was that Samuel was old. They did not say that he was lame; they did not say that he no longer knew the law of God; they did not say that God no longer spoke to him; they did not say that he was no longer able to discern between good and evil, their only motivation, their only reason for wanting a king, was that Samuel was getting old. Samuel’s age in no way inhibited him, or rendered him incompetent for service toward God.
Their second motivation for wanting a king was the fact that Samuel’s son did not walk in his ways. Granted, this was a valid objection, but rather than encourage Samuel to replace his sons, or compel them to change, they concluded that their best course of action as a king.
The true heart of the elders of Israel, and by association the people of Israel themselves was revealed in the last few words that they spoke to the aging prophet.
‘Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.’
This was their motivator; this was the secret desire of their hearts that came to the surface upon confronting the prophet Samuel. It wasn’t that they thought Samuel was incompetent; it wasn’t that they believed no one else could replace him as the messenger of God, the people of Israel just wanted to be like all the other nations.
Israel had begun to investigate other nations, they saw how they were organized, and they came to the surprising conclusion that of all the nations of the world, they were unique. Every nation that surrounded them had two functioning systems in their societies. They had a social system a governing body that tended to maintaining order, and a religious system that tended to the spiritual aspects of the citizenry. These two systems traveled very different paths.
The people of God realized that there was only one law, one system among them that dictated the way they ought to live, that God personally established through those whom He chose. Israel beheld the other nations, and comparing themselves to them, became dissatisfied with the leadership of God.
So often, rather than submit to the sovereignty of God in our lives, we would like to shape Him into something other than what He is. We look at those around us, and the way they live and organize their lives, and for an instant we fall into the snare of comparing ourselves to them, concluding that while they revel in their ignorance, we must submit to God.
What’s more frustrating for some is that most often God doesn’t work the way we would like Him to work. When we think He ought to be more merciful, He is stricter, when we think He ought to act quickly, He takes His time, when we think He ought to judge, He pardons and forgives.
It’s interesting how some people won’t touch a Bible for months, and then overnight they become Bible scholars trying to justify a sin in their lives. They find that one verse that can be twisted just so, that one scripture that can be taken out of context, to give them the illusion of liberty in following the desire of their heart.
God sees the hearts of men. He looks beyond the feigned offense, the furrowed brows, and crocodile tears, the emotional defenses that if only the preacher would have condemned the sin more lovingly perhaps it would have made an impact, and recognizes that we simply chose disobedience, and in order to mask our true hearts we chose to play the Pharisee.
Although Israel tried to soften the blow, although they said, innocently enough that they just wanted a king to judge them, God knew the true intent of their hearts, and spoke as much to Samuel: “they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.”

With love in Christ,
 
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Thankful Heart

Before I get into what God has put on my heart for today, I need to make a small correction:
The Truth For Today will be airing on INSP Tuesdays at 9:30 PST rather than Wednesday. Just thought I'd point that out.

We live in a world, and amidst a generation that suffers from chronic and habitual thanklessness. Whether it is children toward parents, husbands toward wives, wives toward husbands, mankind towards God, it would seem we are perpetually lacking any reason whatsoever to be thankful.
What I find noteworthy as well, is that among the list of things that Paul describes as the epidemics within the church during the end times, those who are unthankful have a prominent spot between those who are disobedient to parents, and those who are unholy.
The cry of our heart has not been ‘thank you Lord for your many blessings’ for many years now. On the contrary, we look up to heaven with dismay and irritation if we are not daily amazed and bowled over by the myriad of blessings that befall us. The appetite of the church for material things only continues to grow, and the current examples of the futility of earthly treasures that have been making the news lately seem to have had little to no effect. One brow arched in a quizzical look, we look to the skies, as though impatient with God for not filling our pockets and our wallets, dismissing the greatest gifts of all as though they are something we are entitled to, and rightly deserve.
The tragic truth is that if we had thankful hearts, we would see the countless things we ought to be thankful for, and the myriad of blessings bestowed upon us. Alas, these can only be perceived by spiritual eyes, and who has the time to seek spiritual insight nowadays? No, we’re too busy trying to maintain that which we attained by overreaching in the first place, and grow exceedingly bitter toward God for not getting us out of the hole we dug for ourselves.
If only some of us would have heeded, if only some of us would have sought first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, perhaps our lives would be allot less cluttered today, perhaps stress wouldn’t be killing us from the inside out, and adding years to our countenance in a manner of weeks.
I wanted to write about the many reasons we have for being thankful, and somewhere along the way I got severely sidetracked.
Returning to my original reason for this essay, I want to relay, in no particular order all the reasons we should be thankful to God. Yes, even if we are struggling in our finances, even if we’re having difficulty making ends meet, even if we have physical ailments in our bodies, we still have a myriad of reasons to be thankful to God.
Regardless of the trials you might be going through today, notwithstanding the valley you might be traversing at this present time, we must continually be thankful for the goodness and the mercy of the Lord.
Psalm 118:29, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
God is good in perpetuity, and His mercy endures forever. Even though with eyes of flesh we sometimes fail to see His goodness, even though in the physical we sometimes fail to acknowledge His mercy, when we come in possession of spiritual eyes, and a spiritual heart, we will continually give Him thanks for His goodness and mercy toward us.
Another reason to give thanks to the Lord is for all of His wondrous works.
Psalm 75:1, “We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.”
Everywhere we look, if we have eyes to see and ears to hear, we see the fingerprints of God. His works are truly wondrous, and if at times it might seem that we’re not hearing Him, it’s not because God isn’t speaking. If at times we feel as though we can’t see Him, it’s not because He isn’t there. So often and in so many ways, we can be likened to the man who standing in his front yard one day, before going off to work, looked up to heaven and said, “Lord speak to me” and a meadowlark began to sing, but the man paid it no mind.
When in his opinion the man perceived that nothing had happened, once more he cried out, “Lord speak to me!” and a rolling thunder boomed across the clear sky, but the man paid no attention.
After some time the man lifted his face toward the heavens again and said, “Lord if you won’t speak to me, let me see you” And a bright star shot across the heavens, but the man didn’t look at it.
Once more the man cried out and said, “If you won’t speak to me, or show yourself to me, at least let me see a miracle” and a newborn baby, somewhere on this earth took its first breath, but the man did not know this.
On the precipice of frustration, the man finally cried out, “Lord at least touch me that I might know You hear me, and that you are here”
And God bent down and touched the man who had cried out, but all the man did was wave off the butterfly that had landed on his shoulder, and continued his journey.
God is continually speaking to us through His creation, He is continually speaking to us through His Word, He is continually speaking to us through His Son, but like the man, we refuse to listen, we refuse to see, and we fail to acknowledge the touch of God when we feel it. The Lord’s works are truly wondrous, and they declare that His name is near, for this we must give thanks.
God is not as some view Him, up in heaven wearied and weighed down by the passage of time, unconcerned and unaffected by the prayers and supplications of His children. Our God is a loving God, He is an engaged God, He is a God who answers prayer, He is a God who speaks to His children, He is a God who comforts them, and holds them close to His heart.
A wise man, one whose heart has been regenerated, also knows to give thanks for God’s salvation. When I speak of salvation, I include both the salvation of the soul, from the grips of darkness and death, and also the rescue or deliverance of our person from the countless trials and attacks of the enemy.
Psalm 118:21, “I will praise You, for you have answered me, and have become my salvation.”
There is no rest, there is no comfort, there is no sense of security for the soul that does not learn to trust in God. When we walk in our own wisdom, when lean on our own understanding, when we attempt to overcome the enemy in our own strength, we suffer defeats and setbacks on a regular basis. When we cry out to God however, He will be faithful to answer, and He will be our salvation.
There are many things we overlook, or take for granted every day of our lives, refusing to acknowledge that they are the providence and blessing of God in our lives. From His protection, to our daily bread, to our physical health, or physical healing, we tend to have an attitude of entitlement, as though God owed us these things, and so fail to thank Him.
We must daily consider that there are people in this world who are starving, there are people in this world who are suffering in their bodies, there are people in this world who have reached the breaking point and have succumbed to hopelessness, and if we are still standing, may we glorify God and be ever thankful.
We must also thank God for the victory He has given us in Christ Jesus over sin and death.
1 Corinthians 15:56-57, “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Although we sing songs such as ‘thank God for Jesus’ we often gloss over the fact that through our Lord Jesus Christ we have been given victory over sin. In recent years there has been a great debate within Christian circles over the Law of Moses, some dismissing it altogether, while others making it the central theme of their walk. The Word tells us that the law of Moses is holy, good and just.
Romans 7:12, “Therefore the law is holy, and the commandments holy and just and good.”
The law however, is the light that shows us the true face of sin, in all its ugliness and wretchedness. As long as the law did not exist, man did not know the true face of sin, for he had no light by which to see. When the law came, man realized the enormity of his sin by its light, yet was unable to wholly resist it. The law gave man the light by which to see his sin, but not the power to overcome it. When Jesus came, He gave us the victory over sin. We are no longer slaves; we are no longer bound by sin, but have victory over it by the blood and power of Christ Jesus.
It is not due to our own wisdom, or our own strength that we obtain victory over sin and death, but due to God who sent our Lord Jesus that we might have this victory. We have everything we need in order to live a holy, fruitful, and victorious life, through Jesus Christ.
Of all the great blessings that God has bestowed upon His children, this is perhaps the most underrated, yet simultaneously the most important in the life of the believer.
When we acknowledge all that God has done for us, we as thankful and obedient children will inevitably be ‘giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Ephesians 5:20)
A thankful heart knows the price that was paid for its redemption, a thankful heart knows the love God has for His children, and a thankful heart is perpetually humbled by the mercy and grace that the heavenly Father extends to us on a daily basis. May we have thankful hearts!

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Food For Thought

This is going to be a short post, but it requires some contemplation.
I've been writing allot on the sin of omission recently, and I will post the entire teaching as soon as it is done, but for now I would like you to imagine two scenarios.
Imagine a well dressed man, walking beside a lake, and he sees another man in th lake who is obviously drowning. His head is bobbing up and down, he's barely able to catch his breath before he goes back under, and for fear of getting his suit dirty, the man walking beside the lake simply walks by as the other man inevitably drowns.
Now imagine a father, who having no other means to feed his family goes out and steals a loaf of bread in order to feed his children.
Who commited the greater crime?
Most would point to the well dressed man in the suit, and say, it was he that commited the greater crime, but my question to you would be this: Why? Why did the well dressed man commit the greater crime? He did absolutely nothing. He just continued on his journey after all.
Omission, is simply the act of failing to do something. The well dressed man's crime was doing nothing.
How many souls will stand before God one day and be guilty of doing nothing? How many will try to justify their failure to speak up, and to testify of Christ and His enduring love?
"But we didn't do anything! How can we be guilty? We did absolutely nothing!"
Exactly right. We did absolutely nothing.
Just a thought!

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Flashback

Last night, as I was finishing up the last outline of a sermon series on the loveliness of Christ, which ended up being six parts rather than four, I turned on the news to see what was going on in the world. Among reports of arrests throughout the country, of people suspected of plotting terrorist attacks, I saw another nugget that has gotten some airtime, which made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end, and brought back some very unpleasant memories from my early childhood.
If you’ve never lived through it, you cannot possibly understand how insidious and destructive the philosophy of indoctrination could be. You mold clay while it is still malleable and soft, and you plant seeds into the hearts and minds of children while they’re still young.
For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about, I am referring to a you tube clip, of some elementary school children singing what amount to songs of worship and adoration directed not at God, but rather our new president.
This troubled me, because I lived through it as a child in Romania. Although the melody was different, and the name we were instructed to praise was Ceausescu, the similarities were so overwhelming that I simply couldn’t bear to watch it anymore. I had actually started having flashbacks of my white shirt, patriot tie, black slacks, standing with all the other children, and singing in a chorus, how Ceausescu had saved us, how he was like a father to us, and how we were supposed to serve him even though we were young.
Since the school officials knew that my parents and grandparents were of the Christian faith, I got a double dose of indoctrination for the three years I attended school in Romania. Besides the songs we had to memorize that praised the ingenuity, love, and greatness of Ceausescu, I would also be subjected to a couple hours of being told that my parents were backward fools, who believed in something that didn’t exist, poor souls that were trapped in the past, unwilling to see the glory of a socialist state for what it was. I was told my parents hated me if they taught me about God, I was told that God did not exist, and I was told that if I believed in God I was less than human, a throwback worthy of pity and contempt. All this, by those who were supposed to be teaching me how to read and write, learn addition and subtraction, and where our country was positioned on the globe.
Like I said, if you haven’t lived through it, you can’t possibly know the damage that it does to a young and fragile mind.
My salvation, the thing that kept me from believing what I was being told in school day after day, was that my parents and grandparents knew what the teachers were trying to plant in my heart and mind, and did everything they could to keep those seeds from taking root. I’ve often spoken about this when giving my testimony, and the one thing I can liken it to, from what I’ve read anyway, is that I would go through a daily process of being detoxified whenever I came home from school.
Whether it was my mother or my grandfather, every day, without exception, they would sit me down and read to me from the Bible, they would tell me that God exists, and they would take the time to educate me, and teach me the ways of the Lord.
I know allot of you are parents, and are deeply concerned. I’ve gotten more than a few e-mails asking for advice as to what parents should do seeing everything that’s going on in the school system. ‘Should I yank my child out of school?’ This is perhaps the most often asked question.
The only Biblical advice I can give, is raise your children in the ways of the Lord. Take the time consistently to read the Bible together, take the time consistently to talk about Jesus, and above all live the life you preach.
Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Make no mistake, there is a war raging for the hearts and minds of the next generation, and the enemy is bringing out his entire arsenal. If we do not live what we preach, if Jesus is not evident in our lives, if the only time we mention Him is in church services and only then sparingly, we will lose this war, and we will not recognize our own offspring ten or fifteen years from now.
Even though the world is spinning into chaos, even though new dangers are sprouting up on a weekly basis that threaten to envelop the world, it would seem there are still those whose purpose is so all consuming that they will let nothing stand in their way. Those who promote sin, and deny God seem to have a laser like focus when it comes to their plans, and are unwilling to take into account that the further we distance ourselves from God, the more hellish this world seems to become.
Pray for your children, teach your children, love your children, and be a parent to them. If you won’t teach them, someone else will!

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rebellion

It didn’t take long for the bloodline of Noah to forget the awesome power of their ancestor’s God, or the magnitude of His fierce anger. Within the span of six or seven generations, the hearts of Noah’s lineage had grown dark and evil. It was in this darkened state that they concocted a plan, one that would, allow them to reach the heavens. It was to be the first organized rebellion against God, and it has been a reoccurring theme in the world for thousands of years ever since.
The plan that their rebellion had concocted was no small thing. It would take organization, intense labor, and a commitment of decades instead of mere days, but in their evil hearts they believed the payoff would be worth the struggle, the toil, the sweat, the tears, and the bloodshed.
They would make bricks, and bake them thoroughly, they would use asphalt for mortar, and they would begin to build a tower, for one reason alone; to reach the heavens.
Although Biblically the size of the tower of Babel is never mentioned, one would only have to consider the final goal of the plan, that of building a tower high enough to reach the heavens, to realize it was truly a monstrosity of a project.
Brick by brick, day by day, the inched their way closer to their designated goal, but there was no purity in the intent of their hearts. They did not desire to build this tower to behold the face of God, they did not desire to build this tower to have a more intimate fellowship with Him, but rather to satisfy their own selfish ambitions, and warped desires.
“Let us make a name for ourselves”, was their motto, and they let nothing deter them from their plans. This motto is alive and well to this day, and not only in the world around us but within the body of Christ as well. Whether an individual, a ministry, or a denomination, this desire to make a name for oneself is seen more readily in the actions they undertake, than in their verbal expressions. No one says they want to make a name, but their actions betray the desires of their hearts, and every move they make, every position they take is geared toward the goal of elevating their status, of bringing them to the forefront, or praising them, and of honoring them. In all the tumult, Jesus has been all but forgotten, and the motivation for our worship, the motivation for our sermons, is not to draw men to God, or to reveal the wonder of His loving kindness and mercy, but to coddle men and placate them that they might in no way, shape or form feel convicted or be stirred to repentance. Instead of bricks and mortar we are using words and actions, but our rebellion is as evident now, as it was in the days of the tower of Babel.
If those building the tower of Babel wanted to reach heaven still in full possession of their sinful nature, today men and women with beaming smiles, and fidgety eyes, are trying to tell the masses that they too can reach heaven, still in full possession of their sinful natures, by simply supporting them financially, or giving sacrificially. There is only one path to heaven, there is only one way by which we can be reconciled unto God, and that is by being born again, through repentance and obedience to the Word of God.
Jesus said there was only one way, and He was that way, and no matter how many voices rise up claiming the opposite, the words of Jesus will stand as witness against them on the Day of Judgment.
Today the religion of self justification has taken root in the hearts of many, and it is as wicked and unacceptable in the sight of God, as was the building of the tower of Babel. The root in the hearts of those attempting to find another way to heaven, other than Jesus, is the same naked rebellion that was visible in the hearts of those who purposed in their hearts to build the tower itself.
In its most basic definition, rebellion is the refusal to accept authority. When we see these newfangled teachings concerning the many paths that lead up to the same destination, or that the god of your choosing, no matter who or what it might be is sufficient to ensure your entry into paradise, all they really are, are the refusal to accept the authority of Christ. It is this refusal, this outright rejection of humility in the hearts of men that causes them to wander, and to receive in their hearts destructive heresies that lead them to spiritual death.
In the midst of all the confusion, in the midst of all the voices vying for our attention, we have the promises of Jesus that not only encourage us but comfort us as we see the world descending into greater and greater darkness.
John 14:1-4, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may also be. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
There are two truths that are of paramount importance in this passage. First, we know where He went, and second, we know the way to get to where He is. In His loving kindness, and glorious mercy, Jesus not only went to prepare a place for us, but He has show us the way, He has revealed Himself and the power of His grace, that we might follow the way He set forth, and be with Him in eternity.
Rather than attempting to build our own path toward heaven, brick by brick, may we simply submit ourselves, and humble ourselves in repentance, receiving the priceless gift of salvation from the throne room of God.
Just as God confronted the rebellion of those who were attempting to build the tower of Babel, turning their well laid plans upside down, and keeping them from succeeding in their quest, He will soon expose the foolish doctrines of foolish men who are attempting to strengthen the hands of the wicked, and make the hearts of the righteous sad. God will not be mocked, and the day of reckoning is upon us.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Best of Intentions

Well, finally back on American soil. I had the best of intentions to sit down and right something insightful and spiritually nourishing for the blog, but my schedule permitted me no such respite. The days turned into weeks, and here we are.
This Friday I am going to be at a prophetic conference in Michigan, we're getting back Monday afternoon, and by then I hope I will have gotten over the jet lag, caught up on all the letters, and finally had time to write something more than just a scribble, or a short note.
Some time ago I mentioned a new work that our ministry was being led into, and this week everything solidified, so I can share with you.
Starting Wednesday, October 14 at 9:30 PST you will be able to see our television program entitled 'the truth for today' every week on the inspirational channel. Believe me I am just as stunned as you are, but we serve a God of miracles, and believe me when I say this was indeed a miracle.
We've been busy filming and editing, and will continue to film more programs. This is by no means the fluff some have gotten used to on Christian television. This is meat, and it is the Word of God. Please keep this program in your prayers.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Still Here

Sometimes trying to rightly divide one's time can be likened to having six slices of pie and eight guests; there just isn't enough, no matter how you try. I haven't posted anything in about a week, but this does not mean I haven't been working. I'm trying to finish up a book before I leave Romania, and I am also working on a series called 'the loveliness of Christ' for our television show. The starting point is the verse in Isaiah 53:5 that says 'He was bruised for our iniquities.' I was still very young when I read that verse, and although I didn't know what 'stripes' were, I knew what bruises were well enough since I'd fallen off my grandfather's bicycle often while learning to ride it.
I realize most people quote the last part of the verse, that tells us that by His stripes we are healed, by I have always reacted more to the fact that He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. It is a four part series that I'm almost finished with, and will be filming once I return to the states.
I've also been traveling with my dad and visiting some of our ongoing projects in the surrounding communities, as well as passing out food and aid to the poor. Even though it has only been a few months since I visited, things have gotten visibly worse here as well. I hope to post something substantial sometime this week.
I try to push away the thought that if only I had more time I'd be able to do more, and make due with the time that I have. Thank you all for your understanding.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Spared Sheltered or Sifted

Whether for expediency’s sake, or due to the underlying fear that discovering the truth might contradict our own presupposed interpretation, a great majority in the church today have chosen to clump together the three distinct and independent ideas of judgment, wrath, and persecution, into one interchangeable and confusing mass of doctrinal amalgam.
Due to the blending together of these three individual concepts, many within the house of God today are either confused as to what the end times will be like in respect to the children of God, while others are wholly indifferent and apathetic concerning this topic, because to them it is nothing more than a futile intellectual exercise.
“We’re not going to be here anyway, so why bother discussing it? God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, so there, it’s settled.”
This is the danger of clumping together three very different concepts, and drawing our own conclusions. Judgment, wrath, and persecution are very different in and of themselves, and when we place all three under the same umbrella, we get a distorted view of what the future holds for us as children of God.
Of the three, one is reserved exclusively for the godless, one is reserved exclusively for the children of God, and one is interchangeable, poured out over unbelievers, as well as believers who have strayed, or otherwise dismissed the commands of God. In order to understand the difference between judgment, persecution, and wrath we must take each individual concept, and see what the Word of God would say about each of them. As always, the Word must have the final authority, and as such we must bend our will to conform to the truth of God’s Word, rather than bending the truth of God’s word to conform to our will.
We begin with the concept of judgment, since of the three it is mentioned earliest in God’s word. Judgment is also the only one of the three that is interchangeable. What I mean by this is that the righteous judgment of God can be applied to the godly and the ungodly alike, as evidenced in the Word of God.
The first mention of the judgment or judgments of God is recorded in the book of Exodus, as God reassures Moses that he will make a way for the people of Israel to be released from the bondage of slavery in Egypt.
Exodus 6:6, “Therefore say to the Children of Israel: I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.”
Before delving into the judgments of God against the Egyptians, and His faithful protection of the people of Israel in the land of Goshen, there are certain truths concerning the judgments of God that we must establish.
First, the judgments of God are always just, and based on truth rather than supposition. God does not guess when He judges. God does not suppose, nor does He harbor any doubt when He speaks judgment upon a person, a land, a people or the entire world. The Word tells us that justice, and judgment is the habitation of His throne, and as such go hand in hand in executing His righteousness. I realize it has become a popular pastime of many a Christians to second guess, or outright question God’s judgments, or the justice thereof, but the foolishness of such practices cannot adequately be described by a mind as limited as my own.
Romans 2:2, “But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.”
I hear comments such as ‘it was unfair for God to do that’, or ‘I think God should have shown a bit more grace’, and each time I find them both tedious and foolhardy. I shake my head, and wonder how it is that man has so elevated himself and his view of himself, that he stands ready to question God, or presume that God was not just, merciful or gracious. God’s judgments are just! God’s judgments are based on truth, and according to truth!
The second thing we must acknowledge when considering the judgment of God, is that it is impartial. God does not show favoritism, God does not show nepotism, He judges without partiality, and those who sinned without law will perish without law, while those who sinned in the law will be judged by the law.
God weighs the hearts of men, He judges based on what the eyes cannot see, He goes beyond the exterior shell, or the image we attempt to project, and everything from our intent, to our motivation, to our thoughts are an open book to Him.
Romans 2:11-12, “For there is no partiality with God. For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law.”
God’s judgment also begins in His house, and acts as a sifting mechanism, separating the wheat from the chaff, those who truly serve Him with a heart of worship and righteousness, and those who serve Him only in the hope of receiving earthly rewards.
1 Peter 4:17-18, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now ‘if the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
The judgment of God is very different from the wrath of God, because the wrath of God is reserved in exclusivity for the sons of disobedience. It is when God pours out His wrath that His children are sheltered by His omnipotence, and are safe under the shadow of His wing.
Although the wrath of God was provoked, stirred, and even waxed hot against Israel in the Old Testament, it was never poured out, at least not in the measure other passages in Scripture describe it. Even when His wrath was stirred and provoked, it was against those who sinned, committed idolatry, forsook God, mocked His messengers and despised His words.
Zephaniah 1:14-18, “The great day of the Lord is near; it is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the Lord is bitter; there the mighty men shall cry out. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities and against the high towers. I will bring distress upon men, because they have sinned against the Lord; Their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like refuse. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath; But the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy, for He will make speedy riddance of all those who dwell in the land.”
I wanted to include this entire passage of scripture, because it paints a vivid portrait of what the day of the Lord’s wrath is. Yes, the day God’s wrath is poured out upon the world will be a frightful day indeed, a day of trouble, distress, devastation and desolation, for all those who have sinned against the Lord. It is not from judgment, or persecution that God will shelter us, but from His wrath. Of the three God’s wrath is the only one reserved for the ungodly, and the sons of disobedience, and His children will suffer no part of it.
Throughout the New Testament whenever the wrath of God is mentioned it is within the context of the disobedient, or those who have rejected God.
Romans 1:18-19, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has show it to them.”
Now we come to the difficult part, the part that pertains exclusively to the children of God, that of sifting or the persecution of the saints. It is not a topic many are excited to talk about or expound upon, because the culture in which they were raised has excluded the possibility of persecution for them.
Every time I preach on persecution in America, I get more blank stares from the audience than any other topic, because they just can’t relate to the idea of persecution. I would most likely get the same blank stares if I were to go into a fully stocked supermarket and start talking about how we would stand in line for hours on end for such basics as oil, sugar and bread when I lived in Romania, with the very real possibility that they would run out before we got to the head of the line. Some things just don’t register yet, but they will with time.
Throughout the centuries we have seen the folly of living with the mentality of ‘it could never happen here, and if it did it would never happen to me.’ Things we thought would never happen in America are happening, and it would behoove us to remember that for two thousand years the followers of Christ have been persecuted throughout the world, and even now in many nations the selfsame persecution is raging. Why would we be spared when all others weren’t? If God judges without partiality what makes us special an exempt from that which countless brothers and sisters are even now enduring?
What we must acknowledge and accept, although it is difficult for some who have fashioned their own pseudo-gospel, is that the Word of God does not lie, and in it we are encouraged to live with the expectation of persecution. It does not speak of mere probability, or potential, but certainty.
2 Timothy 3:12, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
If one’s desire is not to live godly in Christ Jesus, but merely pretend when it is convenient for them, then they have nothing to worry about. Just as the pebble is moved along by the rushing river, so will Christians whose desire is not godliness be moved about, perpetually finding the path of least resistance, conflict, and sacrifice. The sad truth is that most would readily sacrifice more for their flesh than they would for their soul, and compromise their deepest held beliefs for the promise of an easy and hardship free life.
If however our desire is to live godly, then we must now and for the rest of our existence purpose in our hearts that we will not be moved, we will not be shaken, and we will not let go of Christ no matter the cost.
I believe the season of threshing has already begun within the house of God, and after the threshing comes the sifting. In order for God to do great and mighty works in and through the church during these end times, that the words of Christ might be fulfilled, He needs to first purge and purify the Bride that it might be that pure and spotless entity standing in stark contrast to the darkness of this present world.
In those days, the world will see your hope and hate you for it, they will see your steadfastness and despise you for it, they will see your protection and persecute you for it, but some will see the hand of God upon you, His light shining through you, and humble themselves falling at the foot of the cross in repentance.
God’s desire is not to spare us from being sifted! God’s desire is to mold our character, and strengthen our constitution, to grow our faith and mature us by way of sifting. Our perception of how God views us has much to do with whether or not we accept the idea of sifting as one that God not only endorses but employs frequently. While we tend to believe that God sees us as helpless, fledgling baby birds, who venture no further than the safety of the nest, God sees us as His ambassadors, as those who would be shining lights in a world of darkness, those who would stand for truth and confront the forces of darkness.
There is an exchange between Jesus and Peter in the gospel according to Luke that is very telling and sobering. Jesus forewarns Peter that Satan had asked for him that he might be sifted as wheat, but rather than say ‘I intervened, and it won’t happen’, Jesus says, ‘I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail!’
If Peter had any hope that he might be spared sifting, that somehow his faith would not be tested, it is at this moment that the illusion is shattered.
Luke 22:31-32, “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon, indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
This passage is a sobering reminder, that even the most mature of believers, even those who have been in ministry for decades, are not spared the sifting.
In conclusion, may we continually acknowledge that God’s judgments are just, His sifting no matter how violent is both purposeful and necessary, and His wrath against the sons of disobedience is long overdue.
Yes, God is love, God is mercy, God is grace, but He is also holy and righteous and just. We cannot divide His attributes and appropriate only the ones that suit us, or that appeal to our view of how we think God ought to be.
In His love, mercy and grace God sent His Son to die upon a cross for the sins of men, but in His holiness, righteousness and justice He will pour out His wrath upon those who rejected and despised the priceless sacrifice that was made on their behalf.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Causes of Wrong Worship

Well, we made it back safe and sound. Saw more mountains in one week than the previous ten years put together, but Romania is a beautiful country, and I'm not just saying that because it is my homeland. We have allot of mountains, some with very interesting histories, and it is inevitable that one feels the weight of history bearing down upon their shoulders as they drive through a mountain pass, only to see an old Roman fort that has been standing for some two thousand years that used to house legions of Roman centurions and soldiers.
Contemplating the passing of time, and the generations upon generations that have come and gone is sobering, allowing us as individuals to acknowledge our own insignificance.
As I arrived home, after driving almost two thousand miles, I realized I missed writing. I missed the task of sitting down at my computer every morning and just sharing my thoughts. And so, I started writing again.....
I’ve been seeing a certain mindset creep within the house of God recently, and it has become prevalent enough that I thought it warranted a rebuttal of sorts. The way this new idea is being expressed within the church differs from place to place, but it can all be summed up in one short sentence.
“It doesn’t matter how you worship, just worship.”
This may sound gleefully liberating on the surface, but the Bible tells us there is a right way to worship God, and a wrong way to worship God. There is an acceptable sacrifice, and then there is a rejected sacrifice. Rather than list all the wrong ways in which men worship, today I want to deal with the causes of wrong worship. The list is long, from the ever present peacock feathers, to gold fillings, to irreverent and foolhardy manifestations with undeniable animalistic tendencies like barking or clucking, so listing all of them would be futile since new ways are being schemed up on a constant basis.
To me at least, causality has always been cleaner, clearer, and more relevant. You can know that your car is making a clunking noise, but until you know the cause of it, you can’t fix it. By the same token, we can know that unacceptable worship is taking place within the churches, but until we know the cause we cannot begin to remedy the situation.
The cause of wrong or unacceptable worship is fourfold. To a greater or lesser degree one can trace the genesis of such worship to one or all of these causes.
The first and most prevalent cause of wrong worship is absence of Biblical teaching. When the foundation is unstable and not built upon solid ground, the rest of the structure no matter how large or grandiose is likewise shifting and unstable. Because the source of the problem is the foundation itself, sooner or later the whole thing crumbles to the ground, no matter how many support beams one might have introduced with the passage of time.
We have strayed from the gloriously simple doctrine of true and undefiled worship into a new arena of mysticism that promises more excitement than it ever really delivers, playing on the fundamental flaw of all men to complicate something just for the sake of making it more complicated. What so few choose to acknowledge is that the guidelines set forth in the Word of God are there for a reason, and if we choose a different means of worship, we are no longer worshipping the one true God. It may be new and exciting to get golden dandruff, it may send a chill down one’s spine to wake up with new fillings, but this does not make it divine or sovereign.
The history of Aaron’s two sons is a well known and often discussed one. Each took his censer, put fire in it, and put incense in it, and offered profane fire before the Lord. For this, the fire of the Lord fell upon them and devoured them. At the time Aaron was the high priest of Israel, both Nadab and Abihu were grown men, around thirty years of age, and even if they would have been ignorant of how to bring a proper offering, ignorance is no excuse for the sin they committed. We take so lightly those things which ought to be of utmost importance to us, and take so seriously the trivial things that are fleeting and worthless.
The second cause of wrong worship is impatience. In an ever accelerating world, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to simply wait on the Lord.
“We prayed not one, but two prayers, we even took a day of fasting, and still no signs, no wonders, no stirring of the waters.”
Often we grow so impatient than rather than waiting on God and walking in His will, we get ahead of God and try to manufacture a miracle, a revival, or a word from the Lord. Impatience leads to imprudence, imprudence leads to disobedience, and disobedience leads to death. I know it is a difficult thing to contend with, seeing as so many are teaching that God is supposed to be our own personal errand person, there to be beckoned when we need some extra cash, or a shiny new car, but God is not on our time clock, we are on His. Our duty is to obey, to pray, to fast, and grow in Him. He knows when to work, how to work, and who to work through.
One of the most profound examples of impatience, due to the ensuing consequences was that of Saul.
Saul was a man under great strain. The armies of the Philistines had gathered together to fight with Israel, some thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen, as well as foot soldiers as the sand which is on the seashore in multitude. When the men of Israel saw that they were outnumbered, and that there was no logical way they could win the war, they ran and hid, some in caves, some in thickets others in rocks, holes and pits. Saul began to see the whole of his army disbanding even before the first arrow was released from a bow, even before the first casualty was felled by sword or spear.
The prophet Samuel had told Saul to wait seven days, but those seven days had passed, his army was in disarray and now there was even news of some who crossed over the Jordan to the land of Gad in order to escape the coming slaughter. Saul was running out of options, his people were scattered from him, and attempting to unify them once more, to bring some hope to an otherwise hopeless situation, he hastily and impatiently said, ‘bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.’
Yes, the Lord had been specific, through the mouth of Samuel God had told Saul to wait, but all the circumstances surrounding him told him he must act, and act quickly.
1 Samuel 13:10, “Now as it happened, as soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him and greet him.”
Rather than get a pat on the back for taking the initiative and bringing the sacrifices himself since Samuel had been delayed, rather than be praised for having a cool head under fire, rather than being lauded for standing in as a surrogate for Samuel, Saul was rebuked and harshly so.
The question Samuel asked Saul was deceptively simple, yet pregnant with implication: ‘What have you done?’
I’m certain that the tone in which Samuel asked the question was not a soothing or conciliatory one, and this is why Saul went on the defensive trying to justify his actions, his impatience, and his disobedience.
1 Samuel 13:11-12, “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, then I said ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord. Therefore I felled compelled and offered a burnt offering.”
Why is it that people who are feeling guilty about something always have a tendency to ramble?
‘Well you see, here’s the thing, you didn’t show up, and I felt compelled to disobey the Lord’s command since I couldn’t go to war without making an offering, plus the Philistines were about to descend on me.’
Samuel’s response to Saul’s attempted justification was not nearly as lengthy. Samuel simply said, ‘You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God which he commanded you.’
What follows are the consequences to Saul’s impatience, ‘For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever, but now your kingdom shall not continue.’
Due to one moment of impatience, this man’s entire trajectory had suddenly shifted. Not only would Saul’s kingdom over Israel not be established forever as God had intended, but his kingdom would not even continue for God had found another man after His own heart. Even though he was a king, even though Samuel was late, even though the enemies had gathered, none of these things excused Saul’s impatience.
The third thing that is sure to lead to wrong and as such unacceptable worship is compromise. We live in a society that compromise of one’s values, morals and even dignity is the price we pay for achieving success, or realizing our dreams. Compromise has become as common place and acceptable an option in the church today, as it is in the world.
“Your church isn’t growing at the pace you’d like? Maybe you’re too strict, too rigid, and too inflexible. Maybe you should do less preaching and praying and more pizza nights, bingo nights, and sharing sessions of which passages in scripture you feel are too harsh or unyielding. Is your ministry not bringing in enough to keep the lights on? Maybe you should start sending out glow in the dark miniature crosses, and gaudy trinkets, red and green handkerchiefs upon request, the red for healing the green for financial prosperity. Maybe you should ask more often, and pander to the big givers by making them feel like they’re exclusive and special, in a higher echelon of power and prestige.’
I’ve often found myself smiling mirthlessly at seeing all the books on church growth in the Christian bookstores. The recipe is simple if you’re willing to compromise the truth of Scripture, and your building will be full to the rafters if you focus on pleasing people more than pleasing God. It’s worded differently, but those are the major themes of every church and ministry growth manual.
‘Give the people what they want, not what they need!’ This is the cry of every wolf and sleazy pitchman masquerading as a preacher these days.
‘You want to be happy don’t you? You want to get rich don’t you? You want to have everything you ever wanted, and a little extra to boot don’t you?’
And the bleary eyed masses, as though suffering from a corporate delusion shake their heads in unison. ‘Ugh, I thought I was coming to church because I wanted to know Jesus, get saved, and go to heaven, but that stuff about money and straight teeth sounds good too.’
So often we fail to realize that the standards by which God judges those within His own house are much more stringent than those with which He judges those not of His house. I realize to some this is a shocking statement, but I can prove it Biblically.
At a certain point in Israel’s history the Ark of the Covenant had been captured by the Philistines. After some time, the Ark had been recovered, and preparations had been made to transport the Ark back to the City of David. God had already predetermined how the Ark should be transported, its very construction proving the fact that God had intended that it should be carried on the shoulders of men, by the staves that went through the four rings of cast gold on each corner of the ark.
It is obvious that the Philistines had neither Levites nor priests to transport the Ark in a rightful manner, so chances are they used a cart to carry it from place to place. Seeing as the Philistines had gotten away with transporting the Ark in a cart, Israel followed suit, built a new cart, and placed the Ark on the cart.
As the Ark was being transported in the new cart that had been fashioned, the oxen stumbled, and a man named Uzzah put out his hand to the Ark of God and took hold of it for fear of it stumbling to the ground. It was then that the Lord’s anger was aroused, God struck Uzzah, and he died beside the Ark.
It would be easy to go off on a rabbit trail and explore why it was that Uzzah was punished for doing a seemingly noble and good thing, how irreverence played a big part in Uzzah’s punishment, but I want to stick to the point.
What God didn’t punish the Philistines for, namely the improper transporting of the Ark, He punished Israel for, because Israel knew better, and God held them to a higher standard.
Israel had compromised that which they knew they ought not, because they thought God would overlook their compromise just as He had overlooked the irreverence of the Philistines.
Our view of God determines the seriousness with which we approach worship, and the reverence with which we stand before His omnipotent glory. Lest we forget, our God is a consuming fire.
The fourth cause of wrong worship is credulity or outright ignorance. Man wants to believe that he can impose his own criterion when it comes to worship, and as such as long as you think it’s good and acceptable, then it must be such. The problem arises when we realize that it is the Bible that sets the standard of worship, it is the Bible that establishes the criterion, and our duty is to be conformed to the word of God, rather than attempt to twist the Word to suit our desires.
During His dialogue with the woman at the well, Jesus says something profound that cannot be overlooked: “You worship what you do not know!”
Many today are guilty of the same offense, in that they worship what they do not know. The only acceptable means of worship is worship in spirit and in truth. It is only those who are willing to submit themselves, and worship God in spirit and in truth that He is seeking, for only such as these are willing to humble themselves, and let the Potter do what the Potter does, which is mold and place in the furnace that which is pleasing in His sight.
Credulity is faith without a filter. Credulity believes without diligently seeking the Word to see if it is acceptable to God, and as such wanders from experience to experience, from church to church, worshiping what it does not know, for it never took the time to discover that which is essential in acceptable worship.
When we choose to establish our own means of worship, placing the desire of the worshipper above the commands and guidelines of the Object of our worship, we become as Nadab and Abihu, Saul, and Uzzah, doing what we ought not to do, and worshipping in a manner that is displeasing and unacceptable in the sight of God.
If we worship, may it be in spirit and in truth, in obedience and humility, that our worship might not be in vain, but that it bear the fruit of intimacy and a lasting relationship with God.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.