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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Madness

Daniel 4:30, “The king spoke, saying, ‘Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”

These were the last words uttered by King Nebuchadnezzar before his descent into madness, and for seven years he wandered the wilderness eating grass, until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws. His insanity was not a gradual progression, but an instant removal of his reason, logic and humanity. In the blink of an eye, the once proud king, the man who walked about the royal palace glorying in his excess and accomplishments became nothing more than a beast, a mindless animal in human form.

I often wonder if we as a nation are not descending into the selfsame madness, if as a nation we have not abandoned logic and reason altogether all the while contemplating our mighty power and all that we have constructed for the honor of our majesty.

It’s hard to argue the case that we are still sane and in control of our faculties when not a word is uttered in protest by our duly appointed leaders as ‘the pedophile’s guide to love and pleasure’ is published and marketed in this country, but one nativity scene in a public place whips them up into a frenzy, causing them to foam at the mouth in rage, as they decry the obscenity of such a blatant display of religious zealotry.

Men writing books on how to molest children, sure no problem, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and all that good stuff we like to talk about.

A nativity scene on your front lawn, well we can’t have that you know, there are limits even to freedoms, we can’t have anarchy and chaos now can we?

Now before the e-mails start pouring in, this article is not about whether Jesus was born in June or in December, or whether we ought to celebrate the birth of Jesus. This article is about the sheer insanity that is gripping this nation ever more tightly to the point that it is choking of logic and reason altogether.

We stand before the precipice of being silenced, gagged, bagged and tagged, allowed to freely express only preapproved opinions, sanitized, prepackaged, and in lockstep with our betters, becoming a giant amalgam of automatons too fearful of reprisal to step out of line. The mask that is the illusion of freedom is slowly slipping off in this nation, and what lies beneath is a truly frightful thing to behold.

How far down the rabbit hole will we descend? How much more madness is yet to be displayed passing itself off as normal? Only time will tell, but I fear by the time enough people have awoken from their stupor, by the time enough people have been jarred awake from their slumber, what now remains of sanity will have been lost and the many will remain subject to the madness of the few.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dulce Bellum Inexpertis

For the past few months I have actively tried to keep from posting on global events unfolding throughout the world. There are enough individuals in cyberspace whose main focus is global politics and worldwide machinations, so rather than throw my hat in the ring I decided to keep my focus on Christ, the body of Christ, our relationships both with God and with each other, writing in my limited capacity what I felt were worthwhile tidbits of spiritual succor.

Each time I make my way to a news site as of late, I keep having the same reaction as I once did when tuning my mandolin. Yes, I used to play the mandolin once upon a time. Laugh if you must, I won’t hold it against you. As I was saying, each time I would tune my mandolin there would be that inevitable high pitched twang, a tensing of the instrument, which alerted me to the fact that the string was about to break, and most likely whipsaw into my cornea. As such I would always tune my mandolin with my eyes nearly shut, sneaking a peak once in awhile to make sure my fingers were resting on the right tuning pegs.

It goes without saying that the entire world seems to be tensing, and it is with the same facial posture that I look at current events wondering what will be that last tweak that will finally break the string. From England, to Italy, to Greece, to Russia, the once peaceful protests have now started turning into violent riots, and other nations seem to be a degree away from boiling over themselves.

Within the context of Scripture we have known for years now that these things were coming, just as we also know that they will get allot worse in very short order. What I find troubling is that rather than being on our faces before God, rather than repenting in sackcloth and ash, many self proclaimed believers are jumping on the ‘bring it on’ wagon, preparing in the physical when they should be preparing in the spiritual. As the title of this post states, war is sweet to those who have never fought, but to those who have seen the cruelties of war, it is as close as one can get to hell without actually being there.

Although I know these things were prophesied, although I know they were foretold as far back as two thousand years ago by the mouth of Christ, I can’t help but get on my face before God and pray that He terry, pray that He hold His hand, pray that He gives us just a little more time to reach the lost, and proclaim the Christ to all who would hear.

I am not scared of what is coming upon the world, but I am apprehensive, and I fear many, even many believers, still possess a romanticized view of what is about to unfold on a global scale. God will be our only refuge, God will be our only protection, and God will be our only comfort, thus the reason it is paramount for us to have cemented our relationships with Him, to know Him fully and love Him deeply before the onset of these things that will make men’s hearts fail them for fear.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

When Sheep Become Goats

As far as natural law is concerned things have always been, and will always be simple enough. A sheep will always be a sheep, a goat will always remain a goat, and never the twain shall meet. With the odd exceptions of the You Tube videos wherein a cat befriends a dog, or a lioness thinks a duck is her newborn cub, natural law is stable, unmoving and firm.

When it comes to spiritual law however, and the spiritual realities with which every one of us must contend, things become slightly more complicated, since sheep, of their own choosing often become the goats they once chided, reproved and pitied.

One thing I’ve always tried to do, as far as the church is concerned, is pick up on trends before they become trends, and do my best to forewarn as many as would hear of the new wave, which although still far off in the distance will soon make landfall and carry with it the unsuspecting and unprepared. This new wave of which I speak is now cresting, and will soon crash down on the house of God with force and ferocity, and I fear it will rack up a hefty body count along the way.

Perhaps it’s the times we’re living in; perhaps it’s this defiant generation; perhaps it’s all the pseudo-sermons on self empowerment and the affirmation that we’re all little gods, but more and more people are simply unwilling to be sheep any longer. As a sidebar, the fact that there are still those within Christendom who consider themselves little gods only betrays their ignorance of the One true God, revealing just how small they think God to be.

For many following the Shepherd has become too boring, it has become too mundane, and just as a goat would, they wander off the path the Shepherd laid out for them, going off on their own, foraging high and low for a new experience, a new outpouring, a new manifestation and a new movement.

Never mind the fact that the Shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures, never mind the fact that He leads us beside the still waters, never mind the fact that He leads us in the paths of righteousness, we want a little excitement, we want a little danger, we want to think outside the box, and do what hasn’t been done. And so, like those silly individuals who pay hundreds of dollars to eat blowfish which will kill them if improperly prepared, many today stray from the green pastures of God’s Word, and go about eating shrubs, and thistles, weeds and all manner of unknown vegetation, most of which is highly toxic, poisonous and even lethal.

The lucky ones escape with deep spiritual scars and boat loads of disappointment, while the not so lucky suffer the pains of spiritual death, turning their back on God because they foolishly placed their trust in men who turned out to be less than the messianic figures they advertised themselves as.

Sheep follow; goats wander. When we take it upon ourselves to blaze our own trail, to forge our own path, to find our own spirituality rather than humbly following after Jesus, we take it upon ourselves to become our own shepherds, solely responsible for our own wellbeing, protection, spiritual nourishment and even survival. Noble as it might sound to say that we are the captains of our own ships, the shepherds of our own souls, in reality we become but mere goats whom out of rebellion, pride, and an unwillingness to submit to the authority of Christ, have wandered far from Him.

There is one Shepherd, and His name is Jesus. There can be no surrogates or substitutes for the one true Shepherd, and any man who claims to be such is a liar, plain and simple.

The reason I felt I needed to broach this topic is because of late I have been getting a disturbing amount of correspondence from individuals who have taken it upon themselves to shepherd their own spiritual lives and as such have come to doubt the deity of Christ, denounce the Pauline epistles as heresy, and even do away with the Bible altogether claiming that all we really need is some form of transcendental meditation in order to tap into the god within and thereby posses illuminated minds unencumbered by either the standard or will of God.

As I said, this new wave is cresting, and due to the presupposed liberties it will offer to the lukewarm and rebellious among us, it will become more popular than we can imagine. Former sheep will glory in their hollow spirituality, and newfound liberties, mocking those whom with humble reverence continue to follow after Jesus, ignorant of the fact that spiritual death awaits them with open arms and their end is a foregone conclusion.

I cannot speak for another, but as for me and my house, we will follow the one true Shepherd who has always led, guided, protected and kept us; we will follow after Christ.

Proverbs 16:25, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

2 Peter 2:1-2, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Free Stuff!

Everybody likes free stuff. Some think it's what makes the world go 'round. Almost everyone I know gets roped into buying a useless trinket that ends up gathering dust somewhere in their home, because with the purchase of the trinket, they got a free toothpick, pocket protector, eyeglass cleaning cloth, or a flimsy pair of dog tags with the company's logo bodly stamped right in the center.
Well, today I'm offering free stuff with no purchase required, and personally I think it's more substantial than a toothpick or a pocket protector. For those of you that are not on the Hand of Help mailing list, and do not receive our newsletter, once in awhile we print calendars, and this year happens to be one of those years.
So if you send me a comment with your name and address, one of our calendars will be shipped to you, no strings attached. Your name and address will not be sold, bartered, traded, or added to any mailing list, nor will it be made public. This is my gift to you, the only thing I ask is that when you pray, you remember this ministry in your prayers as well.
As the saying goes, supplies are limited, so first come first serve.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's A God Thing!

Well, another week has gone by, and with the precision of a Swiss timepiece, another high profile evangelical scandal is brewing. From the few e-mails I’ve gotten from different sources it would seem the founder of the second largest television network in America has admitted to a protracted and prolonged affair with a staff member.

The man, along with his wife and their attorney were apparently quick to point out that the affair was with a woman, lest we jump to conclusions of the more unsavory kind.

Well, phew, that’s a load off, I can breathe easy now, it was just common, garden variety adultery, nothing more scandalous than an evangelist betraying the covenant of marriage, abusing his partner’s trust, trampling on the blood of Christ’s sacrifice, once more bringing shame to God’s house, and admitting the only reason they decided to get ahead of this and fess up to it was because someone was trying to blackmail them and squeeze a few million dollars from their clenched fists.

Although there will be those within Christian circles that will claim this, and the many other scandals within Christendom of late are the work of Satan, and that these are just attacks of the enemy, I submit to you, that rather than attribute these shameful outings to the devil, we ought to open our eyes and realize that it’s a God thing.

It is not the devil that is bringing the sins of these men to light, there would be no profit in it since the enemy already had them neatly bound in their sin, and as such they could be of no benefit or usefulness to the kingdom of God. Satan is not in the habit of shooting himself in the foot, and he does not attack those already doing his bidding. If a man is tainted, then he is compromised, and if he is compromised, his willingness or ability to fearlessly preach the truth of God’s Word is nonexistent, the sword of Damocles perpetually hanging above his head held there by a tenuous horse’s hair.

It is not the devil exposing sin within the house of God, it is God beginning to clean house!

“But brother Mike, how could you think that?”

Because God doesn’t think like men do, His ways are not our ways, He isn’t interested in public relations, public perception, public image, and all the other idiocies men of a certain stature are obsessed with, His only interests are righteousness and holiness, and He has no reservations about destroying men’s painstakingly crafted public projections of themselves. God has no qualms about embarrassing men, humbling men, shaming men, or exposing men. God brings the truth into the light, and the harsh reality of the truth that the light reveals is solely dependent on the actions of the individual God thrust into the selfsame light of truth. God demands a spotless bride, God demands a righteous bride, and if He must He will expose ten thousand more hypocrites that what remains might be pure and undefiled.

As I said, God is beginning to clean house, and He’s starting from the top down. What we must understand is that it’s the enemy’s pleasure to see sin devouring the light from within; it is the enemy’s pleasure to see sin corrupt, destroy, pollute, and twist the way of righteousness via those we revere as the mouthpieces of God, those entrusted with our spiritual nourishment and maturing. No, the enemy does not expose such individuals, he does everything he can to protect them and prosper them, and keep them in the limelight until God Himself pull back the veil, until God Himself unmasks the evil lurking beneath the smooth Botox filled features, and chemically whitened teeth.

Don’t blame the devil for what God is doing, rather thank God for the work of pruning that He has begun, and will continue to perform. God is cleaning house, and all the chaff and the mold and the dust and the trash is being swept up and scrubbed off, that God might once more reside there, that the fullness of Him might once more be experienced by those still desperate for Him, and that His works might be made manifest even in this sinful and perverse generation.

1 Peter 4:17, “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?”


With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Qualifying Statements

Between my last post and this present time, I’ve traveled halfway across the world, crossed an ocean, saw my wife after month long absence, and even read some of the comments left on the weblog. What I found interesting was the wide range of emotion encapsulated in some of the comments, from agreement, to anger, to frustration, and even an imperious sense of machismo wherein a musket and some gunpowder were all that was needed to set the nation in order, to restore reason, and reconfigure our course that we might once more walk in the will of God, and not a path of our own making.

Some comments I chose not to post since they crossed the line into obscene, going beyond the favored effeminate, weepy, girly prose, into the land of the unsavory. I have no problem with people disagreeing with me, even calling me names, I’m a big boy with thick skin, and I can handle it, but to those of you whose comments I did not post, a bit of civility goes a long way, and when you have to resort to profanity to make a point, well, let’s just say I doubt we have very much to discuss from that point forward. Since there is an entire book of the Bible entitled Lamentations, and Jesus himself declared ‘joy to those who weep’, there is nothing anti biblical with either weeping or lamenting.

There were some legitimate comments, that encouraged me to qualify my statements however, and so I decided to write a postscript to my previous post just to clarify a few things.

Yes, I do believe there is a remnant even in the spiritual murkiness with which we must all contend. There has always been a remnant, and there will always be a remnant because God is sovereign and He always has His own, those who have not defiled themselves, those who will not compromise the truth, and those who stand on the wall of the citadel sounding the alarm as the enemy approaches.

I do believe however, that the general condition of the church is by and large as I outlined it in my article, and for this I will not apologize, although some took umbrage.

For those, who under the shroud of anonymity attempt to prove their bravery by lobbing insults, I would echo the words of Paul to the Corinthians, ‘let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.’ Your metal will be tested, your commitment will be pushed to its limits, and your faithfulness will be weighed by One infinitely more qualified to render judgment than me. You need not feign bravery on my account; I am no one worth impressing with bombastic words and ill conceived schemes.

One thing is certain, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, and those who still believe this battle will be won by our wills, our strength and our own aptitudes those who think this battle will be waged in the physical, are as ignorant of the reality they are facing as the Disciples of Christ were when they asked Him if He would henceforth commence to restore the kingdom to Israel.

I do not weep due to what we have become, the Bible already forewarned us of these times, but rather due to what we could have been, due to the wasted potential and opportunity to proclaim Christ and Him crucified to the nations. Even the best of men are only men at best, and one day all men, be they at their best or at their worst will stand before an omniscient God and answer for their actions, their conduct, their words and their intent. As such, when I write I do so not with the desire to please men, or coddle the overly sensitive, but rather with the singular purpose of being true to God and His Word.

Whether you agree with what I’ve written, or disagree vehemently, one thing is certain, we must now make certain that we have put on the whole armor of God, because the evil day is here, and it is incumbent upon us to stand, and to do all to stand.

Ephesians 5:10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why I Weep!

I originally wrote the following for the hand of help e-newsletter that is coming out shortly, but after pondering it for awhile I decided to post it on the web log as well:

What has become of God’s mighty men? What has become of the warriors of God’s house? Where are the battle hardened, those who know how to wage spiritual war, those who acknowledge the fundamental truth that the enemy we face takes no prisoners, and our only option is to stand and to fight and to overcome the darkness on its own turf?

With the old guard, the previous generation, the old soldiers all but gone to their eternal rest, having fought their fight and received their reward, what has replaced them can be likened to many things, but none of the things they can be likened to is a warrior of Christ. Where once the motto of the believer was ‘onward Christian soldier’ it has been replaced by the new and less catchy motto, ‘avoid confrontation at all cost.’

The standard lays in the dust, the banner of truth is hidden away, rather than be ashamed of their sin, men are ashamed of the Christ who bought them with His blood, and the new self appointed generals of God’s army would much rather attempt to talk the enemy to sleep, or better still wave the white flag of surrender than run the risk of chipping one of their manicured nails, or heaven forbid wrinkle their three thousand dollar suit.

The godless mock; the saints stay silent! The Word of God is trampled underfoot; the saints stay silent! Sin is running amuck, closet doors are squeaking on rusty hinges, and preachers, and leaders, and evangelists are coming out shameless in their shame, and the saints stay silent!

We have become cowards to our core, to the very marrow of our being, but rather than fess up to our cowardice, rather than admit that we are spineless and weak willed, we attempt to justify it by invoking tolerance.

Long forgotten is the command that we are to hate evil, long forgotten is the command that we are to strive for holiness, long forgotten is the command that we are to be light and salt and truth in a world of darkness and deception. No, not us, not this generation, we have more important things to worry about than standing for truth or having the courage of our convictions.

We look down on those who suffered, and bled and died for the cause of Christ, we scoff at the sacrifice of our fellow brothers throughout the world, and rather than be shamed by their faithfulness, rather than be shamed by their selflessness, we defend our apathy by telling all who would hear that they’re suffering and dying because they didn’t have enough faith to believe for prosperity, they didn’t know the secret combination to unlocking vast fortunes, a blessed life, an adoring public, and an easy ride on the heaven express.

We have lost our ability to blush! We have lost our ability to be convicted! The church has descended toward the deepest bowels of lawlessness and sin, has shunned righteousness and holiness outright, yet still has the temerity to say ‘we will lead you out of the darkness into that glorious light of truth!’

As for the soldiers, they are on furlough. ‘No battle here, nothing to see, move along. We thought we’d have to stand up for Jesus at a certain point, but then the world set us straight, and showed us just how profitable compromise can be. We have crossover artists, crossover preachers, crossover churches, all integrated, interchangeable, and flavored to everyone’s taste. It’s just the strange folks, the outcasts, those on the outskirts of modern Christendom that still believe there is an enemy to be confronted, a battle to be fought, a war to be won, and a crown to be had. They’re the folks that give us tolerant all embracing Christians a bad name.

Diplomacy that’s the ticket, not these antiquated ideas pulled from spiritual reliquaries of the past like holiness unto God, the fear of the Lord, or sanctification. Those people just didn’t know about the power of the double portion, and the hundred fold return, they were just ignorant. So what if God did miracles by their hands? So what if the lame walked, the blind saw, the deaf heard, and demons were cast out of many? They still didn’t have what really matters; they didn’t have wealth, and gaudy mansions, and indoor pools, and fancy cars and expensive watches. So what if all we have is a form of godliness? So what if we are weak and powerless and absent of conviction? We have stuff; lots of stuff; expensive stuff!’

And so we march to the beat of our own drummer, we are our own generals, we make the rules, change the rules, even erase the rules altogether, considering God’s Holy Word to be nothing more than an arbitrary self help manual, but nothing really set in stone, certainly not something we will be held to account for in case we choose to dismiss it. We are after all ‘little gods’ are we not, and as ‘little gods’ we create the construct of our own personal universe.

Lie to ourselves as we might, there is one truth from which all of our self delusions will not shelter us, the fact that the gardener is here, shears in hand, and He has methodically begun to prune the tree in His vineyard, removing the dry and dead branches, the rotten fruit and all that He finds displeasing. He will be merciless in His pruning, that what remains might bear good fruit, that when He returns He might still find faith on the earth. May God help us!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Audacious Prediction

Since early childhood I have always been drawn to the humanity of the giants of the faith the Bible so honestly outlines. To me, men such as Paul, Samuel, Elijah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and a score of others always seemed and continue to seem larger than life. When reading of their exploits, their faith, their courage, and their conviction one need constantly remind themselves that they were human, just as we are, and if they were capable of such fellowship with God, if they were capable of such boldness even in the face of death, then we too ought to be capable of such exploits for the cause of Christ.

As an intellectual exercise of sorts I often like to put myself in these men’s shoes, if only briefly, and wonder what they were thinking, what they were feeling, in those moments when things didn’t turn out as they’d hoped or envisioned, when they received some new piece of revelation, or some information that made their previous preconceived notions null and void.

Take Peter for instance, the man who had already reminded Christ that he had left everything behind to follow after Him, most likely hoping in his heart that Christ would establish His kingdom on earth and he would be a general of some sorts, then hearing the words of Christ informing him that He would soon go to the cross, be crucified, and die for the sins of mankind, and not only this, but if anyone desired to follow after Him, they must likewise deny themselves, pick up their crosses, and daily follow.

One reaction that has always intrigued me is that of Timothy upon receiving the second letter from his spiritual father Paul. Here was Paul, in prison, aware of the fact that this time he would not be getting out, but would most likely finish running his race shortly, writing to Timothy, and among the encouraging words he had for his spiritual son, Paul pens a prophetic warning, a foretelling of what the future would look like that I believe gave Timothy reason for pause.

2 Timothy 3:1-5, “But know this that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

So why do I think these words took Timothy by surprise? Well, for two reasons. First, Timothy must have realized that Paul was not referring to the world or those of the world when he was describing the condition of men in the last days, but rather Paul was speaking about the condition of those in the church. There have always been men who were lovers of self in the world, there have always been unholy and unloving people in the world, there have always been those who are haughty, and who are lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God in the world, but it has not always been so in the church.

Consider that at the time of this letter to Timothy being penned, Christians were being imprisoned, martyred, fed to lions, dipped in tar and lit on fire, hunted everywhere they went, and still they would not deny Christ, still they would cling to Jesus to their last breath. For Paul to write Timothy and tell him that there would come a time, when within the church we would see men who are proud, lovers of money, blasphemers, and possessing only a form of godliness must have been a hard pill to swallow for the young man.

How could the house of God become what Paul described? How could the church spiral so far out of control that it would barely be a shadow of its former self? To anyone reading the words of Paul during those days, those days when the love of God still burned bright within the hearts of believers, those days when selflessness was the norm and not the exception, those days when the power of godliness was evident in the miracles and wonders God performed, those days when self denial and self renunciation were self evident prerequisites to following after Christ, it would have been unfathomable that the church would descend to such lows. And yet here we are some two thousand years later, seeing the prophetic utterance of Paul the Apostle of Christ come to pass before our very eyes. Yes, two thousand years ago, these words that Paul wrote to Timothy were an audacious prediction, but now they have been proven out as truth.

When God speaks a certain thing, improbable as it might seem at the time, even impossible in the sight of some, it would be wise, and yes it would even behoove us to pay attention, rather than dismiss it outright because our own intellect is unable to see the veracity of it.

The world is changing all around us, and God has already forewarned us of the changes that are soon to take place. If we were ignorant, it was not due to God’s silence, but rather due to our own stubbornness and unwillingness to see past our own pride. As clich├ęd as it might sound, this is only the beginning, and the wise and prudent man lends his ear to the voice of God, and prepares His heart for what the future holds.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A New Outreach

This will be a short post since I am currently packing for a 6:00 am flight to Florida in the morning. I will be speaking there on Sunday, and if you are in the area, please check http://www.handofhelp.com/ for times and location.
 The reason for this post is to let everyone know about our new outreach.
It is said most people are auditory learners, and the fact that most bookstores are closing their doors is a clue that the number of readers is lessening with each passing year. In order to combat reading fatigue, and make the Word of God more accessible to those who area auditory learners, I've started recording audio messages, and posting them on the hand of help website.
I would encourage you to visit the site, listen to the first messages we've posted, and send me your feedback. This will be a weekly outreach, and what makes it different from our other offerings is that I encourage the listeners to send in topics they would like to hear discussed. So if you are an auditory learner, and don't like to read, we've made it easy to get spiritually fed even for you.
I will still be posting on the blog, but I will also be recording these audio messages for the hand of help website as well.
Where to find it: http://www.handofhelp.com/ then click on 'truth be told' that is where you will find the first couple of audio messages that have already been posted. God bless, and hope you enjoy.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Power of God

My wife is a big fan of electronic appliances. Although she rarely cooks, whenever she gets the urge, there are always two or three different gadgets on the counter, one to chop the onion just so, one to puree the pumpkin or the squash, another to blend, but all the nifty gadgets turn into nothing more than clunky plastic receptacles when the power goes out, which happens quite frequently in Romania. Whatever your preferred gadget might be, from a light bulb, to an air conditioner, to a coffee maker, they all need power to function properly and to perform the tasks for which they were built.

Power, and power supply is essential in every area of our life. Even the most powerful motor, in the most beautiful car becomes nothing more than an oversized lawn ornament when there is no gas in the tank, and the engine won’t turn. So what’s the point of this post? Am I just trying to extol the virtues of electricity, tip my hat to Benjamin Franklin, and reveal the fact that my wife is not what one would call a consistent cook? Far from it!

Just as our appliances won’t work without a power source, and our cars won’t run without gas, just as these things are unable to perform the tasks for which they were built and created, it is likewise true of believers who lack the power of God in their lives. Absent the power of God, we are but cars with no gas, and appliances without a power source. Absent the power of God, we cannot perform our designated tasks to the satisfaction of our maker, the One who painstakingly molded us into the vessel He desired us to become.

For far too long, a large portion of the modern day church has tiptoed around the topic of the power of God. We run the gamut from no longer believing in the power of God by way of the Holy Spirit, to being indifferent toward it as though it was neither special nor necessary for the calling into which we have been called. In our unending quest to assimilate and mimic the world, we have even gone so far as to distance and disavow ourselves of those who continue to desire the power of God in their lives, and actively seek the Holy Spirit because the godless look down upon such individuals and considers them aberrant and off kilter. To our shame we consistently choose pleasing the world rather than please God, groveling for the world’s acceptance and embrace.

Make no mistake, God is the source of power; the Holy Spirit is the conduit. Absent this power of God, absent the Holy Spirit, we are adrift in a world growing increasingly cold and evil, unable to perform the tasks we have been assigned by God himself.

So what does the power of God do? Is it just about speaking in tongues, is it just about prophesying, is it just about having discernment or wisdom, or is there even more to this power than we first envisioned.

First and foremost, the power of God convicts the world of sin. Absent the power of God, men would not be convicted of their sins, and thereby see no need for repentance and brokenness before God. It is due to our denial or marginalization of the power of God in the church today that so many are able to sit there service after service, warming a pew, but never being convicted of their sins, never being compelled to repentance, never knowing the feeling of being cut to the heart for their trespasses and crying out for forgiveness.

The second thing the power of God does is it heals. Throughout the Word we see blind eyes open, lepers being cleansed, cripples being made whole, and whether through the hands of Christ, or the hands of the Apostles, it was the same power that resided in them, and flowed through them that brought these healings and miracles about.

The third thing the power of God does is save. Yes, it is the power of God that saves through the intercession of Christ Jesus on our behalf.

Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them.”

It is the power of God that animates us, that gives us boldness and courage to stand our ground and face the enemy, to be fearless in proclaiming the risen Christ, and do great exploits on His behalf.

Through the power of God by way of the Holy Spirit we are also able to discern the spirits, to know if they are of God, of the flesh or of the enemy, and act accordingly. What saddens me is that we have access to all this, we have access to the power of God, we have access to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, yet we prefer the lethargy, the weakened spiritual state in which we find ourselves, reading the exploits of those that came before us, daydreaming about what it would be like to see such miracles, such power, and such presence once more.

If we are weak, if we are powerless, if we are easily battered about by the waves and are uncertain of our foundation, it is not God we ought to blame as we do, but ourselves, for God’s hand is not short, His power is infinite, and His promises to His children are eternal.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The New Man

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

With nearly everyone in the nation focused and concentrated upon the political landscape, energized by the thought of yet another round of change, placing their hopes once more in men who will eventually fail them, I thought I would write about something more lasting than a midterm election today, something more relevant than the endless politicking, word twisting, and empty promises that have been center stage among believers and nonbelievers alike for the better part of two months. Today I want to discuss the new man, the new creation of which Paul speaks, and discover what his attributes are as shown to us in the Bible. Seeing that for many the old things have not passed away, and that we still cling to them with bloodied fingers and waning strength, this post might seem irrelevant. Why speak of a new kingdom when we want to restore this present kingdom? Why speak of a new creation when a little spackle and a nice spit shine will make the old man presentable enough to pass a cursory inspection by our fellow men?

I guess because I’m stubborn, I haven’t learned my lesson, I still cling to my Bible as though it were a life preserver in rough seas, and being compliant or going along just to get along is not in my nature. Once again the world and the enemy have managed to take our eyes off Jesus, to cause us to hope in something other than God, and what is most shameful is that we put ten times the energy and resources into politicking than we ever did in the service of Christ.

‘But that’s okay, because when all the change takes place it will have been worth it, and we will be on a new trajectory, and values and such will be restored.’

Will they? Really? Change happened two years ago, and four years before that, and eight years before that, and nothing really ever changed did it? It is because we never go down to the root, because we try to mask the symptoms and not dig deeper to discover the disease that we are in an endless cycle of hope and disappointment, thinking that maybe the next one will keep their word, maybe the next one won’t turn out to be a user, a liar, or a fraud.

So having become a new creation, having watched as the old things passed away, what are the attributes of this new man, this new creation in God?

The first attribute of the new man, or the new creation, is that he has a new life. We begin as babes in Christ, reborn in Him, knowing that we are in possession of a new life, a life that is without end, a life that does not wither, and a life that is filled with the singular purpose of growing in Him on a daily basis. This new life is not our own, we’ve done nothing to earn it, we’ve done nothing to deserve it, it is God’s gift to mankind made possible through the advent of Christ Jesus.

The second attribute of the new creation or the new man is that he is now part of a new kingdom. This is a kingdom, to which we were called, a kingdom which we have inherited, and as Paul puts it in Ephesians, a kingdom in which we were made to sit with Christ. We are no longer citizens of any particular nation on this earth, but rather we are now citizens of heaven, our citizenship is there, and we eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ to return and take us home. We await His return, wherein He will transform our lowly bodies, and conform them to His glorious body, that we may be with Him in His kingdom for all eternity.

The third attribute of the new creation or the new man is that he is now under a new law. When one is in Christ, and becomes a new creation, he is under the law of life, the law of love and the law of liberty. We do not serve, or seek after righteousness because we are constrained by law, but because we are compelled by love. We do not seek after God just so He sees us and maybe throws a blessing our way, but because our earnest desire is to know Him and have fellowship with Him. When we begin adopting the mentality that we are believers so God would show us favor, we’ve missed the boat completely as to why we ought to be followers of Christ, and soldiers of the cross. It is because I love Him, it is because I worship Him, it is because I desire to know more of Him that I am a follower of Christ, not because perhaps, somewhere down the line He will do a great thing for me, give me a new car, or send someone to paint my apartment.

The fourth attribute of the new creation or the new man is that he has a new purpose. When we are reborn into Christ, we are not called to sit by and watch the sun set over the horizon night after night, we are not called to be spectators, but rather we are called to labor, to preach the gospel of Christ, to share the love of Christ until His return, and do so knowing it is our duty as His servants.

Whether basking in the afterglow of victory, or choking down the bitter taste of defeat, whatever side of the political isle you happen to be on, know that this will soon pass, as all things do, but the paramount necessity of refocusing our eyes and setting our gaze upon Christ, will remain real and present in perpetuity.

There is one question that keeps bouncing around in my head, one that I want to leave you with today, and that is ‘will we ever realize that only Christ can bring about true, lasting, and worthwhile change, or will we continue to deceive ourselves every two years only to suffer disappointment time and time again?’

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Twisted Ways

Proverbs 19:3, “The foolishness of a man twists his way, and his heart frets against the Lord.”

So what twists a man’s way? Is it false teaching, is it false doctrine, is it false prophets, is it lying spirits? No, it is a man’s own foolishness that twists his way, and his heart frets against the Lord. In our foolishness we allow false teaching into our hearts, in our foolishness we allow false doctrine and false prophets and lying spirits to worm their way into our minds, and our ways become twisted because we did not remain steadfast in Christ, because we did not commit to the truth of the Gospel but rather sought other ways, other means, other truths that seemed easier for the flesh, that the heart deemed more in concert with our present age, that were not so controversial, so cut and dry, so black and white.

In our foolishness we give in to the voices all around us, in our foolishness we succumb to the temptations of the world, in our foolishness we stray from the path of righteousness that is clearly highlighted in the Word, and our hearts begin to fret against the Lord.

“I know Your word says something different, but I just don’t see it that way Lord. I know you command righteousness and holiness of your people, but there are so many who straddle the world and the church, whose hearts are divided, who have a superficial faith, and they seem to be doing alright, they don’t seem to be suffering.”

When in our foolishness we attempt to interpret the mind of God, when in our foolishness we attempt to remove certain truths from the Bible to make our walk easier for the flesh, it is only a matter of time before our hearts begin to fret against the Lord.

No, it is not God’s fault, it is not that He wasn’t clear enough in His word, it is not that we didn’t understand what He was trying to say, it’s that in our foolishness we thought we knew better, we thought we could do away with the old path, and construct a new path for ourselves absent of valleys, absent of hardship, absent of effort on our part, just a straight shot to the holy of holies, into the warm embrace of an ever indulgent God who just can’t wait to wrap His arms around us and smother us with His love and kindness.

Our own foolishness blinds us to the justice of our God; our own foolishness blinds us to the righteousness of our God, and our own foolishness blinds us to the holiness of our God. Too many today echo the words of the mother of us all, ‘the serpent made me do it’, refusing to acknowledge that the serpent only tempts, a man’s foolishness, absence of vigilance, and lack of knowledge concerning the things of God is what makes him fall into that temptation.

When we are wise concerning the things of God, when we are humble in regards to the will of our God, our hearts will never fret against the Lord, for we know that He is working all things for the good of those who love Him.

Proverbs 19:8, “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Tradeoffs

Galatians 1:6-7, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.”

There is an old saying, but a true saying, that the more things change the more they stay the same. Civilization has come a long way since the days of Paul, since the days when after one painstakingly wrote a letter by hand, with quill and ink on parchment, they then had to entrust it to a courier, a messenger of sorts who would, whether by foot or boat, deliver it to its final destination.

Yes, times have changed, and today with the push of a button our electronic mail is sent, and we don’t even have to set foot outside, or change out of our pajamas. Although we have grown in our technological advancements however, although the gadgets and trinkets that are supposed to make our lives easier have multiplied exponentially, the basic nature of mankind has remained stubbornly similar to those of old, and new generations repeat the mistakes of old generations without hesitation or a hint of reservation.

Seeing the festering boils of what ought to be the spotless church today, one might conclude that such hideousness is new and unprecedented, but we need look no further than the Word of God to see that history is repeating, it’s just the numbers that have gotten bigger.

In his letter to the church of Galatia Paul bemoans the fact that although he had put in the time and energy to establish a solid foundation for the Galatians, no sooner had he left, than they were turning away from the truth of Christ to a different gospel. No sooner had Paul departed, and the wolves descended upon the church attempting to trouble the brethren and pervert the gospel of Christ. Why would anyone do such a thing? Quick fact, anyone that attempts to pervert the gospel of Christ, and complicate the simplicity thereof always has a vested interest, and is always seeking to serve themselves rather than the body of Christ.

With everything in life there is an implied tradeoff, wherein we surrender, give up, or turn away from one thing in order to obtain another, or achieve a desired result. I know that in order for me to lose weight, I have to give up sugar and carbohydrate rich foods. That is the tradeoff.

More examples could be had, but they would just become tedious. The point I am trying to make, is that the same principle applies within the context of the spiritual as well. If we want to know God, we must turn our back on the world, if we want to grow in God, we must make time for Him, and since we cannot add more hours to a day, we must do away with certain things that take up our time and replace them with spending time with God.

It would be wonderful if God’s children always traded up, if their tradeoff was always spiritually profitable, but more and more it seems we are trading down. Just as the Galatians were trading the grace of Christ for another gospel, a perverted gospel, so it seems today’s church is making one bad trade after another, then wonders why we are in the spiritual condition we are in.

Not only is the church trading the priceless for the worthless, the eternal for the temporal, the spiritual for the superficial, integrity for compromise, conviction for integration, truth for deception, the power of God for political clout, the kingdom of God for kingdoms on earth, fellowship for frivolity, and intimacy with God for lawlessness, it is encouraged to do so by its leaders.

Why would leaders encourage their flocks to trade down? Why would they encourage their flocks to focus on the flesh rather than the spirit, to seek out temporary comfort rather than eternal reward? Because if the flock is not pursuing growth in God, if it is not pursuing spiritual things, then it will not notice the powerlessness of the hair helmet in a suit standing before them smiling broadly and encouraging them to love themselves just the way they are.

If our desire is to know the depth and width of God and all that He has to offer us, then we must stop making tradeoffs that are detrimental to our spiritual man, and rather than seek to please ourselves, or please others, we must strive to please Christ and Christ alone.

The hour is late, and those who want to pervert the gospel of Christ seem to be multiplying, mounting attacks from without and from within the house of God, and our only defense, our only recourse, our only hope is the truth.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Death of Ignorance

A recent survey done by the Pew forum entitled ‘Religious Knowledge Survey’ concluded that although Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people, they are also ignorant about their religion. These findings are not a surprise to anyone who has done an objective analysis of a great majority of today’s churches, and some would even go so far as to say that there is an epidemic of ignorance in the church, but even though the veracity of this study’s conclusions are doubtless true, it is by no means acceptable.

Whether due to ignorance or outright indifference much of the church fails to acknowledge that we face an enemy who is a schemer at heart, whose plans extend beyond a single phase attack, who has backups for his backups, and whose singular desire is the destruction of God’s children.

Even the most basic of the enemy’s attacks is multilayered, because he is not one to give up, he is not one to surrender, and he continues to storm the citadel of the soul wherever he perceives there is a weakness or a crack.

The first way in which the enemy makes war against the children of God is by employing temptation, which coincidentally is also the most successful weapon in his arsenal. When we speak of temptation, the mind automatically latches onto lust, but there are a variety of things that believers are tempted with on a daily basis. For some lust is a nonstarter, but pride might be their weakness; if pride is not their Achilles heel, then perhaps greed is, and if greed fails tempt them into glutting themselves with the Babylonian delicacies, then perhaps the enemy might have a shot with compromise. On an almost monthly basis we hear of preachers, evangelists, respected members of the Christian community giving into one or more of these temptations, and when this occurs the enemy just moves on to his next potential conquest.

There are those who resist temptation, there are those who stand strong against the plans and schemes of the enemy, but make no mistake the enemy does not give up that easily. If he cannot tempt us into becoming vessels of dishonor, he just moves on to the next phase of his attack, which is deception. If the enemy can’t tempt you away from the truth, he will invariably attempt to deceive you away from the truth. Just as a drop of ink in a gallon of water makes the entire thing undrinkable, a little deception can have devastating ramifications in the lives of believers.

I’ve known people who allowed a hint of false teaching to creep into their doctrinal beliefs, who eventually came to deny the deity of Christ, who questioned the virgin birth, and whether the resurrection of the Son of God really happened. It started small, and snowballed into apostasy.

If the enemy can’t tempt you into becoming a vessel of dishonor, if he can’t deceive you into forfeiting your birthright, then he will settle for keeping you ignorant of the power and authority that you have in God.

It is this last group that is by far the largest, masses of individuals who although strive for righteousness, and keep themselves pure in the sight of God, are ignorant of the power that they have access to in Christ Jesus by way of the Holy Spirit.

The enemy loves an ignorant Christian, because an ignorant Christian is a powerless Christian, and a powerless Christian is no threat to the enemy at all.

So how do we combat ignorance? How we keep from being just another face in the crowd that is unaware of the promises of God for them, that is unaware of the power of God in them, and that is unaware of the authority that they posses?

The first thing we must do in order to combat ignorance is be humble enough to learn!

We all like being teachers, but few of us like being taught. It is human nature to think that we know it all, that we’ve amassed all the knowledge there was to amass, and as such we are no longer teachable. We are no longer humble enough to acknowledge our need to grow in wisdom, and so we shut ourselves off from any further Biblical knowledge that was not included in our denominational packet. A wise man once said that it is when we are frail and old, it is when we are at death’s door that we realize just how little we knew in comparison to what there was to know. We must never stop learning, we must never stop growing, we must never stop searching the scriptures, and we must never think ourselves above being taught. I’ve been taught powerful truths through the mouths of babes and laymen alike. I don’t know it all, but I strive to grow in knowledge, and am humble enough to learn from my fellow brothers and sisters alike.

The second thing we must do in order to combat ignorance, is know the Word of God. When I speak of knowing the Word of God, it is not by way of second hand information, but personally knowing the Word of God.

Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path.”

This was David’s firsthand experience in regards to the Word of God. He did not say ‘your word is a lamp unto the feet of my pastor, and I follow in his footsteps’ but rather, the word of God was a lamp unto his feet, a light to his path, something personal and intimate.

Know the word of God and you will be able to resist temptation, you will be able to spot deception, and you will be able to combat ignorance. Knowledge is the death of ignorance, and the knowledge of the word of God will bring untold benefits to our lives if we remain diligent in it. The knowledge of God’s word is not reserved for theologians and preachers, all of God’s children must know His word, because His word contains His will, His promises, His grace, His mercy, and His righteousness.

The third thing we must do in order to combat ignorance, is apply the word of God. Head knowledge of God’s word is useless if it is not properly applied. In the aforementioned study it turned out that atheists were the least ignorant of all when it came to religion yet their knowledge did nothing to save them from the darkness and despair in which they find themselves because they never applied it. Knowing the word of God is only half the recipe, and without the ingredient of applying what we know to our daily lives it remains static and unsatisfying.

It is of utmost importance that we know what we have in God, that we know what we posses in Christ, because in knowing what we have become in Him we have the necessary boldness and courage to do great and mighty works for the glory of the Father.

As Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, they ran across a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb. Seeing as Peter and John were about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms, and it is in Peter’s answer to this lame man that we see what the knowledge of what we posses in Christ does.

Acts 2:6-8, “Then Peter said, ‘silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them, - walking, leaping, and praising God.”

Peter knew what he didn’t have, but also what he had. He knew he had no silver, he knew he had no gold, but he knew that he did have the power of God. Peter didn’t say ‘what I think I have, or what I hope I have’ but rather ‘what I do have I give you’.

We must be certain of what we have in Christ, both the power and the authority that we have in Him, and the more we grow in knowledge, the more we grow in understanding, the more we humble ourselves and become teachable, the more we study the Word, and the more we apply it to our daily lives, the more we will see the death of ignorance, and the birth of power in our daily lives.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lessons from the Potter's House

Jeremiah 18:1-2, “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: ‘Arise and go down to the potter’s house and there I will cause you to hear My words.”

One day the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah and instructed him to go to the potter’s house. God did not instruct Jeremiah to go and see the mastery with which the potter fashioned clay, He did not instruct Jeremiah to go and see the process, by which a lump of clay became a vessel, but rather to go and hear His words. Jeremiah went to the potter’s house to hear the words of God, not to see a man molding clay. God wanted to teach Jeremiah certain truths, and today I wanted to discuss these truths that Jeremiah learned by visiting the potter’s house, if only briefly.

The first lesson that Jeremiah learned while at the potter’s house, was that of the absolute sovereignty of God. God is sovereign!

As Jeremiah beheld the potter at his wheel, and beheld the vessel that he had made become ruined, as he watched the potter take the selfsame lump of clay and make it again into another vessel, the Lord asked a truly profound question.

Jeremiah 18:6, “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?’ says the Lord. ‘Look as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.”

Just as the potter is sovereign over the clay that he molds, God is sovereign over His creation. When the potter sets about making a vessel out of the clay in his hands, the clay cannot demand anything of the potter. The clay cannot ask to be a bowl, a cup, a pitcher or a tray, the clay is simply at the potter’s discretion, and the potter does with it what he wills.

If there is veracity in the songs we sing, if indeed He is the potter and we are the clay, then how is it that so many today seem to demand of God rather than submit to Him? How is it that countless souls stand before a sovereign God, and begin to dictate terms to Him rather than simply obey, and yield to His molding and chiseling?

Our doctrine has become such that whenever the Potter attempts to mold us, whenever the Potter takes us in His hands and begins to form us, we bristle and resist, we defy and refuse to go along with that which He desires to mold us into, all the while forgetting that all we are, are lumps of clay.

Isaiah 45:9, “Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Let the potsherds strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘what are you making?’ Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands?’”

Not only does the clay ask the Potter ‘what are you making?’ nowadays, but the clay goes one step further and demands that it be made into something else, something of its choosing.

‘I want to be prosperous, and handsome, and beautiful, and acne free, I want to have a big house and a nice car, and maybe a boat, that’s what I want You to mold me into, if not, then no deal!’

We have so distorted the relationship between Potter and clay, that there are even some calling themselves children of God, who teach that they are in fact little Potters, creators in their own right, no longer subject to the molding of the Great Potter, but having achieved the status of creators on a miniature scale.

Isaiah 29:16, “Surely you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay; for shall the thing made say of him who made it, ‘he did not make me?’ or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, ‘he has no understanding?’”

To anyone still under the misconception that we are little gods, sorry to burst your bubble, but we are nothing more than lumps of clay into which God in His sovereign mercy breathed life. It is God that molds us, it is God that forms us into what He desires us to become.

The second lesson Jeremiah learned while at the potter’s house, was the lesson of becoming. When the Potter takes a lump of clay and puts it on the wheel, it is with the specific intent that the lump of clay becomes a vessel. The Potter fashions the clay, he molds it in His hands knowing full well that the clay is becoming something other than what it was.

We are all being fashioned; we are all becoming, and just as a potter must press down upon the clay in order to give it its form, the Great Potter sometimes presses down upon us to form us into the vessel He desires us to be. Whenever God presses down on us, it is not toward out detriment but toward our benefit. He presses down on us because He is molding us, He is molding us because we are becoming, and what we are becoming is something that only He knows. We trust the Great Potter, because we know that His desire is to make vessels of honor. We trust the Great Potter because He takes the time to mold us, individually so, forming us into His image and likeness.

Throughout the Word we see how God has formed His vessels; we see the pressing down, the chiseling that took place before they could be used of God, before they could shine like the sun and bring glory to His name. From Joseph to Job, from David to Daniel, we see how heavily God pressed down on them that they might be made into the vessel God desired them to be.

The third and final lesson Jeremiah learned while at the potter’s house, was the lesson of resistance.

Jeremiah 18:4, “And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.”

Although it was just clay, something in that lump of clay resisted the potter’s first try, and the vessel that he made out of the lump of clay was ruined in the hand of the potter. No matter how much the potter pressed down, no matter how much the potter formed it, something in the lump of clay would not yield, it resisted the molding of the potter until it was ruined. If there are setbacks in our lives, it is not because God was impotent; it is because we resisted Him until we were ruined. So often we resist the plan of God, we resist the molding of God, and due to our resistance God just takes another lump of clay and begins to fashion a new vessel.

God is the potter, and we are His clay. He is sovereign and it is by His design that we are fashioned into the vessels we are becoming. A wise man does not resist the molding and the fashioning, he simply submits to it, knowing that the finished product will be something beyond his comprehension.

All men are molded, and if we resist God molding us and forming us into His image, the world will be more than happy to mold us and form us in its image.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Wortwhile Quote

I found the following quote in one of my notebooks, and it really spoke to me. I pray it does the same for you.

“We need to re-study our Bibles, and learn what real Christianity is. How holy, how heavenly, how spiritual, how loving, how morally and socially excellent a matter it is. What separation from the world, what devoutness, what intense earnestness, what conscientiousness, what enlarged benevolence, what unselfishness, what zealous activity, what unearthliness, what seeds of celestial virtue, our profession of godliness implies.

Having examined this, and obtained an impressive idea of it, let us survey our own state, and ask if we do not need, and ought not to seek, more of the prevalence of such a piety as this, which, in fact, is primitive Christianity.


Is our spiritual condition what it ought to be, what it might be, what it must be – to fulfill our high commission as the salt of the earth and the light of the world? A Christian, acting up in some tolerable measure to his profession, walking in the holiness of the Gospel – is the strongest and most emphatic testimony for God to our dark revolted world, next to that of Christ Himself.”

J.A. James
 
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Old Ghosts

Numbers 32:23, “And be sure your sin will find you out.”

On my last night in Romania, before my flight back to the US I met up with my brother Daniel just to talk, and say goodbye. Since he was finishing up the last of his exams before becoming a tried and true dentist, and we only got to see each other sparingly while I was in Romania, we hadn’t gotten a chance to talk much over the past few months, and during our conversation he mentioned a book he had just come into possession of.

By all rights this book is incendiary, at least as pertains to the Romanian Christian community, because it contains the names of informants, paid or otherwise, who reported on believers during the Communist years. The informants this book names are not people of the world, but rather men and women who called themselves brothers and sisters in Christ, believers who betrayed the brethren and by their statements subjected countless individuals to unspeakable things.

The reason my brother brought up the book in question, was because he found our grandfather’s name in it, as well as the names of two of the individuals who informed on him to the secret police. From what my brother told me, the book is very well documented with the file numbers in the government archives, cross referenced and researched almost tediously at times.

The reason I bring this up is twofold. First, as next of kin, and direct descendants, we are now able to access our grandfather’s voluminous file, detailing all who informed on him to the secret police, the interrogations he was subjected to, and the incarcerations he had to endure. My brother Daniel has already commenced with the paperwork towards this end, and soon we will be able to fill in some of the missing pieces of our grandfather’s life, know who his true friends were, and also those who merely pretended to be his friends.

The second reason I brought up this event, is to make one simple point: Old ghosts don’t die, they just linger waiting to be uncovered. The sins of men eventually find them out, and though it has been over a quarter of a century since my grandfather was tortured and beaten to within an inch of his life, and those that signed affidavits, and informed on him have most likely long forgotten their cowardly acts, the truth of their actions still remained, and the evidence of their betrayal lingered these many years.

My brother and I talked at length whether it would be better to let sleeping dogs lie, to leave the past to its own murky waters, whether we would be able to forgive those who were directly responsible for the pain our grandfather endured if it turned out that they still feigned friendship after so many years, or if in this case ignorance was the best course of action. We concluded that there is no bliss in ignorance, just ignorance, and knowing a painful truth is by far more preferable than accepting a plausible lie.

Other than the two men already named in the aforementioned book, documented to have informed on him, we do not know how many other names we will find in our grandfather’s file, how many more sold their dignity for a handful of barley, or the many other things our grandfather endured but chose to spare us, but we feel that we must know.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The New Replacement Theology

The old replacement theology is simple enough. Also known as supersessionism, the old replacement theology teaches that the church has essentially replaced Israel in God’s plan, and all the promises made to Israel in the Bible have been transferred to the church. Some have even gone so far as to say that America is the New Jerusalem, and when Jesus returns with glory and power, it is on American soil that He will set foot and not on the Mount of Olives as prophesied by Zechariah.

The new replacement theology however is more complex because what we have attempted to replace is not a geographical location, or a nation of peoples, but the very essence of Christianity itself. We have attempted to replace the Christ! Until recently the new replacement theology attempted to replace Christ with prosperity, a hedonistic and self-centered ideology that placed the individual above all else, and as long as the flesh was made to feel good, as long as the physical was tended to and taken care of the spiritual man could readily be ignored, marginalized and disregarded.

“It’s all about you baby! You are the bee’s knees, and as long as you have a positive self image, as long as you have self esteem, then you have finally grasped that ever illusive understanding of what this present life is really all about. It wasn’t for your eternal soul, it wasn’t to save you from the pit of darkness and despair, nope, the Son of God came to earth, hung on a cross, died and rose again so you could have a positive attitude, and an optimistic outlook on life. We all know hell isn’t really real, and the few that still talk about hell within the context of Scripture are just gloomy Gusses, pessimists to the last, who don’t yet know the joys of looking into a mirror smiling broadly, and loving themselves.”

As with anything that is not built upon the true and lasting foundation that is Jesus, as with anything that is not rooted in the Word, this version of the new replacement theology has started to fizzle as of late. Sure, people are still trying to ‘stay positive’ people are still trying to be optimistic, but it’s kind of hard to smile through tears of anguish, and no matter how many mantras we repeat incessantly, it still doesn’t take away from the reality that times are changing, and not for the better.

Rather than turn to Christ in our season of uncertainty, rather than return to the tried and true path of humility, repentance, prayer and communion with God, we have found yet another thing to replace Christ with.

I already know this will rub some the wrong way, I am already bracing myself for the onslaught of unfriendly replies, but truth be known I’ve developed thick skin over the years, and I know that what I write today will prove itself out shortly.

Although in large part we’ve done away with the doctrine of prosperity, we have replaced it with the doctrine of patriotism. More and more, in recent months I’ve been hearing many people refer to themselves as ‘Christian Patriots’, and the simple truth is that one of these must have preeminence in one’s life; one of these must have the number one spot from whence come our decisions, our reactions and our conduct. The question is simple enough: when and if it comes down to it, which will you forfeit? Will you forfeit Christ for the sake of patriotism, or will you forfeit patriotism for the sake of Christ?

Now before labeling me an anti-patriotic heretic, since seemingly Christians like to throw this label around now more than ever before, I would urge you to read this post in its entirety, then through the prism of Scripture, and not our own preconceived notions, come to a conclusion.

Please don’t misunderstand me. The ideal of patriotism in its purest form is a noble and admirable one. As all ideals have a tendency to do however, patriotism too will get perverted by those who want nothing to do with the values of this ideal, but simply want to use it toward their own nefarious ends.

The cycle is easily recognizable throughout history. First there is a core group of sincere individuals who desire to see change, and then inevitably, seeing the power these sincere individuals are beginning to amass, the cunning and the power hungry attach themselves to the cause. Numbers are power, power is clout, and clout is leverage. Such individuals, those who can spot a train leaving the station and hop on it hoping to ride it all the way to its final destination care nothing for values, or ideals, their only concern and desire is power.

Since the church has been living with spiritual substitutes and surrogates in lieu of Christ for so long, once prosperity took a long leap of a short pier, we needed to find something new, and due to the context of the current political climate, many believers readily gravitated toward patriotism. Doing all we can to remove Christ from Christianity we’ve latched onto this new substitute for true spirituality like starving leeches on exposed skin.

I fear however that we are in for yet another rude awakening, and another disappointment of monolithic proportions. Our disappointment at seeing those we’ve helped elect to office turn out to be nothing more than compromising and duplicitous politicians will far exceed the excited and supercharged patriotic zeal we are currently experiencing.

Throughout the years we have failed to seize upon one crucial truth, that truth being the fact that change, true change, comes about not by our might but by His might, and the only way we can compel God to intervene is by repentance and prayer.

The remedy to our national dilemma is simple enough, we must stop attempting to replace Christ, and return to Him; we must stop looking for surrogates, and go to the source of true peace, unspeakable joy, and everlasting rest, finding our purpose and fulfillment in Him and Him alone.

Jeremiah 17:5-6, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Lion, the Wolves, and the Storms

There is a great misconception within the body of Christ today, one that is fostered, nurtured and promulgated especially among those new to the faith in Christ. For many denominations and evangelists it is the hook by which they attract people into those large, opulent buildings with steeples that are commonly known as churches but which can be more readily likened to social clubs wherein ten percent of your earnings gets you a couple hours worth of entertainment per week.

As convoluted as this misconception is, it is highly attractive to those who aren’t necessarily looking for a relationship with God, but rather a reason to feel hopeful and positive.

“Come to Jesus, and you will never again have a care in the world. Your wife will love you, your children will respect you, your boss will give you a raise, and you will ascend from victory to victory, never again to know the trials and tribulations of the godless, never again to feel the anxiety and vexation that is the cruel reality of this present life.”

Poetic license notwithstanding, what we are promising the unsaved is a carefree and prosperous life here on earth, and not eternity in the presence of the Creator of all that is. In the estimation of some, once we raise a hand, or say a prayer, we mount up on our white steeds, and with a glint in our eye and a smile on our lips we ride onward toward eternity, never again encountering danger, peril or enemies.

Because many are never taught to expect opposition, attacks and warfare, at the first sign of trouble, they waver in their convictions, retreat, and attempt to find a circuitous route by which they can avoid confrontation. The path toward eternity is not around trials, it is not around tribulation, it is not around warfare, but through them.

There are three things we must contend with in our journey toward eternity, three things that have the singular purpose of distracting us from pursuing Christ and marching ever onward toward our rest.

The first of these is the lion, or the devil, whose only desire is your destruction. The world and those of the world already belong to him, and so he takes no pleasure in seeing their demise, he takes no pleasure in seeing their slavish existence, shackled to the sins and desires that have robbed them of their dignity and humanity. It is the children of God that the enemy desires to destroy; it is the children of God that the enemy desires to once more enslave.

1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”

There are three crucial truths we must glean from these two verses, three truths that will give us strength and encourage us whenever the enemy’s attacks grow in scope and size. The first truth is that we must be sober and vigilant, living with the expectation of the enemy’s attack. When it comes to the enemy attacking the children of God, it is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when.

The second truth we must glean is that by resisting him, and being steadfast in our faith, we will overcome him by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God. The third truth is that we are by no means unique in our sufferings, we have by no means been singled out, but the same sufferings are experienced by our brotherhood in the world.

The second thing that we must be weary of, the second of the three that desires to distract us from pursuing Christ and cementing a true and lasting relationship with Him are the wolves.

Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”

There are variations of many things in this world, but there can be no variation when it comes to truth. There is one truth, and His name is Jesus; there is one way, and His name is Christ; there is one life, and that is in Him, and no matter how men might attempt to find a different path, no matter how men might attempt to pervert the uniqueness of Christ, His singularity remains forever true.

A wolf eats sheep. A wolf does not teach, care for, nurture or otherwise desire the wellbeing of sheep; he just wants to fill his belly with their flesh. A wolf will do anything, and say anything to draw the sheep away from the Shepherd, because he knows the lengths to which the Shepherd will go to protect His sheep. If any man, whether highly respected within Christian circles, or someone holding a sign on a street corner attempts to distance you for Christ and place himself in His stead, run!

The last things we sojourners must contend with in this present life are the storms. Coming to Jesus guarantees no man exemption from the storms of this life. The only thing we are assured of is that our Captain, Christ, will steer us through the storms to a safe harbor. When we acknowledge the fact that storms of various sizes and intensities will come, then even in the midst of them we are at peace steadfast in the truth that Christ is also with us.

This journey of faith is by no means easy, God never said it would be, but regardless of how many attacks we will have to endure, regardless of how many wolves we will have to chase away, regardless of how many storms we will have to contend with in this present life, it will all be worth it when we stand before His glory and see Him face to face.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Neutered Gospel

I will say the following plainly, because I could think of no other way of saying it. At the risk of bringing the readership of this blog to zero, at the risk of having to wade through dozens of less than friendly e-mails, the following must be stated, and clearly so.

If the gospel messages you’ve been hearing lo’ these many years have never once made you feel uncomfortable then you’ve never really heard the true gospel message. If the gospel messages you’ve been hearing lo’ these many years have never once challenged you then you’ve never really heard the true gospel message. If the gospel messages you’ve been hearing lo’ these many years haven’t accentuated Christ and the cross in perpetuity then you’ve never really heard the true gospel message. If the gospel messages you’ve been hearing lo’ these many years have never once stirred you to repentance, prompted inward introspection, humbled you, caused you to weep and truly see the enormity of your sin, then you’ve never really heard the true gospel message, but a neutered version wherein God is always smiling, the sun is always shining, the birds are always chirping and no matter what you do, God’s holding onto you so tight that you’ll never be able to get away.

In this brave new world of ours, pastors have redefined their roles and become life coaches, no longer preaching a crucified Christ, but rather playing the part of guidance counselor to scores of individuals that can be likened to overactive, petulant, and overgrown children who will not accept being accountable to anyone, be they God or man.

Preachers too have redefined their roles and rather than be concerned about the spiritual wellbeing of those to whom they are ministering they play the therapist, speaking soothing words, in a soothing tone, ensuring anyone within earshot that everything’s going to be alright, that God has mellowed over the centuries, and as long as they ‘bring the tithe into the storehouse’ God will overlook everything else.

It is an understatement when I say that there is enough blame to go around for the farce of a faith many are presenting, living and promulgating today, and the sheep are just as much to blame as the shepherds. In the end these so called shepherds are just giving the people what they wanted aren’t they?

If you preach the truth, if you preach the unadulterated Word of God, wherever you happen to be, you are bound to hear those famous words that seem to be on everyone’s lips nowadays: ‘That’s not the god I serve!’

I’ve heard it more times than I would like to recall, and no matter how often I hear it, it’s still shocking.

‘I don’t like your god, your god is mean, that’s not the god I serve.’

‘But all I did was read from His book’, I would retort, ‘all I did was read from the Bible!’

If you hear the truth being preached, if someone is reading out of the Bible and in your heart you say ‘that’s not the god I serve’, then may I humbly submit to you that you are not serving the true God, but a god of your own making and imagining. A god that you have fashioned in your heart who requires no submission, who requires no obedience, who requires no sacrifice on your part, but is more than happy to let you win the lotto time and again.

It is because we have refashioned and remade God in our own image that the neutered gospel is so widely accepted and received. It is because we didn’t like what God had to say that we chose rebellion rather than submission, and with hammer and chisel in hand we began to sculpt our new and improved deity.

Like the prophets of Baal however, we will know the true impotence of the gods we’ve fashioned when we need them most. When we see the gods of our own making for what they truly are, nothing more than mists and vanities, it will be too late, and though we might cut ourselves and bleed, though we might cry out to the heavens for a sign, these deities we so revel in today, these gods we so honor and worship will remain silent as the empty tomb from which the Christ, the Son of the one true God walked out of two millennia ago.


With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Why Can't We?

There is one question I am asked most often, one question that tops the list each and every time, and that question is, ‘what has the Lord been showing you lately?’ In recent years, I have made it a habit, to answer this question with the same exact question, and the response I get varies from a shrug of the shoulders, to a rolling of the eyes, to a look of indignation and the ever present, ‘what do you mean? You’re the one that the Lord shows things to.’

I believe one of the greatest setbacks in today’s Christian thinking, is that God speaks only to a select few, or works only through a select few. God speaks to all of us, in greater or lesser measure, and He works through all whose vessels are clean, and who are willing to submit themselves to His authority. We have been living in the land of spiritual surrogacy for so long, that we’ve assigned others to look after all of our spiritual needs. If we need prayer, we have prayer warriors we can go to and ask to pray for us. If we desire understanding of a certain Biblical passage, we have theologians who are eager to offer their interpretation. If we desire a word from the Lord, there’s someone for that too, and all it takes is a phone call or a short drive to see what the Lord is saying. When we practice spiritual surrogacy, when we outsource our spiritual needs to others, it cuts down on the need for an intimate and personal relationship, it cuts down on the hours we ought to have spent on our knees, in prayer, and in reading the Word, but even though it saves time, it is by no means beneficial for our spiritual man.

We read the Word of God, we read of the miracles, we read of the power, we read of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, then by simply juxtaposing the early church to today’s modern church, one question inevitably leaps out: ‘Why aren’t we seeing these things today? Why can’t we do what they did?’

Most believers choose to gloss over this all important question, because it takes a humble heart and a painful honesty to acknowledge that men and women two thousand years ago were closer to God, saw more of the power of God, and experienced more of the presence of God than we are in our modern age. The ‘can do’ attitude has ensconced itself upon the throne of many believers’ hearts, and if they can’t do something, well it’s because it can’t be done.

‘Nope, God doesn’t do that anymore. Because He’s not doing it through me, because I am not seeing miracles, because I do not know the power of the Holy Spirit, the logical conclusion is that they no longer exist. Surely if they existed, I would be the first in line, asking for a double portion. It can’t be me, it couldn’t be me. My self esteem is tip top, and my positive attitude has never been more positive. Ergo, scrap the book of Acts, blot out all the passages referring to healings, miracles, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the repeated assertion by none other than Christ Jesus that the Comforter would be with us until the end of time, because if I’m not experiencing it, than no one on the face of the earth is.’

It takes a certain kind of narcissistic pride, and a helping of shameless arrogance to conclude that if I am not experiencing something, than it is impossible for anyone else to.

‘We’re the American church dear sir! We are the fountainhead of newfangled doctrine, progressive theology, humanistic dogma, surely if anyone in the world were to know the fullness of the power of God, it would be us. Why would God choose some poverty stricken third world folks, who aren’t even allowed to practice their faith in their country, who are beaten and tortured, persecuted and despised? They don’t have the resources to get the message out; they don’t have the knowhow to run a successful publicity campaign, and don’t even get me started on interfaith relations and tolerance toward opposing views. We are the logical choice to experience the fullness of God’s power, to use it, abuse it, monetize it and profit from it, and since we are not, well then it just doesn’t exist anymore. That stuff about God choosing the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and the weak things of the world to put to shame the mighty, well that’s just hyperbole.’

The lack of power in the house of God is obvious to one and all, as is the lack of character in the lives of some who call themselves children of God. These two things are interconnected, and one of the reasons we are not seeing the power of God, is because we are lacking the requisite purity, the requisite righteousness that is demanded of those who would be used of Him.

Another reason the power of God is absent from many of today’s churches, another reason why we can’t do what the primary church did is because we are lacking that true, living and abiding faith that God requires of us. Living faith is not about what I can do, but about what He can do. Once we’ve bought into the notion that we can do it, we can manufacture it, and we can make it happen, we’ve already lost out on any chance of seeing the true power of God.

If all things are possible to those who believe, then the painful truth is that we are not seeing the power of God manifest in our churches because we do not believe. Saving faith brings salvation by way of the cross, but living by faith and in faith brings the power of God by way of the Holy Spirit.

As we go down the list of the reasons we are not seeing the power of God in today’s churches, I would be remiss if I did not include the lack of a prayer life. From individuals, to families to entire congregations we have tried to replace prayer with other activities, be they spiritual or otherwise, ignoring the fact that there can be no replacing prayer in the life of a believer. If Jesus couldn’t find something to replace prayer with, if the Son of God would go off on His own and pray for hours on end, what pray tell makes us more special, more spiritual, and more knowledgeable that we can so flippantly dismiss prayer as nothing more than a waste of time?

Jesus didn’t teach His disciples homiletics, He did not teach His disciples hermeneutics, He did not teach His disciples apologetics, inflection, cadence, or speech delivery. Jesus taught His disciples how to pray!

We do not see the power of God in the churches today, because the churches have actively and successfully abolished and done away with prayer. Add to the absence of prayer the absence of fasting as well, and the reasons we are not seeing the power of God manifesting itself in the churches are evident to all.

There are certain practices in our Christian walk that are indispensable. Having a prayer life and fasting are two of those indispensable things. When Jesus preached His sermon on the mount, He did not begin it by saying, ‘if you pray, or if you fast’ but rather, ‘when you pray, go into your room and when you have shut the door pray to your Father who is in the secret place, and when you fast do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance.’

It was not ‘if’ it was ‘when’!

The reason we are not seeing the power of God as the primary church did is not because it is no longer available to us, but rather because we are not doing what is required of us in order to experience it. The primary church was formed in an atmosphere of prayer and fasting, in an atmosphere of dependency upon God and righteousness. It was then than the fullness of the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them, it was then that they went everywhere preaching the Word and performing miracles.

Throughout the Word, whether it be individuals or churches, from the church of Antioch, to Paul, to Jesus Himself, we see the running themes of prayer, fasting, purity of heart and dependency upon God. We cannot hope to experience the power of God today, unless we return to the selfsame practices, the selfsame goal, and the selfsame hunger for God as the primary church.

God is not to blame for the impotence that is running rampant in today’s churches. God is not to blame for the powerlessness that is evident in today’s congregations. God is the same, yesterday, today and forevermore and if we must place blame on someone, if we must lay the burden of our impotence and powerlessness at someone’s feet, than we need look no further than the nearest mirror.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Personal Examinations

One of the most difficult things for us as human beings is to look into a mirror, whether a mirror hanging on a wall, or the mirror of God’s word, examine ourselves, and come to a truthful conclusion, one which is unbiased, impartial, dispassionate and unprejudiced. Since the beginning of human existence man has had a tendency to see himself through the subjective prism of individualism, perpetually highlighting the positives, and minimizing the negatives that are visible to everyone but himself. Objectivity is difficult, dare I say near impossible when it comes to our own person, to our own shortcomings, and to our own faults.

As difficult as a right and true examination of oneself might be, the Word encourages us to examine certain things in our lives, not once in a lifetime, but on a regular basis that we might know the truth of our spiritual maturity, the truth of our walk, the truth of our strength, the truth of what we have chosen to believe, and by knowing these truths, amend, repent, and change the course of our trajectory that we might reach our desired destination.

Anyone who says examining oneself is an easy task, has never approached self examination with the requisite honesty it demands. As imperfect creatures, if we are honest and forthright before an all knowing God, there will always be something in us, something in our actions, something in our conduct, something in our walk, that God will demand we chisel and refine, because this faith, this journey is an ongoing transformation, an ongoing maturity and ascent toward the utter mortification and death of self, and complete surrender to our heavenly Father.

The first and most important examination we must undertake, as pertains to eternity, is to examine ourselves as to whether we are in the faith. The Bible doesn’t tell us to take someone else’s word for it as to whether we are in the faith, it doesn’t tell us to believe our relatives when they tell us we are on the right path, but rather to examine ourselves, personally and intimately looking into the mirror of God’s holy Word to see if we are in the faith.

2 Corinthians 13:5-7, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – Unless you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified. Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified.”

Although there are many profound topics we can discuss at length in this passage of God’s Word, from proving ourselves, to the possibility of being disqualified as Paul so readily states, the main reason I included this passage is self explanatory enough. We must examine ourselves, we must look into the Word and make certain that we are not following after men, but rather after Christ, that we might do no evil, that we might not stray, but that we would be led by Christ and Christ alone.

The second aspect of our lives we must examine is our own work. We ought to know by now that a bad tree cannot bare good fruit, nor can a good tree bare bad fruit. We must examine our work and see that we are truly serving God, being led of God, and laboring on behalf of the Kingdom of God and not our own self interests or agendas.

Galatians 6:4, “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”

I realize the notion of personal accountability has fallen out of favor with much of today’s church, and that far too many have embraced the idea that God has to love us no matter what we do, but the Word encourages us to examine or own work, to look at our labors and our sacrifices and make certain that they were made with a pure heart, and pure intentions seeking only to please God.

When it comes to spiritual matters, we are also encouraged in the Word to test all things. Within the context of Paul writing to the church of Thessalonica, and admonishing them not to quench the Spirit, or despise prophecies, he also warns them that they must test all things for the sake of their spiritual wellbeing. Time consuming as some might think it to be, whenever we hear a word of prophecy, we must make certain that it lines up with the Word of God first and foremost.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Test all things; hold fast what is good.”

Much deception has been wrought upon the house of God because believers are simply too lazy or too indifferent to go into the Word and test the things that they hear. If it sounds good, well then it must be good, and so they receive doctrine and teaching contrary to the Word of God simply because the flesh liked what it heard. For the sake of your spiritual well being, test all things, and once you have tested them, hold fast what is good.

The last thing that we must examine or test is the spirits, to see whether they are of God. In our ongoing quest for newness and supernatural manifestations, we have lost sight of John’s admonition to test the spirits, whether they are of God. It is vitally important to know the source of a power, and not merely accept someone as a messenger of God simply because they posses power.

1 John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

It would seem that when it comes to spiritual things we have the tendency not to learn from our mistakes. There is an easily recognizable cycle wherein every few years a new and ‘gifted’ individual comes on the scene, kicks a few people in the face, blows on a few others, punches a cancer patient in the gut, and he is crowned the new spiritual leader of the age. Shortly afterwards however the mask begins to slip, and rather than bring glory to God, these selfsame individuals who everyone looked to, to bring about a worldwide revival, begin to bring shame upon shame to the name of God by their actions and conduct. Test the spirits, whether they are of God, because the enemy is by no means impotent.

A wise man tests and examines both himself, his works, the things he hears, and the things he sees, having the Word of God as the yardstick by which everything is measured, as the prism by which everything is seen, and the final authority by which everything is judged. We can choose to be wise, or choose to be fools; the choice in the end is ours and ours alone.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.