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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.