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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Waiting Well!

All of us, without exception have had to wait for something, or someone at a certain point in our lives. It is often that I’m stuck in my apartment because I’m waiting for a package, and since the delivery person requires a signature, I have no choice but to sit at home on a sunny day, and hope that my package arrives sooner rather than later.

Although all of us have had to wait for something or someone, not all of us wait in the same manner. Today I want to discuss the four ways in which people wait, but also discuss the importance of waiting well.

The Word encourages us to wait on the Lord, but the manner in which we wait is as important as the fact that we are waiting. We readily do what is written in regards to waiting, we wait, because often times we have no choice, and there is no one who can understand our grief, or get us out of a certain predicament except for God, but few have discovered the secret of waiting well.

Even if you are shaking your head and thinking to yourself ‘I’ve never had to wait for anything in my life!’ well, we’re all waiting for Jesus to return, so yes, you are waiting for something, and if I may be so bold I would ask that you take a second and consider how it is that you are waiting for Him.

The first way in which people wait is with indifference.

It’s not often that I have people over. Especially when I’m in America, I’m either writing, filming, or on the road, so when a friend calls and lets me know that he’ll be dropping by, I tend to prepare a little. I push the vacuum around the apartment a couple times, I make sure I have creamer for the coffee, I make sure that I have at least some cheese and crackers I can offer the person coming over if they’re hungry, because I look forward to their visit. There are some who don’t prepare however. You call ahead of time, tell them you’re coming over, and when you show up an hour later, they’re still in their pajamas wiping sleep from their eyes, and excusing themselves to go to the restroom. They treat your visit with indifference, even though you called in advance and told them you would be arriving.

Many believers today treat the return of Jesus in a similar manner. Jesus told us He was coming, He made his intentions very clear, and we know Him to be truthful, and honest, and a keeper of His word. Even though we know Jesus is coming, we are indifferent to the reality of His arrival, and do nothing to prepare for it. His coming today is closer than it was yesterday, and tomorrow it will be closer than it is today. Although I have purposefully tried to stay away from recent events, and things that have been happening in the world, because I believe spiritual preparedness to be far more important than the knowledge of who’s going to bomb who in a week, there is no doubt that things are escalating, and the harbingers of Christ’s return are clear, and present and everywhere.

The second way in which people wait is with impatience.

I’m usually a patient person. If someone says they’ll visit at a given hour, I don’t start tapping my foot, or checking my watch if they’re five or ten minutes late. The only time I grow exceedingly impatient, is when my wife is going somewhere, and she says she’ll call me at a certain hour to check in and let me know that everything’s alright. I worry, but luckily she’s the only person I worry about, but yes, I tend to get a little impatient if she’s a few minutes late in checking in. Now this impatience of which I speak, in regards to my wife, is not an impatience birthed out of indifference, but one birth out of love for her.

Although Jesus never told us the day and hour He would return, because only the Father knows these things, believers today are growing exceedingly impatient with Him. When taking into account the twisted doctrine that many believers have allowed into their hearts, believing that they will never see a day of hardship, or trial or tribulation, and that Jesus would catch them away before a tear was shed, or their faith was tested, countless souls are checking their watches, tapping their feet, and wondering why Jesus hasn’t shown up yet.

‘Where are you Lord? You were supposed to be here by now!’

By whose reckoning was He supposed to be here by now? By whose interpretation or teaching do we assume that Jesus is late in His return?

He is coming! Of this we can be certain, and knowing that He is coming we must live each day as though it was the day, and serve Him and worship Him as lord and King. Impatience is a distraction, it takes our eyes off our need to worship Jesus, and compels us to start questioning Him, second guessing Him, and in extreme cases even doubting Him. He did not say when He was returning, He did say however that He is.

I understand that it is easy to grow impatient waiting on the Lord. When Jesus finally arrived in Bethany, days after Lazarus had died, it was Martha that said to Jesus, ‘Lord if You had been here, my brother would not have died.’ I can’t imagine what went through their minds, as Lazarus grew worse day by day, as they waited for Jesus to arrive, thinking to themselves, ‘any minute now, surely He will come before our brother expires’, then Lazarus dies, and Jesus doesn’t even show up for the funeral, they put him in the tomb which was a cave, seal it with a stone, and Jesus is still nowhere to be found. The first day passes, the sisters are still grieving, as does the second, and the third, and finally on the fourth day after Lazarus’s entombment, Jesus arrives in Bethany. We know what happens next, Jesus ordering the stone to be taken away, and commanding Lazarus to come forth, which He does.

Why go into the retelling of this event? For one simple reason, to reassure you that although you might think God is late, although you might think that He didn’t make it and intervene when He ought to have, in reality, He is never late, His timing is perfect and impeccable, and armed with this knowledge we should neither grow impatient, or lose hope.

The reason impatience is so dangerous, is that at a certain point we grow so impatient that we try to do on our own what only God can do. As the armies of Israel had gathered, Saul begins to grow impatient because Samuel is late. His impatience only escalates as he sees some of his soldiers dispersing, until Saul does something he had not been commanded to do, and God takes the kingdom from him. Do not be hasty or thoughtless in your impatience, do not presume or assume that this is what God would want you to do on a certain matter if He hasn’t told you what to do. Overcome your impatience, and wait on the Lord until He answers, and confirms.

The third way in which people wait is with fearful expectation.

Hebrews 10:26-27, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”

This is a disturbing verse for many people, especially for those who dismiss the justice of God and all they focus on is the love of God. Yes, if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, if in our rebellion and hardness of heart we are unwilling to repent, and to return to Jesus, then yes, all that remains is a certain fearful expectation of judgment.

Just as it was in the days of old, when all the Jews had to do was look at the bronze serpent Moses had erected in order to be healed, some refused to do it an died in agony. If we know that we have sinned, we must humble ourselves and come before the heavenly Father with repentant hearts that we might not wait with fearful expectation of judgment.

The fourth way in which people wait, and it is the way we should all aspire to wait is in love, and expectation of His return.

1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect.”

When we wait in love for our groom to return, there is no fear of what tomorrow holds, there is no fear of how future events will affect us, because we are consumed by the love we have for our groom. We must live with the expectation of His return, for He is returning, and the only way in which we can wait well is in love.

Whether with indifference, impatience, or with fearful expectation, unless we are waiting on the Lord in love, we will not be about our Father’s business, we will not be fulfilling our duty before Him, because we will be preoccupied with other things. Wait on the Lord in love, and you will know what it is to live without fear, because perfect love casts out fear.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Input Please!

For the past few days I’ve been trying to muster up the courage to start a series entitled ‘power, presence and purpose’ having to do with the person, the work, the ministry, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Each time I begin contemplating this series I am overwhelmed by its sheer size, because to do the doctrine of the Holy Spirit any sort of justice, one need explore it a little deeper than with just a cursory read. There is much depth, much wisdom, as well as many challenging topics for those who have already established preconceived ideas concerning the Holy Spirit, that can’t be covered in two, or three or thirty posts for that matter.

If I begin this journey it will be a long and arduous one, and just by the minimal outline I’ve put together thus far it looks like there will be at least forty posts on the topic of the Holy Spirit. It is a big commitment, because there has to be continuity, so I’d have to find time to write on a daily basis, and when it’s all said and done, if we put all the posts together, chances are we’d have a novel’s size worth of information.

Now my question to you is this: Do I begin this journey?

So, although it seems most of you have an aversion to leaving a comment, I’m asking for your input as to whether or not you believe this project would be helpful, useful, or necessary for your spiritual growth.

If I receive enough positive responses, (yes I have an arbitrary number in my head, no, I will not share the number with you), then I will begin fleshing out the existing outlines I have in my binder, as well as continue the journey into the deeper things of the works and ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Be forewarned, I am not a cessationist, I do not believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit ended with the Apostles, I do not believe God no longer speaks to His children, nor do I believe that God no longer performs miracles. I believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still available to the faithful, because the Bible not only proves it, but Jesus promises it. So, if we begin this journey, it will be through the prism of a present experience, a present availability, and a present reality of the Holy Spirit, and not merely a historical retelling of something that was, and is no more.

With that having been said, I guess as the old saying goes, ‘the ball’s in your court’, and if we do begin this journey, it will not be in search of an individual or personal truth, but rather in the search of the absolute truth, the truth of God that is above the opinions and preconceived notions of men.

Too readily we accept less than all of God, too readily we settle for the easy path, unwilling to press in, and search out the deeper truths of the Gospel. We have reconciled ourselves to the idea that we are a powerless generation, and in so doing extinguished the fire, and satiated the hunger that should compel and drive us toward the fullness of intimacy with God, and not just a solitary experience.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Four Lies!

I’m sure there are more but there are four major lies that much of the church has been deceived into believing, and not only believing but spreading and promulgating like a malignant cancer from healthy cell to healthy cell, infecting anyone whose spiritual immune system is weak, or whose foundation is not deeply rooted in the Word of God. Today I want to reveal these four great lies to you, that you might know them for what they are, and keep your heart clear of them.

The first major lie that much of the church believes today is that God is love without justice.

It is by far the most prevalent, and most destructive lie that is being circulated within the church, one that gives license to sin and worldliness, because well, ‘God is love, and love covers all, and no matter what I do God has to love me just the way I am.’

Because we deny and negate the justice of God, we abuse His grace, and trample on the blood of His Son, all the while breathing a sigh of relief thinking to ourselves that there will be no consequences to our actions. There are more dimensions to God than just love, and we’ve talked about the multidimensionality of God often enough. Yes, God is love, but He is also just, and He is also holy, and He is also righteous. We cannot take one attribute, or one dimension of God, and dismiss all the others, because we like the love part but not the justice part. God will not deny His justice just because man chooses to deny His justice. He is just, it is proven in the Word and no matter who attempts to discredit His justice, they still have God’s own words to contend with.

Psalm 19:8-9, ‘The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

So what happens if we don’t confess our sins? What happens if not only don’t we confess our sins but we keep on sinning? God remains both faithful and just, He is unchanging in that regard, and if we do not confess our sins, He will be faithful and just to judge us.

The very definition of confession is the admission or acknowledgment that we have committed a crime or are at fault in some way. When we confess our sins, and we are forgiven, and cleansed from all unrighteousness, we don’t go jumping back into the mud pit, we don’t return to the life we once led, because God would have cleansed us for nothing.

The second major lie that much of the church believes today is that truth is relative and not absolute.

Sorry, this is not a debate between which burger tastes better, or which carbonated beverage you prefer, there is no relativity in the truth of God. When something is relative, it is subject to individual opinion. Personally, when I used to drink carbonated beverages I preferred Mountain Dew. Now I know other folks prefer Mr. Pib, or Dr. Pepper, and they’re welcome to their opinion, because it’s a relative issue hinging on the bias of the individual. When the Word of God says ‘thus says the Lord’ however, opinion does not enter into the equation, it is not a relative matter; it is absolute truth, spoken by the mouth of God Almighty.

‘Well, you believe your way, and I’ll believe my way, and God will sort it out in the end.’

Well, no, I won’t believe my way, I’ll believe God’s way because that is the only way, and no other way exists, and if you desire to be with Him in eternity, then you can’t believe your way either, but rather must believe His way as well.

The third major lie that much of the church believes today is that materialism is a means of divine blessing.

I have even heard men go so far as say that those who are not financially blessed are in fact cursed, and absent faith. If we are to believe this, then all the martyrs of old were cursed, the apostles of Christ who died gruesome death because they would not deny Him were cursed, and the only one truly blessed was Judas ‘cause he got paid.

We don’t serve God so we can get rich; we serve God because He is God, and King and Lord and Savior. We don’t love God because if we do He’ll give us a big house, we love Him because He first loved us and sent the one person that was most precious to Him to die in our stead. When will we realize that Jesus is the greatest treasure in the universe? When will we realize that God already gave His best for lowly lost souls such as yours or mine? When will we fix our eyes on Him, rather than stuff, when will we pursue Him rather than materialism?

The fourth major lie that much of the church believes today is that we should be led by purpose and not by the Holy Spirit.

Because we refuse to submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and our purpose is of course to build our churches or our ministries, then we pick and choose doctrines that attract the flesh, that are pleasing to the flesh, that do not challenge the flesh and that coddle the flesh. When it is purpose guiding us and not the Spirit of God the flesh takes center stage in all our decision making.

John 16:13-14, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”

Sadly it is the paradox of the modern church, a cycle that continues to repeat itself powered by its own inertia. We reject the Holy Spirit because He is too demanding, because the Holy Spirit is not among us we fallback to programs and purpose and entertainment, because we’ve fallen back on these things the sheep aren’t getting fed, and because the sheep aren’t getting fed they’re either dead, dying, or with the ebbing strength that remains go seeking after nourishment.

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth was sent to guide us, to tell us things to come, and to glorify Christ. Absent the Holy Spirit, we have no guide, we will know nothing of what is to come, and we will not glorify Christ in our lives.

This was just a surface scratcher of sorts, and more could have been said, but as Ecclesiastes reminds us, too much teaching wearies the body, and tomorrow is another day, and another opportunity to delve into the Word of God and see what He would teach us.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Runaways

Men run away for various reasons, sometimes it is to avoid a confrontation for past deceptions, at other times it is because they fear the road they must travel if they remain in obedience, and yes, there are even those for whom the pull of the world is so strong that they run away from the safety of God’s protection and love to seek out the pleasure that will in the end turn out to be empty and void of any lasting joy. Today I want to discuss the runaways, and the roads the runaways take, because even within God’s own house there are runaways, there are individuals who have not remained where God commanded them to remain, and as goats they have wandered off on their own looking for something different, something exciting, something more, and tragically it is something that they will never find absent God.

The first of three roads a runaway takes is the road of deception.

The story of Jacob deceiving his brother Esau is well known to us, and what’s even more tragic is that Jacob learned to perpetrate the deception on his father from his own mother. Jacob cheated, as many today cheat God with their time, with their resources, with their commitment and with their love. We cheat God out of what is rightfully His, thinking that He will never find us out, thinking He will never discover our deception, but the God who knows all things, knows that we dedicate more time to entertaining the flesh than to fellowshipping with Him, the God who knows all things knows that we dedicate more of our resources to making this flesh comfortable than we do to further His kingdom, He knows all things and He waits patiently for us to be honest with Him and render unto Him what is rightly His.

There are consequences to taking the road of deception, as there are consequences for every choice we make in life. Jacob had to flee the wrath of Esau for cheating him out of his birthright, because Esau was set on killing Jacob as soon as the days of mourning for his father were done.

Genesis 27:42-45, “And the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she went and called Jacob her younger son, and said to him, ‘surely your brother Esau comforts himself concerning you by intending to kill you. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice: arise, flee to my brother Laban in Haran, and stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury turns away, until your brother’s anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him; then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereaved also of you both in one day?”

It was naïve for Rebekah to think that in a few days Esau’s fury would turn away, and what was supposed to be a few days, turned into many years of being far from home for the deception Jacob perpetrated upon his brother. Even after many years, Jacob lived with the fear of his brother’s vengeance when they at last met again, but Esau’s fury was finally turned away and he embraced his brother in love.

The second of three roads that runaways take is the road of disobedience.

When the word of the Lord came to Jonah, it was very clear on what he was expected to do. He was to arise, go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry out against it, for their wickedness had come before God. It might not have been an easy task, but it was a clear task, one Jonah chose to disobey. Instead of going to Nineveh, Jonah arose and fled to Tarshish, thinking he could somehow flee from the presence of the Lord. If one were to look at a map, and identify both Nineveh and Tarshish, then see where Jonah was, we realize that he traveled in the complete opposite direction from where God told him to go. The fare he paid was by no means cheap, historical records telling us that it was the equivalent of two years of labor. The way of disobedience is never cheap; there is always a high price to pay, yet some choose to pay the steep price nevertheless.

The third road the runaways take is the road of ingratitude or ungratefulness.

There was absolutely nothing that the prodigal son was lacking in his father’s house, everything he needed, everything he wanted was provided for him. Yet, one day he came to his father and asked for the portion of goods that fell to him even though he had done nothing to deserve any of his father’s goods. It was his father’s goods, it was his father’s possessions, but with the brazen arrogance of youth the young man went and asked of his father that which he felt entitled to. Being the loving father that he was, he gave the prodigal part of his livelihood, and the prodigal, ungrateful for all that his father had done for him, turns his back and journeys to a far country where he wastes his possessions.

How many things do we receive from the hand of God on a daily basis, things that we neither labored nor worked for that we are ungrateful for receiving? We take for granted those priceless things we receive from the hand of God, yet never label ourselves as ungrateful children lacking in gratitude because it would be too stark a portrait to paint of ourselves.

The good news, and the reason I began this journey, as well as chose these three examples is that there are also roads upon which the runaways can and do return home.

The road, upon which Jacob returns home, is the road of forgiveness.

At first he attempts to bribe Esau with goats and sheep in order to obtain his brother’s forgiveness, but his brother sends back a message telling Jacob that he is forgiven, without the goats and the sheep. We can’t bribe our way into God’s forgiveness, we need only receive it.

The road, upon which Jonah returns home, is the road of obedience.

Yes it took being swallowed by a fish for Jonah to see the light, but in the end he went to Nineveh and preached a sermon that was neither long or elaborate, or multifaceted, a sermon that had no title or introduction, his entire sermon was summed up in eight words: ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’

The people didn’t wait thirty nine days, and then repent on the fortieth day, they believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. They didn’t wait to see if Jonah was right, or if it would happen, or if it did happen if it would happen exactly as Jonah said, they believed God, and repented.

Jonah 3:10, “Then God saw their works, that they had turned form their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”

We find a myriad of excuses to delay repentance, we find myriad of excuses for putting off humbling ourselves before God, and rather than repent, we attempt to justify, rather than humble ourselves we tell ourselves we have more time, or that the man crying out ‘judgment is coming’ is just off his meds.

The road, upon which the prodigal son returned home, is the road of mercy.

When all his money was spent, and he filled his stomach with the carob pods that the swine ate, when no one gave him anything and he was alone and hungry and destitute, he remembered his father’s house, and came to himself. He did not know how his father would react, he had after all left on bad terms, but he hoped that his father would make him like one of his hired servants, because his father was good and gracious and kind and treated his servants well.

Luke 16:20, “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.”

If you are one of the runaways, if you are one who has chosen either the road of deception, disobedience, or ungratefulness, know that there is a way back to the love of God, know that there is a way back to His forgiveness, and grace and mercy. He is waiting, but just as you chose to be a runaway, you must choose to return home.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Message! Part 2

The fourth element that deserves exploration in this verse is the divine promise that God makes. If you turn from your wickedness, you will live and not die. It is a promise that is as simple as it is glorious, turn from your wickedness, and live!

During the dark of night, when Nicodemus came to Jesus, Christ made one of the most illuminating declarations in mankind’s history, expressing the desire, the initiative, and the action of God to save the sinner that the wicked might not die, but be redeemed and live with Him in eternity.

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

It is the most quoted verse in the whole of scripture, and it is also the center, the heart of the gospel. Today however, I want us to see the divine order of this verse, and everyone’s part in it.

First God loved, then He gave, that man might believe, not perish, and have life. So who’s supposed to believe? Jesus made it simple, whoever believes, whether they be a thief, a liar, a gossip, a murderer, if they believed they would not perish but have everlasting life. Whoever believes in the Son of God, and in the One who sent Him to die in our place, has eternal life.

Faith, believing in Jesus, is neither optional nor selective, because we know that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. If all have sinned, then all need to be saved, and if all need to be saved, then all must believe. When we believe in Jesus, repentance is inevitable, because He has given us a new life, and a new purpose, a new hope and a new identity. If we refuse Christ, one day we will be called to account, for the Holy Spirit has already come and convicted the world of sin.

John 16:8-9, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me.”

Repentance is no more optional than believing in Jesus is for everlasting life, and this is a truth few continue to teach because it requires self-denial, and transformation on our part. I’m still having a difficult time with the notion that repentance has become a controversial doctrine within the house of God, because without repentance, without the turning away from the things of this world, and toward the love of God, we will never grow, or mature, or know the fullness of He who lives.

As Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus in Athens he made a declaration that much of today’s church chooses to dismiss or ignore because it speaks of the paramount need for repentance.

Acts 17:30-31, “Truly these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

So what is it that God commands all men everywhere to do? Does He command them to raise a hand at a crusade, does He command them to say a prayer and come up to the altar? No, God commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness.

Some need to repent of their sins, others of their hypocrisy, and others still for the form of godliness they possess which bear no fruit worthy of repentance.

I’m still amazed that after all this time I still have to defend repentance, I still have to defend holiness, I still have to defend the work, power, and ministry of the Holy Spirit, because every few months another wolf rears its head dismissing these things, and I start getting the e-mails, ‘what about what so and so said?’. All that matters is what Jesus said, all that matters is what the Word of God says, and until we stop questioning the basics, until we stop questioning the elementary principles of our faith, we will not go on to perfection, and we will not ascend to the deeper and more profound knowledge of the things of God.

The fifth and last element that deserves exploration in this verse is the divine command that God gives. ‘Turn, turn from your evil ways!’

So what would make a loving God make such a demand of the sinner? If He is a loving God, why not just scoop us all up into His bosom, regardless of whether or not we turn from our evil ways. We’ve talked about this often enough, because the loving God we serve is also a just God.

There is a solemn and sovereign tonality to this command, as though the heart of God is breaking when He says, ‘I take no pleasure in your death oh wicked man, why do you want to die, turn, turn from your evil ways and live.’

There is but one way that we will live, and that is if we turn from our evil ways. There is but one way that we will live, and that is if we believe in the Son of God, Christ Jesus, the bearer of our sins and grief. There has never been another way, there is no other way, and there will never be another way. On His life, God made an oath, that if we turn from our evil way, He will give us life, because His pleasure is the saving of a soul, and not the death of the wicked.

Whenever the road gets rocky, whenever the climb is steep, whenever the hardships weigh you down, just remember the words of Christ, and take courage, ‘because I live, you will live also!’

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Message! Part 1

Yesterday we covered what makes for a good watchman, and today we will continue in the same vein, discovering that message God gave Ezekiel, his chosen watchman. There are five important elements in the prophetic message God gave Ezekiel and they are elements that have neither changed, nor been diminished with the passing of time.

Ezekiel 33:11, “Say to them: ‘As I live’, says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’”

Within this single verse there are five important elements that I have identified, the first of these being God’s heart in regards to the wicked. God said, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked!’ It is one of the most glorious affirmations contained within the Word of God, and it shows us God’s heart. No, He does not take any pleasure in the death of the wicked; God’s desire is that the wicked man turn from his way and therefore live. Physical death, as well as spiritual death which consists in man’s eternal separation from God are both the consequence and direct result of sin. The word of God is clear on this point when it says that the penalty for sin is death, as well as when it says it is appointed unto man once to die, then judgment.

Death is not the end of existence, it is not followed by annihilation or reincarnation, but rather our physical death is followed by judgment! We each owe a debt, and it is a debt that all men pay. We each live one life, we each die one death, but how we choose to live this present life will determine where we go after we die, whether to God’s eternal rest, or God’s eternal judgment. His heart has not changed, He still takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and He still desires that the wicked turn from their way that they might live.

We don’t get a do over, we don’t get the opportunity to relive our lives and make better choices, we can’t go back in time and right the wrongs that we’ve committed, and for many this is a terrifying truth indeed. We get one life, and in this life there is no better news than the fact that God does not desire the death of the wicked, but that they repent and have life in Him.

Whoever this is for, no matter how grimy with sin you might be, no matter how enslaved by your addictions, no matter how bound by the enemy, no matter how weary and burdened, know that there is hope. God loves you, and He takes no pleasure in your death. This is why the immortal God, sent His Son in mortal flesh, to be born in a manger in Bethlehem, to hang on a cross on Calvary and die for our sins, because He did not desire to see our death. In Him we have hope, He took the burden of our sin and lawlessness and unrighteousness upon Himself, that in Him we might have life with God. It should have been you sentenced to death, it should have been me sentenced to death, but Christ took our death sentence upon Himself that we might be reconciled with the Father and be offered eternal life. It’s almost too beautiful to be true, but it is, and this is why we worship Him as Lord and King because He gave His life that we might have life.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ constrains us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”

The second element of great import is that God’s declaration of taking no pleasure in the death of the wicked is as certain, and real and true as He Himself is. God began the message Ezekiel was to deliver with three very important words: ‘As I live!’ We are as certain of God’s heart concerning the wicked as we are concerning the fact that He lives. As He lives, He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. There is nothing more steadfast and sure than the life of God, He who is the source of all life and the wielder of all power. If God’s oath can’t convince you of His intentions, I can’t think of anything on this earth that will.

Hebrews 6:17-18, “Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.”

Just to show us, the heirs of promise the immutability, or the unchanging nature of His promise, He also confirmed this truth by an oath, even though the fact that it is impossible for God to lie would have been enough. Not only did He reveal His heart concerning the lost, but He also made an oath that we might have strong consolation or comfort, in the knowledge of this truth.

The third element of this verse is the question that God poses to those who are unwilling to repent that they might have life. ‘Why should you die?’ is the question that God asks all those who reject Him. Why do you choose death and not life? Why do you choose judgment and not forgiveness? Why do you choose to be God’s enemy rather than His friend?

As absurd as the sinner’s attitude might sound, this is the cruel reality of life: the unrepentant sinner, chooses death! He feels the pleasure of living in sin and is unwilling to part with it, because his being has been perverted at its root, and the wickedness he is living in reaches to the core of his being. He has come to love that which he should despise, and has come to despise that which he should love. Men choose death, men choose separation from God because they are unwilling to depart from their sin, and they are unwilling to untangle themselves from the wickedness that is choking the life out of them. Why should you die when you could live? That is the question that should be keeping the unrepentant sinner up at night.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Faithful Watchman!

There is an old saying that the vigilant watchman warns of imminent danger. When your singular duty is to warn of impending destruction, when your singular duty is to warn of imminent danger and you fail in that duty, it is shameful and disgraceful because you had one thing to do and you failed to do it. Today I want to discuss what makes a good watchman, what makes a faithful watchman, the virtues and characteristics a watchman must possess in order to be faithful in his duties, vigilant at his post, and fearless in warning of the coming danger.

When the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel, in His sovereign wisdom God led off with a practical example, one that Ezekiel’s contemporaries were very familiar with. They understood the duty of the watchman, they knew the capital importance of a faithful guard, because in those days either on the borders of the country, or the watchtowers of the citadels the watchmen were ever present, scanning the horizon in perpetuity that they might see the approaching enemy. It allowed the citizenry to sleep well at night knowing that the watchman was on the wall, knowing that if the enemy happened to attempt an attack the watchman would warn them and wake them from their slumber.

It is a fearful thing when a watchman is either negligent in his duties, has been bought off by the enemy, or is found asleep at his post when the enemy attacks, because that which he was duty bound to guard will be overtaken without warning. Sadly, today, many watchmen are asleep, sadly, today, many watchmen are distracted by other things, and they do not warn of the enemy’s siege, they do not warn of the imminent danger. The life of the watchman is a lonely one; it is one absent the luxuries of life, because his duty is to stand where his Master put him, and watch. No time for games, no time for distractions, no time for a power nap, because a good watchman, a faithful watchman knows that the enemy’s attack can come at any moment.

So back to the original idea for this post, what makes a good watchman, and what makes a faithful watchman?

Ezekiel 33:1-7, “Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be on himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming, and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand. So, you son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.”’

A lengthy passage, but well worth the read, because there is allot of wisdom that we can extract from it. When God is speaking to Ezekiel concerning the watchman, He not only describes what the watchman’s responsibility is, but also what the people’s responsibility is. The watchman is responsible for blowing his trumpet; the people are responsible for taking warning, and saving their lives. Now if the watchman refuses to blow his trumpet, and the people are not warned, if any person is taken from among them, God will require that individual’s blood of the watchman’s hand.

From the beginning of this passage we realize that God is speaking concerning spiritual things, because He says ‘if any person is taken in his iniquity’, because the watchman, for whatever reason refused to blow the trumpet, God will hold the watchman to account.

There are many teachings we can glean from this passage, some encouraging, others challenging, but I want to stay on topic because I have the tendency to wander.

So what makes a good watchman?

The first thing that makes a good watchman is that he has vigilant eyes.

Good eyesight, and from a spiritual perspective good spiritual insight is mandatory for a good watchman. A blind man was never appointed as watchman, because being blind he could not fulfill his duty. We live in a generation wherein the blind are leading the blind because rather than confront the sin in their lives, rather than repent before an omnipotent God, they prefer to remain in spiritual blindness and be led off the cliff by the guy who with soothing words and a creepy smile tells them that they can do as they please because hell’s just a story parents tell to naughty kids.

If God has opened your eyes to see the spiritual clearly, it is your sacred duty to stand on the wall, and be of use to the kingdom of God, warning and blowing your trumpet. Whether they heed the warning or they dismiss it, you would have done your sovereign duty, you will have blown your trumpet and their blood will not be on your hands.

I often wonder if these individuals who are teaching abject heresies have had their conscience so seared that they do not realize the amount of blood that is on their hands and the fact that one day, and one day soon it will be required of them.

The second thing that makes a good watchman is that he stays at his assigned post.

It is very important for us to know our place, and remain at our assigned post, to fulfill with faithfulness the duty that has been bestowed upon us. There are many who do not like their assignments, there are many who believe the posts they have been assigned are beneath them, and so they try to find a better position, a better vantage point, a different mission than that which God entrusted them with. Even with the best of intentions, when we are not at our assigned posts, we have disobeyed a direct order from God. God knows your aptitudes, God knows your shortcomings, and God knows the best place for you to be. We can’t second guess God just because our pride tells us we deserve better, or we ought to have been called to a higher calling, we must simply obey, and remain where God has placed us until He sends us on to our next post. Many a watchmen are missing from the wall, their posts left empty, because although God told them where to go, where to be and what to do, they’ve gone AWOL thinking they were doing God a favor.

The third thing that makes a good watchman is that he acts with immediacy.

When a good watchman sees the enemy approaching, he acts without delay, and with the immediacy of purpose that must be ever visible in the actions of those who have been chosen to warn. When the watchman sees the enemy approaching, he doesn’t dawdle, he does not consider the fact that those who are sleeping might be startled into wakefulness, he sees the clear and present danger approaching, and he sets his trumpet to his mouth. The immediacy with which the watchman blows his trumpet underlines his value, and saves the lives of those he has been appointed to watch over.

God doesn’t have a gospel for when you get old, God doesn’t have a message for you for tomorrow, with God, everything is immediate, everything is today, and everything is now. The trumpet of God is blowing, it has been for some time, but far too few heed its warning call, far too few are being awakened from the slumber they find themselves in.

Hebrews 3:8-9, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, proved Me, and saw My works forty years.”

There is immediacy in the call of God, as there must be immediacy in the actions of the watchman as he sees the walls of the citadel being assailed, and as he sees the enemy approaching. Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, do not put it off until tomorrow, but stand before the mirror of God’s Word and see whether or not you are in line with Scripture.

The fourth thing that makes a good watchman is that he sends a clear message.

There is clarity in a message of repentance, there is clarity in a message of holiness, there is clarity in a message of obedience, there is clarity in a message of humility, they are not confusing or complicated, they are not mazes through which you must make your way, their sound is clear, it is distinct, and it is unblemished.

1 Corinthians 14:8, “For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?”

I’ve often said that there is simplicity in following after God if we are willing to receive His word at face value. There is simplicity in walking in righteousness, there is simplicity in pursuing holiness, there is simplicity in the act of repentance, because God’s desire was not to make it complicated for us, it was to make it as simple as possible.

It is men who take it upon themselves to make uncertain sounds, it is men who take it upon themselves to twist the Word, to complicate the scriptures, and these men will answer to the one true God on the Day of Judgment for making the yoke of Christ heavy, and for twisting the narrow path of faith. Be vigilant, be at your assigned post, act without delay, send a clear message, and for these things you will receive your just reward.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Humbled!

There are certain passages in scripture that humble me each time I read them. My heart is both shattered with brokenness, and filled to overflowing with joy at the faithfulness of those that came before us, the things which they endured for the cause of Christ, and the fact that they did not accept deliverance of their hardships for the glorious reason that they might obtain a better resurrection. All they had to do was deny Christ, all they had to do was turn their back on Jesus and their pain would end, they would be reconciled with their families, they would enjoy the warmth of their own beds once more, and life would go on. All they had to do was walk away from truth in order to be spared torture of the most heinous kind, something that so-called Christians do today not because their lives are threatened, or because they have to suffer but because in their estimation the path of Christ is just too narrow and absent of excitement and fun. As yet we are not suffering, as yet we are not persecuted, as yet we are not tortured for our faith in this nation, yet with everything that has been bestowed upon us, with everything we take for granted on a daily basis, we still refuse to serve Christ with our whole hearts, we still refuse to surrender our all to Him, and in our rebellion seek out anyone that offers us an easier path.

The trials and tribulations that the primary church went through are beyond our understanding sometimes, for they were stoned, and sawn in two, they were slain with the sword, wandering about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute and afflicted and tormented. In our modern age we cannot fathom such things, we cannot begin to consider such things, dare I say many of us would not be willing to endure such things, and this is why we do not see the glory of God among us; this is why we do not see the power of God in our midst. In their most desperate moments, God revealed Himself more fully, raising the dead, performing miracles, endowing believers with power from on High that they might valiantly and faithfully endure until the end.

Hebrews 11:35-38, “Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trials of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented – of whom the world was not worthy.”

I spent most of last night meditating on these three verses in Hebrews. They are not easy verses to digest; they are not easy verses to receive, because if their faith was such, then our faith must be such. If their steadfastness was such, then our steadfastness must be such, and if their faithfulness was such, then our faithfulness must be such.

At around two in the morning I had an epiphany of sorts that I want to share with you concerning this scripture passage. If we are not willing to live for Christ, there is no way we will be willing to die for Him. If we are not willing to serve Christ in our freedom and our excess, there is no way we will be willing to serve Him in our season of hardship and persecution. Contrary to the popular saying that when the going gets though the tough get going, I don’t believe that the majority of today’s church is tough enough to stand when it will require sacrifice to stand, nor do I believe the majority of the church will not accept deliverance that they might obtain a better resurrection. We have been so conditioned to believe that this present life is more important than the life to come, we have been so conditioned to believe that comfort and ease and excess are all that matter that even the threat of having these things taken from us will make many turn away from Jesus. These men and women of whom the world was not worthy knew not only what they were dying for, but what they had lived for all along. They would not accept deliverance, because Jesus wasn’t just part of their life, Jesus was their life, and as such they could not deny Him that they might receive deliverance.

We must stop believing that a tangential and peripheral relationship with Jesus is sufficient, or that such a relationship will suffice in the days to come. We must stop believing that even if we don’t give God our whole heart, He will settle for a quarter or a half, because we’re just so special and unique.

What would you have to be threatened with to accept deliverance? Would the threat of being hated by the world be enough, would the threat of having your property confiscated be enough, would the threat of physical pain be enough, would torture, would death?

These saints of old were offered deliverance, they were offered a way out, yet they refused it, they rejected it, for the reward they knew was waiting for them beyond this life. It’s not like they didn’t know what would happen to them if they refused deliverance, it’s not like they didn’t know what would happen to them if they did not reject Christ, but their faith was strong, and their hearts were His, and they were dead to this world altogether, so much so that they saw their present sufferings, they saw their present circumstances as something unworthy to be compared with the glory that would be revealed in them.

Let’s face it, a great many souls are unwilling to wake up on Sunday morning to go to church never mind be willing to endure torture and loss for the cause of Christ. This is why churches have services at noon nowadays, because the members like to sleep in, and we need to accommodate, because heaven forbid we cause discomfort or the loss of a full eight hours of sleep to any of the sheep.

Do we realize the monumental impotence of what we call faith nowadays when compared to those of old? Do we realize the monumental worldliness and duplicity in which we are living when compared to those who gave their all for Christ?

We mock openly those that still suffer for Christ accusing them of not having enough faith, we mock openly those that still uphold righteousness and holiness dismissing them as old fashioned and behind the times, we mock openly the power of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit telling all who would hear that God doesn’t do that anymore, then we beat our chest with pride at the cathedral we’ve just built, which seats no less than ten thousand individuals.

Whether one hundred corpses, or ten thousand corpses, a corpse is still a corpse, and it’s only a matter of time before it starts to stink.

‘But someone once said that it was easier serving God in tribulation than it is in freedom, so it’s just going to get easier once the persecution comes isn’t it?’

Not if you weren’t prepared for it, not if you didn’t purpose in your heart that you would endure to the end that you might obtain a better resurrection, not if your heart is tethered to the things of this earth. In the midst of the persecution, many will be offered a way out, they will be offered deliverance, and they will accept it because they never knew the fullness of Christ, or the reward thereof.

I write these lines not to frighten you, but to present you with the reality of Christ’s expectation of His disciples, for whoever denies Him before men, He will deny before the Father.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Surprise Inspection!

Due to certain aspects of my life in ministry that are beyond my control I am often away from my wife. It used to be that we would be a part for two and three months at a time, as she stayed in Romania, and I came to the US to travel and preach. As time passed and I grew wiser, the time we spent apart decreased in length, but even now, it is often that we are apart for a month to six weeks at a time.

When I am in our US apartment by myself, I live a certain way. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, I will never be mistaken for a clean freak. And so, knowing that my wife is on a different continent, knowing that I will be living by myself for the next few weeks, I tend to let things slide a little in regards to the overall cleanliness of our abode. The laundry has a tendency to pile up, pieces of cheese in the fridge begin to create their own eco systems sprouting furry fungi that is fun to look at but not very appetizing, and the potatoes under the sink start to sprout anew because I’d forgotten they were there.

Since I’m the one that always picks my wife up from the airport, I always know the day on which she arrives, and about a week before she is due to come, I start the cleaning process. By the time her arrival date rolls around, the apartment is clean, the carpet is vacuumed, the clutter and the books and the notepads that were once lying about everywhere are neatly stacked, or packed away in boxes, and our abode is once more livable.

I clean, and I organize, and even spritz a little air freshener in anticipation of my wife’s arrival, knowing the date, and being diligent to make sure that everything’s in order once she arrives. Now if her arrival date was unknown to me, chances are I would keep the apartment clean in perpetuity, and not just when I was expecting my wife to arrive.

So what does this have to do with anything other than revealing my dislike of having to clean?

It is the same mindset many believers fall into in regards to the return of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. Many souls believe that if they knew the date, they could take a few days beforehand and clean house, act pious, pray more, perhaps fast a couple days, so that when the Lord arrives, He will be thoroughly impressed with their spiritual state, applaud them for having so thoroughly cleansed their hearts of idols and sin, and welcome them into His eternal kingdom with open arms.

This selfsame reason is also why God will never reveal the day or the hour of Christ’s return to any man. God expects us to have a consistent, constant, perpetual and ongoing relationship with Him, not just clean house for fear of what He will find when He comes for His announced visit. The return of Christ will be more of a surprise inspection than an announced and planned visit, for He will return as a thief in the night, unexpectedly and suddenly.

It is this flawed mindset that if we knew the date, we could just hold our breath and press on for just a while longer knowing that the end is in sight that has caused many a souls heartache and disappointment. The yoke of Christ is not burdensome, He is not a cruel taskmaster wherein we look forward to the day when we will be free of our duty or the bondage of serving Him, and until that day arrives we just go through the motions hoping that whenever He looks down on us He sees us doing something productive so we pass the test.

We serve God and we worship Jesus out of love, out of passion, out of that desperate longing to be with Him, with the full assurance that one day He will return, one day we will be with Him in eternity, but until that day comes we worship Him joyfully not as a means to an end, but because He first loved us, and gave His all that we might have life in Him.

There is peace in accepting the truth that certain things will always remain a mystery, that we will never know the fullness of all things until we are one with Him in His kingdom, and that one of those mysteries is the day of His return. Knowing that He will one day return is enough for me; I serve Him, I worship Him, I praise Him and I fellowship with Him, less interested in when He will appear in the clouds, at peace in the simple knowledge that He will.

2 Peter 3:10-14, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; bot the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;”

Just a final thought on this matter, Peter encourages us to be diligent to be found by Christ in peace, without spot and blameless, not to waste our time trying to guess when He will return, not to put our hope in a date, not to follow after the twisted teachings of men, but simply to be found clothed in Him, conducting ourselves in holy conduct and godliness hastening the coming of the day of the Lord.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Once More, Repentance!

Well, we're all still here, the end is nigh, but not quite so nigh as yesterday, and so we continue to grow spiritually, learn from the Word of God, and practice patience, living with the expectation of Christ's return as an impetus to continue walking in holiness and righteousness. For those of you critical of me for dismissing May 21, 2011 as the day of days, now you know why. God bless you as you seek to serve Him in spirit and in truth, rather than in the words of men. No need to repent to me, or apologize to me for the hateful words you wrote, just do so before God for causing shame to His house once more with these childish declarations.

Recently I received an e-mail from a seminary student that had a bone to pick with me. Lately it seems for one reason or another, a lot of people have bones to pick with me. Somehow he had gotten ahold of some of my writings off the internet, and he was perturbed by the notion that I write about repentance, and the need to repent so often. He tried mounting a defense of his position by saying that the Old Testament doesn’t talk about repentance all that much, and if we are to preach the whole council of God, then we are not to neglect the Old Testament. Personally, I don’t know what that has to do with repentance, but I do know that the Bible, including the Old Testament talks about repentance frequently and insistently.

In the Old Testament the term for repentance, the term that Jeremiah and Elijah, Isaiah and Moses, Ezekiel and David used was ‘turn back to the Lord!’

Repentance defined is to turn back to the Lord, and turn our backs to the world. No, the prophets of old did not use the word ‘repent’ but what they meant when they said we must turn back to the Lord was exactly that.

I started to wonder what they’re teaching the future leaders of Christendom in these seminaries, since a student thereof was attempting to discredit and minimize the need for repentance ardently and passionately. Ben, buddy, more prayer, more study of the Word, less letting fools with titles convince you that repentance is passé, antiquated, for a different time, or unnecessary.

I’ve been delving into the lamentations of Jeremiah recently, and it was just this morning that I read a passage concerning repentance, or turning back to the Lord, and how vitally important it is for everyone who calls themselves a child of God.

Lamentations 3:39-42, “Why should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord; Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven. We have transgressed and rebelled; You have not pardoned.”

For some reason this passage tugged at my heart, because Jeremiah was lamenting the utter destruction of Jerusalem, a once proud city now reduced to rubble by the invading Babylonian hordes. He sees what has occurred, he is there to witness the extent to which destruction took place, and he concludes that those still living, those still surviving ought not to complain for the punishment of their sins. Yes, sin is that grave, it is that tragic, it is that fatal, and Jeremiah saw the consequences of sin firsthand.

We assume that God will pardon our transgressions; we assume that God will pardon our rebellion; we assume we have no need of repentance because a loving God wouldn’t punish us, and one day we will realize that we were wrong in our assumptions. For many it was a shock and a surprise to see Jerusalem fall under Babylonian rule, because they lived under the impression that no matter what they did, no matter how they lived, no matter how much sin they committed or how much rebellion they displayed, they would remain God’s people, under His protection and under His blessing.

They forgot the fact that God blessed only when their hearts were turned toward Him, they forgot the fact that God forgave only when repentance of past sins was evident, and they took the blessing of God and the protection of God for granted.

‘Well, we took one step outside of His will and nothing happened, we took two steps and nothing happened, we took ten steps, twenty steps, until we could no longer see God, until we were far removed from Him, and then something happened.’

This is the selfsame way so many today flirt with sin, then give themselves over to it.

‘Well, I did this one thing and God didn’t punish me, so I guess I can do something else.’

God is not blind, and God will not be mocked, and when the day comes that we will be punished for our sins because in our hearts we saw no need for repentance, we ought not to complain.

It is the constant whisper of the enemy, the one thing he attempts to keep us from doing at all cost, because the enemy knows that if we repent, God will forgive, if we examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord, He will restore us.

In the midst of chaos, in the midst of destruction, in the midst of seeing his beloved Jerusalem destroyed and his people dying in the streets, Jeremiah comes to an astounding conclusion, that although sin had brought them to this place, although rebellion and transgression were the reasons Jerusalem fell, it was through the Lord’s mercy that they were not consumed altogether.

Even in the worst of circumstances, the mercy of God is there, and the righteous and the saved see it, and behold God’s faithfulness.

Lamentations 22-25, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion’, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.”

Yes, the Lord is good to those who wait for Him, He is merciful and kind and loving and exceedingly faithful to the soul who seeks Him, but His justice demands that He judge the unrepentant soul, those who refuse to examine themselves and turn back to Him, because by their transgressions and rebellion they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

May we this day examine ourselves, and may we this day turn back to the Lord, may we this day repent, that in the days to come we may say as Jeremiah did ‘great is your faithfulness!’

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Road We Travel

I was going to title this post ‘are you smarter than a donkey?’ but then I thought better of it seeing as some of the more hyper sensitive folks might take offense to it. As mentioned in a previous post, I get borderline obsessive over certain scripture passages, and after diligent study, one message turns into two, two messages turn into four, but it would be a waste not to dig as deep as we can if we’ve already rolled up our sleeves, and have the shovel in hand. Who knows, that next shovelful of dirt may reveal the treasure hiding beneath, and once the treasure is discovered, it makes all our labors seem insignificant at best. Once again, we find ourselves discussing Balaam and his journey of disobedience, because after finishing the last message concerning his donkey, God poured a fresh message into my heart.

Cliché as it might sound, all roads lead somewhere. When we begin a journey, we pull out the map, (yep still old school, no global positioning here), we plot our course, and we hold to the highway which will lead us to our desired destination. It is imperative that we know where we want to end up, what our final destination will ultimately be, as well as how we go about getting there.

I heard a story once, of a man who was headed to Florida from Chicago, and somewhere in Utah he stopped for gas. He put the gas pump on automatic, went inside for a few refreshments, and struck up a conversation with the clerk, who asked him where he was from, and where he was going.

‘Still got a long way to go’ the man answered, ‘I’m headed to Florida.’

‘I’d say you’ve got a long way to go, you’re headed in the wrong direction’, the clerk told the man. Some months earlier the man had taken a trip to Los Angeles by car, having programmed his GPS as such, and even though he’d typed in his new destination, for some reason his unit displayed his previous trip. He’d driven over a thousand miles in the wrong direction, because he’d trusted the gadget and not his own senses, he didn’t pay attention to the road he was traveling on, leaving it to a machine to tell him where to go.

Spiritually speaking, we don’t trust machines to tell us where to go, but we do trust men, and we trust them so much that we don’t bother to look up and see if we’re headed for the destination the men we trusted told us that we were. Like the aforementioned gentleman, we revert back to our previous journey, the one leading us away from God, all the while thinking that we are headed in the right direction, because someone tells us that we are. Pull out the map, open it up, take your finger, and trace your journey, and know the road that you travel. Open your Bible, read it, and if what someone has been telling you is permissible isn’t permissible in the Word, then turn around, and start traveling the right road.

What we must understand is that there are millions of pernicious roads, but only one righteous path. Contrary to popular belief, not all roads lead to heaven as all roads once led to Rome, in fact all roads save one lead to hell. Yes, I know, intolerant of me to assert that there is only one way into the kingdom of God, but I’m just repeating the words of Jesus the Son of God.

Numbers 22:32, “And the angel of the Lord said to him, ‘why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before Me.”

Until the angel spoke these words to him, between Balaam and the donkey, the donkey was the only one that knew they were headed down the wrong path. I will gladly play the talking donkey if it will cause one soul to realize that their way is perverse before God, and that He finds no pleasure in it. I will gladly bear the title of beast of burden, if one person realizes that absent the path of righteousness, and the path of Christ, there is no other path that will lead to the salvation of your soul, and eternal reconciliation with God.

Men choose the road they walk, but there are always consequences to the choices we make. The way of destruction is wide, and well paved, and spiraling ever downward, so that one need not exert much energy in walking it. Once a soul begins to walk the road that leads to destruction, it is inertia that propels him ever onward, so much so that he has to consciously attempt to slow himself down before coming to a sprint. It is far easier to walk downhill than it is to walk uphill, and a great many souls have chosen the easy path that leads to death because it requires no effort on their part.

As I said there are consequences to choosing the way of destruction, and there are things that happen along the way that should be as a blaring alarm to our inner man. The first thing that happens when we choose a perverse way, when we choose a different path is that we are removed from the presence of God, and His hand of blessing is no longer upon us.

Before their fall, before the succumbed to the temptation of the serpent Adam and Eve enjoyed all the benefits of the garden, they enjoyed fellowship with God, they enjoyed an intimacy with Him, yet after the fall, God cast them from before His sight, expelled them from the garden, and cursed the ground for their sake. They had disobeyed, and in their rebellion and disobedience were removed from before the sight of God.

Whichever perverse way you have considered walking on, whether the way of materialism, the way of idolatry, the way of envy, the way of lawlessness, I urge you I beseech you, I beg you, remain on the path that is Christ, because no other path, no other way will give you peace, and joy and hope.

The perverse way never ends in blessing, it never ends in the favor of God, it never ends at the doors of heaven, the perverse way always leads to God standing against us, to God rebuking us, and to God judging us.

If you’ve heard different, whoever you heard it from is a liar and the truth is not found in them. If you believe different, then my I submit that until the angel of the Lord appeared before Balaam, and told him he had come to stand against him, he too thought he was headed down a righteous path. There is no path if Jesus is not the path, there is no hope if Jesus is not the hope, there is no truth if Jesus is not the truth, and there is no life if Jesus is not the life.

We know the road we once traveled, we know the sin that once beset us, we know the rebellion we once lived in, and we must be weary, and vigilant, that once we have known the way of Christ, once we have started our journey on the righteous path, we continue in it until the end.

It’s when we finish our journey that we finish our journey, it’s when we finish our race that we receive our crown.

Revelation 2:10, “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lessons From A Donkey!

Often times we are taught the most profound of truths from the most unusual of sources. Whether from someone we considered intellectually inferior to ourselves, a homeless person begging for change on the sidewalk, or yes, even a donkey, we often discover beautiful truths, wholesome truths, in the strangest of places. Because we care more about appearance than substance in our day and age, because we care more about the wrapping than the contents, we often dismiss truth because it was not delivered by a bright smile and a fancy suit.

A wise man is wise enough to learn wisdom whenever wisdom is presented to him, while a fool remains a fool no matter how much wisdom he encounters.

Today we will be learning from a donkey of all things, a beast of burden, which was beaten no less than three times by its master because the donkey was discerning enough to see the angel of the Lord blocking its way, while its master was not.

So what is it that we can learn from a donkey? What practical lessons can we glean from this animal?

The first lesson we can learn from a donkey is that sometimes it’s good to be stubborn.

The donkey is known for its stubbornness. It is one of the most stubborn animals that God created in fact, and sometimes it is good for us as children of God to be stubborn as donkeys.

We are on a journey and on this journey we must pass through enemy territory in order to reach our Canaan, or our promised land. There is much temptation both to the left and to the right, there are many distractions that seek to overwhelm the senses, but we must be stubborn in our resolve, we must be single minded in our purpose and keep following the path that has been laid out for us.

As Israel journeyed toward their promised land, they had to pass through a place called Edom. Edom was well known for its vineyards, and water wells, it was well known for its beautiful women and handsome men, yet when Moses sent messengers to Edom asking to pass through their territory, he emphasized the fact that he would not pass through their fields or vineyards, nor would he drink water from wells, he and the people that were with him would go along the King’s Highway, and no turn aside to the right hand or to the left until they had passed through their territory.

You must purpose in your heart to travel the King’s Highway and not turn aside to the right or to the left until you’ve passed through the enemy’s territory. Be resolute, be stubborn and let nothing tempt you away from that road that leads to eternity with Him. We have no choice but to pass through this world, we have no choice but to pass through Edom’s territories, but we hold to the King’s Highway, and no matter how grueling or difficult we keep walking through. We can’t vacation in Edom and then when we’re rested continue our journey on the King’s Highway, we can’t visit the shops and partake of Edom’s frivolities and when we’ve had our fill take a few more steps toward Canaan, we must neither look to the left or to the right, but simply walk the narrow road of faith, and stubbornly so.

The second lesson we can learn from a donkey is that it’s always good to be observant.

Know when God is standing in your way, and don’t let your desire to do a certain thing, or go to a certain place blind you to the reality thereof. Balaam had a destination in mind, and although the angel of the Lord blocked his way, it was the donkey that was observant enough to notice him, and stop in its tracks. It was also the donkey that lay down under Balaam, refusing to take another step until it either received permission to continue onward or Balaam instructed it to turn around. Be observant, be discerning, know when something is an obstacle in your path, and when it’s the angel of the Lord blocking it so that you might not pass that way.

We have a tendency to assume far too often, and whenever there is a hindrance, whenever things aren’t going right, we lay the blame on the enemy or on enemy attacks. Very rarely do we stop to consider that perhaps it’s God keeping us from heading in that direction, it’s God keeping us from causing ourselves spiritual harm by standing in our way.

It was the donkey that saved Balaam’s life, the selfsame donkey he said he would have killed if he’d had a sword in his hand, because Balaam’s mind was on other matters, and he did not behold the road ahead, or have enough discernment to see that his way was blocked.

Numbers 22:33, “The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now and let her live.”

It must have been a humbling moment for Balaam to realize that his donkey was wiser than he was, it must have been a humbling moment to realize that his donkey was more discerning, and observant, and spiritually aware than he who was a prophet.

The third lesson we can learn from a donkey is that of submission.

I am fully aware that submission is contradictory to stubbornness, but we must realize that donkeys, being the beasts of burden that they are, follow their master and allow themselves to be led. Be stubborn in doing your Master’s will, be stubborn in following the narrow path of faith, but submit to His guidance, and let Him guide you to green pastures.

It goes against human nature to practice submission of any kind, to desire to be led and not to lead. We think ourselves the masters of our own universes, lords of our own castles, and when God attempts to take us by the hand and guide us in the way we must go, we bristle and resist Him. On our own, we will surely wander from Him, on our own we will surely go where we ought not go, and do what we ought not to do. Submit to His sovereign guidance, because He will not lead you into desolate places, He will not lead you to places without water and nourishment for your soul, because He is a good Father, and a good God and a good Master.

The fourth lesson we can learn from a donkey, is that it is a privilege to see what others do not.

As a prophet with a reputation, perhaps even the prophet of his time to which a king sent messengers with a diviner’s fee, Balaam should have seen into the realm of the supernatural far more clearly than his donkey. As the Bible tells us however, it was not the case. Balaam was blind to the angel of the Lord, yet the donkey was privileged enough to see him.

We must realize the fact that we are privileged in that we see the events unfolding in the world today, very differently than the godless do. We are privileged to see what God has in store for humanity, we are privileged to have received His forewarnings far in advance of the calamities that are befalling the earth, and we are privileged to know that we are perpetually safe under the shadow of His wing.

Now that we’ve learned what there was to learn from Balaam’s donkey, all that’s left for us to do is apply our newfound knowledge, for knowledge without the application thereof is nothing more than occupied space in our minds. We know so much yet do so little, we see so often yet perceive so rarely, we receive so much wisdom yet apply it so sparingly, that it’s no wonder the church is in the spiritual maelstrom that it’s in.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

No Means No!

“God punishes mildly by ignoring our prayers and severely by answering them.” – R.J. Needham

“Prayers not felt by us are seldom heard by God.” – Philip Henry

 “God always answers our prayers, but sometimes the answer is no.” – Author Unknown

There is a fine line between meditation and obsession. There have been times however, when I have crossed that line, but with the best of intentions. Whenever I read a passage from the Word of God, I want to make sure that I learn every lesson there is to learn, that I receive all the truth there is to receive, and that I perceive all the wisdom there is to perceive. If I had the choice between doing a cursory reading of the Bible, and crossing the line into obsessing over a certain verse, then I would choose the second option because what one might have missed upon the first reading or the second, or the fifth, he might yet discover in the seventh or eighth reading of the passage.

As much as I tried to get away from the topic of Balaam this morning, my mind continued to wander back to the incident, wherein first God told him not to go to Balak, then God told him to go but became angry because he went. And so, today we will be discussing the dangers of not being able to take no for an answer. I know people like that, I have a friend who will ask the same question albeit slightly altered thirty times hoping to get a different answer than that which I gave him when he first asked the question. Hoping to either whittle down my resolve, or that suddenly in a moment of blinding epiphany I rethink my position entirely, this young man will ask the same question incessantly to the point that I just tune him out.

Children are great at not being able to take no for an answer, and I’ve seen it with both the children in our orphanage as well as my nephew and niece. They want what they want, and they’re pursuit of it is nothing if not enviable. We however, are not children, and if God denies us something, if God says ‘no’ we must be wise enough to understand that we are being denied that thing, that miracle, that breakthrough, for a good and justifiable reason, far beyond our current understanding.

Numbers 22:20-22, “And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, ‘if the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you – that you shall do.’ So Balaam rose in the morning saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab. Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.”

Lest we misunderstand God, before all this, Balaam had once before inquired of God if he could go with Balak’s princes and God had given him a direct and purposeful answer. God had said no!

Now, as I’ve said, there are some individuals who just can’t take no for an answer. It is unfeasible to them that they would be denied anything, even if what they are asking for is harmful and detrimental to their spiritual man. When God says ‘no’, He doesn’t mean ask me later, perhaps I’ll change my mind, He doesn’t mean I’ll think about it, He doesn’t mean maybe tomorrow. To God, no means no!

This is why His anger was aroused against Balaam, because although God had already answered the question the first time, Balaam pestered Him hoping to change His mind and His position.

It’s for our own good that God says no to us; it’s for our own good that he denies us certain things that our heart desires; and if we pray in the name of Christ for those things which Christ would not pray for, then we should not live with the expectation of a positive answer.

Please don’t misunderstand, I encourage persistent prayer, I encourage knocking on heaven’s door time and time again, but when we knock, when we pray, we must do so with the mindset that God’s will be done, not that God’s will be done the way we want it to.

‘Lord answer my prayer, but in the way I want you to, solve my problem, but in the way I foresee you solving it.’

This mindset will arouse the anger of God as surely as it was aroused against Balaam, because when we pray such prayers what we are saying is that we think we know better than God, that somehow we see more in depth than He does, and we don’t trust Him to equitably and favorably answer our prayers unless we give Him some instruction on how to do it.

Be persistent, be as the persistent woman with the unjust judge, but also be open to the reality that God might not answer your prayer in the way you envisioned Him to, and that yes, sometimes His answer will be no.

We see in part, and because we see in part we must trust the One who sees the whole, and believe that as a good Father all that He does is for our good, for our betterment, for our maturity and for our growth. Don’t second guess God; don’t think that if you ask the same question a thousand times you will receive a different answer if what you asked was not in accordance with His will. Be humble enough to know that you don’t know it all, be humble enough to accept that the answer to your prayer may come by different means than that which you envisioned, and above all, be ever thankful that God loves you enough to say ‘no’ to you once in a while.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Moving Heaven! Part 2

The fourth ingredient necessary to move heaven with our prayers is sanctification.

As children of God we must be sanctified, or set apart for sacred use, and it is the sanctified that move the heart of God with their prayers and supplications. The debate has been raging for decades in this country whether God requires sanctification and holiness on our part, but it is a debate that should have been laid to rest at its genesis. God said ‘be holy for I am holy’, God said, ‘be holy in all your doings’, and if God said it, everything else is irrelevant. Yes, men’s opinions are irrelevant, that latest book on the Christian bookstore shelf that tells you holiness is for old fogies is irrelevant, because God supersedes all these, and if we are His children it is Him that we must obey.

It was only when Solomon kept the feast seven days and all of Israel with him, and held a sacred assembly observing the dedication of the altar for seven days; it was only after Israel had sanctified itself that the Lord appeared to Solomon.

2 Chronicles 7:12, “Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: ‘I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice.”’

There is conditionality to having our prayers answered, and Solomon had met it. Now God turns his attention to Israel, and gives Solomon a message for them.

2 Chronicles 7:13-15, “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to prayer made in this place.”

So there are three things that God says we must do if we want Him to hear us from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land. The first thing we must do, by God’s decree is to humble ourselves, the second is to pray and seek His face, and the third is turn from our wicked ways. There has been no addendum to this there has been no exemption clause included anywhere in the Bible, and so if we desire to see our prayers answered, we must do as God commands. In the olden days, it was the temple that God focused upon, it was toward the temple that His eyes were opened and ears attentive to hear the prayers made therein, but now, our hearts are His temple, and He is attentive to every prayer, made from the hearts of those who are humble, and repentant and in prayer.

The fifth ingredient necessary to move heaven with our prayers is earnestness.

James 5:17, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, flesh and blood, with his own quirks and shortcomings, yet when he prayed earnestly it did not rain for three years and six months. When he prayed, again, the heaven gave rain. We must pursue God earnestly, with seriousness and purpose and zeal. God must be our singular pursuit in this life, the one constant we are striving for, and when we stand before Him in our supplication, we must have the selfsame attitude. We do not know how long Elijah’s prayer lasted, we do not know how wordy it was, but what we do know with certainty, because the Word of God makes mention of it, is that he prayed earnestly.

No, it’s not only perfect people who get their prayers answered, because other than Jesus there are no perfect people, but it is sanctified people, and people who know what it is to pray earnestly that move heaven and the heart of God.

The sixth ingredient necessary to move heaven with our prayers is unity.

Whether praying in your family, your home group, or your church, when you pray for something as a body pray as one, pray in unity, and with a singular purpose. Be in one accord, let your voices reach heaven as one, and God’s eyes will be open, and His ears attentive.

It was a dark time for the church, a time wherein they were being hunted by Herod, a time when James the brother of John had just been killed with the sword, and Peter was in prison, guarded by four squads of soldiers, waiting to be tried as soon as Passover was finished. The church that remained in freedom did the one thing they could do, and that was pray. They did not go before the king or his emissaries, they didn’t have a petition drive or a bake sale to make their cause known, they gathered together, as one, and prayed. Throughout Peter’s stay in prison, the church kept him in prayer.

Acts 12:5, “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.”

Acts 12:12, ‘So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.”

From the moment of his incarceration, to the moment Peter knocked on Mary’s door where the brethren were gathered together, their prayers for Peter were continuous, unceasing, and as one. They prayed earnestly, they prayed passionately, they prayed selflessly, and God heard their prayers and sent an angel to free Peter from the shackles, and the prison.

If we desire to see our prayers answered, if we desire to see the power of God and the miracles of God in our lives, then we must have these six ingredients, and there can be no substituting them. God has called us to be His, sanctified and set apart, and we must fulfill that which He has called us to lest He behold us as He beheld Israel in the time of Ezekiel and say, ‘though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.’

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Moving Heaven! Part 1

Since yesterday we discussed the foolishness of attempting to bribe God, and how bribery will neither sway His heart nor move heaven on our behalf, today I wanted to discuss some principles to which we must adhere in order for our prayers to not only be heard but also be answered.

As simplistic as the following might sound, even before we get started, I must point out the fact that in order for God to answer our prayers, we must be men and women of prayer. Throughout the Bible we see the true warriors of the faith, those whose sandals we are unworthy to carry, spend more time in prayer and communion with God than anything else. Prayer builds the relationship between ourselves and Him, and it is not a once a week prayer I am referring to, it is not the prayer of desperation that we utter when we can’t see ourselves out of a problem, but consistent, perpetual and heartfelt prayer as that of the saints of old. Through prayer, we are not only communing and fellowshipping with God, we are worshiping Him. An individual absent a prayer life is an individual absent fellowship with God, and an individual absent fellowship with God is an individual absent power. We must acknowledge the interconnectedness of our spiritual journey, and the fact that omitting one thing from our spiritual lives has a domino effect which extends to the entirety of our spiritual lives. Absence of prayer weakens a soul, a weakened soul becomes more susceptible to enemy attacks, and once the enemy sees the cracks, once he sees that we are susceptible because of our neglect of prayer, then his attacks intensify and increase in frequency until we either return to our prayer lives in earnest, or he overtakes us.

So is it that we can move heaven? What are the necessary ingredients that lead to answered prayers from God?

The first two ingredients necessary to move heaven with our prayers are passion and godly fear. A prayer is a plea, an imploration, a supplication and as such it must be done from the depths of one’s heart, with passion and pathos. Too often there is no life in our prayers; there is no passion in our prayers; there is no groaning in our prayers. We say the words, but our hearts are not moved, we speak the prayers, but it is mechanical and lifeless.

As Paul speaks of Christ, and His time in the flesh, he describes the way in which Jesus prayed, and if Jesus prayed in such a way, then we likewise ought to pray as Jesus prayed.

Hebrews 5:7-8, “Who, in the days of His flesh when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.”

I often hear murmuring among the children of God, because although they pray with tears, although the offer up supplications with vehement cries, their prayers are not answered, and heaven is not moved on their behalf.

Well, why is it that God answered Christ’s prayers?

Was it because he had offered up prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears? No it was not! God answered Him, because of His godly fear. Yes, Paul tells us that He was heard because of His godly fear. We must possess godly fear in our hearts, we must walk in righteousness and holiness unto God, we must be passionate in our pleas, and He will hear us, He will answer us, and He will intervene.

The third ingredient necessary to move heaven with our prayers is that we make our appeal to God in accordance to His will.

I have preached many sermons on Elijah over the years, and his victory on Mount Carmel over the prophets of Baal, of how we ought to expect of our God more than the world expects of its gods, of how we are to rebuild the altar of worship before we can bring pleasing sacrifice to the Father, but today I want to focus on the specificity of Elijah’s prayer, and see why God answered it in such a dramatic manner.

In case you don’t know, there was a bull on an altar, soaked in water, with water running all around it, and after Elijah prayed, the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.

So what sort of prayer was it that brought down the fire of God? It was a prayer in accordance with God’s will.

1 Kings 18:36, “And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, ‘Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel, and that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word.”

What Elijah did, he did at God’s word, he did in accordance with God’s will. He wasn’t just taking a shot in the dark and hoping it worked out, He wasn’t presuming to know the mind of God, going off on his own confronting the prophets of Baal. What Elijah did, he did because God had told him to do it, and because he knew he was doing it in accordance with the will of God, he was bold and courageous and certain of the outcome before the first pitcher of water was poured upon the offering. Walk in the will of God; be in accordance with the will of God, and your prayers will move heaven.

So what is an example of a prayer in accordance with God’s will? Glad you asked!

After being released by Annas and Caiaphas, Peter and John return to their companions, and report all that the chief priest and elders had said to them. In essence, what the chief priests and elders had said, in fact what they had commanded Peter and John to do, was not to speak at all or teach in the name of Jesus. If they could just keep from doing that, if they could just keep from speaking or teaching in the name of Jesus, then all would be well, and no further hardship need be visited upon them. When those who were gathered heard of the threat, when they heard that the only way by which they could keep the peace is be silent concerning Jesus, rather than acquiesce they began to pray.

Acts 4:29-30, “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

This was the essence of their prayer, that God would grant them boldness so they might speak His word. Their prayer was not selfish, it was not ‘Lord spare us hardship’ it was not, ‘Lord forgive us for keeping silent but we don’t want to suffer’, it was not, ‘Lord bless us in spite of our unwillingness to serve you with our whole hearts, and tell others about you’, it was ‘Lord give us boldness to do what must be done!’

Acts 4:31, “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

Instant answer to a selfless plea! It didn’t take weeks or months, but when they had prayed, the place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Because they had been filled with the Holy Spirit, they now spoke the word of God with boldness, just as they had prayed the Lord would grant them. Yes, this was a prayer in accordance with the will of God, and as such God answered it instantaneously.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.