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Friday, September 30, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 61

The Advent Part 53

Acts 2:21, “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended to earth, He came in power with signs and wonders, but He came to an exclusive group of people and not to the world as a whole. The group of people I am referring to are the followers of Christ, those who receive Him and worship Him and serve Him as Lord and King. Try as the world might, the world cannot receive Him, nor can it ever know the true magnitude of the power and glory of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

John 14:16-17, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

These were the words of Jesus, and there is allot to unpack in these two verses. First, Jesus said that He would pray the Father, and it would be the Father who would give us another Helper once He ascended back into glory. Now this Helper that the Father would send would abide with us forever, not for a limited time, not for a season or a generation as some continue to claim to this day. The Spirit of truth, the Helper who would come could neither be seen nor known by the world, and as such the world cannot receive Him. The essence of what Jesus was saying is that only those who are of Him and in Him can receive and know the Holy Spirit, and as such anyone who claims the power of God while attempting to circumvent the need for Christ, is a liar and the truth is not found in them. Last but not least, Jesus makes an important distinction, telling His disciples that although they already knew the Holy Spirit, for He dwelt with them, the day was coming when He would be in them.

The presence of the Holy Spirit has been visible throughout the Old and the New Testament, yet the only time that the Holy Spirit was able to dwell, or be in man began on the Day of Pentecost when the rushing wind was heard, and the tongues of fire were seen, and those who were present in the upper room began to speak in other tongues.

Until the advent of the Holy Spirit, until the day He came to earth to be the Comforter and the Helper Jesus promised, the only way that man could be saved was by strictly adhering to the Law of Moses. Once the price for our redemption was paid in full by Christ on the cross however, once Jesus bought us by His blood and the Holy Spirit came, whoever calls on the name of the Lord is saved, because the Holy Spirit aids them in that regard as well. Not only is He the Spirit of truth, He is also the Spirit of grace, and as such can speak to men’s hearts and call them to repentance.

Hebrews 10:28-29, “Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, and counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?”

The Holy Spirit is present in the Church, He is present amidst the Congregation of God on earth, He is present within the Body of Christ, and the church preaches Christ that the sinner might hear, be drawn to repentance, and call upon the name of the Lord. Whosoever then calls on the name of the Lord with sincerity of heart, will be saved.

The reason Jesus commanded His disciples, and by extension us in this present generation to go and preach the gospel to the nations, was so that they might hear the good news of the Gospel, believe, repent, call upon His name and be saved. God’s heart and His desire is still that men come to the knowledge of truth, it is still that men believe in His Son Jesus that they might be saved, and as representatives and ambassadors of the kingdom of God on this earth, as those who have been tasked with preaching a resurrected and glorified Christ, it is incumbent upon us to use every opportunity to share the good news with as many as God will bring in our path.

We are not given the Holy Spirit to feel superior to our fellow brethren, we are not given the Holy Spirit to think ourselves somehow special in the eyes of God, we are given the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the edification of the Body of Christ, and the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom to those who are lost.

In His goodness God not only commanded us to go and preach the good news, He has thoroughly equipped us that when we do have the opportunity to speak the name of Jesus and of all His wondrous works, we would do so with authority and power, with signs and wonders following that those who hear us would know it is not in our own wisdom that we speak these things, it is not in our own strength that we stand, it is not in our own authority that we are bold and fearless, but it is all in Christ, and through Christ.

It is the anointing, it is the infilling of the Holy Spirit that teaches us, it is the anointing and the infilling of the Holy Spirit that gives us utterance to speak the words of life to those who are dying, it is the anointing that gives us the courage to stand, and this anointing abides in us as long as we abide in Him.

1 John 2:27, “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 60

The Advent Part 52

When the work of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit begin in a heart or in a congregation, it shakes the foundations of the person or the place, because a new life is beginning therein. When the Holy Spirit is poured out, it is by no means a subtle thing, it is by no means a subdued event, it is something that so drastically and dramatically changes a person, and even an entire congregation of believers, that the reality thereof is evident to one and all.

During the last post we discussed the great and notable day of the Lord within the context of the last days, when the judgments of God would begin upon the earth because of the prophecy to which Peter the Apostle referred to concerning the Holy Spirit.

In light of what the Word tells us concerning these last days, one can readily see just how important, necessary, and relevant the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit are. If darkness continues to grow, yet light remains at the same level never growing in its brightness to combat the escalating darkness, eventually what was once a bright beacon will become a flickering candle. It is undeniable that the world as we know it is growing progressively darker, and as such we need more of the light of truth, we need more of the power of the Holy Spirit just to stand our ground against the forces of darkness.

The Word of God is truth undiluted, it is the light unto our path, the light that shines in our hearts, the light that acts as a bright beacon in this world of darkness and despair, and as such we must know the Word, live the Word, and preach the Word. We can understand the Word of God by its letter, but wherever the need arises the Holy Spirit also gives us understanding that we might perceive the spirit thereof as well.

I will be the first to admit there are difficult passages within the Word of God, there are passages that are not readily understood, and many of these difficult passages are in regards to the end times, and are found in no small part in the book of Revelation as well. Whenever we happen upon a difficult passage, we have the tendency to do one of three things: we either gloss over it, unwilling to take the time to pray and seek understanding, we get stuck on it going no further in our search for truth, or we receive it in our hearts as it is written knowing that when He sees fit God will open our eyes to the deeper meaning of the text.

What many in our modern day, fast paced society fail to understand is that prayer and the reading and understanding of the Word of God go hand in hand. When a verse, a text, or a passage is not readily understood, we must go before the Father with prayer and supplication and patiently wait on Him to illuminate our minds, and bring understanding to what we have read. The Bible is sacred, it is the Word of God, and it was given to be understood by those who desire to know it and live it, who desire to press in, and go deeper, who are not content with a cursory read, but who desire to know the fullness of what God desired to convey.

Proverbs 13:13, He who despises the word will be destroyed, but he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.”

Too often we treat the Word of God lightly, with carelessness and frivolity, absent the requisite reverence, considering it to be more of an accessory on Sunday morning, than the inspired Word of God which is able to save, and feed our hungry souls. It is to our own detriment and even outright shame, that we don’t assign the much deserved and warranted value to the Word of God, and that is remains so low on our list of priorities.

James 1:21-22, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

If we are willing to receive the answers it gives us, without attempting to inject our own ideas, or preconceived notions into the mix, the Word of God has the answer to every question we might have concerning the spiritual, our role while we are in these husks of flesh, what the future holds for this rock, what the times and the seasons we are living in will look like shortly, and a myriad of other things. The Word of God is not short on answers, but sometimes the answers we receive are not to our liking and so we attempt to sidestep or reinterpret that which the Word clearly lays out.

Our duty as children of God is to receive with meekness the implanted word, and once we receive the word we must become doers thereof. We are not told to second guess the Word, we are not told to question the Word, we are not told to doubt the Word, we are not told to find substitutes and surrogates for the Word, we are told to receive it, and do it. Yes, the word of God must be lived out in our daily lives, it must produce change and transformation in us, and the fruits thereof must be clearly visible, lest we be hearers only deceiving ourselves that this is all that God requires.

Beyond knowing what the future holds, beyond understanding the book of Revelation, beyond rightly defining what the seven seals, the seven bowls and the seven trumpets are, we must first and foremost live the word of God, be doers of the word and not hearers only because only by being a doer of the word can God use us, only by being a doer of the word can the power of God reside in us, and only by being a doer of the word will we be blessed in what we do.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 59

The Advent Part 51

Acts 2:19-20, “I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and notable day of the Lord.”

Within the context of Joel’s prophecy we not only see the advent of the Holy Spirit and the outpouring thereof, but we are also shown the signs that will occur both in heaven and on earth before the coming of the great and notable day of the Lord.

When it comes to these sings, the blood and fire and vapor of smoke the sun being turned into darkness and the moon into blood, the household of faith is divided into two distinct camps. First, is the camp that believes we will be here to see these things unfold, as God would have had no reason to include them in His Word if we, His children, those given to understand the mysteries of the Book would not be here for these events, and second the camp that believes we will be caught up before the first hint of trouble and the first signs preceding the great day of the Lord are fulfilled.

Although some of you disagree, and might I add vehemently so given some of your correspondence in the past, it is no secret that I believe with all my heart that we will be here for at least some, if not all the signs preceding the great and notable day of the Lord. Do I want to believe that we will be here to see these things unfolding? No, I don’t want to believe that we will see with our own eyes the sun being darkened and the moon being turned into blood, but what I want to believe, and what I have to believe because the Word makes it abundantly clear are two separate issues.

In all matters having to do with the Spiritual we must defer to the Word of God and submit to its authority. Yes, the flesh would love to believe that of all the generations that have come before us, we will be the only one which God will treat with kid gloves, the only generation which God will spare from seeing His judgment be poured out upon the rebellious, the only generation whose faith will not be tested, and whose steadfastness will not be proven. What the flesh would like, and what the Word tells us however are in diametrical opposition to one another, and only one of the two can be right. Personally, I choose to believe the Word of God, and will do so time and again, because flesh has proven itself both evil and deceptive in perpetuity.

There is no partiality with God! Of this we can be certain because it is a running theme throughout the Word. Now if there is no partiality with God, why would we think, even for a second, that we will somehow be spared those things which no other generation of believers throughout the history of the church has been spared?

When we consider the end times, when we consider the signs that will accompany them, we fail to understand what seeing these signs will mean for us as children of God, as those who have been saved, redeemed, and sanctified in Christ. When we see these things begin to happen, the message we are supposed to take away is that the return of our Lord is imminent. These signs ought not to be a reason for fear, they ought not to be a reason for desperation, but rather a reason for hope because all that our Lord said would happen is happening, and if the veracity of these signs are self-evident, then the promise of His return is likewise true.

Luke 21:28, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

So what are these things that Jesus speaks of that will begin to happen? The selfsame things that Joel prophesied: the signs in the sun, in the moon, in the stars, and on earth distress of nations.

Since this is a study on the Holy Spirit, and an exegetical excursion into the first two chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, I will refrain from further discussion concerning the sings of the end times, and the signs that will take place before the great and notable day of the Lord, but I would be remiss if I did not point out one more thing.

The reason a right and true belief as to whether or not we will be here for the events that Joel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel, and even Christ foretold is crucial, is because depending on what we believe, we will either be caught by surprise, unprepared and unequipped for those days, having believed that we would be long gone, or we will be found prepared, having purposed in our hearts that come what may we will remain faithful to Christ Jesus our Lord, and stand even when all others have fallen by the wayside.

If I live with the expectation of having to suffer persecution for the cause of Christ, then when the expected persecution arrives, I will be neither shocked, angered, nor perturbed, but rather having prepared myself spiritually, having lived with the knowledge that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution, I endure until the end. This is why the issue is important; this is why it requires consideration on our part, and not because of denominational dogma or other irrelevant disputes. Prepare your heart as though you will have to endure, prepare your heart as though you will have to suffer, prepare your heart as though you will have to lay down your very life for the cause of Christ, and if God sees fit that these things not be visited upon you, then glory be to His name. There is no drawback or downside to spiritual preparedness, because it leads us to maturity in God, and dependence on Him.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 58

The Advent Part 50

Acts 2:18, “And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.”

In Christ we are made one. This beautiful reality is confirmed in the Word of God, and when we are born again, God does not take into account our gender, our social standing, our education, or our nationality. We become members of the Body of Christ, having put on the new man, having died to the flesh and having been born again in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:9-11, “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”

Given the context of the scripture in Colossians, the question that begs to be asked is if we are one in Christ, if Christ is all and in all why is there so much division within the household of faith? Why is it that we are so divided, so fractured, and there is so much animosity among us? Could it be because we have placed our denominations before Christ? Could it be because we have placed our own presuppositions before the One who is to be all and in all?

The lack of unity within the house of God is disturbing, and if we are diligent we can trace the root cause of this disunity to its source. It is not Christ that is causing these fractures within the house of God it is our own stubbornness, and our conscious decision to put denomination and personal opinion above Jesus.

Through the Holy Spirit we are all made priests and kings, because we are all members of one Body, the Body of Christ. It’s only the gifts that differ from individual to individual, just as the members of our human bodies differ in their tasks and abilities, but they all work in unison for the edification of the selfsame body.

Ephesians 4:11-13, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

So the Word clearly tells us the purpose of the gifts, namely to edify the body of Christ till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, and to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not to lift up one individual, they are not to bring glory to one man, they are not to draw people to a particular ministry, but rather so that we should no longer be children, tossed to and from and carried about with every wind of doctrine.

It is high time that we laid aside childish things, it is high time we laid aside selfish ambitions, it is high time we grew up in all things, in Christ who is the head, and speaking the truth in love be joined and knit together as a body ought to be.

It’s no secret that the house of God is divided, and a house divided against itself cannot stand. With Christ as the head, may we pursue the righteousness and holiness to which He has called us, may we pursue the truth of Scripture as He has commanded us, and may we desire spiritual gift as the Word admonishes us to do, that we might walk in the authority rightly ours as kings and priests of the household of faith.

It is from among His the menservants and maidservants that God chooses those to serve in greater capacities, it is from among these individuals that God appoints apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, because a manservant or maidservant of God is first and foremost a child of God.

It was none other than Jesus who defined the role of the servant, as well as how a servant should react upon being called to serve his Master. Once again what Jesus says concerning servant hood seems to be in direct opposition to how we perceive it in our day and age.

As servants, in recent years we have been taught that we are entitled to our Master’s spoils, we are entitled and ought to demand that He thank us and shower us with abundant blessing for having served, but the picture Jesus paints is one drastically different from that which we have been taught.

Luke 17:7-10, “And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘come at once and sit down to eat?’ But will he not rather say to him, ‘prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink?’ Does he thank the servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘we are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.”

Whatever manner or capacity God calls you to serve in, however great a ministry God allows you to have, however many sermons you may preach, however many songs you may sing, however many hearts and lives you may touch, at the end of the day, all you did, and all I have done is those things which we were commanded to do. It was not of our own strength, it was not of our own prowess, but rather it was the Master’s good pleasure to see us labor in His harvest field, and all we have done, is what was our duty to do.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 57

The Advent Part 49

There is an established order to the work of God, and man cannot sidestep this order try as he might. The desire to skip certain steps of any given task is often times an overwhelming one. We would all like to instantly shed that ten or fifteen pounds we’ve been meaning to lose overnight without going through the requisite diet and exercise, we would all like to get our degrees without going through the requisite classes, we would all like to get our driver’s license without taking the diver’s exam, and the list goes on at infinitum, because every day of our lives there are things we would rather evade, circumvent or skirt.

As I said, when it comes to the work of God, man cannot circumvent any of the steps; he cannot skip over certain aspects of their walk and still live with the expectation of a positive outcome. We are all excited about the prospect of the Holy Spirit, we are all excited about God pouring out His Spirit on all flesh, but before this can happen there are certain things that as believers we must do.

Yes, we’ve talked about it time and again, God has a standard, and He will not lower it for any man. Before He can pour His Spirit upon us, first there must be self-denial, first there must be surrender, first there must be repentance, first there must be faith, first there must be the taking up of our crosses. We can’t put the cart before the horse, nor can we live with the expectation of the infilling of the Holy Spirit without having first come to the knowledge of truth, repented, believed in Jesus, and surrendered our all to Him.

Luke 9:23-24, “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”

Jesus spoke to all the disciples who had gathered before Him, and not one of them got an exemption or a pass. The prerequisite to coming after Him, the prerequisite to following in His footsteps, was first and foremost self-denial, followed by the daily picking up of their individual crosses, then faithfully following after Him. Even so, after all these requirements had been met, Jesus continues His discourse and informs them that if they desired to save their lives, they would most assuredly lose them, but if they lost their lives for His sake, they will most assuredly save them.

God has not changed, and what He requires of His servants is no less stringent today than it was two thousand years ago. If we desire to follow after Him, then we must die!

We are not our own any longer, we belong to Him, our lives are His, and the entirety of our aspiration must be the furthering of the Kingdom of God.

Yes, it would be much easier if Jesus had said ‘if anyone desires to come after Me, raise a limp hand at a crusade’, but He didn’t, because He will accept nothing less than our all, and there is no special exemption of dispensation for our generation, just as there was no special exemption or dispensation for His disciples.

Every one of the hundred and twenty souls gathered in the upper room met the requirements in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit. They had denied themselves, they had picked up their crosses, they had died to this world and to self, and when the Holy Spirit descended they were ready to receive.

In order for the Holy Spirit to fill someone, they must be ready to receive Him. When the rain falls, only vessels that are empty, upright, and uncovered are filled by the raindrops. Those that are covered, tipped over, or filled with other things, can only get wet on the outside, but cannot be filled on the inside.

If we do what Jesus commanded us to do, then He will do what He promised us He would do. What is required of us is to be ready to receive when He begins to pour, through faith and repentance, having become living epistles of Christ. The Spirit of life is poured into the living, and He will have nothing to do with dead works, dead ceremonies, or dead traditions.

No, the Spirit of God does not discriminate between young and old, between male and female, because as the prophecy of Joel reminds us, God is pouring out His Spirit on all flesh, on sons and daughters, young men and old men alike. In every case God weighs the heart and He inspects it, making sure that it is void of anything other than the desire for the fullness of Him.

If we possess divided hearts, if our hearts are cluttered with things other than God and the desire for Him, then our first duty is to clean out the clutter, to do away with any and all things that we know to be a hindrance in our walk with God, and make certain that the wineskin is ready to receive new wine, that the vessel is ready to receive the Spirit, otherwise we ask and plead in vain.

Of all the attributes of God, I have yet to see wastefulness on the list. That which He demands of us has been made clear in the Word, it is easily understood even by the simplest of souls, and if in our stubbornness we are unwilling to submit to His will, if in our arrogance we believe we can bypass repentance and self-denial, we have no one to blame for our stale spirituality and the lack of power in our lives than ourselves. God will not acquiesce, God will not change His mind, God will not lower the standard, and though heaven and earth pass away His words will by no means pass away.

Matthew 24:35, ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 56

The Advent Part 48

Peter begins his discourse with the mention of the prophet Joel, which means Jehovah is God. He makes mention of a prophesy that came by way of Joel, concerning the last days and the fact that in these last days God would pour out His spirit on all flesh.

The fact that this message was being delivered on the Day of Pentecost made it even more relevant than if it would have come any other day. For those unaware of the significance of the Day of Pentecost, it was, to the Jews, the celebration of the harvest. The harvest began the second day of Passover when the first fruits of the wheat would be brought into the temple. It was the second major feast in which all able bodied Jewish males were required to attend, the other two being Passover, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

On the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended, the first fruits of the spiritual harvest, and that of the New Covenant, were brought before Christ through the hundred and twenty disciples who had been gathered in the upper room, and later, through the three thousand individuals who were subsequently baptized with the Holy Spirit on that day. It was with them, and through them that the Congregation of God began, and this was the first harvest of souls that took place on the day of the celebration of the Harvest.

The promise of God prophesied by the prophet Joel was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, but it continues in its fulfilled until the end of the Church age or as Paul puts it, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

Romans 11:25, “For I do not desire, brethren that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that hardening in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”

Throughout the years there has been much discussion as to what exactly ‘in the last days’ means. These were the words of the prophecy given by Joel signifying the time when that which God was foretelling would come to pass. From a Biblical standpoint what ‘in the last days’ was referring to, was the age of grace, the timespan which commenced with the advent of the Holy Spirit, which will come to an end upon the return of Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now I realize some have a problem with this, thinking to themselves how it is that over two thousand years could be seen of God as being the last days, but taking into account that to God a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day, taking into account that God is not constrained by time and space as we are, yes these past two thousand years, and as many years as we have left until the Lord returns are in God’s estimation the last days.

These are the days of the Bride of Christ, these are the days in which whomsoever calls upon the name of the Lord, whomsoever receives the Son of God as King and Savior by faith, and sanctifies Him as Lord of their heart, is saved.

The prophesies, dreams and visions of which the verse speaks are the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to believers whenever He sees fit, in order to build up the Body of Christ. We see the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout the lives of the Apostles, whether in Peter’s dream of the great sheet bound at the four corners descending to him, of Paul’s vision of a man of Macedonia, standing and pleading with him to come and help.

‘That’s all well and good brother Mike, but that was the age of the Apostles, of course they had the gifts of the Holy Spirit no one is disputing that, but what about the doctrine of cessation?’

Well, if we diligently study the Word we see that in the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, the Holy Spirit, described as the Spirit of Life, is the one who along with Christ is speaking to the churches.

In fact, every message to each of the seven churches in Revelation ends with the phrase, ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Since we have tangentially happened upon the topic of the Holy Spirit in Revelation, there is also the issue of John the revelator who was repeatedly either in the Spirit, or carried away in the Spirit, as he was shown the great and wondrous things he was shown, both concerning the future of mankind, the finality of this present existence, and the life to come in the Kingdom of Heaven. In these last days, the Church exists through the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit, and try as man might to minimize this truth, they cannot do away with the Word of God.

Revelation 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ and let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires let him take the water of life freely.”

Yes, both the Spirit and the bride say ‘come!’, but if the Spirit has already returned to the Father from which He came, why wouldn’t He say ‘go!’ since He was present in heaven with the Father and the Son? I realize that in and of itself the preceding question is by no means conclusive, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was just a thought, something that leapt out at me as I typed the verse, and I think it’s something worth pondering if only for a while.

We mock, belittle, minimize, and dismiss the work, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit at our own peril, because nowhere in the Bible is it shown that the Holy Spirit was only with us for a breath, then ascended back to the Father. Yes, the Holy Spirit will ascend back to God, but only when the Bride ascends with Christ and is presented as pure and undefiled before the Father, only when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 55

The Advent Part 47

Acts 2:16-17, “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.”

Each time I read this passage, I get the impression that there was certainty in Peter’s statement. He wasn’t supposing as the Jews had been concerning those who had been gathered in the upper room, when Peter says, ‘this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel’ there is certitude and conviction there.

Even though Peter was full of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit only brought to his remembrance that which he already knew, and placed it in the appropriate context. Peter must have heard this scripture passage in Joel at some point in his life, whether from Jesus or in the temple, I do not know, but at this particular moment this is the passage that the Holy Spirit not only brought to his remembrance, but also properly applied.

The Holy Spirit will not do for us what we can do for ourselves, and as such it is incumbent upon us as children of God, it is incumbent upon us as followers of Christ to read the Bible, and know it, but when it comes to speaking the words of life into the lives of others, when it comes to preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, fear not, the Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance the scriptures you read, and provide such clarity that you yourself will be amazed by the words that are flowing from your lips.

I am not a fan of canned sermons, I am not a fan of pre-packaged excessively polished masterpieces of eloquence absent the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, and as such, although I read the Word daily, and I study, I don’t prepare a sermon outline when I go to speak where I am invited. When I get to the church or to the meeting, I usually sit somewhere in the back pew, say a prayer, and wait for God to put on my heart that which He knows the people need to hear. In the end, it’s God speaking to the hearts of the individuals that are present that compels them to repentance and sanctification, and when God speaks it is not in bombastic generalities or platitudes, it is personal and intimate, and targeted in such a way that the people know God is searching their hearts, and speaking to them on their level.

In our day and age there are entire cottage industries geared toward doing away with the need for divine inspiration of any kind. Preachers and pastors alike can go online and for a nominal fee download their next sermon, whether just the bullet points or the entire thirty minute oratory is up to them, they can likewise download entire series, project ideas for the congregation, layouts for growth projections and a myriad of other things that bypass the need for prayer and diligent study, that bypass the need for meditating on the word of God and being dependent upon Him for the spiritual feeding of the flock. Although some say that having these resources readily available has made their lives easier, and that they now have more time to spend with their families, or take up golf, personally I believe it is detrimental and destructive to the household of faith, as well as their personal relationships with God. The easier path isn’t always the right path, and try as we might we cannot bypass prayer, we cannot bypass studying the word, we cannot bypass fasting, we cannot bypass intimacy with God, and expect that when we stand behind a pulpit with our freshly printed sermon, written by a complete stranger, the power of the Holy Spirit will be present and the lives of those in attendance will be touched or radically transformed. I would rather hear the words of a simple sermon that is divinely inspired, than the words of a polished sermon that has nothing in the way of divine inspiration. The tragedy however, is that we’ve gotten used to the powerless sermons of our day, we’ve come to accept platitudes and clich├ęs as being the norm, and when someone stands before the congregation with power and authority, divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit we think them too strange, too odd, too intense, and too polarizing. There are even instances wherein although the messenger is rightly dividing the Word, although the messenger is speaking a word from the Lord, because it is a message of rebuke and not all encompassing love, acceptance and tolerance, we label them unloving, intolerant, unmerciful and hateful. Whenever you hear a sermon, whenever you hear a teaching, the first question that ought to spring to the forefront of your mind shouldn’t be did the message make me feel good, did it bolster my self-esteem, did it make me laugh, smile or chuckle, but was rather was what I heard Biblical. If it was Biblical, then uncomfortable as it made you feel, challenged as you might have been, you have no choice but to receive it.

The foundation of Peter’s discourse was Scripture, not his own opinions not his own suppositions, not something written by someone else, and guided by the light of the Holy Spirit he was able to adequately explain to the multitude what had just occurred before their very eyes. It was not Peter’s vanity, it was not his pride that prompted him to stand and speak, it was the Holy Spirit in him that and because he submitted to the Holy Spirit the words that he spoke were beyond his ability to articulate and formulate. When we trust in ourselves, when we trust in our own wisdom we are bound to make a mistake, we are bound to miss some relevant and important truth, but when we trust in the power of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit that which we are given to speak will be whole and complete, and will open the eyes of those hearing us.

Peter knew the value of the power of the Holy Spirit because he had learned it from Jesus. Jesus had spoken frequently of the Comforter and the Helper to His disciples, time and again He had referred the One who would come and instruct them in all things, and teach them in His absence, and now the promise of Christ had been fulfilled and Peter’s mind had been enlightened to the deeper things of God.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 54

The Advent Part 46

Acts 2:15, “For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.”

It is human nature to suppose, to come to various conclusions while not retaining all the requisite information concerning the topic or event, because we like to think ourselves wiser than we are, and we not only feel entitled to an opinion, but believe wholeheartedly that our opinion is the one that counts and ought to take preeminence.

The men who accused those who had been gathered in the upper room of being drunk had come to a supposition; they had supposed that because they couldn’t understand the words that the disciples were speaking they must naturally be under the influence of new wine.

As children of God however, we do not have the luxury of supposing something, but must be diligent in seeking out the truth thereof and as such come to a right and true conclusion. I am often asked what my opinion on certain Biblical issues is, and it never ceases to make me shudder, because if I had an opinion different than what the Bible presents, why would you take my word over the Scriptures anyway?

When it comes to Biblical issues, when it comes to Biblical truth, we as servants of God are not allowed a personal opinion. I realize this may irritate, and even anger some of you, because having an opinion concerning everything under the sun has become the go to hobby of young and old alike, but when it comes to what God has commanded, when it comes to God has spoken, when it comes to the Word, our one and only duty is to submit and obey. We are vessels, each and every one of us, and whether we are vessels of honor or vessels of dishonor is solely contingent on our obedience of the will and Word of God. I realize defiance and rebellion have become mainstream practices within the church, I realize it’s easier to pick and choose what we want to believe rather than believe what God commands us to believe, but though He might terry awhile, be forewarned God is not mocked and He will render unto each one according to his deeds, eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality, but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish.

When we start going down the slippery slope of supposition, of supposing certain things that are either outside the purview of Scripture or contrary to it, the shipwrecking of our faith becomes an issue of ‘when’, rather than an issue of ‘if’. Yes, I am being repetitive, but repetition is the mother of all learning and as such once again, I implore you, believe the Scriptures over the words of men, whatever the context or circumstance. Too many souls have lost their way, too many faiths have been shipwrecked because they listened to the whispers rather than the Word of God for us to take this lightly or deem it irrelevant.

What I write might seem simplistic to some, even trite to others, but it is knowing the fundamentals of Scripture, it is knowing the Word of God and not deviating from it that keeps us on the straight and narrow path of faith when we are confronted with the crossroads of doubt and indecision in our lives.

Those that live in the land of supposition have no peace, they have no balance, and they have no joy in life. Today they suppose one thing, tomorrow they suppose another that is in direct conflict with their previous supposition, and so they go from one doctrine to another, from one belief system another, never finding rest for their souls until they discover the Christ, and fall in love with the person of Him. It is the truth, and a faith which is in submission to the truth that gives man balance peace and joy. It is the truth, and nothing but the truth that casts out the fears the doubts and the uncertainties that plague so many today. As we know that Jesus is the truth, then it is logical and reasonable to say that only Christ can give us rest, only Christ can give us joy, only Christ can give us peace, only Christ can do away with the worry for tomorrow, and the fears of today.

In order to combat the suppositions of the men of Judea and those who dwelt in Jerusalem, Peter did not resort to supposition as they had, but to documented and verifiable truth. The hundred and twenty that had been speaking in tongues could not be drunk, since it was only the third hour of the day. Now to us that might not seem as relevant, or conclusive, but taking into account the historical aspects of the Jewish traditions, and realizing what it was that Peter was saying when he made this declaration, we come to understand as he claimed that they could not have been drunk.

So what does the third hour of the day mean? Well, the third hour of the day would be 9 am in our modern parlance, and to the Jews this was the time of their morning prayers. On the Sabbath, and on days of celebration it was customary for them not to eat or drink anything until the morning prayers had passed. The more devout Jews, based on a certain passage in the book of Exodus, would only eat bread in the morning during the days of celebration, and eat meat and drink wine only in the evenings.

For an entire congregation to be drunk with wine on the Day of Pentecost even before the morning prayers were finished, would have been the most shameful and sinful thing in the eyes of all the devout men who had gathered. None of the devout men who were gathered there would have dared do such a thing, and Peter rightly concludes that the hundred and twenty could not have done such a thing either since they still observed the customs of the feasts.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 53

The Advent Part 45

Acts 2:14, “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, ‘men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem let this be known to you and heed my words.’”

There is an old saying but a true saying that everyone perceives what they desire of a certain thing, or in simpler terms we see what we want to see, and hear what we want to hear. As some who had gathered heard those who had been in the upper room speak the wonderful works of God in their own tongue, others mocked and said that they were simply drunk with new wine.

From what we can ascertain the ones who were mocking the disciples, were none other than those Jews who were native of Jerusalem, those who had been dwelling therein, and as such did not understand the tongues in which those who had been filled with the power of the Holy Spirit were speaking. To them, it was just mumbling, intelligible words, even though to those who had come from afar off, they were the wonderful works of God.

Peter the Apostle and the other eleven stood in the midst of the hundred and twenty that they might defend truth, and the work of the Holy Spirit, and explain to the native Jewish population, those living in Jerusalem what exactly was taking place. The fact that the other eleven Apostles stood with Peter, lent weight to his words, and demanded that those who were gathered listen to Peter’s defense of what had just occurred. This was to be the first message of the newborn church to the world, via its representative Peter the apostle of Christ after the advent of the Holy Spirit.

With all requisite honesty, I think we can all agree that the words which Peter began to speak were not his own. Adept as he might have been at catching fish, he was by no means a scholar, and as such the connections he would begin to make between what had just occurred and the prophet Joel as well as other passages of the Old Testament, had to have been divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit which now resided in Peter.

The dialogue between the church, or the Body of Christ, and the world began on the Day of Pentecost through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and it has continued through the ages, and will continue until the day of Christ’s return. Our message must be as one, simple, straightforward, and impacting, seeking not our own glory but rather the glory of God, and admonishing even beseeching all those who hear us to come in repentance to the foot of the cross and surrender their lives to Christ Jesus the only way into the kingdom of heaven.

It was not of their own strength that the twelve stood, it was no in his own wisdom that Peter began to speak, but by the unction and the power of the Holy Spirit they did these things. Yes, it was the Holy Spirit that compelled the twelve Apostles to stand in the midst of the hundred and twenty, and it was likewise the Holy Spirit who put the necessary words on the heart and lips of Peter, that when he spoke it would be with authority and conviction and passion. From that moment forward, to this present day and for as many days as the Lord will terry, it is the Holy Spirit that has led, and leads all who are Disciples of Christ Jesus in all truth, and it is He who gives utterance to the words we ought to speak to those still in darkness and despair. We are vessels, tools in the hands of the Holy Spirit, and He uses us as He sees fit for the glory of God the Father.

No longer was Peter speaking in tongues, but he was addressing the men of Judea and those who dwelt in Jerusalem in the language of the time which was Aramaic. Why is it that Peter only addresses the men of Judea and those who dwelt in Jerusalem? Because it was only these individuals, those who were natives of Jerusalem and Judea, that mocked and made fun of them. The others who had gathered understood, they had heard the wonderful works of God being spoken to them in their own language, and they were amazed and perplexed by what they heard, yet those who were of Jerusalem did not understand the greatness of what had just occurred, and so they mocked.

I know we’ve discussed the issue in previous posts, but it is something that is worth revisiting because it is happening more and more within the house of God. The issue I speak of, is the scorn and derision visited upon true believers, those who go about serving God with zeal and selflessness, who believe the whole counsel of God, and the entirety of Scripture, by the nominal or mainstream ‘Christians’ that are filling pews every Sunday and living like the world the rest of the week.

It wasn’t the secularists who were mocking the disciples it was in fact the devout Jews who had come to celebrate the feasts that were now looking down on them and accusing them of being drunk with new wine. Yes, the saying ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’ is apropos even today, and those content with living a false spirituality, those content with words absent of power, ceremony absent of God, and walks absent of authority seem to be growing in number day by day.

Just as Peter and the eleven stood in defense of the truth, we must likewise stand in defense of the truth even if we have to defend it in front of those we would readily call brothers and sisters in Christ. By the same token, when you are mocked, ridiculed, scorned and taunted for the truth’s sake take heart, rejoice, and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven.

Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 52

The Advent Part 44

Acts 2:13, “Others mocking said, ‘They are full of new wine.’”

Ever since the beginning of the Church there have always been mockers and scoffers, there have always been those who have fiercely opposed the work of God, and there have always been those who have openly declared their hatred of God Himself. No matter the number of those standing in open rebellion to God however, no matter their clout, position or power, the truth has persevered, the truth has overcome, and the truth has remained even though generation after generation of mockers and scoffers have gone into the earth.

Even though some mock the work of salvation, it does nothing to hinder God from fulfilling His plans, and from bringing to pass that which He has purposed. When we mock that which we do not understand, we are twice guilty of sin. First, to mock someone or something in and of itself is a sin, even when it is rooted in reality, but when we mock something as important as the work of the Holy Spirit based on presuppositions and the hearsay of men, we are twice guilty first for mocking, and second for believing the words of men over the Word of God. As a friend of my grandfather’s once said, ‘mockers are the devil’s minstrels, and they fill the world with the poisoned music of death.’

The tragedy of it all, is that it’s those who call themselves Christians, believers, and followers of Christ that are some of the most vitriolic and vociferous mockers when it comes to the work and power of the Holy Spirit. It is men and women who ought to know better that denigrate the gifts of the Holy Spirit, that scoff at those who continue to believe in them, and write off anyone who has experienced the true power of God as delusional or psychotic. If you don’t understand something, don’t be too quick to mock it; don’t be too quick to scoff at it, especially if what you don’t understand has to do with the power of God, the work of God, or the Word of God. We heap up judgments upon our own heads because rather than take the time, search out the Bible and discover the truth, we follow after the crowd chanting the same tired one-liners, lemming like in our devotion to a certain denominational doctrine rather to the truth of the Christ who bought us and redeemed us by His blood.

It is no surprise that the number of those who mock the gifts of the Holy Spirit has grown in our day and age, it is no surprise that revilers and scoffers have multiplied exponentially, because as Paul writes to Timothy, one of the signs of the last days is that such individuals would multiply.

Being the objective individual you all know me to be, I will concede the point that the modern day church has brought much of the scoffing and mocking on itself by allowing strange non-biblical practices to worm their way into the household of faith, and by not holding to the truth of scripture when it comes to the work and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Yes, we’ve brought these things upon our own heads by being childish, gullible, and infantile in our spirituality, looking for new experiences that require no sanctification of us, rather than biblical experiences, and embracing anything that has even a tentative whiff of the spiritual, tangential and tenuous as it might be.

Instead of running first to the Word of God to confirm that indeed at least one of the disciples barked like a dog, writhed like a snake, clucked like a chicken, got oily hands, woke up with gold fillings, punched cancer patients in the stomach or began seizing uncontrollably, we embrace what amounts to foolishness as being of God, lending our name, our reputation and our credibility to these new waves of ‘the supernatural’ encouraging others to join in as well, only to have our names dragged through the mud once these new monolithic paragons of virtue and spiritual authority turn out to be lecherous, adulterous, deceptive and downright evil conmen preying on the easily swayed and those looking for a new experience.

When we abandon scripture, when we sidestep the Gospel, when in our hunger for something exciting and new we fail to confirm that it is Biblical, our failure is ensured, certain and inevitable.

The true work of God, the power of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are glorious, life altering and above all real and available to us as believers. What more could we desire of the supernatural if all the gifts of the Holy Spirit operated within a congregation? We would see miracles, hear words of prophecy, have wisdom and knowledge and faith and discernment, hear tongues as well as the interpretation thereof. Why the need to be led around by a dog collar and bark like some mental patient? Why the need to check our molars in the mirror every morning for gold fillings? There is more than enough power within the framework of the gospel when it comes to the work of the Holy Spirit, to keep us excited and engaged for ten lifetimes never mind the handful of years we spend on this rock.

As wise and sober minded children of God, we must be ever aware that although the true power of God is still among us, and the work an gifts of the Holy Spirit are readily available to those who believe, counterfeit spirituality is likewise at an all-time high, and the enemy will go to any lengths in his attempts to deceive us, or cause our hearts to grow cold and distant toward the work of God.

2 Peter 2:1-2, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 51

The Advent Part 43

Acts 2:12, “So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘whatever could this mean?’”

The work of God for the uninitiated, or those who have never experienced it, is if only briefly a shock to the system. It is something new, never before experienced, but that shock gives way to clarity soon after the initial amazement and perplexity one experiences.

Because much of today’s church is caught up in the back and forth concerning the availability of the Holy Spirit, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, firmly planting their feet on one side of the isle or the other, we overlook certain truths concerning the infilling of the Holy Spirit that are of paramount importance for us as believers. In an instant, those who had gathered in the upper room were radically transformed, and we see the difference the Holy Spirit made in them with clarity and certainty.

These were not the same people, they were no longer fearful, they were no longer scared, they were no longer reticent in sharing the Gospel, they had suddenly become bold and courageous men and women of God whose only purpose was to lift high the name of Jesus. Truth had overcome them; truth had filled them to overflowing and as such had chased away the fear that had been evident in them before the advent of the Holy Spirit.

The power of the Holy Spirit, the infilling of the Holy Spirit, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is much more than the ability to speak in other tongues, or to prophesy, or to dream dreams, or to work miracles, the Holy Spirit gives you boldness, and He gives you strength, and He gives you authority to trumpet the truth of Christ fearlessly to whomever might be standing before you.

The flesh is weak, Jesus Himself confirmed this in the gospel according to Matthew, so if we trust in the arm of the flesh to do the work of God, if we trust in the arm of the flesh to preach the unadulterated and undiluted truth, the flesh in which we trust will fail us. Although we might say as Peter did ‘Lord I am ready to go with you to prison and even death’ and really mean it, and be sincere in our statement, when the moment of truth arrives, when the rubber meets the road as it were, if the Holy Spirit is not residing in us, our flesh will betray us, and we will do as Peter did so long ago, deny the Christ, and even be adamant in our denial.

We have placed an inordinate amount of value on these husks of flesh, we’ve made them out to be more than they are, especially in our day and age, and as such it is hard for us to come to terms with the notion that the flesh is weak, and the heart is evil, and only by the power of God residing in us, only by the power of the Holy Spirit strengthening us are we able to resist the enemy in these evil days.

The Holy Spirit took men and women of flesh, men and women given to fear and trepidation, and transformed them into fearless children of God. He changed the lives of thousands of individuals on the Day of Pentecost, and continues to do so to this very day. I know, some say that the age of miracles has passed, that God no longer does what He once did, because He’s grown tired, or His power has diminished over the centuries, but this is a lie, because we serve a God who changes not, a God who is the same yesterday, today and forevermore, a God who doesn’t need to recharge His batteries, and whose strength does not ebb with the passage of time. We serve a glorious God, a God of power, a God of miracles, a God of mercy, and a God of grace. People are still being born again, they are still having their lives radically transformed by the power of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, and to me at least, this radical transformation in the lives of individuals is the greatest miracle of all.

We strive for more in every other area of our lives except for the spiritual. In our jobs, we work hard hoping to get promoted or to get raises, in our relationships we put in the time and the effort to make them stable and make them grow, even with our hobbies we invest resources and spend time to expand our understanding and our ability, yet when it comes to the spiritual we are woefully content with the status quo. Rather than press in, rather than seek out, rather than knock that He might open, and ask that He might give, we have resigned ourselves to the existing state of affairs, believing the voices that say the Holy Spirit is no longer a viable option for the believer, even though the Word of God never makes such affirmations.

‘But the brother who said that the Holy Spirit is no longer available for us as believers and that the gifts of the Holy Spirit no longer operate is credible and well respected.’

All well and good, but men make mistakes, God does not. In His wisdom God would have made it crystal clear if and when the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased, the date and time on which they expired, because He is not the author of confusion. Why would we be encouraged to seek after spiritual gifts, why would we be encouraged to desire to prophesy if these things were no longer available? Is God so cruel in that He would encourage us to ask for something that is perpetually out of our reach or unavailable to us? I think not.

It is because we deny the power of God in our day and age, it is because we deny the baptism and infilling of the Holy Spirit that we are witnessing the weakest and most compromised generation the Church has ever produced, in a time when we ought to be the strongest generation that has ever been seen.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 50

The Advent Part 42

Acts 2:9-11, “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs – we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

In these three verses, Luke outlines all the nations and tribes from which the devout Jews traveled, as well as the nations and tribes from which proselytes were present for the Day of Pentecost. Although we could readily gloss over these verses, since some of these nations no longer exist by their ancient names, and on the surface seem irrelevant, there is a spiritual subtext to all the names that Luke listed that is interesting to say the least.

Before we get into that however, there is one thing that although glaringly obvious I would like to point out nevertheless. No matter the nationality, no matter the religion, no matter the social standing, man is a sinner, and being a sinner he is in desperate need of the grace of God which can save him. No man is exempt from the need for salvation whether due to his bloodline, lineage, wealth, prominence or position. We all, to the last, need the grace of God in order to be redeemed, reconciled unto Him, and saved from everlasting destruction. The truth of God is the same for every man, for every nation, and for every gender. There are no special clauses, there are no special exemptions for a certain segment, because the way of salvation is singular, it is one, and all who desire to be saved must walk this narrow way.

Within the list of those who had gathered, those who were present to hear the words that those who had been gathered in the upper room were speaking, we see individuals from all walks of life. The Parthians were known as the soldiers of the time, the Medes as the ordinary people of their day, the Elamites as the nobles, the Mesopotamians as the wise men, the Judeans as the religious elites of their time, those of Cappadocia as the workers or the blue collar crowd as we would call them nowadays, those of Pontus as the seamen of their day, those of Asia as the lower class, the poor, the sinner and the fallen, those of Phrygia describe those who are dead in their sins who have no life in them, those of Pamphylia were seen as an amalgam of nations all shackled by their sin, those of Egypt as the slaves of their day, those of Libya as those thirsty for salvation, those of Cyrene as those frozen in their sins, those of Rome as the proud, and those who trusted in their own might, the Cretans are seen as those enslaved by fleshly lusts, and the Arabs as those who are unfruitful or living in the desert places.

God does not identify us by our nationality, He does not identify us by the religion we were born into, He looks at us as sinners to whom He freely offers salvation. After He washes us, cleanses, us, redeems us and saves us, we are no longer of our native heritage, we are no longer of our particular tribe or nationality, but we are His, belonging to Him, becoming like Him, transformed, renewed, righteous and holy and free. This is what salvation is, the utter transformation from what we once were, to what God desires us to be.

Even though all these men from all these nations heard these Galileans speaking in their own tongue, the words that they heard were by far more important than the fact that they were hearing it in their own language.

What they heard, were not the ruminations of men, they were not the results of the latest raffle giveaway at the local church, what they heard were the wonderful works of God. It is hearing the wonderful works of God that draws men to the truth, it is hearing of His redemptive power, and the sacrifice of His Son, it is hearing of the new life in Christ and mysteries of sovereign wisdom that compels men to repent and turn to Jesus.

Colossians 1:27, “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

What befuddles me is that although we see what draws men to the truth time and time again clearly outlined within the pages of Scripture, we are on a constant quest to diminish, minimize, and altogether extricate the reality of ‘Christ in us the hope of glory’ from the message we present to a dying world lost in sin and hopelessness. Jesus and the riches of His glory have become taboo subjects even within the house of God, or what we deem to be the house of God, because the message of Christ as the only way, the only truth, and the only life is too controversial, too polarizing, and too intolerant of other religions. And so, rather than present a risen Christ, one who can free men from the shackles of sin, we substitute the message of Jesus with free giveaways, and interactive presentations of how to decrease our debt while still retain our present lifestyle.

Much of what we call the church today no longer identifies with the cross, they no longer identify with the Christ, they no longer identify with the saving grace that was obtained for us on Calvary not realizing that in attempting to sidestep these truths, in attempting to minimize that which Jesus did we are in essence negating the Gospel, and have become of all men most pitiable.

Whomever it is that we are speaking to, wherever it is that we are speaking to them, may we speak of the wonderful works of God, may we speak of Christ Jesus the Savior of men’s souls, and may we live our lives according to His precepts. There is no other way by which men can be reconciled unto God, there is no other sacrifice that God deems worthy of blotting out our sins than that of His Son, and as such there is no other way into the Kingdom than through Him.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 49

The Advent Part 41

Acts 2:8, “And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?”

The Jews that had been scattered throughout the nations knew the languages of these nations better than they knew their own native tongue. There were also the proselytes, those who had converted to Judaism but were not of Jewish birth, who did not know the Jewish language at all. This is the reason the Holy Spirit gave those present in the upper room the utterance to speak in these languages, so that they might be understood by those who otherwise would not have known what they were saying.

The question of how it was that they heard, each in the language in which they were born, was a logical one, seeing as those speaking their language were Galileans, who by all accounts had not ventured to their native countries. Shortly they would receive their answer, and it would be an answer that would change their lives in their totality. It was not merely the fact that a miracle was taking place before their eyes that would compel these men to receive truth, but also the fact that they were being evangelized in their own language. Truth is a language common to all men, wherever they might be from, whatever their native tongue might be; truth is truth and is readily understood by all who have ears to hear and hearts to receive.

Throughout the centuries men have tried to stifle the truth, to eradicate the truth, to pervert the truth, to dilute the truth, and these individuals did not attempt this of their own volition but rather spurned on by the enemy of truth. No matter what they tried, the measure in which they tried, the violence with which they tried it, or the extent to which they attempted to do away with the truth, truth persisted, it remained, and it remains to this day. Men do not fail to find the truth because it is hidden, men do not fail to find the truth because it is unavailable or otherwise hard to find, they fail to find the truth because they are unwilling to submit to it, they are unwilling to give the truth its rightful place in their hearts, and because in their pride they will not acknowledge the fact that truth has preeminence over their preconceived notions and ideas.

What many find difficult to deal with when it comes to truth, is that truth will not bend, truth will not compromise, truth will not give a little to sway you from one point of view to another. Truth remains ever the same, uncompromising, and unyielding, readily available to anyone who is willing to conform to it.

Whenever we read this passage in the book of Acts, many of us have a tendency to gloss over the monumental, even herculean things that were being asked of these devout individuals who were hearing the Gospel being preached to them in their own language. The crowd who had gathered was comprised of devout men, who were committed enough to that which they believed in to make the pilgrimage from every nation under heaven, just so they could fulfill all the obligations of what the Mosaic law required of them.

These were not nominal believers in their religion, these were not the ‘buffet line Christians’ of today, who picked and chose only those aspects of their faith that were easy to live up to, or that did nothing to impede or conflict with their present lifestyle. These were men who kept the law with rigidity, who respected the feasts and the holy days, men who were set in their ways and cemented in their belief structure. If God could reach the hearts of men such as these, if God could transform them, then I submit to you that there is hope for anyone living and breathing to be reached and touched by the love and grace of God.

In our day and age we are unaccustomed to such devotion, we are unaccustomed to such steadfastness, and when we happen upon believers who take the Word of God seriously and who strive for holiness and righteousness we look down upon them, thinking them somehow antiquated or backward, not realizing that God’s standard has not changed, and He desires, even demands the same obedience, the same devotion, the same faithfulness and the same steadfastness that He always has.

When Luke uses the word ‘devout’ it is by no means accidental or hyperbolic. The men who were hearing Galileans speak in their own language were indeed committed to their belief system, and it was the one thing uniting all of them even though they were from every nation under heaven.

It was these men, these stiff-necked, rigid, unbending, religious men which were the first to be transformed by the power of God, and the truth of the Gospel after the advent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. It was these men that God chose to reach out to in love and grace and mercy as if to say to the disciples, if these could be reached, if these could be converted, if these could be made to see truth, then the task that I have set before you of going into the world and making disciples of all the nations is achievable.

God is able to do exceedingly beyond our wildest imagination or expectation, if we as humble servants would just obey. The men and women gathered in the upper room, I believe, had an idea of what the future held for them, they knew they would be marginalized, and persecuted, and murdered, because they same had happened to their Rabbi, but rather than beg off the responsibility of preaching a risen Christ to the most religious people of their generation, rather than beg off the responsibility of preaching the Gospel to the nations, they stood as one and said, ‘we are here Lord, ready to obey, ready for you to use us in spite of ourselves and in spite of our limitations.’

May we have the same heart, may we have the same mind, may we have the same faithfulness, wherein we will stand when others have long abandoned their post, and go about our Father’s business with the requisite urgency the times we are living in demand.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 48

The Advent Part 40

Acts 2:7, “Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?’”

When the Holy Spirit fills an individual, it is clearly and immediately visible. Both friends and enemies alike will see the transformation, will see the change, and it is undeniable.

A true believer cannot remain hidden, for he is as a bright torch in the heart of darkness. You can’t help but notice that there is something different, something unique, something peculiar about a true child of God, and though the world might hate us for it, though the enemy might rage against us because of it, as children of God it becomes our nature, we become that new creature into which we have been transformed by the saving grace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

We are not what we once were, we no longer desire what we once desired, we no longer aspire to our former aspirations, we no longer conduct ourselves in the manner in which we once did, we no longer pursue what we once pursued because now the Holy Spirit is dwelling in us, and is guiding us, and is teaching us. It is not the believer who uses the Holy Spirit, contrary to popular belief, but the Holy Spirit who uses the believer. The Holy Spirit is not at our beck and call, there to impress whenever we want to show the extend of our tongues prowess, but we are at His disposal, ever ready to be used in whatever manner or fashion He sees fit.

We speak, as the Holy Spirit gives us utterance, we walk as the Holy Spirit guides us, and we labor as the Holy Spirit instructs us, because He is the gift of the Father to us, the Comforter and the Helper which Jesus promised us, reassuring us that He would not leave us orphans, that we would not be left to wander aimlessly and absent an established goal.

It is not we who teach the Holy Spirit, it is the Holy Spirit who teaches us, it is not we who demand what gifts to receive, but the Holy Spirit distributes the gifts as He sees fit, for the glory of the kingdom of God. What is required of us, is total submission to the will of God, an absolute emptying out of ourselves, that we might be filled with power, that we might walk in authority, and that we might know the full extent of what God has in store for His children.

It was not the first time that individuals marveled and were amazed, nor would it be the last. While Jesus still walked among them, He went to His own country and taught them in their synagogue, and we see their astonishment, as they wondered, ‘where does this Man get this wisdom and these mighty work? Is this not the carpenter’s son?’

Later in the book of Acts we see Peter and John the Apostles of Christ standing before the religious rulers, elders, scribes as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexandar and as many as were of the family of the high priest, and upon seeing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving that they were uneducated and untrained men, concluded that it could only have been Jesus, and the fact that they had been with Him that would cause such words to flow from their lips.

Yes, it was Jesus, yes they had been with Jesus, but it was also the Holy Spirit dwelling in them giving them utterance, inspiring them and telling them the words they must speak in order to confound even the most illuminated religious minds of the time. It was the Holy Spirit working in them and through them that was able to confound the high priest and those who had gathered, it was not the intellect or scriptural know how of Peter and John.

It was because they understood what was being said that the devout men who had gathered in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven were amazed, because one can be moved, amazed, and marvel at only that which they can perceive or understand. The Word of God is not complicated, the will of God is not complicated, the purpose for which Jesus came and took on a body of flesh, suffered, died and rose again is not complicated, and any man who attempts to complicate the Word of God or make it difficult to understand is doing God as well as the Body of Christ a disservice. These men understood the words that were being spoken, they were being spoken in their own language, and in such a way that they perceived the words they were hearing originated from somewhere other than the minds of the Galileans who were standing before them. In your physical appearance you can look like a Galilean, or an America, or a Canadian, or a Romanian for that matter, but if the Holy Spirit is dwelling in you, if the power of the Holy Spirit is flowing through you when you speak they will not be the words of an American, or a Romanian or a Galilean they will be the words of God, words that will have an effect and bear much fruit. The Spirit of God and the Word of God within the heart of an individual changes and transforms them. Truth will transform you into truth, light will transform you into light, and if the fire of God is burning inside you it will transform you into the selfsame fire.

It is the fire, it is the light, it is the truth that stirs consternation, discomfort and even hatred within the hearts of those still dwelling in darkness, and Jesus forewarned us that this would happen. Take heart dear friend if the world hates you, because it first hated Him; take heart dear friend if the world despises you, because it first despised Him. If Christ dwells in us, then the world will invariably have the same reaction to us as it did to our Lord.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 47

The Advent Part 39

Acts 2:6, “And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.”

One of the many things that I’ve learned throughout my years of ministry is that when God purposes a thing, when He initiates a plan, no matter the obstacles, no matter the seemingly impossible hurdles, God brings His plan to pass. Often times it is due to our doubt, and our unwillingness to step out in faith that God’s plan is hindered, and like Israel of old a journey that ought to have taken us forty days, ends up taking us forty years instead.

The more we mature, the more we grow in God, the more we walk with God we learn the paramount importance of obedience when it comes to doing His work. Human reason will fight us, the flesh will whisper that we have been set about an impossible mission, but it is our duty to overcome the whispers of the flesh, to see with eyes of faith that which the eyes of flesh cannot see, and walk boldly in the calling that God has called us to.

If someone would have told the disciples and those gathered in the upper room that devout men from every nation under heaven would be made to hear the Gospel, as one, simultaneously in their own language, chances are that they would have spent a considerable amount of time wondering just how this was going to occur.

‘Do we find interpreters? Do we find someone to translate for us? How is this possible? How will this happen?’

All valid questions, but often times when God reveals the finality of a plan to us, the way in which He brings that plan to completion and the way we envisioned He would bring it to completion are as far removed from each other as the earth is from the heavens.

Although the house in which the disciples were gathered was filled with the sound from heaven as of a mighty rushing wind, those who were outside heard the sound, and were confused. First, the multitudes were given to hear the sound, that their attention might be captured, that they might be drawn to this nondescript home, then they were given to hear the disciples and the others who were gathered speak in their own language.

One could only imagine the crowd that had by now gathered in front of the home, one could only imagine the whispers, and the confusion on the faces of these devout individuals, seeing these men and women speaking to them in their own language.

There is a question I would like to pose, one that given the ‘little gods’ era we are living in might be offensive to some, but what could those who had gathered in the upper room possible have done in and of themselves, absent the advent and the power of the Holy Spirit to draw such a crowd and witness the Gospel to them?

The answer is of course, nothing! There is nothing those individuals could have done, although they were gathered in prayer, although they were in one accord, although they were being faithful to the command of Jesus to wait in Jerusalem, to draw the crowd that had gathered, or witness so effectively without the presence of the Holy Spirit.

So often we try to do things on our own only to see ourselves fail time and again. We try to speak when God is silent, we try to remain silent when God is speaking for fear of offending the influential or being labeled a zealot, we think we know better than God, or have a more comprehensive way of reaching the lost than simply being a living testimony of Jesus.

Seeing all our plans and growth projections and future outlooks come to naught, we then grow frustrated and angry, not at ourselves for having stepped out of the will of God, not at ourselves for trying to do on our own only what God could do, but at God Himself because He didn’t see the brilliance of our strategies and cause them to succeed. We become as spoiled children, bratty and precocious stomping our feet and wringing our hands, because things didn’t happen the way we thought they would, nor in the timeframe we had allotted for that particular project.

Here’s a novel idea, why not let God be God? Why not shake off the notion of being a ‘little god’ or of being entitled to having everything you ever wanted, and just answer when God calls you, follow where God leads you, speak when He tells you, and be unconcerned with the details of how it will all work out. Be in the moment with God, go about performing the task He has entrusted you with wholeheartedly and to the best of your ability, and whatever fruit will come of it, whatever hearts you might reach, however many souls might come to know the Christ through your ministry or your labors will be something that God and God alone can and will keep track of.

It still saddens men when I see preachers glory in how many commitment cards were signed at a given crusade, or how many people came up to the altar, as though the number in and of itself justifies their ministry, or gives them some sort of credibility equity. It is God that stirs the heart, it is God that calls the soul, it is God that makes the way, and all the glory for the work He does, all the praise for the hearts He stirs, are due Him and Him alone.

Those gathered in the upper room went on the be used of God in mighty and wondrous ways, seeing thousands converted in one sermon, seeing miracles, and signs, casting out demons, and walking in authority, but throughout it all they knew it wasn’t them. The memory of that upper room, the memory of the sound as of a rushing mighty wind, the memory of the tongues of fire, and the tongues in which they spoke to men who had come from every nation under heaven would remain fresh on their mind, and whatever was done through them, they never ceased to give all the glory to God.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 46

The Advent Part 38

Acts 2:5, “Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.”

The fact that God chose Passover and Pentecost, two of the most important holy days for the Jewish people to pour out the Holy Spirit was by no means an accident or happenstance. Everything God does is planned to the minutest of details, leaving nothing to chance, and in all things great and small God has a plan. This instance was no exception, as God chose this time, and Jerusalem as the place to make known to His beloved the mystery of His will, and continue His great plan of mankind’s redemption.

Ephesians 1:7-12, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him, in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”

God never intended for the advent of the Holy Spirit to take place in secret, He never intended it to be done with subtlety, this was the blaring sound of the trumpet, the blaring sound of the ram’s horn, signifying to all who were present that a new era had just begun, that the Church had just been birthed, and that all who were thirsty could come and drink.

The Word tells us that in Jerusalem at the time of the advent of the Holy Spirit there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven. There would have been no better time to reveal the truth than this, and God in His perfect wisdom knew this long before the Day of Pentecost came around.

In our never ending quest to process, to reason, to understand, and logically label every event in our lives, in our need to make sense of everything all the time, we lose sight of the fact that God works all things according to the counsel of His will. There are no accidents in life, we are not as rudderless ships thrown about to and fro by chance or coincidence, but everything that happens, everything that occurs in our lives, has a purpose and a plan, and is done according to the good pleasure which God purposed in Himself.

Even though the devout Jews of that time had traveled to other nations, the Word telling us that it was every nation under heaven, and even though they had integrated into the societies to which they traveled, speaking their language, there were still certain religious duties that they had to perform, some of which required a pilgrimage of sorts to Jerusalem.

It was only here in Jerusalem, in fact it was in the temple that they would bring their gifts and offerings before the Lord, it was only in Jerusalem that they could celebrate the Lord’s Passover, have holy convocations, and fulfill the law of Moses as it was given to them in the twenty third chapter of Leviticus. Not all Jews who lived abroad traveled to Jerusalem for these feasts and celebrations, but only those who were considered devout, wholly committed and dedicated to the Law of Moses.

It was here in the presence of those who had gathered from every nation under heaven that God saw fit to birth the Church. The birth of the Church is not merely a spiritual work which God did, but it is also historically proven out that fifty days after the resurrection of Christ, on the Day of Pentecost, at around the third hour of the day which is 9 am, the Church was born.

Even from its inception the congregation of God gave a powerful witness and a powerful testimony to a great multitude of people, as previously mentioned an estimated two million souls, each in their own specific tongue that they might understand and believe. Faith in Christ, salvation through Christ, redemption by Christ, is not reserved for only a handful of individuals, it is not reserved for only a specific nation or nationality but rather it is for all who believe, all who come to know Jesus as Lord, Savior, and King. God proved His impartiality on the Day of Pentecost, speaking to each in their own tongue that they might know the saving grace that is our surrender to Christ, and our worship of Him.

Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

The grace of God that brings salvation, has appeared to all men, and it teaches us that we ought to deny ungodliness, we ought to deny worldly lusts, and live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age. God has done His part, His grace has appeared to all men, it teaches us right from wrong, it teaches us the way of truth from the way of deception, the way of light from the way of darkness, it reveals the hidden truths of God to us and shows us what we must do, but whether we choose to obey, whether we choose to follow, whether we choose to submit, are decisions we must make individually. God’s desire is to redeem us from every lawless deed, to purify us for Himself as His own special people, and if in humility and repentance we come before Him, He is willing and able to do just that. He will not however force us into His kingdom, He will not twist our arm to walk through the narrow gate, we must do so of our own volition.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 45

The Advent Part 37

The divided tongues as of fire were the visible signs of the invisible gifts of the Holy Spirit, which were distributed to all who were present in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost. It was not the visible sign that was the gift of the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Spirit Himself, because the visible sign, the tongues as of fire, disappeared shortly after they appeared atop each of them. The Holy Spirit, and the power thereof, remained in them long after the visible sign of the tongues of fire dissipated, in fact, perpetually so until the Lord called them home individually.

When Jesus came to be baptized in the Jordan, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove. This was the visible sign that likewise shortly disappeared, but the Holy Spirit remained with Christ in perpetuity.

So what’s the point that I’m trying to make? Well, the point is a simple yet important one. We cannot tether our hearts to signs, but rather we must tether our hearts to the Holy Spirit, which remains in us and with us at all times. Sings come in various ways, and often times they are so subtle that we miss them, and if our focus is upon the signs rather than faithfully following after Jesus, we will grow despondent and discouraged because the signs we were expecting did not manifest in the manner in which we were expecting them.

The disciples were not gathered in the upper room looking for a sign, they were there out of obedience to Jesus, waiting patiently for the promise of the Father to be given to them. They did not know what form this promise would take, when it would come, or how it would come, but they knew that it would, and whatever manner God chose to fulfill His promise was entirely up to Him.

There were three essential conditions that those who had been gathered in the upper room met, three requirements that they fulfilled in order for the Holy Spirit to descend upon them, and I would be remiss if I didn’t cover these three things, if only briefly.

The first requirement that all who had gathered together met was that they had complete faith in the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, and they were steadfast in their belief concerning His resurrection. Every single person gathered there knew what they believed, why they believed it, and their faith was grounded and sure and unshakable.

We can’t believe in Jesus only when we are surrounded by other believers, we can’t believe in Jesus only when we face no opposition to our beliefs, we can’t believe in Jesus only when it’s beneficial to us, or requires no sacrifice of us. Our faith must go deeper, and must extend farther than just believing in Jesus because our parents did, or because our wife or husband asked us to convert to their denomination before we got married. We must have faith, deep, burning, unfaltering faith in the Godhood of Jesus, the fact that indeed He died for our sins, and that He rose again on the third day. These requirements are non-negotiable, we cannot substitute them with anything else, and we must hold to these truths no matter the cost.

The second requirement that all who had gathered together met was the shared knowledge and realization that they needed God’s help. Their actions and their conduct during the crucifixion of Christ was still fresh on their mind, they realized their own weaknesses, their own fears, their own impotence, they realized that in and of themselves they could not stand, they could not be His witnesses, they could not face pain and loss and death without flinching. Every soul gathered in the upper room had come to confront their own weakness, they had come to confront their own failings, they had come to confront their own limitations only to realize that they could not overcome these things by themselves or in and of themselves.

They knew they needed the power of God, they knew they needed the presence of God, they knew they needed the Holy Spirit that had been promised to them, because without it, it was very likely that they would once more run away, and hide, and deny Him, they would once more let fear overtake them and drag them down to the depths of desperation.

When we think we can overcome an obstacle on our own, or confront the enemy on our own without God’s help, without God’s guidance, or without God’s intervention we’ve already lost, the enemy has already won, and it’s only a matter of time before we find ourselves victims of our own hubris.

The third requirement that all who had gathered together met was that they were as one when it came to their commitment to Jesus. None of those who had gathered together were present because they were looking to exploit an angle, none of them were there to seek after their own glory none of them had waited and waited for the promise of the Father to descend so they could turn around and make a few shekels from it, they were there for their King and Lord, for His glory and honor, waiting to be equipped that they may carry out His command to preach the Gospel to the nations.

God knows the intent of our hearts, He sees deep within, nothing being hid from His eye, and this is why many who ask of God for the same reasons as Simon Magus, or Simon the Sorcerer did, only receive His rebuke and no impartation of gifts.

If we desire to serve God, it must be for the right reasons, with the right intentions and for the right purpose. It cannot be to further our own agenda, it cannot be to create our own pseudo-kingdoms, it cannot be to garner followers for ourselves, but rather it must all be to the glory of the most High God, the One who was and is and shall forevermore be righteous and holy and just.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.