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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 175

The Gifts Part 80

Tongues continued...

Generalizing is all well and good; in fact I do it all the time, to the chagrin of some, to the anger of others, but when it comes to the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit we cannot afford to generalize. Even among those who believe in the present power and gifts of the Holy Spirit there is a tendency to speak on these things not so much to acquire wisdom or for understanding’s sake, but to get a congregation or a group of believers enthused and excited.

It would be far easier for me to throw a few one liners your way, write a few catchy phrases about the Holy Spirit in bold italics, and pump you up, than diligently and biblically go through every gift and discuss it in detail. Easy however isn’t always best, and just as with everything else in this present life, it is wise to understand the mechanism of a thing, how it works, what its function is, and how it ought to be used.

We don’t like directions. We don’t like reading them, asking for them, or even following them sometimes, and then we become frustrated and annoyed when what was supposed to be a crib looks more like a medieval torture device when we’re done attempting to assemble it. Directions are important, instruction matters, and it is incumbent upon us as individuals to not only know that the Holy Spirit and the gifts thereof are still among us, but what the function of each individual gift is, how it operates within the Body, and how we go about operating in them.

You don’t try to stick your hand in a blender while it’s running, you don’t try to unscrew the radiator cap when your car’s overheated and steam is whistling out of it, and you don’t attempt to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit without understanding their function and their purpose.

The gift of speaking in other tongues is unique to the New Testament. There is no mention or manifestation of the gift of tongues in the Old Testament as there is of prophecy, healings, faith, miracles, discernment, wisdom or knowledge.

The first to mention the gift of different kinds of tongues in the New Testament is none other than Christ Jesus.

Mark 16:17-18, “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Essentially Christ lays out five signs that will follow those who believe. Seeing as Jesus was quick to give an explanation when an explanation was required, seeing as He took no pleasure in leaving His disciples in the dark and always went out of His way to enlighten them concerning spiritual matters, it befuddles me that if indeed the gifts of the Holy Spirit were to be present only for a season Jesus didn’t specify this all important aspect.

There were a dozen different ways that Jesus could have worded His statement that would have made it crystal clear if indeed the signs that were to follow those who believed, would be present only for that singular generation, for that small group of people He was speaking to, or for His disciples alone.

Jesus could have prefaced His statement by telling His disciples how special they were because from that point forward until the end of the age, they alone would be those who would be followed by signs such as casting out demons, speaking in tongues, healing the sick, or taking up serpents, He could have impressed upon them how special their generation was for having had the privilege to walk in power and authority when all the generations that would follow would be relatively impotent and powerless, but all Jesus said was, ‘these signs will follow those who believe.’

No, I do not believe Jesus was generalizing for generalization’s sake, I believe He meant what He said, that in fact the signs He would go on to enumerate would follow those who believed.

Among the five signs that Jesus said would follow those who believed, He included tongues.

When discussing speaking in tongues, the Bible uses three different expressions, for what is essentially the same gift. In the gospel according to Mark, Jesus refers to this gift as new tongues; in the Acts of the Apostles, Luke refers to this gift other tongues; and in his first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul refers to this gift as different kinds of tongues.

Although within the camp of those of us who still believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit there is much discussion and disagreement as to whether the gift of tongues is human tongues, or tongues unknown by men, when we delve into the word of God we discover that it is in fact both.

Admittedly, the only time men spoke in tongues and others understood the tongues in which they spoke was on the day of Pentecost when the devout had gathered from many nations, the biblical precedent still exists, and though it isn’t doctrine or gospel, my personal experiences also confirm that God can use the gift of tongues to communicate a message to an individual that would have otherwise not understood what you were trying to say.

It hasn’t happened often, but I have witnessed it on more than one occasion, wherein someone who had never studied the language spoke French, Dutch, and even Russian, because there was someone present within the congregation who spoke these languages, and via a vessel God desired to speak to these individuals personally.

Overwhelmingly, when the gift of tongues manifests, it is a language only God knows, not understood by the individual in question or the congregation unless an interpretation comes forth, but yes there are times when God uses the gift of tongues as a way of reaching those from other lands who are present within the congregation.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 174

The Gifts Part 79

Tongues continued...

There are two kinds of people that do not have the luxury of telling people what they want to hear: doctors, and preachers. Your neighbor might tell you your lawn looks great even though it doesn’t, your barber might insist that you really aren’t losing your hair even though you are, your spouse might maintain that neon green polyester pantsuits are back in style even though they never were, but when it comes to doctors and preachers they can’t tell you want you want to hear simply to spare your feelings or make you feel good about yourself.

Sometimes the truth hurts, but it is necessary for us to hear it. Sometimes the truth is the last thing we want to hear but it’s the one thing we need to hear.

I often wonder what the Bible would read like today if Paul and Peter, Matthew, James, John or Luke had been more interested in building their ministries than preserving and transmitting the truth. What would the word of God read like if the Apostles and Disciples of Christ were more concerned with personal kingdom building than obedience to God the Father?

If Paul would have employed the mindset of so many preachers today, that of accentuating the positive, and ignoring the shortcomings of certain individuals or a certain body, he would have simply praised the Corinthians for their avid desire to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and would not have rebuked them for their lack of love. What the church at Corinth would have wanted to hear and I know this because throughout every generation it is predictably identical is that they were doing great, that they were spiritual juggernauts, that there was nothing they needed to work on, and that they had reached the heights of knowledge others merely dreamed of reaching.

Give the people what they want, and you will be loved and praised. Give the people what they need, and they will hate you and scorn you for it. What those who don’t think but simply react to being told what they need rather than what they want to hear, is that they are being told these things for their own good, for their own edification, and for their own spiritual wellbeing.

No man of God sets out to make enemies, no man of God wakes up one morning and decides to become the object of scorn and disdain just because he needs some excitement in his life. True men of God obey the voice of God knowing full well that these things will follow, knowing full well that they will be belittled, reviled, despised and disparaged once they have spoken, but having no choice in the matter.

I’m certain that once they read Paul’s letter to them, there were those within the church of Corinth who thought to themselves, ‘who does he think he is? How dare he? Isn’t this the same guy that just a while back was persecuting the church, why should we listen to him now?’ Such reactions would not have come if all Paul had done was praise them, they would not have bristled if Paul hadn’t challenged them, but it was for their own good, it was out of love, and a deep desire to see the house of God as strong, and vibrant and full of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit as it ought to have been.

No, I didn’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, today’s post is an involuntary reaction to an e-mail I received sometime during the night from the ever present ‘anonymous’ who felt as though I was judging people, and queried who it was I believed myself to be to make such claims as ‘it is due to our disobedience, immaturity and unwillingness to let go of the things of this earth that we are not seeing the power of God manifest within the church.’

Dear anonymous, I am nobody, save someone with eyes to see, and ears to hear that which is happening within the confines of what we call the church today. If you believe that the current spiritual climate is as good as it gets, or as good as God intended it to be, then I feel sorry for you. If however you realize as so many have in recent years that what the church has become and what the Bible says it ought to be are very different indeed, then only one question need be asked and answered: Between God and the church, who is it incumbent upon to change? Ought God to change in order to suit our views, or ought we as the church change to be in harmony with God and His word?

Convince a man he need not change, even though in the depths of his heart he knows he ought, convince him that he’s perfectly fine living in sin, and duplicity and hypocrisy, and you will have a friend for life, for anything that gives liberty to the flesh and does not bring it into submission, will be loved by the flesh.

The problem however arises when we begin to contemplate the fact that this present life will one day end, and sooner or later we will have to stand before the judgment seat of God and answer for the unbiblical liberties we handed out to people like party favors, as well as for the souls of those who trusted us to lead them to the truth, yet whom we allowed to remain shackled and bound for fear of losing their support or their friendship.

I would rather have no friends left to speak of, yet see everyone I loved enough to speak the truth to in heaven, than delude myself into believing that the world is my oyster, all of its inhabitants are my dear, dear friends, and one day have to give account for my silence, cowardice and unwillingness to obey the word of God when the obedience thereof would have cost me something.

Paul knew that he was endangering his friendship with those within the church of Corinth, Paul knew that he would upset some of them by the words he wrote, but his allegiance was to God, and the after-effects of his obedience to the Father were immaterial to him.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 173

The Gifts Part 78

Tongues continued...

1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

There is much to love about the word of God. One of the things I personally cherish most about the Bible is the simplicity, with which it is presented, wherein even a child could understand its meaning, while simultaneously being so layered in profundity that it challenges even the most astute and intellectual of minds.

Via the word of God, we receive direction for our lives, and come to understand the purpose of past events, the meaning of present events, and even get a glimpse into what the future holds. The Bible is limitless in the light that it puts forth, the understanding it makes available, and the knowledge that it provides to the children of God. Though the world might mock and scoff, though those who are perishing might consider the Bible and the message of the cross foolishness, to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

We cannot live with the expectation that those around us will ever understand the deeper things of God as long as they remain in darkness. Try as one might to explain the power of God, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the presence of Christ in one’s heart to the natural man, he cannot receive these things, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. As such, our duty as believers and bondservants of Christ is not to explain the mysteries of the spiritual to the unbeliever, it is not to begin dissecting bowls, and plagues, and trumpets, or attempting to identify the beast of Revelation, our duty is to present the message of the cross, the message of repentance, and the person of Jesus to them, in the love that ought to be characteristic of every believer.

I mention this only because I’ve gotten an inordinate amount of mail on the topic, wherein certain individuals with the best of intentions sat down with their unsaved kin and began to tell them of end time prophecy and the rise of the Antichrist. We can’t put the cart before the horse, nor can we draw water before we have an empty vessel to put it in. Knowing that the natural man can neither receive, know or understand these things because they are spiritually discerned, our chief duty is to point the way to the One that can renew their mind and heart, that can transform them to the point that they too will begin to discern spiritually.

This last verse in the thirteenth chapter of first Corinthians is a succinct lesson in what God desires His servants to know concerning His values, those often overlooked virtues that are necessary for our sanctification and happiness.

Faith, hope and love, these are three evident attributes in every individual that dwells in Christ. The absence of any of these three attributes or virtues will inevitably impair one’s spiritual journey sooner or later. In fact, it is difficult to imagine a healthy, vibrant, power filled Christian life without these three godly attributes. If we have no faith, then we have no Gospel, and we have no Savior. If we have no hope, then we have no life to come, no inheritance, and no peace concerning the finality of this present life on earth. If we have no love, then we have nothing in our hearts that resembles God.

By faith we are saved, by hope we do not fear for tomorrow, and by love we forget about ourselves. If faith and hope are for our own benefit, for our own edification, for our own comfort, love is for the benefit, edification and comfort of those around us. Love seeks out the broken hearts; love seeks out those who are hurting and gives of itself unconditionally. Love places itself in the service of Christ, and whatever Christ may ask of it, love does it without complaint or the expectation of remuneration.

Through love we know more of God than through all the other gifts that are available to us. Faith and hope bring us to Him, but love allows us to know His heart because God is love. Because God is love, it is also love that motivates Him. Love compelled God to send His Son Jesus, and love compelled Jesus to be born in a manger in Bethlehem, and die hanging on a cross on Golgotha. Love, to this day, compels God to call out to those who would hear, to plead with those headed toward destruction, to reveal His grace to mankind, and offer a means by which fallen man can be reconciled unto Him.

Much and more could be said about these three great pillars of the heart, and though we might possess all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, if these three are not evident in our lives, we are still lacking and incomplete. Faith sanctifies us, hope makes us resilient, and love gives us joy. Faith receives and possesses, love gives, and hope waits patiently. Faith strengthens the heart, love makes the heart feel, and hope expands it. Faith clings to that which it has received, love gives that which it has received, and hope lays claim to that which it has not yet received. Faith allows us to overcome the world, love to serve, and hope to deny the things of the world.

Although they might seem at odds with each other at times, faith, hope and love work in concert, growing us, molding us, chiseling us into becoming more like Jesus every day.

Faith ceases its labors when we come to possess that which we desired; hope ceases its labors when we have come into the fullness of that which was promised; love however never ceases for god Himself is love.

May we have love in abundance, and do all that we do as unto God out of love, for love continues its journey long after duty has expended its resources.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 172

The Gifts Part 77

Tongues continued...

1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

For now, we know in part, we see in part, we understand in part, we prophecy in part, but when that which is perfect has come, and we see Him face to face, we shall know just as also we are known.

For now we see in a mirror, we look into the word of God, but on that great day when He returns we will see the Word face to face. On that day our understanding will no longer be limited, our sight will no longer be dimmed, our knowledge will no longer be partial, we will know, just as we are known, and the word of God tells us that we are known fully, completely, to the farthest depth of our heart and soul.

These vessels of clay are too weak and fragile to carry the weight of all the treasures that wait beyond the veil. We cannot know, understand or see fully until we are transformed in the blink of an eye, without corruption, without limitations, without inadequacies.

No matter how trained in matters of the spiritual, our minds are too limited to grasp the limitlessness of the things of the Kingdom of God which is to come. Yes, I know, by some men’s estimation we are as little gods and as such can pierce, perceive and process the mysteries of eternity as readily as the one true God, but you and I both know that we are woefully ill equipped to even begin unraveling the mysteries of the Kingdom and all that it contains.

Just because we like to feed the flames of our foolish pride by thinking ourselves miniature deities, or little gods, thinking oneself a certain thing does not necessarily make them so. All the nonsensical clich├ęs we’ve taken to like fish to water, from ‘if you can dream it, you can be it’ to ‘grow into your vision of yourself’ to ‘positive thoughts bring positive results’ comforting as they might be to the flesh, still have their limitations and save for a complete mental breakdown, none of us really believe we are little gods, even if ‘gods’ is spelled with a lower case ‘g’. We are the clay, He is the potter. We are creation, He is creator. We are the work of His hands.

Look into any mirror nowadays, and you will realize the reflection staring back at you is anything but dim. Looking at Paul’s words through the prism of an individual born of this generation one might consider that they are somehow out of place. We look into mirrors all the time and we don’t see dimly. Our reflections are crisp and clear, so much so that often times we would wish for something that would more kindly and less vividly reflect the wrinkles that appear as we age. When Paul wrote these words however, mirrors as we know them did not exist. During those days, men would use polished pieces of metal, whether bronze, silver or copper to look upon their reflections, and that which they saw in the polished piece of metal was indeed dim, unfocused, and unclear.

Taking into account what it was he referred to as a mirror, Paul’s analogy is spot on, and leaves nothing to be desired. We see dimly, we see in part, that which we see is often clouded and ill defined, and it is for this reason that we walk by faith, and not by sight.

Paul divides this verse into two distinct timelines, speaking of the present, the now, and speaking of a future time which he refers to as then. In order to see Him face to face then, we must now live in obedience of God and His word. It is often said that the future is the offspring of the present, and that which we do in the present determines the outcome of the future.

Even though in the present, in the now we see in a mirror, dimly, even though in the now we cannot perceive or process the realities waiting beyond the veil, we have a true and lasting promise that our race will not have been run in vain, that there is a prize waiting for us at the finish line, and that our Lord, our Savior, and our King is waiting for us with arms wide open.

Then, we will have our heavenly bodies, then, we will be able to carry the weight of all the heavenly treasures that await, then, we will know fully, and understand fully, and in so doing, fall at His feet and praise Him and glorify Him for all eternity.

I believe that even now we have but a rudimentary understanding of what it is that Jesus did for mankind. Even now we have a but a rudimentary understanding of what it is He sacrificed, and how much He suffered that you and I might be reconciled unto God. When we see Him face to face however, we will know fully and not just in part, we will understand completely and not just theoretically, and love Him all the more, and thank Him all the more, and praise Him all the more.

The day approaches when we will know Him just as we are known by Him, in the fullness of His majesty, in the fullness of His glory, in the fullness of His authority, in the fullness of His divinity. Until that blessed day however, we must remain ever faithful, ever obedient, being doers of the word of God and keeping our eyes firmly affixed upon the Christ who stands before us.

James 1:23-25, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 171

The Gifts Part 76

Tongues continued...

1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

Although many within the house of God today insist that raising a hand, saying a prayer, throwing a few bucks in the offering plate, then getting on with the rest of your life is all that’s required of a child of God, in a roundabout way Paul is telling the church at Corinth, and by association every believer, that perpetual spiritual infancy is detrimental to one’s wellbeing.

We were all children, we all spoke as children, we all understood as children, we all thought as children, but as we grew, as we matured, as we became adults we put away childish things.

I see every area of my life differently today than I did thirty years ago, I understand things differently, I think about things on a whole different scale, because the way of things is that as we grow and mature we change and do away with those things that we once enjoyed out of immaturity and childishness.

Granted, society today is trending toward keeping people in the same infantile state in perpetuity, encouraging them to essentially play with the same toys as they did in their youth, only more expensive versions of them. Fully grown men, who should have by now put away childish things, are still spending hours on end playing video games, attempting to jump off homes using table cloths as makeshift parachutes, sticking fireworks in watermelons just to see them blow up, and scores of others things that should have been abandoned with the onset of facial hair.

I think the most attractive thing about remaining childlike in words, thoughts and understanding is the lack of accountability and responsibility that is implied. When you’re a child and think as a child there are no bills to pay, there is no grocery shopping to be done, there is no laundry to fold, life is good and absent responsibilities of any kind save for going to school. You know that someone will have made breakfast and packed you a lunch, you know that as evening approaches dinner will be ready, and you only begin to understand the struggles your parents went through to put that food on the table once you grow up, move out, get married, and have a family of your own.

Some people never want to grow up, some people never do, and refusing to mature is as debilitating spiritually as it is emotionally or physically. Although immaturity might not seem like such a bad thing to most people, when we dig down to the root of certain issues we see that immaturity or some version thereof was the cause of it. I have seen marriages fall apart due to immaturity, because either one or both of the individuals in question still thought as children, and understood as children.

On the one hand the wife thought she was a princess, that she was supposed to be put on a pedestal, and have every want catered to, and on the other hand the husband thought his wife was a substitute for his mother, who was only there to cook and clean and make sure he gets off to school on time. For someone stuck in an immature understanding, the notion of husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church, or of wives submitting to their husbands is as baffling, mystifying, and bewildering as calculus to a chimpanzee. This is just one of many examples that I can share whose root cause was a childish mentality, and a childish understanding of this present life.

When I was a child I spoke as a child; I didn’t have to weigh my words, I didn’t have to measure them, I didn’t have to guard my tongue, I didn’t have to wonder if I was hurting someone’s feelings with the words I was saying. You will never find a more brutally honest creature on the face of the earth than a child. My niece is seven going on forty, and she notices everything. If I let my beard grow out a few days and I happen to visit she’ll dutifully point out that I look homeless, If I gain a little winter weight she’ll dutifully point out that I’m getting fat again, and it’s not because she’s mean spirited or trying to hurt my feelings, she is a child, and speaks as such.

When it comes to lack of guile, innocence, ability to trust, or dependence on one’s parents, it is good to be childlike. When it comes to words and thoughts and understanding however, it is mandatory that we grow and mature as any child eventually does.

This was the essence of Paul’s issue with the church at Corinth. Like any children would, they wanted the new toys, they wanted to possess them, and play with them, and show them off to the other children in the hopes that the other children would be jealous. Because they lacked maturity, because they lacked understanding those of the church of Corinth had not learned to respect the work of God, go about it reverently, keep themselves away from sin, or even discern between good and evil. These were concepts that required maturity, and maturity was something that the Corinthians lacked.

Rather than be united in love and purpose, the Corinthian church had degraded to the point that they were all playing ‘the apostle I follow can beat up your apostle’ or ‘my gift’s better than your gift’, utterly dismissing the deeper things of God, or the standard to which God had called them.

Sin was running rampant, division was abundant, the work of God was being ignored and disdained, yet those of Corinth continued to cling to their childish thoughts, words and understandings.

1 Corinthians 3:1-2, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 170

The Gifts Part 75

Tongues continued...

1 Corinthians 13:10, “But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.”

For the proponents of cessation, this is most often the verse that is used to make their case. The reason this particular verse is so often quoted by those who believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are no more, is due to the misidentification of ‘that which is perfect’, because they believe that Paul is referring to the canon of scripture, the Bible, as being ‘that which is perfect.’

Although the proponents of cessation defend their interpretation vociferously, there is no scripture that supports their interpretation as to the Bible being ‘that which is perfect’ that Paul was referring to.

So what is ‘that which is perfect’ that is yet to come? Jesus of course, and throughout this exegetical detour, I will prove this truth out biblically.

Once again, our duty as followers of Christ is to defer to the gospel, to defer to the word of God, and not make up doctrines that will fit our preconceived notions. Due to certain denominational guidelines, there are an untold number of souls that continually attempt to fit a square peg into a round hole, and though it doesn’t quite fit properly they force it, and pound it, and twist it in, until there is some semblance of cohesion.

In my younger days, shortly after I came to America, I was informed by a ruddy cheeked elementary school teacher with a lisp that it was unhealthy for a child not to have a hobby. At the time I did not realize that collecting aluminum cans and empty bottles to take to the recycling center so I could help put food on the table was sort of like a hobby, so wanting to fit in with my new adopted nation, I decided I would get myself a new pastime. Granted, I didn’t have time for leisure pursuits even though I was barely ten years old, because life was hard, and between school, homework, and scouring the neighborhood for cans and bottles, the day was spent.

Nevertheless, after saving up my nickels and dimes for what seemed like an eternity, I went down to the local store, found the hobby section, and proceeded to purchase a five hundred piece puzzle, which upon its completion would be an old fashioned sailing ship.

I ran home, found a place in the corner of the living room where I knew there wouldn’t be much foot traffic because seven people in a two bedroom apartment makes for a busy place, and got to work on my new hobby. A few hours went by and as I inspected the work of my hands I realized with horror that the half-finished puzzle before me looked nothing like the picture on the box. Pieces of the cannon were dispersed throughout the sail, the ship looked nothing like a ship, and it was because I was forcing pieces of the puzzle where they had no business being just because they seemed to fit if only I forced them in just a little. That was my first and last foray into puzzle building, as well as my singular attempt at getting a hobby, but the lesson I learned from those few frustrating hours is one that has stayed with me throughout the years.

Each piece of a puzzle has its own unique and appropriate place, and if you attempt to force a piece where it doesn’t belong, it will ruin the whole.

Sin brought corruption and darkness into the heart of man. Jesus, the Christ, came from His heavenly glory, took on a body of flesh, and paid for man’s redemption with His own precious blood. Through Christ and His sacrifice we were given the opportunity to be free from the bondage and shackles of sin.

With His first coming, Christ paid the price for our redemption and established His Church. With His second coming, He will forever do away with the reign of the enemy and of sin, and a new age will begin. This is what the apostle Paul is referring to when he says ‘but when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away with.’

Due to sin’s reign upon the land, while still in flesh, man will forever be limited in his knowledge, man will forever know in part. The human mind can never know completely, for by its very nature it is limited.

When Christ returns however all that which is in part will be done away with. Tongues will cease, partial knowledge will cease, the struggles of faith will cease, miracles will cease, as will all the means of grace which God employs in aiding mankind to come to the knowledge of Christ, for in the Kingdom of Holiness, all things will be complete. This is the goal toward which all the saints aspire, and having reached their goal, having laid claim to the prize, the race is complete.

There will come a day when the reality of the Kingdom will do away with shadows and symbols, when it will do away with partial knowledge and partial understanding. That day will be the day of our beloved Lord’s return, the day in which He will come to claim His Bride, that which is rightfully His. When that which is perfect is come, when the Son of Man returns, when Christ the King will appear, that which is in part will be done away with.

For now, we still need the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we still need the power of God, we still need all that God says we have at our disposal for the battle is not over, the race is not won, and that which is perfect has not come.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 169

The Gifts Part 74

Tongues continued...

The church at Corinth had started to practice what is still being practiced by some today, they had started focusing exclusively on one or two gifts of the Holy Spirit, wielding them absent the love required of every servant of God. It is only when love is present within a congregation that it can be united as one body, with one purpose, and one goal. When love is lacking or altogether absent, there is an overwhelming tendency to separate the body into two classes. The ruling class, those who would lord over the fellowship and in their own eyes can do no wrong, and the rest, who are responsible for keeping the ruling class living the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.

We see this in many churches today, regardless of denomination, wherein ‘the bishop, the elder, the prophet’, or whatever new titles they are claiming nowadays live lives Middle Eastern oil sheiks would be envious of, while their congregants, barely subsisting, are repeatedly warned that if they don’t continue to finance the mansions, and the jets and the ridiculously overpriced cars, God will punish them and remove His favor. Although shameless greed might be the symptom in such men, the underlying cause is absence of love for the brethren. If I truly love someone, I will not attempt to fleece them, I will not attempt to increase my net worth or the number of cars I own at their expense. If I truly love someone, I will sacrifice of myself, lay aside my own needs in order to see theirs met, and live my life in such a way wherein the world will know that we not only speak of the kingdom to come, but believe with all our hearts that it is on its way. It’s strange how some men preach on heaven, yet by their actions and conduct one concludes that they have no desire to go there any time soon.

Let’s face it, God never promised us vacation homes, second and third residences, or ski lodges when we get to heaven, He promised us one home with Him, so most evangelists and famous preachers would actually have to downsize drastically. Maybe that’s why so many are intent on focusing on this spinning rock with such laser like focus, maybe that’s why they’re preaching on the material world rather than the Kingdom so passionately. They’ve built their kingdoms here on earth, they’ve amassed and hoarded all that they could and now they are hesitant to leave it all behind.

Do I believe in giving to ministry and to the work of God? Yes, of course I do! It is love that compels us to give, it is love that compels us to reach out to the hungry and the hurting and hopeless, but don’t confuse helping an individual acquire a new private jet with the true and undefiled worship of caring for the widow and the orphan.

Since the word of God tells us that He is love, we are more readily able to perceive Paul’s meaning when he says that love never fails. All things pass away, all things fail but love cannot for God is love and He is eternal.

1 Corinthians 13:9, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part.”

We know in part; a simple yet profound truth. Because we know in part we prophesy in part, and no matter how hard we try, no matter how exalted an opinion we might have of ourselves, while we are still in these bodies of flesh we will forever be limited in our understanding. Man in general would be a humbler creature if he would keep the knowledge that he is limited, or that he knows only in part, close to his heart.

Whenever we get the urge to glory in our knowledge, whenever we get the urge to glory in our understanding, may we remember that our knowledge and understanding, no matter how vast they might be, are still in part when compared with the knowledge and understanding of God.

The fact that we know in part does not mean that what we know is wrong or misleading, because that which we have been given to know was given by the Holy Spirit of God, and the Holy Spirit of God would never lead us astray, or direct us down a wrong path. God does not lead us to deception, for He has revealed the Christ to us, who is the way, the truth and the life. It is also God who promised us that when we see Him face to face, we will see Him as He is, for we will be like Him.

Although we know in part and prophesy in part, we have complete assurance in the truth of God’s holy word, we have complete assurance in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we have complete assurance in the work of the Holy Spirit. The mind might attempt to lead us astray, as might the heart, the enemy of our souls even more so, but the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit will never lead us astray.

It is when we discount the words and teachings of Christ, and it is when we discount the urging of the Holy Spirit, giving heed to our own flesh and to our own hearts instead, that we are led astray and caused to wander in the spiritual desert. With partial knowledge we attempt to reason out the whole, with partial prophecy we attempt to ascertain and conclude that which was not given us to know. It is a dangerous thing to desire to know more than was given us to know, and in our frustration attempt to draw conclusions that God has not drawn. Some things will remain a mystery until we see Him face to face, and we must make our peace with this truth.

Trust Jesus completely, for He desires your sanctification, He desires your transformation and all that He does has this end in mind.

Though we may know only in part, by faith we have all of Jesus in us, and as such we have life. We live because He lives, for He is our life, and in Him we move and have our being.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 168

The Gifts Part 73

Tongues

We have discussed at length seven of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, and as such today we begin our discussion of the eighth gift on the list that Paul outlines, the gift of different kinds of tongues. As with the gift of prophecy, there is much confusion within the congregation of God when it comes to the gift of tongues. The word of God clearly tells us that it is a viable gift, one of the nine gifts that the Holy Spirit bestows upon individual believers, and it was also the first gift that was received en masse on the day of Pentecost when the power fell, as all who were present in the upper room began to speak in other tongues.

We will discuss this gift as we have discussed all the other gifts thus far, not via the prism of personal interpretation, not via the prism of a given denomination, but via the prism of the word of God. It is only by understanding certain truths in the light of scripture that we can avoid confusion within the household of faith, and be certain of the foundation upon which we stand. The words of men are mere wind, moved to and fro upon the currents, ever changing direction ever changing meaning, but the word of God remains the same from age to age an generation to generation. When we come to an understanding or draw a conclusion based upon the word of God we are certain that it is right, and true, and lasting.

It is not my personal experience, or another’s personal experience that determines doctrine, it is not personal experience that determines dogma, but the word of God and its teachings. Our personal experiences only serve to confirm Biblical truth and the fact that we are living within the parameters of what the word of God has already delineated as such. If we are people of the Book, if we are followers of Christ and adherents to the teachings of the Bible, then our doctrine and our beliefs must be in harmony with it.

As such, the first thing I must point out, is the fact that nowhere within the annals of scripture does it say that the gifts, including the gift of different kind s of tongues, will cease before the day our Lord returns and we see Him face to face.

Even before we get into the specifics of what the gift of tongues is, how it is vital to the congregation of God, how it is that via this gift we speak to God and not to men, we must establish its availability and Biblically prove out that it is still among us.

Taken out of context, there is one verse in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians that would intimate that tongues will cease, but in the selfsame verse it also says that knowledge will vanish away. Knowing that the earth itself will one day pass away, as per the word of God, the issue really isn’t if, but rather when this will occur.

Due to either inattentiveness, laziness, or a refusal to study the word of God for fear that it might contradict a previously held denominational edict, those who vociferously declare that tongues have ceased because Paul said so, are disingenuous in their declarations, because in the selfsame chapter in which Paul says tongues will cease, he also tells us when they will cease.

As such, before we get into our discussion of the gift of tongues itself, I want to exegetically go through the handful of verses in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians that seem to be at the heart of the controversy concerning the cessation of the gift of tongues in particular and the gifts of the Holy Spirit in general.

1 Corinthians 13:8, “Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.”

Well, that settles it, it’s right there, black and white, tongues will cease! Not so fast. In the same verse Paul also says that prophecy, which we have come to know is the exhortation, edification and comfort of the brethren, as well as knowledge, which God Himself said His people perish for lack thereof, will also fail or vanish away.

As I said, I am not disputing that prophecy, tongues and knowledge will fail, cease or vanish away, it is after all in the Bible, the question of the hour is when will these things no longer be? In his God given wisdom, Paul continues, as we will see in subsequent teachings to tell us when these things will cease, and it is the answer to the question of ‘when’ that is the key to this mystery and fabricated controversy within the household of faith.

In order to understand what prompted Paul’s writing, we must understand the mindset of the individuals that made up the church of Corinth. Paul was, after all, writing this letter to them, and he was addressing issues that he knew existed within the congregation at Corinth.

Although Paul places the gift of different kinds of tongues next to last on the list of the gifts to which the children of God have access, the gift of tongues was one greatly desired within the church of Corinth, and it was a point of pride and accomplishment among them. Likewise, knowledge was greatly desired by those of the church of Corinth, and just as tongues was a point of pride, knowledge was also viewed as an accomplishment.

In his letter to the Corinthians Paul is attempting to correct them, and remind them that absent love, though they might speak in tongues, and have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, they are as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. Paul is neither negating or denying the existence of the gifts, he is not denying speaking in tongues, what he is doing is extoling the virtue of love, reminding them that it is a necessary component of a healthy and vibrant spiritual life.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 167

The Gifts Part 72

Discerning of Spirits continued...

So why is it that after all this time we’re still discussing the gift of discerning of spirits? Why haven’t we moved on to the next gift on the list by now? Because as I said during the introduction of our discussion on the gift of discerning of spirits, given the times we are living in, knowing what the word of God says the spiritual climate will be like, it is one of the most necessary gifts for today.

Deception, apostasy, and individuals departing from the faith are repeatedly mentioned throughout the word of God within the context of these end times, and just because it is an uncomfortable topic, just because it puts us ill at ease it doesn’t mean we can ignore it, or bypass it. We have been forewarned of what we are seeing with our own eyes. Time and again, in His love and mercy God has revealed what is to come through His Holy Spirit, and if we hope to be among those still standing at battle’s end, we must possess the weapons of warfare which have been made available to all believers and children of God.

1 Timothy 4:1-2, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.”

In his letter to Timothy, Paul is quick to make the distinction between what is his counsel, and what is of a divine, and prophetic nature. Timothy was Paul’s spiritual son, and the bond of brotherly love between these two men was undeniable. Paul wrote two letters to Timothy, exhorting him, counseling him, but also including prophetic words and insight as the Lord led, as well as writing down that which the Spirit had shown him concerning the latter times.

Paul’s declaration concerning the fact that it is the Spirit, who explicitly speaks of the latter times, is forceful and absent of ambiguity.

What the Spirit was speaking concerning the latter times, is first, that some will depart from the faith. Now in order to depart or remove yourself from some place or some thing, you must have first and foremost been in it. The troubling thing about Paul’s prophetic utterance concerning the latter times is not that those of the world would give heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, but rather those who were once in the faith will depart from it and give heed to such things.

To those who believe that once you come into the faith God keeps you in a chokehold so you could never wiggle away, it’s not me you have to contend with, it is the word of God. In the latter times, some will depart from the faith, and rather than follow the narrow path, rather than seek after righteousness and holiness, rather than humbly obey the Lord their God, they will give heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. As a direct result of having given heed to these deceiving spirits, and these doctrines of demons, the aforementioned individuals who departed from the faith will speak lies in hypocrisy and have their conscience seared with a hot iron.

Just as fire destroys the nerve endings in skin deadening it, and rendering it unfeeling, sin destroys the nerve endings of the conscience, deadening it and rendering it unfeeling. When one’s conscience is seared, their moral compass has gone haywire, and the notion of sin is no longer a reality in their lives.

There are those who have departed from the faith, who have given heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, who have had their conscience seared with a hot iron, who practice that which the word of God forbids, yet because of their fallen state, because of the deception and delusion they are under they claim it is Christian liberty allowing them to live in sin and not the fact that they have been deceived.

The God who changes not is still as holy a God as He ever was, He is still as righteous a God as He ever was, and He is still as jealous a God as He ever was. Men change, God doesn’t, and as such His standard remains the same from generation to generation.

If the word of God forbids it, it’s not legalism; it’s obedience to the word of God. If the word of God calls it sin, abstaining from it is not self-righteousness, it is submission to the authority of scripture. In the Master’s house we must acquiesce to the Master’s rules, and follow them to the letter. The Body of Christ does not belong to a man, neither does a given congregation, it belongs to God for He is the head of the body, and as such we must do as He commands and not as we would will. The Body of Christ belongs to Christ, and we will give account for that which we do within His Body. We will not give account to the Board of Elders, we will not give account to the deacons, we will not give account to the denominational commission, we will give account to the King upon His return, and He will judge righteously all that we did in His name.

It is because discernment is lacking or in some cases wholly nonexistent that so many are swayed and turned away from the truth, and confusion concerning even the most basic tenets of the faith has reached an apex in our day and age.

Love the Body of Christ, love the brethren, love your soul enough to take the time and evaluate that which you receive as gospel truth in your heart.

Knowing that deception is prevalent, knowing that the days in which we live will be marked by an abundance of false doctrines, false teaches and false prophets, the gift of discerning of spirits is a paramount necessity in every congregation and every body of believers.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 166

The Gifts Part 71

Discerning of Spirits continued...

We cannot approach the spiritual as we do every other area in our lives, wherein if we can swing it, we hire someone to mow our lawn, clean our home, fix the garbage disposal, or shovel our driveway in the winter. We cannot delegate our spiritual wellbeing to another, nor can we hire someone to watch, discern and evaluate that which we hear. It is our individual duty and responsibility to be on guard, to be watchful, and judge all things in accordance with the word of God.

Because we’re so used to delegating responsibility, because we’re so used to outsourcing other labor intensive areas of our lives, we’ve come to adopt the mentality that we can do the same when it comes to spiritual things.

‘Well, that’s what the pastor gets paid for, that’s why we have an elder board, that’s why I subscribe to the prophet vetting service for the low cost of $29.99 per month.’

We cannot be lazy, careless, or indifferent when it comes to the things of God, and to our spiritual wellbeing. It is to my benefit to take the time and analyze words of prophecy, it is to my benefit to use discernment and evaluate whether something is of God, because it will save me much heartache, much disillusionment and much disappointment in the long run.

No, I will not take someone else’s word for it, whether positive or negative, I will not acquiesce to someone else’s opinion regarding a certain word or a certain individual, until I have personally evaluated and judged, until I have personally inspected the spiritual fruits, because no matter how trustworthy the individual offering their opinion might be, they are still human, prone to error, as well as judging via the prism of their understanding or doctrinal upbringing.

One of the most difficult things I have to contend with as a minister of the gospel, is consoling and comforting fellow believers after they’ve suffered the disappointment and disenchantment of seeing their newly minted ‘prophet of the age’ come crashing back to earth. Because they did not guard their hearts, because they did not evaluate and discern the words they heard but readily received them because they sounded so good, their hearts are wounded and broken when it turns out the man was more hype than real, all wrapping and no substance.

A strange thing occurs when men fail us, even though the word of God tells us that they will, and even goes so far as to inform us that a man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength is cursed, we begin to blame God and feel bitter toward Him for having been betrayed.

It’s not God who failed you, it’s the man whom you elevated to the status of a god that failed you. It is not God who betrayed you, it is the one you lent your ear to in lieu of Him that betrayed you. It’s sad and tragic when we don’t do what God commands us to do, when we don’t guard our hearts, when we don’t judge the spirits to see if they are of Him, when we surrender our hearts to men who would speak soothing words to us, then turn around and blame God when these selfsame men fail us.

So just to clarify, it is we who walked in disobedience, some might even say rebellion, it is we who did what the word of God specifically warns us not to do, and yet somehow we lay the blame at God’s feet, and grow bitter toward Him because the man or woman we put our trust in, even when the Bible told us not to, turned out to be a flake, a con artist, or a habitual fornicator.

‘But brother Mike, she called them like she saw them, I mean she found fault in every minister to ever walk the earth, both living and dead, she was all fire and brimstone, cutting into flesh, who’d have thought she could turn out to be so deceitful and disingenuous.’

Bonus insight: Beware of any individual who would elevate themselves by climbing upon the corpses of everyone else! When everyone, everywhere, at any given time is a fake, a fraud, a liar a deceiver, a false teacher, a false prophet, a charlatan, an evildoer, or even the Antichrist in the flesh, and the only oasis of truth, the only place you will find succor is at that singular individual’s feet, it’s time to slowly back away and make for the exit.

Even when Elijah thought that he alone was left in Israel as a prophet of God, God revealed to him there were seven thousand others, all whose knees had not bowed to Baal, and whose mouths had not kissed him.

I am not the lone voice crying out in the wilderness, God has His people everywhere, yes even in churches, God has those He is even now preparing to take up the standard and preach righteousness and repentance when I will be no more, and when those of my generation who are currently laboring in the harvest field will go to their rest. God plans ahead, He is never taken by surprise, and He has His servants throughout, now as always.

There is nothing more dangerous than a pride fueled ego, wherein an individual comes to believe themselves singularly qualified to dispense truth, dismissing all others as mere pretenders to their imaginary throne.

The true sign of a servant is not whether they have a following, whether they could brow beat and tongue lash everyone into submission, or whether their word is the final authority, the true sign of a servant is that they serve, that they are humble as the Lord was humble, and meek as the Lord was meek.

Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 165

The Gifts Part 70

Discerning of Spirits continued...

1 Corinthians 14:29, ‘Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.”

Once again we see that the word of God does not leave us in the dark, it does not leave us to wonder, or guess at how the work of the Holy Spirit should operate within the church. It does not fall on us to assume how the gifts ought to operate within the congregation of God, it does not fall on us to make up our own rules, and we must defer to the scriptures and find our answers therein.

There are two aspects of this verse that I want to flesh out, because they are important to the wellbeing of any fellowship. The first thing that struck me about this verse is the sheer abundance of spiritual gifts that Paul insinuates ought to be present within a congregation. If two or three prophets ought to speak, and the others judge their prophecies, by Paul’s very words we can deduce that within a given congregation there ought to be at least a handful of prophets. Usually those that judge outnumber those that would prophecy, so the insinuation that the gifts and callings of the Holy Spirit, both the calling of prophet, and the gift of discerning of spirits ought to be present within the Body of Christ, and abundantly so, is clear.

The second aspect of this verse I wanted to discuss was the use of the word ‘judge’. At this juncture I could readily go into the original Greek, make myself out to be more intelligent than I really am, and extrapolate the meaning of the word ‘judge’ that Paul used, but in essence the word Paul uses means to discern, evaluate, distinguish or determine. As such, another way in which the aforementioned verse can be read is ‘let two or three prophets speak, and let the others discern the spirit thereof.’

Once more, we see that the word of God is in stark contradiction to the practices of the modern day church establishment, because where the word tells us to judge, to evaluate, to discern or to distinguish, the current church establishment simply yells ‘touch not My anointed’ at the top of their lungs.

‘It doesn’t matter if an individual’s word of prophecy is not in harmony with scripture, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t glorify Christ, it doesn’t matter if it seeks to elevate man and exhorts us to desire the material, touch not God’s anointed.’

But if you are a false prophet, if you cause the hearts of the righteous to be sad, if by your ‘words’ you give license to sin, and cause others to look down upon those who would seek to walk humbly with their Lord, you really aren’t God’s anointed, you are used of a different spirit, therefore even if that’s what the verse you so often quote really meant, it doesn’t apply to you!

For too long we’ve allowed disingenuous men to play hide and seek with the word of God, and avoid accountability because we just couldn’t be bothered with the conflict. We can no longer afford to be indifferent toward the deception that’s stealthily creeping into the Body of Christ, because real hearts are being broken, real people are being deceived, and real lives are being shipwrecked.

So the next time ‘elder prophet Bob, duly licensed and approved by his extended family’ gives a ‘word’ that stands in contradiction to the word of God, do as the word of God commands, and evaluate the word, discern the spirit thereof, and be strong in your defense of the truth.

It makes one prudent and wise to judge prophecy, to evaluate its content, to discern the spirit from whence it came. Since we’ve already discussed the difference between biblically judging a word, and passing sentence on an individual, we will not revisit this topic, but biblically evaluating the prophetic does not make you a doubter of prophecy or of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

I’ve lost count of the individuals who’ve attempted to browbeat me into silence when it came to confronting and denouncing ‘words of prophecy’ that originated from somewhere other than the Spirit of God. From being told that I was doing harm to the prophetic movement by publicly decrying the false words, to being labeled a secret plant of the enemy within the prophetic camp for taking an uncompromising stand when it came to such things, many would rather sweep the issue under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist than deal with it head on.

The word of God tells us that there will be false prophets among us; it tells us that they will bring in destructive heresies, and it likewise tells us to test the spirits, to judge prophecy, and to determine whether or not it was of God.

I just want the truth! Everything takes a backseat to the truth, whether it’s an individual’s feelings, the loss of friends, or being maligned by brothers and sisters in Christ. It is truth that sets us free, but truth will never be able to set us free if we willingly continue to cling to lies because they made us feel good, and pacified our weary conscience.

I am still waiting for the household of faith to have that moment of epiphany, wherein they realize that by tolerating false teachers, and false prophets within the camp, by refusing to take a stand for the truth, they are only harming themselves and their fellow brothers in Christ.

Use the God given gifts at your disposal, stand for the truth of scripture, be founded and grounded in the word of God, and when you come across those who would pervert the gospel, when you come across those who would bring harm and shame and hurt to the Body of Christ, be valiant in your defense of that which is right and true and pure. It is not unloving to stand for truth, it is not unloving to war against the darkness, it is not unloving to expose deception within the house of God, rather it is love and the desire to see the Body of Christ strong and vital and empowered, that compels us to stand in the gap and cry out.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 164

The Gifts Part 69

Discerning of Spirits continued...

Although in the aforementioned scripture passage it is clear when the Spirit of God was at work, as well as when the spirit of Satan was at work, some have queried where I saw the spirit of man at work in this entire exchange.

Other than Peter giving his opinion as to what ought to happen to Jesus rather than what Jesus said would happen, there was another point wherein the spirit of man intervened, seeing Christ with the limited understanding characteristic of mankind, presuming that He was perhaps John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Of all the varied opinions that the men of His time had concerning Jesus within the context of the aforementioned scripture, none had been that He was the Christ, the Son of the living God, for only the Father could reveal this truth as He had done to Peter.

We have struggled for acceptance from the world for so long, that we are quick to accept any morsel they throw our way. Though the world by and large does not believe Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the living God, we are more than content with the world thinking Him a good teacher, a prophet, a man of upright and moral character, a revolutionary, or a proponent of human rights. We believe that if we can convince the world that Jesus was a good man, then we will have some sort of common ground, a unifying principle of sorts, wherein we can agree to disagree about the larger issues such as Him being the Son of God.

Sadly, it is the household of faith that compromises time and again, it is the household of faith that gives up ground, it is we who act injuriously toward Christ by denying Him before men, and being silent as to His divinity for the sake of a feigned peace and cohesion.

When we acquiesce, and as children of God begin to echo the world and say that Jesus was a good man, a great teacher, a moral revolutionary but nothing more, when we cease to trumpet the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, it is not the Spirit of God leading us and guiding us, it is the spirit of man, for the spirit of man neither has eyes to see, nor ears to hear the mysteries of God.

Even in our day to day lives it is wise to use discernment, for not every thought that pops into our head is divinely inspired, and not every word that is on the tip of our tongue is a message from God. We must distinguish between thoughts and words that originate from the spirit of man, and thoughts and words that originate from the Spirit of God.

I once knew a man who believed that every morning God told him what to wear, essentially laying out his wardrobe, because the thought would pop into his mind that a certain shirt went well with a certain pair of pants. Throughout our conversation I couldn’t help but think that God would probably have a keener eye when it came to color palates and wardrobe selection, but in the end, when my patience started to run thin, I simply said, ‘you confuse the spirit of man, and the Spirit of God sir, and it is folly to do so.’

He then asked why I would say such a thing, and I proceeded to explain that if it’s cold outside, it’s not Spirit of God telling me to put on a warmer coat, it is human reason, it is logic, it is the intelligence with which we were born into this world. It is the selfsame reason and logic that leads some of the world to say that Jesus was a good man, a noble man, a good teacher, and a man of upstanding moral clarity because they cannot deny the life He lived while He walked the earth, nor the teachings He left behind from His three years of ministry.

When coming to believe that Jesus is Lord and King, that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the redeemer of mankind, the only way to salvation, the only truth, and the only life, it is no longer reason or logic that leads us to this conclusion but the Spirit of God working in us.

Although the spirit of man might conclude that Jesus was a good person, a good teacher, or even a prophet, the spirit of Satan or the spirit of Antichrist, makes no such concessions, its purpose being to undermine the work of God, to undermine the authority of Christ, and to sow chaos and confusion among the congregation of God.

You can know what spirit an individual is operating under, whether the spirit of man, or the spirit of Satan by the way in which they portray Christ. Those operating under the spirit of Satan will be vitriolic of their hatred of Christ, and by extension His followers, they will be vociferous in their proclamations, desiring to see the eradication of anything having to do with Jesus. One need only assess the current climate to realize that those operating under the spirit of Antichrist are growing in number, and their intentions are anything but veiled.

In order to stand, in order to endure to the end, in order for the children of God to remain as lights in the darkness, we must be firm in our convictions concerning the Christ, rejecting offhand those who have crept into the congregation of God attempting to play the ‘what if’ game when it comes to the divinity, identity, and singularity of Jesus.

‘What if Jesus isn’t the only way into the kingdom of God? What if Jesus isn’t the only begotten Son of God? What if Jesus was merely a good man, or a prophet? What if Jesus isn’t the only way? What if Jesus isn’t the only truth? What if Jesus isn’t the only life?’

Blood of Jesus! Rebuke the spirit of Satan, rebuke the spirit of Antichrist, and he will flee from you. There is no room for compromise on this issue. Either Jesus was everything He claimed to be, or He was the most ruthless, heartless, and deceptive man to ever walk the earth.

I write these words because the battle against Christ will only intensify, and those playing the ‘what if’ game within the household of faith will continue to multiply in number.

Be wise! Be vigilant! Be discerning!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Postscript: Kim, I fear you judge me harshly, and unjustly. I did post your comments, I did answer your questions, if you check you'll see. Since I get about thirty spam comments a day, I do have to monitor them, because I wouldn't want anyone thinking I was trying to sell them timeshares, investment opportunities, or other less savory things. Alas, farewell.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 163

The Gifts Part 68

Discerning of Spirits continued...

Besides the use of certain criterion in God’s word in order to discern the spirit of an individual, there is also the supernatural gift of discerning of spirits. In order to discuss the gift of discerning of spirits, we must first discuss both the activity and identity of the three kinds of spirits that exist. First, is the Holy Spirit of God, second, the spirit of man and third the spirit of the devil or of the Antichrist. When discussing the spiritual in general, or spirits in particular, these are the three kinds of spirits to which we can refer, discuss, and discern.

Any message, sermon, insight, prophetic utterance or dogma will have their origin in one of these three spirits. Either a word is divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, brought forth by the spirit of man, or made up by the spirit of the devil.

As I’ve said before, most often we can know the origin of a message by its content. Whether it gives glory to God and Christ exhorting believers to righteousness and holiness unto Him, praising a certain individual and fueling their pride, or attempting to draw the hearts of God’s people away from Him, we can know the origin by the content of the message in most cases.

Throughout my study of scripture, I have found one passage wherein the working or manifestation of all three spirits was evident in one individual within a very short amount of time.

Although the following is an extreme example, I have on occasion been witness to the manifestation of the Holy Spirit of God by way of a prophetic word, and at the very end, the spirit of man inserting himself attempting to ‘clarify’ or ‘complete’ that which God had spoken.

Shortly after my grandfather’s passing, the Lord had started to speak to me by way of various vessels that I should continue in ministry. Knowing that I could never hope to fill the shoes of the one who came before me, feeling as inadequate and ill equipped then as I do now, I began trying to find loopholes or ways by which I could disregard the words I was receiving.

Since I was still in mourning, and it is a custom among the men of my nation, I had let my beard grow out, and one day I went to yet another prayer meeting far from the city in which I lived.

We began to pray, and I received a word, that reiterated almost verbatim what God had already spoken to me even though this individual did not know who I was or where I was from, but at the end, after delivering the word they had received for me, the individual said, ‘you should also shave your beard.’

At that moment I discerned what had come from the Holy Spirit of God, and also what had been added by the spirit of man, as an addendum or addition to what God had said. Since I’m a stickler when it comes to words of prophecy, and I want to make certain that words received from God are classified as such, and the opinions of men are likewise classified, I asked the vessel if that last part was from the Lord, and blushing slightly she said, ‘no, that was just my personal opinion.’

By being in possession of the gift of discerning of spirits, we can rightly ascertain the origin of a word, and know what was inspired of God, and what was inspired by the spirit of man.

Matthew 16:13-17, “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples saying, ‘who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said to him, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’”

Matthew 16:21-23, “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things form the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘far be it from You Lord; this shall not happen to You!’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.’”

Within the span of ten verses, we see Jesus commending Peter, telling him that it was God the Father who had revealed the fact that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God and not flesh and blood, to Peter offering his personal opinion as to what should happen to Jesus, to Jesus rebuking him, identifying the spirit of Satan speaking through him.

As I said, this is an extreme example, singular within the annals of scripture, yet one that we must take into account because if one such as Peter was given to personal opinion and allowed himself to be used of the enemy to be an offense to Jesus, it can happen to any of us if we are not continually mindful of the things of God.

Searching our hearts, making certain that we are in concert with the gospel, keeping ourselves humble, and walking in obedience, are not things that we do once in our lives, then check them off the list forever, these are virtues we must practice daily, and by doing so be certain that it is the Holy Spirit of God guiding us in all righteousness.

In many ways, our spiritual walk can be likened to driving a car, wherein a moment’s worth inattentiveness can have dire consequences. Be vigilant in all things pertaining to the spiritual, be mindful of the things of God, and let nothing distract you on your journey.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 162

The Gifts Part 67

Discerning of Spirits continued...

Galatians 1:6-8, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”

We’ve been told that we’re special and unique for so long that we’ve started to believe it. Since we’ve started to believe that we are special and unique, we’ve extrapolated this to every area of our lives, and so have come to believe that our difficulties, our struggles, and the issues we must confront within the congregation of God are likewise new and unprecedented.

We have come to believe that no other generation in the history of the church has faced the struggles with which we are confronted, no other generation in the history of the church has had to deal with deception and with those who want to pervert the gospel of Christ, yet the more we read the word of God, we come away with the realization that Solomon was right after all, and there really is nothing new under the sun.

Ever since the church began, the enemy has been there attempting to turn believers away to a different gospel. Whether with subtlety or brute force, whether with veiled deception or lies so outrageous even a spiritual infant could readily spot them, the enemy has been tireless in his mission to blur the lines, pervert the gospel of Christ, and recapture those who by the grace of God had shaken off the shackles of sin and darkness.

The only difference between our generation, and the generation Paul is addressing in his letter to the church at Galatia, is that in our day and age the enemy is apparently more successful in troubling the children of God, and causing an almost general uncertainty as to what we ought to believe and what we ought to reject.

In his attempt to simplify the methodology of choosing what we ought to believe, and what we ought not to believe, Paul simply says, that no matter who it is that comes to you with a different gospel than that of the gospel of Christ, whether it be a well-known preacher, an evangelist, a miracle worker, or even an angel, not only should you not believe it, but let them be accursed for doing it.

Since much of the church has given in to political correctness, and a backbone is harder to find than dinosaur eggs in some congregations, in many an instance even when gifts such as the gift of discerning of spirits were present in the church, and the vessel had the constitution and wherewithal to boldly proclaim that which God had shown them, they would summarily be silenced by either the pastor or the elder board for fear of hurting someone’s feelings.

Perhaps if we understood the enemy’s intent, we wouldn’t be so quick to protect, tolerate, insulate, and overlook those who would pervert the gospel of Christ. Perhaps if we understood that those who would preach a different gospel are not our friends, they are not misunderstood, nor are they well intentioned, but are the minions of the enemy, we would not be so quick to mock, ridicule, assault and shun those who would warn us of their presence within the church.

The more we look at today’s church, the more we come to the realization that everything’s upside down, and inside out. We reject and scold and tongue lash those who out of love warn us, we distance and disavow ourselves of those who would attempt to draw our attention back to Christ and the cross, yet we embrace and honor those who pervert the gospel of Christ, and exhort us to focus all our attention on the things of this earth and the trappings thereof.

Paul doesn’t mince words, he doesn’t attempt to soften the blow, to pacify or placate those who would come teaching a different gospel, or who would pervert the gospel of Christ, he simply says, ‘let them be accursed.’ To be accursed, is to be, by definition, damned, condemned, ruined, doomed or undone. It is not a lighthearted word, it is serious in its meaning, yet we take it upon ourselves to overlook it, as we do so much of scripture for the sake of keeping the peace, of being non-confrontational, and showing the world that we can be just as tolerant and all-embracing as they are.

We love our spineless, compromising, character lacking spiritual leaders, because in some sort of morbid way we feel it gives us license to be just as spineless, just as compromising, and just as lacking in character and spiritual fruits. What we conveniently choose to forget however, is that God doesn’t grade on a curve, He doesn’t judge us as a collective, nor will He judge my life based on the lives of others. God judges based on the standard that He has established in His word, God judges in holiness and righteousness, and God judges us individually.

So what was the point of today’s post? What did it have to do with discerning of spirits? Simply put, today’s post was just another biblical way to discern the spirit of a man, without the specific gift of discerning of spirits. God is wise enough not to use a hatchet when a scalpel will do, and as such there are ways and means by which we can discern the easily discernible as individuals not endowed with the gift of discerning of spirits that are biblically established. When something is uncertain, when we go through the biblical steps of discerning the spirit of a man and still come to no conclusion, be certain God will intervene, He will step in, He will send the gift of discerning of spirits, and reveal the truth to us.

We must do our part, we must be diligent, and we must know the word of God, that when men teach something contrary to the word, when they attempt to pervert the gospel of Christ, we will know it and shield our hearts from their poisons.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 161

The Gifts Part 66

Discerning of Spirits continued...

Another way for us to discern the spirit of an individual without expressly possessing the gift of discerning of spirits, is to pay close attention to whether they give praise and glory to God, or if they attempt to place these things upon themselves. A true man of God, a true servant will never attempt to take that which rightly belongs to God, and appropriate it for themselves. A true servant of God knows from whence his power comes, a true servant of God knows from whence his authority comes, and a true servant of God knows from whence the gifts of the Holy Spirit come. A true servant does not see himself as having done something for which he is now entitled to the gifts, he sees himself as one who was chosen, one who was called with a holy calling, and is now accountable to God for walking in that calling.

What most of us might readily consider an oversight kept Moses from entering the Promised Land. Whenever I want to bring to remembrance the standard to which God holds those which He calls to ministry, whenever I want to bring to remembrance the fact that though God might love an individual, so much so that He would even grant him the desire to see Him, He will still not compromise, I return to the life of Moses.

Just to contextualize the life of this great prophet Moses, we must go to the word of God and see what it has to say about him. As we all know by now, the scriptures do not praise those unworthy of praise, nor do they elevate those undeserving of honor.

Deuteronomy 34:10-12, “But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants in all his land, and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of Israel.”

Knowing that the word of God employs praise sparingly, when we read that there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, we must afford these words the gravitas and significance rightly due them.

The Bible goes one step further, and even reveals to us why it is that Moses was considered the greatest prophet to arise in Israel, knowing the Lord face to face, and doing sings and wonders in the land of Egypt and before Pharaoh, topping the list.

With all the accolades that Moses collected over the years however, with all the things that God did through him, even with being one of a handful of people to have seen God, God still did not allow him to enter the Promised Land. So what horrible thing did Moses do to deserve being forbidden by God to cross over into the Promised Land?

Numbers 20:7-12, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.’ So Moses took the rod from the Lord as He commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock; and he said to them, ‘Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?’ Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.’”

There are many worthwhile lessons in this scripture passage that we would do well to heed and learn from, because if God was uncompromising concerning one such as Moses, He will be no less uncompromising toward us.

In the beginning Moses did as the Lord commanded, he took the rod from the Lord, but as he gathered the people together, his frustration got the better of him, and Moses went off script. He started saying and doing things that God never commanded him to say or do, and what’s worse he did not believe God, or hallow Him in the eyes of the people.

To hallow, is to respect or honor greatly, and when Moses said, ‘must we bring water for you out of this rock?’ he did not hallow God, but rather honored himself by intimating that indeed he had within himself the ability to bring water from the rock. Moses did not ask ‘must God bring water for you out of this rock?’ he made it about himself and Aaron, he made it about something other than the God he served, and for this God was greatly angered.

Moses took that which was rightfully God’s, the honor and respect due Him and attempted to subvert it. Even if it may have been unintentional, even if the words were spoken in a moment of frustration, God still saw it as Moses not hallowing His name in the eyes of the children of Israel, and as punishment for this Moses would not bring the people into the land which God had given them.

Give God the honor, give God the glory, give God the praise, and be wary of any man who would presume to take these things upon himself, for the Spirit of God would never do such a thing. As subtle as our enemy might be, there are still inconsistencies in his character, such as pride, and the desire for unwarranted glory that he can’t help but attempt to subvert, and if we are wise in our understanding, and on guard against such things we can know truth from deception, and we can discern between one walking in the Spirit of God, and one walking in the spirit of this world and of the Antichrist.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 160

The Gifts Part 65

Discerning of Spirits continued...

The gift of discerning of spirits is a supernatural glimpse into the spiritual world which allows us to precisely identify the nature, the origin, and the intention of every spirit manifesting itself within the congregation of God.

Although the gift of discerning of spirits might not be as flashy or exciting to some as the gift of the working of miracles, or the gift of prophecy, it is nevertheless a powerful and necessary gift within the Body of Christ, for various reasons.

Granted, for those that have not had any experiences with the spiritual world, for those that as yet do not understand the great battle that is taking place all around us, for those that do not perceive that light and darkness are in a constant struggle for dominance of men’s hearts, the gift of discerning of spirits might not seem thrilling enough. For those however who know, and see and perceive that the spiritual is all around us, and that the spiritual world is as real as our tangible material world is, the true value and worth of the gift of discerning of spirits is readily known.

Since we’ve established what the gift of discerning of spirits is, it is only fitting that we spend a little time and discuss how this gift manifests itself, and the means it employs to determine that which is of God from that which isn’t, even though on the surface, and by employing human logic one would be hard pressed to differentiate and make the distinction.

There are of course ways and means for us to discern whether something is of God even before we get into the area of the gift of discerning of spirits, by employing the biblical acid tests that it prescribes, namely whether a spirit confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, and that Jesus is Lord.

1 John 4:1-3, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”

John not only tells us that we ought not to believe every spirit, but he also goes on to tell us why it is that we ought not to believe every spirit, but rather test the spirits. The reason that we ought to test the spirits and not automatically believe every spirit, even if it comes in power, even if it shows great signs and wonders, is because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Once again, it’s the word ‘many’ that we should be particularly aware of, because there is not a single word in the entire Bible that is out of place, or irrelevant. If the word ‘many’ was included within the context of this scripture passage, than we must give it the requisite attention and understand that those who would deceive, those who would attempt to turn the hearts of believers away from God, are not few in number, but rather many.

These false prophets are led by a spirit, which the Bible tells us is the spirit of the Antichrist, which is now already in the world.

Once again we see the paramount importance of Jesus in everything relating to the work of God, for if Jesus is not the foundation, if Jesus is not the purpose, if Jesus is not confessed and glorified, we can dismiss the work, the word, the sign or the wonder offhand as being of the enemy.

We know the Spirit of God, because the Spirit of God confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, we know the Spirit of God because the Spirit of God confesses that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no man can go to the Father but by Him.

The false prophets that have been laying siege to the congregation of God are not harmless, they are not inoffensive, theirs is not just another opinion that we must take into account and validate, for these men work under the influence of the spirit of the Antichrist, and their mission is the nullification and invalidation of Jesus as Lord and King of all.

The standard by which we must evaluate both individuals and ministries alike is not whether they are likable, or have a winning smile, are well dressed, or are eloquent in their presentations, the standard by which we must evaluate anyone that comes in the name of the Lord, is if they confess Christ Jesus as Lord, as the One who came in the flesh to redeem mankind from death and eternal judgment.

Rather than ask the all-important question of whether or not an individual is preaching the truth, or if they are glorifying the Christ, we’ve been distracted into asking a plethora of irrelevant and juvenile questions instead.

‘Are they soft spoken, do they make me laugh, do they dress well, do they possess a commanding presence?’

These are the questions being asked in lieu of whether or not someone is preaching the truth, these are the question being bandied about by grown men and women who ought to have attained a certain level of spiritual maturity by now.

We are no longer troubled or perturbed when spiritual leaders, and famous pastors call Jesus a liar to His face, we are no longer troubled or perturbed when they ‘disagree’ with their Lord and King on the most fundamental of issues, yet we’re still hopeful that things will turn around and that the church will awaken from its self-imposed spiritual slumber.

Until we have the strength of character to stand for truth, deception will continue to spread like the wildfire that it is.

1 Corinthians 12:3, “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 159

The Gifts Part 64

Discerning of Spirits continued...

When we know with certitude that it is God leading a work or a congregation, those called upon to serve, walk in the authority of this profound knowledge. When we are humble in our walk with the Lord, when we defer to Him in all things, we know that He will not leave us in the dark, and He will shed light upon every situation that seems to be in the shadows.

A great example of God intervening by way of the gifts the Holy Spirit to bring light to a situation that would have otherwise remained hidden is the example of Ananias and Sapphira as they came before the apostles with a part of the proceeds they received for the possession they had sold.

On the surface, their act seemed a selfless and charitable one, as they came and gave of their own goods to the work of God. Any one not endowed with the gift of discerning of spirits would have looked upon their actions and commended them; they would have lauded their noble intent, and perhaps even praised them before the congregation as has become customary in our day and age when someone is exceedingly generous. To the naked eye there was no wrongdoing in their actions, and to human reason they were just a very generous couple who came and laid the proceeds from their piece of land at the feet of the apostles.

Only the Spirit of God could have known the deceit of their heart, and only the Spirit of God could have revealed such a thing to Peter.

What I’ve always found intriguing about Ananias and Sapphira, is that no one compelled or asked them to give the entirety of their proceeds to the work of God, no one compelled them to offer a certain percentage, yet they felt they needed to lie and say that what they had brought before the apostles’ feet was the entire sum that they received from their transaction.

Acts 5:3-4, “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in our own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.’”

Peter makes it clear to Ananias that it was his land, it was his money, and while it was in his control he could do with it as he saw fit. Yet Satan had filled his heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, for no other reason than to seem more generous and giving than he truly was before the brethren. We know of the punishment both Ananias and Sapphira received for their deceit, we know by way of Scripture that they were both carried out dead, and buried side by side, and for some it is difficult to reconcile a loving and merciful God, with what took place on that day, because they attempt to omit the justice and righteousness of God from His nature.

Two people knew of the attempted deception, namely Ananias and Sapphira, yet the Holy Spirit knew their hearts, knew their actions, and by way of the gift of discerning of spirits revealed to Peter what they had colluded and agreed to do.

This is the beauty of the gift of discerning of spirits that try as one might, they cannot hide anything from the sight of God, for He sees all, and knows all, and searches the depths of men’s hearts. For this reason, the gift of discerning of spirits is a very practical and necessary gift within the household of faith, because it brings light to the darkness, and reveals the intent of men’s hearts which are often in stark contradiction with their actions.

God knows not only what we do, but why we do what we do, and it is an amalgam of action and intent that He judges justly and righteously. The action of Ananias and Sapphira was a noble one. They came, and gave of the proceeds of a land sale to the work of God, yet the intent of their heart was to deceive God, and hold back part of what they claimed they had given to God. It was theirs to begin with, theirs to do with as they saw fit, yet because they attempted to deceive, because they attempted to lie to God, they were punished and severely so.

Whenever we see the manifestation of any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit within the household of faith, we are encouraged and edified, and we are reminded that God is with us, that He is ever present, and that He is still working among His children. I could not think of a more discouraging and disheartening mindset, than that of God no longer working among His children, than that of the power of God no longer being evident within the fellowship of the saints.

For decades men have attempted to redefine the purpose of fellowship, they have attempted to redefine the purpose of the church, wherein it is no longer the place where you go to feel the presence of God, wherein it is no longer the place where you go to see the power of God, but rather the place where one goes to be entertained, made to feel at ease, pacified, and appeased.

The house of God is not a social club; the fellowship of the saints is not a social gathering. We do not gather in fellowship to be entertained, we gather in fellowship to be as one body, with the singular desire to feel the presence of God, and witness His miracle working power.

Do not be content with merely being entertained, do not be content with merely being made to feel comfortable, desire to see the power and presence of God, desire to see the gifts of the Holy Spirit operating within the church. I’m not asking anyone to take a leap of faith; all I’m asking is that you believe God at His word.

Acts 1:8, “And you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.