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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 31

Prayers of Intercession continued...

One of the premier requirements for anyone who desires to be an intercessor is to have a true relationship with God. We cannot intercede on behalf of someone else to a third party which we do not know, have no relationship with, tangential or otherwise, and who we’ve never met. In order to be an intercessor, in order to pray prayers of intercession on behalf of others, we must first have true fellowship and intimacy with God ourselves.

I believe this is one of the reasons most every intercessor I’ve had the privilege of meeting throughout my life has been a person of mature faith, who had walked with God for many years before hearing the call of devoting their prayer lives to intercession.

Once we’ve established a relationship with God, once we’ve spent enough time in His presence, we have the boldness and freedom to come before Him with the needs, hurts, and petitions of others.

1 Timothy 2:1-4, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

In order to understand the need for an existing relationship between ourselves and God before we can pray prayers of intercession, we must understand the context in which Paul was writing to Timothy, his spiritual son.

He exhorts Timothy to all supplications, prayers, and intercessions, after confirming that he had faith, and a good conscience, and was ready to wage the good warfare.

No matter how much we might like it to, if we put the cart before the horse, the cart will never move an inch. There must first be fellowship, and a relationship with God, there must first be dialogue between us and God, before we can aspire to the calling of intercessor on behalf of others.

There is something else I wanted to point out in the aforementioned scripture, and that was Paul’s desire to lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. Yes, we ought to desire, as Paul did, to lead a quiet and peaceable life, but not at the expense of godliness and reverence. If we can have a quiet and peaceable life in godliness and reverence, it is both good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior. If however we are required to give up both godliness and reverence in order to live quietly and peaceably, it is a concession no true believer could ever make.

I mention this, because a great push has begun, targeting the children of God, demanding that they make concessions concerning godliness and reverence, that they stop calling sin by its name, that they embrace perversion as normalcy, and that they keep silent concerning what the Bible says in regard to these things.

Taking the aforementioned scripture out of context, many a hireling have started to insist that because the word of God says we ought to lead a quiet and peaceable life, then it is incumbent upon us to make the requisite concessions, allowances and compromises in order for this to occur.

Yes, I desire to live a quiet life, yes I desire to live a peaceable life, but not at the expense of the gospel of Christ, and not if it means betraying the godliness and reverence to which we were called.

As time marches on, hirelings, wolves, and other lecherous fiends who have wormed their way into the household of faith will become more insistent on this topic, and eventually begin to label those who refuse to betray Christ and the cross of Christ agents of division, dissident, instigators of rebellion, and enemies of change. Whether by intimidation, exclusionary tactics, or outright persecution, such men will attempt to whittle away the resolve of the righteous until no one stands in their way, and no one opposes the new paradigm they’ve created for what it means to be a believer.

This new wave is already fomenting, and with each passing day prominent names within evangelical circles keep jumping on the bandwagon of inclusiveness, acceptance, tolerance, and other words that sound really great, but are sinister in their intent.

We are the ones expected to accept perversion, we are the ones expected to tolerate sin, we are the ones expected to discount the word of God, and call evil good and good evil.

The choice of whether you will compromise truth just to spare yourself insult and injury, or stand on the word of God and be counted for righteousness’ sake is individual and something only you can make for yourself. I for one have already chosen, and as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

When we committed to serving Christ it was not only if we had no opposition, it was not only if the world didn’t hate us, nor was it only during the sunny days and the good times. When we committed to serving Christ it was with our whole lives until we breathe our last upon this earth, standing for truth in a world of deception, and defending righteousness at all cost.

Pray for strength in the battle to come, because battle is coming. Intercede on behalf of those who are not yet ready, who have not put on their armor, and who have no expectation of conflict or confrontation. Pray that their faith endures; pray that God opens their eyes to the reality of what is happening all around them, that they too might know the cost of true discipleship and be willing to give the last full measure of devotion for the cause of Christ their Lord.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 30

Prayers of Intercession continued...

There are countless examples of intercession throughout the word of God. While some are prayers of intercession, others are individuals interceding on behalf of others, demonstrating both their character, and their friendship towards those for whom they interceded.

1 Samuel 19:4-6, ‘Now Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, ‘Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his works have been very good toward you. For he took his life in his hands and killed the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great salvation for all Israel. You saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood, to kill David without a cause?’ So Saul heeded the voice of Jonathan, and Saul swore, ‘as the Lord lives, he shall not be killed.’”

Saul’s heart had been set on murder. He had even gone so far as to speak to Jonathan, his son, and all his servants that they should kill David. Since David could not plead his case before Saul, Jonathan decided to intercede on behalf of David, and speak well of him.

Although by the end of his discourse Saul swore to Jonathan that David would not be killed, it could have ended very differently if he had not been persuaded. There was a risk in what Jonathan did on behalf of David, because Saul’s anger could just as readily have been kindled against Jonathan as it had been against David. Jonathan however, being a man of character and valuing his friendship with David, saw no choice but to intercede on his friend’s behalf, and compel Saul not to seek his destruction.

Not all the men of the Bible are as noble as Jonathan however, and there are instances wherein men pled with others to intercede on their behalf, and they refused to do so.

After refusing the advances of Potiphar’s wife, and being framed for something he didn’t do, Joseph found himself incarcerated in the prison where the king’s prisoners were confined. Some time after his incarceration, the king’s butler and baker offended their lord, and were sent to the same prison Joseph had been confined to.

Both the baker and the butler had dreams which Joseph interpreted, telling one that he would be restored to his former office, and telling the other that within three days Pharaoh would order he be hanged from a tree.

Since Joseph knew that the butler would be restored to his office as Pharaoh’s cup bearer, he asked him to intercede on his behalf before Pharaoh, and put in a good word for him.

Genesis 40:14-15, “But remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house. For indeed I was stolen away from the land of the Hebrews; and also I have done nothing here that they should put me into the dungeon.”

Just as Joseph had interpreted, on the third day the baker was hanged and the butler was restored to his former office.

Genesis 40:23, “Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.”

Three days had passed since Joseph asked the butler to remember him, show him kindness, and mention him to Pharaoh. It wasn’t a year, it wasn’t six months, it was three days, but once the chief butler was restored to his station, he did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

We can choose to have the character of Jonathan, and intercede on behalf of those we know require our intercession, or the absence of character the butler exhibited, by forgetting those who plead with us to show them kindness, and remember them before the throne of grace.

We can exhibit selfishness or selflessness, we can remember others who are in difficulty when it is well with us, or forget about everyone else but ourselves.

If it is well with you, remember those for whom it isn’t, and intercede on their behalf before God. Remember that life has many twists and turns, and although it may be well with you today, it may not be tomorrow, and when it is no longer well with you, you will cherish and treasure the prayers of the saints on your behalf.

In recent years the household of faith has fostered an unhealthy attitude when it comes to praying for others, and interceding on their behalf. We have become so consumed with the self, with our own wellbeing, with our own prosperity, with our own blessing, that the notion of taking the time to pray for others seems anathema to us.

‘Why would I take time out of my busy schedule to pray for someone else, when I have an entire laundry list of things I need to ask God for?’

It has become all about us, what we need, what we want, and current doctrinal trends continue to fan the flame of this unbiblical hedonism. It’s all about living your best life, achieving your dreams, grasping that brass ring, and living up to your potential. In essence, it’s all about idolizing the self, being consumed with the self, and being wholly indifferent to the hurts, the trials, the setbacks, the tragedies, and the needs of those around us.

Strive to have a tender heart, strive to have a gentle spirit, strive to intercede on behalf of those who no longer have the strength to intercede or pray for themselves. Strive to be like Jesus, who with his final breaths interceded not only for His disciples, but even those who had nailed Him to the tree, and watched as His life ebbed away.

Prayers of intercession on behalf of others are precious in the sight of God, for when we pray such prayers we are exhibiting the nature of His Son Jesus. Do you want to be more like Jesus? Then begin by interceding on behalf of others every time you pray.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 29

Prayers of Intercession

Prayers of intercession are the most selfless prayers we can pray as believers. A prayer of intercession is when we come before God on behalf of others. It is when we stand in the gap, and bring the needs of others before the throne of God, rather than our own. Selflessness is an appropriate and much desired fragrance for any believer, one that ought to follow us wherever we go. Nothing reveals the heart of Christ in us more vividly than selflessness, and nothing exemplifies selflessness in our prayers like prayers of intercession.

For those whom the Lord has taught to pray, prayers of intercession are a regular occurrence throughout their prayer lives. There will always be someone in need of intercession; there will always be someone who has either asked us to pray for them, or who we feel in our hearts we ought to be praying for.

Nowadays a good percentage of the prayers of intercession prayed, are by mothers and fathers interceding for their sons and daughters. To any mother and father who have shed a tear on behalf of their offspring, to any parent who has prayed countless prayers for their children, I tell you this day, they are not in vain. Though you might see no change as yet, though there is no tangible proof that God has heard and answered your prayers of intercession, not a tear is shed, not a sincere prayer is prayed, without God having heard it, and recorded it in His book of remembrance.

Though there are countless ways in which we waste and squander the precious resource of time, prayers of intercession will never be counted among them. There is no such thing as a wasted prayer!

When we intercede in prayer for another, what we are doing is pleading on another’s behalf. Though we might not even know the individual we are praying for, since nowadays prayer needs are circulated far and wide with the click of a button, what we are doing when we are interceding on their behalf is trying to persuade God to resolve their issue through our prayer. There are many issues that fall under the umbrella of intercession. Whether the issue we are interceding for is healing, deliverance, the restoration of a broken marriage, or the return of a wayward child to the path of righteousness, when we pray prayers of intercession we are coming before God asking that He work on behalf of another.

God answers prayers of intercession and honors those who show selflessness by praying them. I have been blessed to know a handful of intercessors in my lifetime, and there are still some who intercede for our ministry and the work we do on a daily basis. To the last, true intercessors are by their nature and calling, selfless individuals. They are concerned with the wellbeing, welfare, and comfort of others rather than their own, and they consistently put the needs of others above their own needs.

Of all the prayers available to us, those who pray prayers of intercession have been given a special title. They are known as intercessors. Intercessors are defined by their capacity for mercy, their humility, their service, and their willingness to sacrifice of themselves for others.

It is a humbling thing being in the presence of a true intercessor, because it inevitably makes you look at your own life, and acknowledge the deficiency of selflessness in your own heart. I have known intercessors who were bedridden, who could not go out and preach, or give aid to the poor, but who could spend their days in prayer, and rather than pray for themselves, they chose to devote their lives to praying for others.

Although I never verbalized it, I’ve often wondered why it was that these individuals, some suffering from very painful ailments, didn’t pray for themselves and their own situation with as much fervor and passion as they did for others. I’ve thought about this a lot, and the only answer that makes sense is that they have the true heart of Jesus, and are so focused on the needs of others that they forget about their own.

When we intercede in prayer for another, we are pleading their cause before God. We are asking God to move on their behalf, even though some of those we are praying for are at the moment of our prayers at enmity against Him.

When we pray for the salvation of a neighbor, a friend, or a family member, when we pray that the light of grace shine in their heart and their eyes be opened to the love of Christ, we are interceding on their behalf even though they neither know Jesus, nor love Him.

Prayers of intercession stir the heart of God, and in turn, God begins to stir the heart of the individual we have been pleading for in our prayers.

In its broadest definition a prayer of intercession is a prayer prayed for anyone else other than oneself concerning a need, a trial, or a hardship in their lives. For me, salvation falls under the category of need, in fact the most vital and overriding need in the life of every individual on the planet.

Even if we don’t know we are interceding, or we don’t label it as a prayer of intercession, if we analyze our prayer lives, we come to realize that we spend a significant amount of time in prayers of intercession. Whether praying for a loved one to be healed, praying for a friend to remain strong through a tragedy in their life, praying for a spouse to come to the Lord, or praying for believers halfway across the world to have their needs met in a supernatural way, we are praying prayers of intercession.

The key to any prayer of intercession is to pray for others as we would have them pray for us. When we come before God in this frame of mind, our prayers of intercession will be vibrant and fervent, passionate and insistent, because we are praying as we would have others pray for us if we were in the same situation.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 28

Prayers of Confession continued...

In case you were wondering, no, Achan is not the only biblical example for whom confession and repentance came too late. There are other cautionary tales within the pages of scripture, and today we will be discussing two more, so we might glean understanding.

Yes I realize this is a sensitive topic, and since its sensitivity has been acknowledged, I want to clarify something from the start. When the word of God says that no place could be found for repentance, it does not mean that although someone truly repented with all their heart, and turned away from the iniquity they practiced, God would somehow refuse their repentance or turn His back on them and choose not to forgive them.

What it does mean, is that if we refuse to repent and confess before God long enough, when we do come before Him with repentance it will not be sincere, it will not be a true repentance of the heart, but merely something we felt obliged to do. Saying ‘I repent’ and actually repenting are two very different things. If the heart grows cold and the conscience is seared, though the words might be on someone’s lips, the follow-through will not occur.

The first man, for whom repentance came too late, is the most infamous traitor of all time, and no I am not referring to Benedict Arnold.

Judas betrayed Christ. Even those with a rudimentary knowledge of scripture know of his treachery, having betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. After the infamous kiss on the cheek, after Jesus was taken away by the Roman soldiers and delivered to Pontius Pilate, Judas sought repentance, even going so far as returning the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests. By then however, it was too late, and the remorse he felt was too much to bear.

Matthew 27:3-5, “Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ And they said, ‘what is that to us? You see to it!’ Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.”

Judas confessed his sin, he confessed that he had betrayed innocent blood, yet his confession came too late.

The second man, for whom repentance came too late, was Esau, the man who sold his birthright for a morsel of food.

Hebrews 12:17, “For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.”

The more we put off repentance, the more we put off confession, the more we put off humbling ourselves before God, and seeking His mercy and forgiveness, the colder our hearts become, and the more sin becomes an acceptable practice in our lives.

When we stifle the urging of the Holy Spirit to pray prayers of confession, when we stifle the urging of the Holy Spirit to repent before God, the flesh is emboldened and allowed to grow in its influence over us.

Eventually, though we might seek repentance, even diligently and with tears, it will not be with a true and undefiled desire for fellowship with God, it will not be with sincerity of heart, but due to what we may have lost out on, or fear of eternal judgment.

We do not repent or confess before God when we consider it an opportune time, but when God stirs our hearts through the unction of the Holy Spirit to do so.

Grace is offered us today, forgiveness is offered us today, redemption is offered us today, and it is today that we must accept this precious gift, because tomorrow belongs neither to you nor to me.

Why would we delay unburdening ourselves before God? Why would we delay coming before Him with prayers of repentance and confession, knowing that forgiveness is ours to be had, and the weight of our iniquity will be lifted from our shoulders?

Psalm 62:8, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah”

Pour out your heart before God. Tell Him of your fears, tell Him of your doubts, tell Him of your victories, tell Him of your defeats, tell Him of your resentments, tell Him of your struggles; He hears and He listens, and He forgives. He comforts the hurting, He wipes away our tears, He binds up our wounds, and He forgives us our iniquities.

Come before God with sincerity of heart, come before Him with honesty and forthrightness, and pour out your heart.

We’ve all poured out our hearts at one time or another in this life, and we know what it entails. It’s not something demure, structured, bland or sterile, it is emotional, and passionate, and often times there are tears and moans and sniffles involved.

We are verbalizing our heartache when we pour our hearts out to God, we are verbalizing our fears, we are verbalizing our failures, we are verbalizing our emotions, and every time it is a cathartic, cleansing and liberating experience.

Prayers of confession and repentance are the most emotionally draining prayers we can pray to God. They are prayers of the heart, cries of the soul, the moments in which we are most honest with God and with ourselves.

Tell God everything, hold nothing back, even though you might be embarrassed, or even ashamed, remember, He already knows, He wants to forgive, but you must come before Him with confession and repentance.

Psalm 142:1-2, “I cry out to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 27

Prayers of Confession continued...

Prayers of confession must also be prayed in a timely manner. Although when it comes to such things as exercise, eating right, or getting your high school equivalency diploma late is better than never, when it comes to prayers of confession, the timeliness of the act is of great import. And in case you’re wondering, yes, there is biblical precedent for my statement.

Shortly after an astounding victory at Jericho, Joshua sent a contingent of his army to a place called Ai, a city far smaller and with fewer defenses than those of Jericho. For Joshua, and for his generals, victory against Ai and its people was a foregone conclusion. Two or three thousand men went up to Ai, all battle hardened soldiers, fresh off their victory at Jericho, but as they approached the city, the men of Ai came out to do battle and the army of Israel fled from before them.

No, Joshua didn’t send out three thousand unseasoned men, he didn’t send out men who had not seen battle, he sent soldiers, warriors, men accustomed to steel and blood and conflict.

The only way these men’s hearts could have melted and become like water, was if their fear was God breathed.

There was a reason the people of Israel did not obtain victory at Ai, and the word of God tells us what that reason was, even before it tells us of their great defeat.

Joshua 7:1, “But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.”

God had commanded the people of Israel not to take the accursed things, not to plunder or hoard for themselves the riches of those they vanquished, yet this man named Achan disobeyed God.

Although we can get into a discussion as to how an entire nation suffered due to one man’s transgression, the point of this teaching is biblically proving that there are instances when it’s just too late for the act of confession.

After God spoke to Joshua, informing him that Israel would have no victories until the accursed thing was destroyed from the midst of the camp, he rose early in the morning and brought Israel by their tribes before him.

Each tribe presented itself before Joshua, divided further by each family of each tribe, until finally Achan was likewise brought before him.

Joshua 7:19-21, “So Joshua said to Achan, ‘My son, I beg you, give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.’ And Achan answered Joshua and said, ‘Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: ‘When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.’”

If when we confess a certain trespass is not an issue, then this should have been the end of the story with Achan. He confessed as to what he had taken, he confessed to the fact that he had coveted the garment and the silver and the gold, and even where he had hidden that which he had taken.

Although he confessed, forgiveness could not be afforded to Achan.

If he would have come to Joshua sooner, if he would have confessed his trespass before it was too late, he would have been forgiven and restored, but he only confessed because he had been found out, and had no other recourse but to own up to what he had done.

We’ve seen it often enough in our day and age, wherein an evangelist or preacher gets exposed for some lurid perversion, and goes on to confess only after they’ve been exposed and thoroughly shamed. That isn’t really confession. If anything, for most of them it’s just an issue of damage control. A true prayer of confession elicits true repentance. It’s not just saying sorry, or apologizing to those who we failed, it is turning from our transgression, never to revisit it again.

Achan’s confession, although thorough, was too late in coming, and he paid the price for his transgression.

Joshua 7:24-25, “Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor. And Joshua said, ‘why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.’ So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.”

If something is weighing on your heart, if the Holy Spirit is speaking to you about something in your life that you need to confess and repent of, don’t put it off. Do not delay coming before God with prayers of confession thinking that as long as no one finds out, you can keep doing whatever it is God has been convicting you of, because He is searching your heart for a purpose, desiring that you come before Him with repentance of heart before it’s too late.

Life is a fragile fleeting thing, a vapor that appears and ends within a breath’s span. It is both foolish and self-destructive to put off confession and repentance thinking to ourselves that if we don’t get around to it today, there’s always tomorrow. Every day there are countless souls for whom tomorrow never comes, who stand before God with sin for which they have no excuse, simply because they delayed repentance, and kept putting off coming before God with prayers of confession until it was too late.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 26

Prayers of Confession continued...

The prayer of confession is the light by which we see our true condition, our true selves, and come before God asking Him to cleanse us, and remove that which is hindering our walk with Him.

The only way we can come to that point of humbling ourselves, of repenting and confessing before God, is by acknowledging that our iniquity, our trespasses, our sins are harmful to our spiritual man, that they are choking off our intimacy with God, and that they are crushing us into the dust of the earth robbing us of hope and joy.

When we shelter our iniquity, when we protect our transgression, when we hold our pet sin close to our hearts and have no desire to be freed of it, we will not come before God in repentance, nor confess our shortcomings before Him.

If one has no desire to be freed from the prison they’ve fashioned for themselves, though God might open the door to the cell, and show them the way to freedom, they will refuse to walk out, remaining in the prison of their iniquity.

God will strike off the shackles, He will open the door, He will show us the way to freedom, but He will not forcibly drag us from our cells. Once our eyes are opened, once our chains fall off, once the prison doors are ajar, we are responsible for following after Him, and walking out of our prison on our own two feet.

A prayer of confession and repentance is man walking out of the prison in which he had languished for untold years. He sees the open door, he sees the opportunity to be free, he sees his chance to shake off the shackles of sin, and falling to his knees he seizes his moment and through confession and repentance is free indeed.

I have never been incarcerated, but I have heard stories of those who have been and were released, and the way they viewed the world once they walked beyond the prison gates is different than how they viewed it before they walked in. A man who has been imprisoned sees the world in a whole new light once he has been released. The air seems fresher, colors seem more vivid, simple things like chirping birds, or blooming flowers take on a whole new beauty, and it’s not because the world changed while they were imprisoned, it’s because their perception of the world changed.

Only when we have attained freedom, only when we have been freed from the prison of sin and despair, can we look back on our former condition and realize how dreadful, dark, and hopeless it was. Once we’ve attained freedom, we can likewise see the glory, love, mercy, and grace of God in a whole new light. Not as some abstract notion or doctrinal imperative, but something real and tangible and effective on a personal level.

It is vital that when we pray prayers of confession we are honest and forthright with God and with ourselves. Tell the truth! Tell the whole truth, and leave nothing out, because God already knows. Coming before God with prayers of confession and attempting to airbrush the wrinkles, or make ourselves out to be better than we are is a futile endeavor.

We can choose to be as the Pharisee, or as the tax collector. We can choose to stand before God and attempt to justify ourselves in our own righteousness, which the Bible says is as dirty rags, or humble ourselves before Him, and be justified in the righteousness of Christ Jesus which has been imputed unto us.

Two men went up to the temple to pray. To men made the effort to leave their homes, walk however long they had to walk, and go into the temple to commune with God. This however, is where the similarities between these two men end.

The first to pray was a Pharisee, a religious man, a proud man, and there was no humility in him, nor any acknowledgment of the fact that it is the righteousness of Christ in us that justifies us before the Father.

Luke 18:11-12, “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men – extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’”

Basically, the Pharisee’s prayer was all about himself, how good he was, how noble he was, and how he was superior to other men because of what he did. He did not thank God for transforming him, and sanctifying him, rather he thanked God because by his own strength and strict adherence to law, he was not like other men.

Luke 18:13, “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’”

The tax collector knew what he was in the sight of God. Because he knew his fallen condition, because he knew that in and of himself he could never find redemption, he would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beating his breast he said, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’

The tax collector acknowledged his fallen condition. He did not attempt to elevate himself, or make himself out to be more noble and altruistic than he really was; he stood before God with sincerity of heart, and cried out to Him for mercy.

Luke 18:14, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

What more could be added to that which Jesus already said at the conclusion of this parable?

If we attempt to exalt ourselves before an all knowing God, we will be brought low. Yes, self-righteousness is something God is as averse to as hypocrisy. If however we humble ourselves before Him, confessing our iniquity, He will exalt us. Because the tax collector humbled himself in the sight of God, because he cried out for mercy, he went home free of blame, and free of the guilt and penalty attached to his sin. He went home a man forgiven.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 25

Prayers of Confession continued...

Men love to hear soothing things. Men love to have their ears tickled. Because we are predisposed to loving those who would flatter us, and hating those who would tell us the truth, even those commissioned with preaching the gospel, those commissioned with declaring the whole counsel of God, hesitate, and talk themselves into believing that half-truths and the partial counsel of God, is better than no truth and no counsel at all.

Thankfully there are still those who will not compromise truth, just as there have always been, who see being maligned, ridiculed, ostracized and hated as part and parcel of their calling. When God calls us to the high calling of ministry, He never promises us fame, fortune, adoring fans or grateful audiences who will stand and cheer once we’ve delivered the message from the Lord. What we are promised however, is that the world will hate us because it hated our Master, and that we will be persecuted for His name’s sake. The flesh hates being challenged or called out, and it reacts violently every time, and without fail.

One day, after three years had passed without war between Syria and Israel, the king of Judah decides to go visit his counterpart in Israel. Two kings, both men of power and prestige sit together and begin plotting how they might take Ramoth in Gilead away from the king of Syria.

After concluding that this was the opportune time to strike, and establishing a partnership of sorts wherein the king of Judah would align his forces with the king of Israel to war against the Syrians, Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah asked that they inquire for the word of the Lord concerning their plans.

Quick to placate his newfound ally, the king of Israel gathers the prophets together, and asks them whether or not they should go to war against Ramoth Gilead. Keep in mind that the prophets the king of Israel gathered together were not just a handful of old men whose better days were behind them. They numbered four hundred, all assumingly prophetically gifted since they were counted among the prophets.

As one, all four hundred of the men the king had gathered said, ‘go up, for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king.’

Perhaps they didn’t take time to pray, perhaps there was something in their look or mannerism, but whatever it was, it caught Jehoshaphat’s eye, and though four hundred men had said, go to war, the Lord will deliver Ramoth Gilead into your hand, he still had his doubts.

1 Kings 22:7, “And Jehoshaphat said, ‘Is there not still a prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of Him?”

By his question, we realize Jehoshaphat did not believe the Lord had spoken through the four hundred men. He had not wanted to seek out another prophet to inquire of the man, but rather to inquire of God.

Sometimes you just know when a word doesn’t sound right. Although the words might be flattering, and the promises enticing, although the man or men in question tell you what you wanted to hear in the first place, something just feels off. This was the case with Jehoshaphat whose ears had heard that the plans he had ironed out with the king of Israel would come to fruition, yet inquired if there was still not another prophet of the Lord.

1 Kings 22:8, “So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘there is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, because he does not prophecy good concerning me, but evil.’ And Jehoshaphat said, ‘let not the king say such things!’”

So why did the king of Israel hate Micaiah the son of Imlah? Was it because he prophesied falsely? Was it because the words he prophecies did not come to pass? Was it because he had been wrong before? The king of Israel hated Micaiah because he did not prophecy good things concerning him. The king never goes into detail here, he never says that the evil Micaiah had prophesied against him wasn’t accurate or true; he just knew he hated the man because he never prophesied good concerning him.

So what’s the point of this detour into the lives of the kings of Judah and Israel?

The point is that often times God sends servants to warn us, to exhort us, and yes, even to rebuke us, and rather than hate them for the message they bring, because they did not prophecy good concerning us, we ought to fall on our knees before God in repentance for that which we know we are at fault for.

In order to bring us to a place of brokenness, confession and repentance God uses the word, the Holy Spirit, but He also uses His servants. God sends messengers across our path, or directly to us, with messages and words from Him, and often times our reactions are as the reactions of the king of Israel.

We don’t stop to think if the word we received was true, if what the individual said was exactly as our life is, we let our anger flare, we let the flesh overtake reason, and begin to hate the individual, who only did as God commanded them to do.

In love God reaches out to us in all manner of ways, trying to get our attention, trying to warn us, trying to keep us from going over the edge of the precipice, and far too often we find reasons not to receive the warnings He sends. Whether because the word was not delivered as lovingly as we would have liked, or seemed judgmental to our ears, or it just wasn’t good concerning us, we find reasons to dismiss it, and feel justified in doing so.

When God warns us, whether through His word, the Holy Spirit, or a chosen vessel, the only acceptable course of action we can undertake, is to come before Him in humility, confess, and repent.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 24

Prayers of Confession continued...

A prayer of confession can be likened to looking into a mirror, and acknowledging what we see there. If we look into a mirror and see that our face is dirty, we don’t break the mirror, or go to another mirror hoping to see something different than what is there. We take soap and water, wash our face, and then return to the mirror to see if the dirt has been removed, to see if we have remedied that which we saw as unpleasant when seeing our reflection.

Just as a mirror reflects what is placed before it, the word of God reflects what is in our hearts, without distortion. A mirror isn’t Photoshop. It won’t smooth away the wrinkles, it won’t clear away the acne, it won’t brighten the countenance; it reflects that which is there without alteration.

The word of God works in much the same manner, showing us the condition of our heart, and if we hope to see something different the next time we look in it, we must make the requisite changes. If no change is forthcoming, when once more we look into the mirror of the word, we will be confronted with the same image as before.

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

If we are displeased with the reflection we are seeing when we look into the mirror of God’s word, it’s not the mirror’s fault. If we desire to see something different than what we are seeing, then we must obey the word, and lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, receiving with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save our souls.

If we are but hearers of the word, and not doers thereof, we are deceiving ourselves. Yes, perhaps if we look in a mirror and squint, and tilt our head, and suck in our cheeks, what is reflected back to us might change somewhat, but without taking steps to clean our faces, or comb our hair, or remedy that which caught our eye, the instant we stop squinting and tilting our heads and sucking in our cheeks our reflection will revert back to what it was. A dirty face is a dirty face until you clean it. A dirty garment is a dirty garment until you wash it in the blood of the Lamb.

Because they are displeased with the reflection staring back at them, many a soul have chosen to lay the word of God aside, and no longer look in it as into a mirror. Rather than become doers of the word, allowing God to transform them into something pleasing in His sight, they do away with the word altogether.

We want God, but we want Him on our terms. We want eternity with Him, but not at the cost of forfeiting this present life, and denying the flesh. By now we ought to have learned that we can’t always get what we want, and getting to heaven laden with sin, is one of the things we will never get.

During the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim as king of Judah, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, commanding him to take a scroll, and write on it all the words He had spoken to him against Israel, against Judah and all the nations. Since Jeremiah was instructed to write all the words God had spoken to him since the days of Josiah, Jeohiakim’s father to the present, chances are it was not a short tome.

Ever faithful to the voice of the Lord, Jeremiah called on Baruch, the son of Neriah, and Baruch proceeded to write on a scroll of a book, at the instruction of Jeremiah.

Once all the words had been transcribed to the scroll, Jeremiah instructed Baruch to take the scroll, read it before the people in the house of the Lord, and deliver it to the king.

Jeremiah 36:22-23, “Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning on the hearth before him. And it happened when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.”

It took only three or four columns for the king to grow so disgusted with his reflection, that in a fit of rage he broke the mirror into which he was looking. It took only three or four columns for the king to realize that his life was not in concert with the word of the Lord, and rather than repent and confess his transgressions, he chose to cut the scroll with the scribe’s knife, and cast it into the fire.

Every day of our lives we make the choice between coming before God with prayers of confession, acknowledging our trespasses, acknowledging our iniquity, acknowledging our shortcomings, and repenting before His mercy seat, or breaking the mirror reflecting the true image of ourselves.

Through His word God searches our hearts, and brings to the surface that which is not in accordance with His will. He does so out of love, and the desire to see us transformed into an image of His Son Jesus, for our own good, and for our own benefit.

When He reveals our shortcomings and our iniquities to us through His word, God is expressing His love toward us, and those who would grow bitter toward God for showing them their true reflection, neither understand Him, nor desire to have true fellowship with Him.

Job 22:21-23, “Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you. Receive, please, instruction from His mouth, and lay up His words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up; you will remove iniquity far from your tents.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 23

Prayers of Confession continued...

And while we’re on the topic of the Bible, I’ve been getting some correspondence lately attempting to dispute the fact that the Bible is the word of God. Keep in mind these denials and repudiations of the Bible as being the divinely inspired word of God are not coming from atheists or agnostics, they are coming for professing Christians, who have somehow gotten it into their heads that they should no longer read their Bibles, or follow the precepts thereof.

From what I can gather, the entire argument revolves around an issue of semantics.

Yes, there is a difference between the Word, as described in the gospel according to John, and the Bible, what we often refer to as the word of God.

John 1:1-2, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”

Since it is incumbent upon us to interpret scripture with scripture, we discover who the Word is, in the same chapter of the same gospel we just quoted.

John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

So the Word that was in the beginning, the Word that was with God, and the Word that was God, is none other than Christ Jesus our Lord. Yes, the Word became flesh, and He dwelt among us, and men beheld His glory full of grace and truth.

For some reason still unclear to me, some have taken to extrapolating this truth, and concluding that since Jesus is the Word, we have no need for Scripture, and reading the Bible is unprofitable to us as believers.

2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

All Scripture, is given by inspiration of God! All Scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness! We have the Bible, we have Scripture, that the man of God may be complete, and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Enough of foolishness already!

We get into these arguments on semantics, about whether or not the word ‘word’ is capitalized or not, wasting time arguing our point of view, when it’s clear as day who the Word is, and what the word of God is. Have we nothing better to do than dream up new dogmatic irrelevancies that do nothing in the way of bringing us closer to God? Have we nothing better to do than argue over the capitalization of a certain word to the point of denouncing those who would disagree with us as heretics?

And so, to anyone that is thinking of forwarding me the ‘groundbreaking teaching’ on why the Bible is not the word of God, please refrain. I’ve already seen it, dismissed it, and plead the blood of Jesus on those who would disseminate it.

Instead of being warriors for Christ, we’re wasting our time being little kids arguing over whose dad can beat up whose dad, and whether or not we flinched playing hot hands, or slapsies.

Romans 1:22, “Professing to be wise, they became fools.”

Mark 9:42, “And whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.”

The Shepherd is protective of His flock, and we as His ambassadors and disciples must be equally protective of them. I’m sorry if I sound unloving or intolerant, but there are certain things for which we must stand resolute, certain things on which we cannot compromise, lest we too be counted among those for whom it would have been better if a millstone were hung around their necks, and thrown into the sea.

We have enough to deal with standing against the tide of darkness, corruption and deception that is descending upon the house of God, without having to defend the gospel to professing believers. Without the Bible, we would have no light to guide our footsteps, and we would have no compass to show us the way we must go.

If the days that are almost upon us find us squabbling, backbiting, and attempting to undermine the sovereignty of Scripture rather than praying, growing, and walking in the power of God, we will be trotted underfoot as readily as those who have Jesus on their lips but not in their hearts.

It is well past time we put childish things aside. It is well past time we began to earnestly desire the deeper things of God. It is well past time that we put in the time, and established a true and lasting intimacy with God the Father, for in the days to come it will be His strength that will carry us, His protection that will keep us, and His hand that will comfort us.

If we are caught unprepared, if we are caught unequipped, if we are caught lacking power and authority in Christ, it is not God’s fault it is ours for being distracted, for having the attention span of teenagers riddled with ADD, and for not valuing the season of freedom and peace we’ve been granted as we ought to have.

Yes, it is entirely our fault for being distracted by flash, and pomp and newness, rather than diligently following after Christ, and seeking the old paths of righteousness, holiness and sanctification.

Due to distraction, indifference, or lack of vigilance, many will soon find themselves on the outside looking in, wondering what happened, shell shocked by the reality that while they argued over which lamp to use, which wick burned brightest, and where one could find the cheapest oil, the Groom came in and shut the door behind Him.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 22

Prayers of Confession continued...

Although repentance has fallen out of favor with this present generation because it requires the humbling of oneself and the renouncing of past practices the flesh really enjoys, it is nevertheless still a biblical command, and something God insists upon in every one of His children.

When we remove repentance from the predetermined order of stages an individual must go through in order to obtain salvation, it’s as though we are removing a tire off a car, then expecting it to function as it did when it had four.

When repentance is removed from the equation, all we are left with is an incomplete equation. There are four major elements to salvation, each necessary in order to become born again sons and daughters of God. The simplest way I’ve found of explaining these four elements, having done so to someone sitting next to me on a forty minute flight one time, is believe, confess, repent, and receive.

The first step we take on our journey toward salvation is believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who came and died that we might have life, who rose again on the third day, and now sits at the right hand of the Father. This belief, this faith comes by way of hearing the word of God, and letting it take root in our heart.

The second step we take on our journey toward salvation is that of confession. Once we have come to believe in Christ, we look in the mirror of His word, see all the stain and the filth and the wrinkles, and confess our sin, transgression and iniquity before Him.

The third step we take on our journey toward salvation is that of repentance. Repentance is more than saying we are sorry, it is more than feeling shame or regret for past actions, it is the turning away from our past, and leaving all that we were behind us. We are new creations in Christ Jesus, renewed in our mind, with new desires, new aspirations, and a new path upon which we must tread, leading toward Jesus and away from the sins that had imprisoned us.

The fourth step we take on our journey toward salvation is receiving the forgiveness of God, receiving the redemption of God, receiving the blood of Jesus that washes us and makes us clean in His sight.

Although from this point onward, we go on to water baptism, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, maturing and growing, building up our prayers lives, and other aspects necessary for a healthy and vibrant spiritual life, these four, believe, confess, repent, receive, are the first steps we take toward a new life in Christ.

These four stages in the life of a new believer are interdependent. We cannot confess, unless we first believe, we cannot repent of that which we’ve never confessed, nor can we receive forgiveness for that which we never repented of. These four aspects of our journey must work in harmony with each other, and are interdependent, like the links on a chain.

Why all this talk about repentance during a study on prayers of confession? Because confession and repentance are like two sides of the same coin, making a whole only when they are joined together.

Luke 24:46-47, “Then He said to them, ‘thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’”

The preaching of repentance and remission of sins in His name is a necessity. No, I did not conclude this on my own, it is not a doctrine I fashioned out of thin air, it is something Jesus said with His own lips, equating the necessity of preaching repentance and remission of sins with the necessity of the Christ having had to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day.

Isaiah 55:7, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”

There are certain things required of man, in order for the Lord to have mercy on him, and abundantly pardon. In this verse alone, we see three actions one must undertake in order to receive forgiveness, or be abundantly pardoned and shown mercy. First, the wicked or the unrighteous man must forsake his way, second, he must forsake his thoughts, and third, he must return to the Lord. Only then will God have mercy, only then will He abundantly pardon.

Yes, prayers of confession, and prayers of repentance are critical in the life of every believer, for only when we confess and repent are we forgiven, only when we humble ourselves before the glory of our God, will He have mercy on us and abundantly pardon.

Every time I preach somewhere, it is inevitable that I stir the ire of one or two individuals. After preaching a message on the need for repentance a young lady came up to me after the service, face flushed, and a spark of anger in her eye.

‘I disagree wholeheartedly with what you said, because I’m already forgiven’, she said not bothering to shake my hand.

‘You are forgiven, if you’ve received Jesus as Lord, confessed and repented’, I answered.

‘I raised my hand at a crusade’ she retorted ‘and I was assured that I was saved and eternally secure. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re just trying to scare people.’

And that pretty much sums up the mindset of those who don’t bother to read the word of God, who don’t bother to search out the scriptures for themselves, and receive the words and opinions of others as holy writ.

God gave us the Bible for a reason. He gave us scripture that we might know it, live it, and obey it. It is scripture that constrains us, defining what we must believe, what we must practice, and what we must reject.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 21

Prayers of Confession continued...

Prayers of confession, like prayers of thanks are some of the most difficult prayers for certain individuals to pray. While one has to do with acknowledging that all things come from God, and it’s not our own intellect, ability or prowess that has allowed us to succeed in any given field, the other has to do with humbling ourselves in the sight of God, and admitting if only to ourselves and to Him, that we are not perfect, that we have transgressed, and that we need to be forgiven.

Coming to the realization that we are in need of forgiveness, is what sparks the desire in us to pray prayers of confession and repentance before God.

Admittedly not all who transgress or sin before God have a physical reaction to their absence of confession, repentance and seeking God’s forgiveness like David did. On the contrary, some have so mortified their conscience that habitual and ongoing sin in their lives seems not to bother them at all.

Because they would not heed the cry of their conscience, because they stifled and suppressed the voice of the Holy Spirit in their lives, such individuals are no longer bothered by what once used to cause them anguish and groaning as it did David. Sin eats away at the conscience as surely as necrosis eats away at healthy tissue. If rather than attempt to revive the conscience, if rather than attempt to reanimate the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives we suppress and muzzle them, eventually we are left to the desire of our heart, our conscience having been thoroughly seared and the Holy Spirit thoroughly silenced.

It is a good thing that in His love God continues to chisel and mold us. It is a good thing that often times we feel compelled to fall on our knees in prayers of repentance and confession for something we would have otherwise dismissed as insignificant.

The closer we get to God, the more distant we become toward the world and the things of the world. Imagine if you will that God and the world are two fixed points, and you are between them. Logic would dictate that if you draw close to one of the fixed points, you automatically distance yourself from the other.

The more of God we have in our lives, the less of the world there will be in it. The more of God we have in our lives, the less of ourselves and our flesh will be found therein.

In an eight ounce glass, you can only fit eight ounces of liquid. Whatever that liquid happens to be, whether water, juice, or drain cleaner, it’s still going to be eight ounces. We are also vessels, and whether we are vessels of honor or vessels of dishonor is determined by what we are filled with. There is no vacant real estate on earth, as far as the human heart is concerned. Every heart is full of something. Every heart is full of someone.

If we are filled with the power and presence of God, if we are filled with the Holy Spirit, then we are vessels of honor, and strive toward being such throughout our journey here on earth. If we are filled with futile thoughts and our own imaginings, if we are filled with the world and love thereof, then we will not strive for righteousness or holiness unto God, as such seeing no purpose or reason to come before Him confessing our trespasses.

If sin is the disease, then confessing our sins to God, and having the iniquity of our sins forgiven is the cure. When we come before God with prayers of confession, whatever it is we confessed before God, whatever iniquity, whatever transgression, it has been forgiven us, and no longer has any power or sway over us.

Sin still clings to many a soul and many a soul are slaves to their sin, because they have not confessed their sin. When a sin is not confessed and repented of, it has power in the heart and life of the individual refusing to confess it.

Another way of looking at it is that by not confessing our sin, iniquity or transgression, we are giving them power over us, and our lives. If a sin is not repented of and confessed, then that sin has authority to remain in the heart because we neither turned away from it, nor acknowledged our need to be forgiven of it.

This is the utmost reason that prayers of confession are so important and necessary in the life of any true believer. By praying prayers of confession and repentance, we acknowledge our need for forgiveness, as well as commit to turning from that which we acknowledge displeased God in the first place.

A prayer of confession and a prayer of repentance are as a single sigh of the soul, for without repentance, without turning away from our transgression and iniquity, confessing it only makes us more culpable before God on the Day of Judgment.

The whole point of confessing one’s transgressions is that we desire to change; we desire to stop being that which we were, and cease doing that which we were doing. We cannot come before God, pray a prayer of confession, and the next day go back to doing that which we confessed before Him the previous evening.

When we pray prayers of confession, not only is repentance implied, but transformation is likewise implied. We confess, we repent, and God forgives, but He does not forgive us that we might return to the sins or transgressions to which we were enslaved. There’s no point in giving someone new, clean, and spotless attire, if the first thing they do once they’ve put it on is jump back into the mud pit they crawled out of. God forgives us that we might be renewed in Him. He saves us that we might be born again through His Son Jesus, and know Him as God, King, Lord, and Savior. He redeems us, not so we might belong to ourselves, or to the world, but that we might be His, in totality, both in mind, body, and spirit.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 20

Prayers of Confession

Psalm 32:5, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah”

I believe that an honest man must foremost be honest with himself, if he is truly honest. It requires brutal honesty and noble character to look into the mirror of God’s word, and as David, acknowledge our sin, and confess our transgressions to the Lord.

Perfect men are rare. In fact, if memory serves, there was but one perfect man to ever walk the earth, and He was the Son of God. Jesus was sinless. All others are not. We transgress with our words, with our thoughts with our actions, we omit certain truths which are counted as sin against us, and for all the things we know we do that are not in accordance to the word of God, that do not show the character of Jesus, we must come before God and confess, that the iniquity of our sin might be forgiven.

The first step in being able to pray a prayer of confession before God is to acknowledge our sin, and not attempt to hide our iniquity. God loved David because David was honest with God. He didn’t try to pass himself off as a better, holier, or more righteous man than he was, and each time he transgressed he was quick to repent, and confess before God.

Does this mean that David didn’t suffer the consequences of his sin? Of course not! All men suffer the consequences of their transgressions, all men suffer the consequences of their sin, but when we confess our sin and transgressions before God, He forgives, that it might not be counted against us in eternity.

We all say things better left unsaid, we all think thoughts we wish we hadn’t, and we all miss opportunities to speak Christ into the lives of others, which in retrospect we wish we had seized.

Often times we think that unless we have committed a grave sin, or have once more become ensnared in some habitual and destructive vice, we need not confess our stumbles or omissions to God.

When our primary desire is to be more like Jesus however, when the cry of our heart is to be sanctified and walk in righteousness, even the small issues in our lives grate at us until we come before God and acknowledge our misstep.

I often find myself convicted of simply not spending enough time with God. It’s not that I choose to pursue something else, it’s not that I had free time and I chose not to be in His presence, it’s simply an overwhelmingly busy schedule that kept me from fellowship with Him that day, but by the time evening comes, I have to take a few minutes and acknowledge the fact that I missed out on being in His presence, and repent for not making Him the priority in my life that day.

The worst thing we can do as believers, something of great detriment to our spiritual man, is to ignore our conscience, to ignore the feeling of being convicted, and attempt to brush them aside. The more we ignore our conscience, the less we feel its tug, and hear its voice.

The dangerous thing about ignoring the conscience is that it gets easier each time we do it. The first time we ignore it, it’s as if we are burying it deep within our hearts, and with each subsequent discounting of it, we are laying a new layer of earth upon it.

When we are convicted of a certain thing we said, or a certain thing we did, it is wise to take some time, acknowledge it, and come before God with the requisite prayer of confession.

God knows our works, He knows our lives, and nothing is hid from His eye. When we attempt to hide a transgression, when we attempt to mask a shortcoming what we are doing, in essence, is denying the omniscience of our God, and acting as though we can somehow trick Him.

Before having his epiphany, wherein if he confessed his transgression, he felt the forgiveness of the iniquity of his sin, David attempted to keep silent, to hide it or mask it.

In doing so, he confesses that his bones grew old, and his vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Until the moment he came before God with a prayer of confession, David felt the hand of God heavy upon him, and he had no peace, no joy, and no vitality.

Psalm 32:3-4, “When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah”

As men and women of God, we ought to know when something isn’t right. We ought to feel the hand of God heavy upon us, and know that there is something for which we must go before God with repentance and confession that it might be forgiven us.

We know that sin offends God, and kills man. Knowing that it is fatal for us, and it brings offense to God, why would we attempt to hide it, keep from acknowledging it, or confessing it before Him?

God forgives when we confess. He forgives transgression, He forgives iniquity, and He forgives sin. In order to forgive us our trespasses however, we must acknowledge and confess the fact that we have transgressed, that we have fallen short, and that we need to be forgiven.

Do not let pride rob you of your forgiveness. Do not let pride keep you from knowing what it is the have the iniquity of your sins forgiven. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, come before Him with sincerity of heart, confess your trespasses, and He will lift you up.

Psalm 32:10-11, “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 19

Prayers of Thanks continued...

There are times when being thankful toward God is a difficult endeavor. There are seasons in our lives when we go through trials and adversities, wherein being thankful is the last thing on our mind.

In my opinion, no man endured greater adversity and heartbreak than Job. Here was a man whom the word identifies as the greatest of all the people of the East, a man who lacked for nothing by way of the material, a man who had sheep, and camels, and oxen and donkeys and a very large household, who systematically loses it all.

In the blink of an eye, everything was gone. Gone were the possessions, gone were his livestock, gone were his sons and his daughters, gone was his health and the respect of his spouse, yet Job has the presence of mind and strength of character to say, ‘the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’

Job 1:20-22, “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell to the ground and worshipped. And he said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

When we consider the fact that the Bible characterizes Job as a man blameless and upright, one who feared God and shunned evil, we come to realize what it must have taken for Job to look upon all those who had perished and all that he had lost, and not charge God with wrong.

Today men half as blameless and upright before God as Job, who go through a tenth of what he went through shake their fists in the air, charging God with wrong, and accusing Him of judging unfairly. Never mind thanking God for our adversities, when things don’t work out the way we expected them, it’s all some can do not to turn their backs on God altogether.

Such reactions not only speak to the condition of our hearts, they also reveal the fact that we do not know God as we ought. It is God’s privilege and right to do as He desires with that which is His. He gives, but when He so chooses it is His right to likewise take away, and as faithful servants of Christ we must be as thankful when He takes away as when He gives.

Some things are easier said than done however, and being thankful in our moments of adversity is one of those things.

If we come before God with prayers of thanks in our hardships, if we can be as resolute in our faith concerning the nature of our God as Job was, our thanks will not be in vain or futile. Just as God took away from Job, He gave to him once more, not merely replacing what he had lost, but giving him double.

Job 42:10, “And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”

We have more reasons than Job to be thankful, because through the scriptures God has made it known to us that all things work together for good for those who love Him. This is not hyperbole, it is not exaggeration, it is not some quaint saying we’re prone to repeat when trials abound and times are hard, it is the infallible unchanging promise of God. Believe God at His word and in you adversity give thanks to Him for His plan and purpose.

Each time we are confronted with adversity we have the choice between thanking God, and murmuring against Him. Seeing as those that murmured against God have consistently been rebuked and reprimanded by Him, one would readily conclude that thanking Him would be the avenue best pursued.

As temporal creations, limited in our understanding we often fail to see the purpose of any given situation, why it is happening, and why God allowed it. All we know is that we’re going through it, and it’s hard, and it’s heartbreaking, and it’s discouraging, but by faith we see that we will get through it, and at the end of the journey we will see the purpose of it.

2 Corinthians 4:16-17, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

We do not lose heart, for we know that the inward man is being renewed day by day. We do not lose heart, for we know that our light affliction is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

As soon as we pry our eyes away from the temporary, as soon as we pry our eyes away from this earth and its cloying charms, as soon as we turn our eyes upon Jesus, as soon as we acknowledge all that He has done for us, we can’t help but fall to our knees in prayers of thanks and appreciation.

God has done exceedingly and beyond what we deserve for every one of us; His grace has saved us from darkness and death; His love has carried us through seasons of despair; His faithfulness has persevered through our bouts of faithlessness, He sent the Christ that we might be reconciled unto Him, and for all these things, plus many more He is worthy of our thanks, and the adoration of our hearts.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 18

Prayers of Thanks continued...

What motivates a prayer of thanks? A prayer of thanks is a natural and moral reaction towards God, who has done you a kindness, has answered a prayer, has intervened on your behalf, has healed your body, or has done a work in you and through you.

If the heart so desires, and the vessel is willing, there is always a reason to thank God, just as there is always a reason to praise Him. By praying prayers of thanks, we acknowledge the presence of God in our lives, we acknowledge His supremacy in our walk, and we acknowledge His ever present hand guiding us, protecting us and keeping us.

For those who have succumbed to the temptations of pride, and glory in the delusion of the greatness of self, hearing that without God we can do nothing, and that in and of ourselves we are nothing, is a bitter pill to swallow, but truth isn’t always genteel, or inoffensive.

The true measure of man’s frailty, weakness, and impotence is well established throughout the scriptures, revealing the paramount need of being dependent on God for all things.

From being compared to clay in the potter’s hands, to sheep among wolves, we come away with the realization that the flesh is a poor defense against the enemy who roars like a lion seeking to devour, but also that if we desire to be transformed into an image pleasing in His sight, we must go through the requisite molding and shaping process.

Give thanks always, for all things. Yes, it is far easier to give thanks for blessings than it is for trials; it is far easier to give thanks for victories than it is for defeats; it is far easier to give thanks in our strength than it is in our weakness, but the word of God commands us to give thanks always, and for all things. In our trials He is molding us, in our defeats He is maturing our character, in our weakness His strength is self-evident, and throughout all the circumstances of our lives, though the world might not see it, we as children of God must see His hand at work, knowing that it is with a purpose and an objective.

God does nothing by accident, nor does He ever do anything just for the sake of doing it. All things in our lives have purpose, all things in our lives have a goal and an objective, and though at times we might not see it, God always does.

Since God is not constrained by time and space, and He sees the end from the beginning, we must trust that where He leads us, whatever trials or adversities He allows in our lives, whatever setbacks we might have to endure, it is all for the ultimate good.

Because I know the goodness and faithfulness of my God, I know that He will not lead me astray or allow me to suffer needlessly. All things will work out for my good, though I might not see it momentarily, and as such I must thank Him for all things.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Clearly there must be some mistake. Perhaps Paul didn’t get the memo in time, but he is telling the church at Thessalonica something contrary to what many a preachers are presenting to the Body of Christ today as gospel truth.

For decades now we have been told that the will of God in Christ Jesus for us is to prosper, have self-esteem, and claim that we are little gods.

Why is Paul trying to upturn the apple cart by insisting that to rejoice always, to pray without ceasing and to give thanks in everything is the will of God in Christ Jesus for us?

That doesn’t sound very exciting, it’s almost pedestrian. Could God’s will really be that we rejoice in Him always? Could God’s will really be that we that we pray without ceasing desiring to be in His presence and in fellowship with Him? Could He really expect us to give thanks in everything, even when that which we have received from Him isn’t what the flesh was expecting?

Yes, that is the will of God in Christ for us.

By doing these three things regularly and consistently we establish intimacy with God, and forge a true and lasting relationship with Him. Intimacy is not bombastic. Intimacy is not flashy. Intimacy is well, intimate.

The intimacy that we have with God is not something that men can quantify. Just as someone cannot know the truth concerning your relationship with your spouse seeing you out in public for a few hours, one cannot know the truth of an individual’s relationship with God by seeing them in church once in a while. As such, we cannot judge another’s intimacy, fellowship, and relationship with God, because each of us are individually, and personally accountable for establishing and maintaining dialogue with the heavenly Father.

Appearances are misleading, and often times the persona an individual projects is nothing like the condition of their heart. There are few bigger wastes of time in this life, than trying to judge other men’s spirituality. We were not commanded to make sure that our neighbor, our friend, or the person sitting in the next pew rejoices always, prays without ceasing, and gives thanks to God in everything; we were commanded to do these things ourselves as individuals. When we are constantly looking to the left and the right of us, judging other men’s relationship with God, chances are good we will ourselves stumble, since we’re not paying attention to where we’re stepping.

As the old adage goes, ‘if I’m too busy inspecting my neighbor’s garden, I will fail to notice the weeds growing in my own.’

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, March 17, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 17

Prayers of Thanks continued...

Ephesians 5:18-21, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.”

In recent years this passage in Ephesians has been wholly misinterpreted, and as such has given way to certain manifestations that have nothing whatsoever to do with being filled with the Spirit. The signs, and proofs that one is filled with the Spirit, are not barking, howling laughter, incontinence, or feigned drunkenness, but rather speaking in psalms to one another, in hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in our hearts to the Lord, and giving thanks always for all things to God the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Because men choose to read the word of God in passing, as though it were just another book, and not the divinely inspired word of God, they draw conclusions they would not have drawn had they meditated upon it as they ought.

There is no such thing as being drunk in the Spirit in the Bible. Paul does not tell the Ephesians not to be drunk with wine, but be drunk with the Spirit; He tells them to be filled with the Spirit, the demonstrations thereof including true fellowship of the brethren, and perpetual thankfulness to God for all things in the name of Christ.

Apparently it’s more acceptable for some individuals to act the fool, than to have true fellowship in the presence of God.

We’re still in this cycle of adolescent spirituality, wherein we disregard simple yet profound experiences in the presence of God such as giving thanks always to Him who is worthy of our thanks, and continue to cling to extra biblical manifestations that do nothing to feed the spiritual man or mature us in the way of righteousness.

We cannot experience the fullness of God by practicing things outside His word, nor can we be filled with the Spirit if we refuse to submit to the authority of Scripture in regards to what being filled with the Spirit entails.

We might think we know better, but we don’t! We might think that there are shortcuts to maturity, and experiencing the fullness of the Spirit, but there aren’t!

There is purpose to every word written in Scripture, it is the definitive and singular instruction manual for the regenerate and transformed individual, and in order to achieve the results which the word tells us are achievable, we must do as the word instructs us to do.

I have a friend, who like me, has a predisposition to weight gain. We constantly have to watch what we eat, because it seems even if we breathe a little too deeply, it somehow converts into a caloric surplus, and the scale starts inching upward. While I was in the States for a few months, my friend decided to go on a diet. He bought a book, leafed through it, and then proceeded to make up his own diet as he went along.

Upon returning to Romania, I ran into my friend, and he seemed huskier than usual. Since we’re honest with each other, I mentioned it to him, and blushing slightly, he said he was angry, and if there was a way, he would sue the writer of the diet book he had purchased because it guaranteed results, and no results were had.

When I asked him if he followed the diet plan however, his blushing cheeks turned redder still, and with a guilty look he said, ‘no, not really, I followed it the first couple days, but then I started eating what I shouldn’t have been.’

So here was my friend, who although didn’t follow the prescribed diet, still blamed the creator of the diet for his failures.

Often times, we as believers act in much the same manner. We don’t follow the instructions plainly laid out in the word of God, yet when we don’t see the results we were expecting, the results the Book promised that we would see, we get angry at God for the lack of progress in our lives.

Follow the instructions, and you will see results! Do as the word of God commands, and you will see a growing intimacy in your spiritual life, a growing strength in your spiritual man, and a growing maturity in your spiritual understanding.

It’s not God’s fault that rather than obey Him, we chose to heed the voices of the wolves among us, who said we can experience God without the requisite repentance. It’s not God’s fault that rather than obey Him, we chose to heed the voices of the wolves among us who said that we need not pray, or know the word of God, or spend time in His presence as long as we sent a few dollars to their ministry because they, magnanimous souls that they are, would be kind enough to pray to God on our behalf.

When we truly hunger and desire God, spiritual surrogates and middlemen just won’t do. I can’t pay someone to be spiritual on my behalf, nor spend time with God on my behalf, nor have a right understanding of scripture on my behalf.

It is incumbent upon me as a child of God, redeemed and sanctified to pursue Him for myself, to spend time with Him for myself, that I might now Him and the power of His resurrection personally, and intimately.

An individual filled with the Spirit, is by definition a thankful individual, one who comes to realize the importance of giving thanks always for all things to God Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, when ought we to pray prayers of thanks to God, what ought we to be thankful for? Give thanks always, and be thankful for all things! Those are the instructions!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 16

Prayers of Thanks continued...

Luke 17:17-19, “So Jesus answered and said, ‘were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ And He said to him, ‘arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

Jesus noticed! Not only did Jesus notice that ten had been healed and only one had returned to thank Him and give glory to God, he also inquired where the other nine were. The man who had returned had no answer, he could not tell Christ where the other nine were, all that he knew was that he had returned and was now giving glory to God and thanking Jesus for what He had done on his behalf.

You are responsible for you, I am responsible for me, and I cannot answer on behalf of others as to why they did not come before God with prayers of thanks. I can only answer on behalf of myself.

God keeps immaculate records. He doesn’t overlook certain things for the sake of sparing our feelings, He isn’t under the weather some days and so misses out on some things we did or failed to do. He remembers all that He has done for every one of us, and I dread the thought of God asking ‘didn’t I bless Mike? Why has he not returned to thank Me?’

Thankfulness is not a natural human trait, it is a characteristic that must be molded and groomed in us as individuals. No one is born thankful, we learn to be thankful. Just as little children must be taught to say ‘thank you’ to those who show them kindness, we must teach ourselves to thank our heavenly Father for all that He does for us.

Jesus, our chief example, always thanked the Father for all that He did. If Jesus took the time to pray prayers of thanks to God, ought we not to follow His example and likewise have thankful hearts toward Him?

It’s easy to excuse our absence of thanks. We’re too busy, there’s too much to do, we have bills to pay and clothes to wash and dinners to cook, but if we really wanted to, we could always find the time to thank God for everything that comes from His hand.

It need not be a long and practiced speech, it need not be the perfect moment, or the perfect place to go into a long soliloquy, we can thank God on the go, as we’re driving, as we’re working, as we’re cleaning or cooking, just as long as we thank Him with sincerity of heart as the Samaritan who returned to Jesus did.

The word of God also discusses prayers of thanks for those things which God has not yet done, but which we know, by faith that He will do on our behalf. Yes, even Jesus prayed such prayers, the most noteworthy of which is the prayer He prayed at the tomb of Lazarus.

John 11:41-42, “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they maybe believe that You sent Me.”

As yet Lazarus was still dead, he was still in his tomb, and the only thing to have happened up to this point was that the stone had been taken away. Yet when Jesus prays, He does not say ‘Father, I thank you that You will hear Me’, he does not use the future tense, but rather the past tense, thanking the Father as though that which He had prayed for had already come to pass.

Even though the people standing there had not as yet seen the miracle of Lazarus’s resurrection, even though they had not as yet seen him come out of the tomb bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face wrapped with a cloth, Jesus thanked the Father as though this had already come to pass.

In faith we thank God for what He will do as though He has already done it. We thank Him for the work He has completed, although in the physical it has only just begun, we thank Him for the provision He has made for us, even though in the physical we are at the moment in need, because when we thank Him in faith for something that has as yet not occurred as though it already has, we are acknowledging His faithfulness and mercy toward His own.

Absence of thankfulness is also a warning sign of a deteriorating spiritual condition. If absence of thankfulness persists, and goes untreated, if it is allowed to cement itself in the heart of the individual, making it cold toward the things of God, it can even lead to apostasy in our conduct, walk and life.

Yes, it is a serious matter, and the word of God proves it out as such.

Romans 1:20-21, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

One of the clear signs of the apostate, of those who become futile in their thoughts, and darkened in their foolish hearts, is absence of thankfulness, and absence of glorifying Him as God. When men cease to glorify Him as God, when men cease to be thankful toward Him, it is a slippery slope that ends in their being given up to uncleanness.

All that we are seeing today, the judgment of being given over to a reprobate mind and vile passions, is the end result of thanklessness and not glorifying Him as God.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 15

Prayers of Thanks continued...

Luke 17:15-16, “Now one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.”

Ten men were healed of leprosy. Ten men were made whole and cleansed of a disease that at the time knew no cure, yet of the ten, only one returned glorifying God with a loud voice, and falling down at the feet of Christ giving Him thanks.

If we look at the situation strictly from a percentage point of view, we realize that just ten percent of those who had received a priceless gift from the hand of God, took the time to return to Him and thank Him for what He had done.

The word of God also points out that the man who returned to thank Jesus was a Samaritan. The Samaritans were despised by the Jews, considered to be a heretical sect, and an unclean people as far as the Jews were concerned. Yet here he was, this man despised, this man considered unclean, realizing what Jesus had done for him and glorifying God with a loud voice.

If you do a kindness to a stranger, and you do the selfsame kindness to one of your children, chances are the stranger will thank you for your kindness, even profusely, while your children will wrinkle their noses, shrug their shoulders and move on as though nothing happened.

The lessons, implications, and deeper meanings concerning the fact that only the Samaritan returned to thank Christ are numerous, but try as I might to go into the rest of them, I keep returning to the idea that it is shameful and even sinful for us as children of God to take our Father for granted.

Acknowledge what you have received from the hand of God, know in your heart that you could not have achieved it or amassed it on your own, and be thankful for those things which come from Him.

I love seeing the fire and enthusiasm of the newly saved. While the first love still burns bright in their heart, while they still remember what they once were and what Jesus transformed them into, their singular desire is to serve Him, and bring glory and thanks to His name. Such individuals are not concerned with decorum, they do not wonder whether or not they are making a scene, or if people are watching, they fall on their faces at Christ’s feet and thank Him.

Chances are Jesus was not alone. Chances are also good that in the least, His disciples were with Him. Yet when this leper returned to Christ, healed and whole, he didn’t care that someone was watching, or that someone might judge him for his actions, He glorified God in a loud voice, and fell on His face at Christ’s feet, giving Him thanks.

When was the last time we were that thankful? When was the last time we lay aside pretense, and image, and stopped wondering what people would think of us, and just fell at His feet and thanked Him for all that He has done?

Tragically in many a life, thanklessness has become a habitual pattern. We come before God with our petitions, He is faithful to answer, then once He has answered, we are reticent in bringing Him our thanks.

Psalm 103:1-5, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Just in case we forgot His many benefits, just in case we forgot the unquantifiable blessings God bestows upon us daily, the psalmist reminds us what some of these benefits are. From having our iniquities forgiven, to having our diseases healed, to having our lives redeemed from destruction, to being crowned with lovingkindness and tender mercies, to having our mouths satisfied with good things so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s, the reasons we must bless the name of the Lord are numerous indeed.

It’s not as though we have no reason to bring prayers of thanks before God. It’s not as though there is nothing to be thankful for. If we omit prayers of thanks from our prayer life, it is because we are ungrateful children, who do not realize all the benefits of God, and all the blessings He has bestowed upon us.

Ten men cried out for mercy, one man returned to thank Christ for the mercy He had shown him. As much as I try to move this teaching along, this fact keeps popping into my mind. One out of ten men had the wherewithal, the appreciation, the thankful heart, to return to Jesus and thank Him for what He had done.

The majority will always be indifferent toward the blessings of God. The majority will always take what God does for them and through them for granted. Do not be in the majority! If even today those who are thankful toward God are one out of ten, be that one out of ten who acknowledges the presence of God in their life, who acknowledges the blessings of God in their life, and acts accordingly, with gratitude and thankfulness of heart.

Just as the righteous will always be a minority, those with thankful hearts who fall at Christ’s feet glorifying God, will likewise always be a minority. It is far easier to assume that we were entitled to something, that we deserved something, or that we achieved something on our own merit, than it is to humble ourselves and thank God, but each time we forget, each time we refuse to thank Him for all His benefits, His heart grows sad.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.