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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 193

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of David continued...

There was no doubt in David’s heart concerning the greatness of the God he served. Even in his darkest hour, standing against his most imposing foe, David knew God was with him, and if God was with him, then any foe, no matter how imposing was as good as felled already.

David knew whom he was communing with. David possessed the requisite reverence any man understanding who it is they are speaking to must possess.

Rather than be in awe of His greatness, we continually attempt to bring God down to our level, remaking Him in an image more to our liking, than allowing ourselves to be remolded into an image more akin to Him.

Due to this, we are no longer aware of whom it is we are speaking to when we pray, at least not as far as His majesty and greatness are concerned.

The proof is in the lack of reverence which seems to permeate nearly every congregation or household of faith.

We have redefined God, and we have shrunk His authority, His majesty, and His omnipotence, to the point of utter irreverence for His holy name. Rather than come before Him in a spirit of worship and reverence, many today approach God as know-it-all bratty children who just want to be validated in their choices, their lifestyle, and their predilections.

‘God is whatever you want Him to be, but in general, he’s like your buddy, you know, your pal, someone you can joke around with and stuff.’

Since when is God our buddy and our pal? When was it He stripped Himself of His sovereignty, majesty, righteousness, holiness, omnipotence and divinity and became someone we can joke around with?

We read David’s words, and we realize He revered God. David had reverence for whom God was and acknowledged his own impotence and inferiority in light of whom God was.

When reverence is lacking, so is everything else necessary to ensure a true relationship with God. From humility, to subservience, to obedience, to faith itself, all these things are absent when reverence is absent in the heart of an individual.

Due to lack of reverence, we also have the disastrous tendency to reinterpret and redefine God by our own standards. When we do this, our go to response whenever something we don’t understand or like occurs, is ‘my god wouldn’t do that.’

But would the God of the Bible?

If we read the Book and see God doing a certain thing or taking a certain action yet we do not believe our god would do the selfsame thing, we are not worshipping the God of the Bible, but a god of our own making.

David didn’t try to change God, he submitted to God’s authority and sovereignty, receiving all things from His hand.

Granted, it’s easy to receive from the hand of God when what He is promising you is the continuity of your kingdom and perpetual protection, but there were times when God tested David in ways that might seem harsh or unloving to us, yet David still humbled himself in the sight of the Lord.

Is reverence or respect an option rather than a necessity for the children of God? Can we choose irreverence absent consequence – as some insist – if we so desire?

Revelation 4:9-11, “Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: ‘You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.’”

If in heaven there is reverence and worship of God to the point that the twenty-four elders fall down before Him, and cast their crowns before the throne, and if with our own lips we pray, ‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,’ then ought we not to show the same reverence as those in heaven do?

He is Lord! He is God! He is Creator! He is worthy of our reverence, and worship.

Though David was king and people feared him, since with the wave of a hand he could have the life of any man in his kingdom, he humbled himself in the sight of the Lord, recognizing His authority, and His lordship over his life.

To some this topic may seem like a small issue, or a non-issue, but I assure you lack of reverence leads to lack of obedience, which leads to lack of accountability, which is the first step in the downward spiral of rebellion.

Fools will beat their chest and say ‘I am,’ but wise men bow their knee and say, ‘You are!’

‘Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?’ These were the first words of David’s prayer, and no, he had not been stricken with sudden Alzheimer’s. David knew who he was as a person, he knew who he was as far as his position was concerned, but he still could not fathom what God saw in him that he had been elevated to such a state.

David humbled himself in the sight of the Lord, and revered God’s ability to take a lump of clay and mold greatness out of it.

If you have accomplished anything in this life, if you are someone of renown, keep in mind it was God who brought you this far. It was the hand of God which led you and molded you and carried you to this place. Give God the thanks and glory rightly His, as David did so long ago.

A lesser man would have attempted to appropriate the glory for himself. It was after all David who pitched the stone at Goliath’s head, it was David who led his army to victory, but David knew that though his hand pitched the stone, God guided it. Though David led his armies, God gave the victory.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 192

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of David continued...

Having seen the abundance of blessing God had bestowed upon him, David decides to build a house for the ark of God. He shares his heart with the prophet Nathan, and before Nathan could ask God if this was His will, he speaks to David and says, ‘go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.’

I know not why Nathan did not inquire of the Lord whether David ought to build a house for the ark or not, but alas, that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan and commanded him to go and tell God’s servant David that he would not be the one building him a house, but his seed would.

Even the best of intentions can have the wrong outcome if they are not the will of God. Perhaps it was because it seemed like such a good idea, that Nathan did not inquire of the Lord as to whether or not David ought to build a house for the ark. It was a noble gesture, a good thing, what could be wrong in something so selfless?

One of the most difficult lessons for us to learn as human beings is that the purpose of our existence on this earth is not to be magnanimous, charitable, giving, or generous for the sake of it, but because we are acting out our obedience toward God. The purpose of our existence is obedience and walking in the will of God. And yes, oftentimes God calls us to be benevolent and altruistic.

God rewards obedience. This truth has been proven out in scripture time and again. If I want to do something noble and kind yet God tells me not to do it at that particular time, if I follow through and do what I proposed to do, even though it was a noble thing, I would still be in rebellion and disobedience toward God.

Sometimes obedience is the easiest thing in the world, at other times the most difficult. When, what God commands us goes against the grain of our preconceived notions and ideas, the humbling of oneself is required in order to lay aside our wants, our wills, and simply obey.

David knew there was no point in arguing with God, and the promise God made David, concerning the house his seed would build for the Lord caused him to bend his knee and pray one of the most beautiful prayers of the Old Testament.

2 Samuel 7:18-22, “Then King David went in and sat before the Lord; and he said, ‘Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet this was a small thing in Your sight, O Lord God; and You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come. Is this the manner of man, O Lord God? Now what more can David say to You? For You, Lord God, know Your servant. For Your word’s sake, and according to Your own heart, You have done all these great things, to make Your servant know them. Therefore You are great, O Lord God. For there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.’”

Although David’s prayer continues for another seven verses, I would be remiss if I did not point out some evident truths from his prayer thus far.

The first thing to stand out is David’s genuine humility. Although he had been anointed king, David stands before God and asks, ‘Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that you have brought me this far?’

If we begin to juxtapose David’s prayer with the prayers of any given televangelist nowadays, we begin to see the stark difference between the two. Though David was king, he still inquired of the Lord ‘who am I, O Lord?’ while men with an iota of tenuous power and influence scream of their entitlement to the heavens, reminding God that they too are little gods and ought to be appeased.

There is a great difference between ‘Lord I am unworthy of your many blessings,’ and ‘is this all you’re going to give me Lord? I deserve more! In fact, I’m entitled to more!’

In recent years we have consistently moved away from godliness with contentment, and toward the mentality that God somehow owes us, and if we demand it loudly enough, often enough, and sternly enough, He will do as we demand.

David understood what many today choose not to: that God’s blessings are undeserved and when He chooses to bless us, all we can do is thank Him for His goodness and faithfulness.

The second thing to stand out in David’s prayer is his unshakable faith in the promises of God. God had spoken some great things to David through the prophet Nathan, including that his house and kingdom would be established forever before him.

At the time of this prophecy, David still had enemies who were all around, there was still division among his own people, yet when God spoke, David believed God at His word and began to thank Him for all the great things He had done.

In David’s heart, the matter was already settled, and God had already done these great things.

The third thing to stand out in David’s prayer is his awareness of God’s greatness. ‘There is none like You, nor is there any God beside You,’ David says.

It’s not just the words David spoke, but what they imply that’s of true import. David acknowledged the supremacy of God, the uniqueness of God, and the omnipotence of God. David knew the God he served, knew the extent of His power, the wonder of His majesty, and because he knew God, he stood on the promises of God accepting them as having already been made manifest.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Humble Request

Rather than post anything else this morning, I want to post a prayer request on behalf of all those in the path of the storm barreling down on the East Coast. Please say a prayer for all those who will be affected by this storm. If it were you, you would want to know someone was keeping you in their prayers.
By all accounts it's going to be epic, and thousands upon thousands of people will be affected.
Tomorrow we continue with our series on prayer. God bless and keep everyone of you.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Alienating Friends and Making New Enemies!

It seems the whole world is on edge, and when I say the whole world, I am not excluding Christians by any means. Even among the brethren there is this sense of unease, and if we happen to disagree on something, no matter how small or tangential that something might be, well, then we’ve been turned, infiltrated, and now work on behalf of the enemy of all that is good and right.

It’s time to take a step back, recalibrate our position, and make sure that it’s still all about Jesus. Yes, it’s easy to get caught up in the malaise, especially when everyone else is doing it, but what we must keep at the forefront of our thoughts is that Jesus is on the throne, and will continue to be on the throne.

As of late I’ve been bombarded with e-mails about the upcoming elections here in America. As is often the case, I am asked to be the impartial third party, and decide the winner of a certain argument, whether the argument centers around one’s vote being mandatory, and the absence thereof akin to treason, or which candidate to vote for and why.

Over the past few years – if any of you have been reading this blog for that long – I have made my feelings on politics and politicians abundantly clear.

Politics is the world’s second oldest profession, closely tethered to the world’s first profession, and the practitioners of both prostitution and politics sell themselves to the highest bidder.

If men calling themselves bishops, pastors, elders, deacons, prophets and apostles no longer aspire to righteousness, holiness, or any semblance of morality, what makes us think even for one second that a politician will?

The notion that righteousness will flow forth from the oval office, if a certain candidate wins the presidency is childish and foolish on its face.

We are as Israel was, no longer satisfied with the leadership and guidance of God, and for many a year now, have taken it upon ourselves to rule and govern ourselves. We got what we wanted, we got what we deserved, and this time around will be no different than the last. We will, once more, get the kind of leadership we deserve…no better, no worse.

What we must not lose sight of is that this rock will keep spinning regardless of who wins the elections in the coming days, and if this rock is still spinning, we the children of God still have a duty and obligation to Him, to preach Christ and Him crucified.

So I will not tell you who to vote for – although if you want to go the lesser of two evils route the choice is obvious – I will not tell you that hell waits with mouth agape if you don’t vote, nor will I tell you that you get a participation ribbon from Jesus if you do.

These things belong in the realm of personal conviction, like not eating meat, wearing a timepiece, or a wedding band, and I will not judge another’s servant.

I am accountable to God for myself. I do what I can to instruct the children of God, to point the way to Jesus, and to implore any who would hear to surrender their all to Him.

If history has taught us anything, it is that politicians disappoint, and try as we might, we will never have a political solution to a spiritual problem.

Make no mistake, America’s problem is a spiritual one, and the only remedy for what ails this nation is repentance; a repentance that must begin within the house of God, and reverberate throughout the land.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Speaking In Texas

Although I usually post where I'll be speaking on Friday, I decided to post this weekend's engagements one day early for three reasons:

1. I'm speaking in Texas, which I haven't done in a very long time and I want to give anyone who wants to come out enough of head start wherein they can make plans to come to the meeting.

2. I am speaking Saturday evening and Sunday morning, and since it's not just Sunday, posting it a day early just seems wise.

3. If you come to the Saturday evening meeting, you will be part of a studio audience, as the talk is being taped, and altough they have a door charge of $10, tell them you know Mike, and hopefully they'll let you through.

With that, I will be speaking in::
Plano Texas, Saturday October 27 at 7:00 PM and Sunday October 28 at 10:30 AM
2540 K Ave Ste 100
Plano TX 75074
(about 25 steps behind the Whataburger)

These will be protracted meetings, somewhere in the neighborhood of two hours, far longer than I usually speak, and the title of the messages is The Suffering or the Glory!
I will likely also be speaking on prophecies, dreams, visions, but mostly just preaching what God puts on my heart.

Since everyone's contracted election fever, I'll leave this up until Sunday, then I'll either post an article, or continue with our series on prayer. Please keep me in your prayers, and ask that the Lord have His perfect will in these meetings. If you are able and in the area, come on down.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 191

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of David continued...

When we know and trust God, we can’t help but inquire of Him. Each time Israel did not inquire of the Lord regarding something it always ended up being to their detriment. Even when they thought they were getting the good end of the deal, when it was all added up and the final tally was done, they were still at a loss.

God has a better vantage point than we do. He sees beyond what we can see, and if something seems good to us, but seems bad to God, trust that God can see farther down the line than you, and can better ascertain whether the experience will end up being a positive or negative one.

Isaiah 30:1, “Woe to the rebellious children,’ says the Lord, ‘who take counsel but not of Me, and who devise plans but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin.’”

God’s desire is that we take counsel of Him, and make plans by His Spirit. Only when we are dependent on His guidance, can we be certain of our destination, and know the path upon which we are walking is according to His will.

David inquired of the Lord whenever he needed to make a decision, and if he had inquired of the Lord in other areas of his life, perhaps there would be no blemish to speak of on his journey.

It matters not how wise your human counselors might be, it matters not how good the advice you received from friends or family is, God always knows best. Even if God’s counsel stands in stark opposition to the counsel of those you trust do as God instructs, and you will see the benefit and wisdom of doing what God commands sooner rather than later.

From David we learn time and again that prayer is dialogue with God. Because of what prayer is, it ought not to be cumbersome to us, nor ought we to view prayer as a chore. Prayer is a privilege, an honor, and a grace which we the children of God are given, and understanding the beauty of what prayer was, David was consistent in being in God’s presence and inquiring of Him.

There are times when not inquiring of God leads to lifelong consequences. Whether to sell one’s home in lieu of a nicer one, to quit one’s job for the promise of a better one, to marry or not to marry, when we make such decisions without inquiring of God, if we make the wrong choice, the consequences of our singular action can stretch on for decades.

It is the epitome of foolishness to trust in our own wisdom, when the source of all wisdom stands ready to counsel us, and answer our queries.

It would be something wholly different if we had no one to run to, if we had no one to inquire of, if we were left on this rock all by ourselves with no hope, no future, and no direction, but God is listening, and His heart desires fellowship with His creation.

Failing to inquire of the Lord can be likened to attempting to write a sonnet, having Shakespeare standing next to you, and not bothering to ask his advice.

God knows best, He always has, He always will, and if we want the best for our lives, then we must humble ourselves, admit we don’t know it all, and inquire of Him as to what course to take and what path to follow.

Perhaps it was the volume of time David spent in the presence of the Lord, and how often he inquired of the Lord that elevated his prayers to something akin to poetry.

Not only did David inquire of the Lord often and with regularity, the words he used in his prayers, and the way in which he praised and magnified God, are wondrously beautiful.

David was a man of action, but he was also a man of words. Having written over half of the psalms included in the Book of Psalms, his tender heart toward God is revealed time and again.

When he sinned, he was quick to humble himself into the dust, and repent before God, but when God showed him favor, David was also quick to bow before the Lord and bring prayers of thanks before Him.

In this, we have another practical lesson we must learn from the life of David. From David’s life we learn to spend time in the presence of God not only when we need to repent of something, petition God for something, or intercede on behalf of someone, but also when He has been good to us, when He has blessed us, and when He has shown us favor.

Seeing as every breath is a gift, and every sunrise and sunset a reason to thank the Lord, seeing as every meal, every article of clothing and the fact we have a roof over our heads is all due to Him, we ought not to allow a single day to go by without thanking Him for His many blessings.

David had learned the art of being thankful to God for all things. Even after being anointed king, David did not forget his small and meager beginnings. He did not forget he had been a sheepherder, and every grace God showed him, every favor bestowed upon him, was a reason to be thankful to God and in awe of Him.

As wise children, we must be in awe of God’s grace and favor toward us every day of our lives. We can take nothing for granted, or assume we’re entitled to anything. Everything from our health, to our spouses, to our children, to our homes, to our jobs are a gift from the hand of God, and we must treat them as such.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 190

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of David continued...

‘David inquired of the Lord’ this was the pattern of his life, and after inquiring of the Lord, and receiving the answer to his query, David acted on the information he’d received without delay.

Although a flawed man, David never once assumed he knew better than God, or thought himself above the correction of God.

When our desire is to walk in the will of God, we inquire of Him. When our desire is to do as God would have us do, we receive His counsel and act upon his directives.

One of the worst things we can do is take God’s counsel under advisement. I’ve heard this term from the lips of men who I assumed knew better than to tempt the Lord their God by inquiring of Him, then discounting and ignoring His words in lieu of their own notions, opinions, or plans.

If your heart is set upon something, and you have no desire to do as God commands but as you see fit, don’t tempt the Lord by inquiring of Him.

Inquire of the Lord only when you are ready to obey, to upturn your entire life, and walk away from everything you have meticulously built thus far. If you are not ready to obey completely, then there’s no point in inquiring of the Lord.

‘Lord, lead me and I will follow, but don’t ask me to quit my job, leave my city, have contact with homeless people, or give more than ten percent after taxes.’

What’s the point? Why even pray the prayer?

If we start out by telling God what we’re not willing to do for Him, then our first priority ought to be getting our hearts right, then asking Him to assign us a task or duty.

I do what I do because God commanded it of me. If He tells me to keep going, I keep going. If He tells me to stop, I stop. And if He tells me to walk away from it all, I won’t even take the time to pack a bag.

True obedience obeys even when what is asked of us is in our detriment, when it hurts the flesh, when it wounds our pride, and when, in the eyes of the world it sets us back rather than moves us forward.

Before bending our knee or uttering the first words of a prayer, we must be prepared to receive an answer our flesh will not like or bristle against. Not every answer we receive from the Lord will be positive, or joyous. Sometimes God asks us to do the hard thing, the difficult thing, the thing we most don’t want to do, and as obedient children we must lay aside our preferences, and do as commanded.

If every believer made at a habit to inquire of the Lord with consistency, there would be many a giant of the faith walking about today, full of the presence, power and authority of God. When we inquire of the Lord we are submitting to His authority over us, and humbling ourselves to the point of following His guidance for our lives.

Instead of inquiring of the Lord, nowadays most believers think themselves little gods, and being little gods – at least in their own minds – they are able to justify the path they choose to follow, no matter how far removed from the truth of Scripture it might be.

There are times when God will not answer though we inquire of Him. Like David, Saul was disciplined in regards to inquiring of the Lord. Even after he rebelled, disobeyed, and did what God had commanded him not to do, Saul continued to inquire of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer His queries.

Saul spoke, but God was silent. Saul inquired, but God did not answer, because a wall had been erected between God and Saul; a wall of disobedience and rebellion which God could not overlook.

When Saul saw God would not answer, he even went to the prophet of the Lord, asking him to inquire of God on his behalf, but it was too late by far. God had already rejected Saul from being king, and had chosen another to take his place.

Due to their lack of relationship with Him, God will not allow Himself to be inquired of by certain people, even if they attempt to use surrogates to do so.

Ezekiel 20:1-3, “It came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord, and sat before me. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, ‘thus says the Lord God: ‘Have you come to inquire of Me? As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I will not be inquired of by you.’”

The elders of Israel had come to Ezekiel inquiring of the Lord, but the Lord’s only answer was that He would not be inquired of by them. Even though they attempted to use Ezekiel as a conduit, as an intermediary between themselves and God, God saw through it and rebuked them for having the gall to come inquire of Him without first removing the abominations and idols from before their eyes.

If we inquire of the Lord and He does not answer, it is paramount we search our hearts, repent of what our conscience convicts us of, and then inquire of the Lord again.

God has good reason for not answering our query and it is never that He was busy, on vacation, doing something else, or overwhelmed by all the prayers.

Diligent study of the scriptures reveals it is man not being in harmony with God and His will that keeps Him from answering when we inquire of Him. God’s hand is not short, His hearing is not impaired, and He is not shortsighted. If fault lies with anyone, it is with us, and once we patch the rift, and return to walking in His will, He will answer our petitions.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 189

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of David continued...

What David confirms time and again is that prayer is dialogue; prayer is communication. If David was uncertain concerning something in his life, he went to the Lord in prayer, and the Lord answered him.

David spoke to God as to a Master, and a Father, a Lord, and a friend.

1 Samuel 23:10-12, “Then David said, ‘O Lord God of Israel, Your servant has certainly heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah to destroy the city for my sake. Will the men of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard? O Lord God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant.’ And the Lord said, ‘He will come down.’ Then David said, ‘Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?’ and the Lord said, ‘They will deliver you.’”

Just in these three verses alone we see the specificity of David’s questions concerning his immediate future, and the specificity of God’s answers. Even though he had just saved the men of Keilah from the hands of the Philistines, David inquires of the Lord as to whether or not they would betray him and deliver him into the hands of Saul, and God’s answer is that they will.

Instead of trying to convince God as to why the men of Keilah wouldn’t betray him, David and his men arose and departed Keilah and went wherever they could.

It is often God tells us a difficult thing, a hard thing, but nevertheless a true thing. We believe what God tells us not because it feels good, or because we necessarily want to, but because we have to.

David didn’t want to hear he would be betrayed by the men of Keilah. He didn’t want to believe that after saving them from the hands of the Philistines, risking his own life in the process, these men would turn on him, betray him, and deliver him to Saul.

Because God told him it would be thus, David believed God at His word, and without delay departed Keilah with all his men.

I’ve only had it happen once, but in truth, once is all that’s necessary for anyone to never again delay, or doubt the words of God.

Some years ago, I was in a prayer meeting and a word came forth warning one close to me would betray me. Although I believed the word, I didn’t act upon it and the person I suspected of being the betrayer never gave any indication of his plans.

Some time passed, and as time is wont to do, the urgency of the word I received was dulled. I’d almost forgotten the prophecy I’d received when the fateful day arrived, and the person of whom the word of the Lord had warned, tried in the most vicious, cunning, and heartless way to destroy the work, the ministry, and members of my family.

Could I have prevented this from happening? Probably not, but if I had been wiser, I could have prepared in such a way that when the word came to pass, I would have been ready to confront the individual head on.

That was the one and only time I took a word from the Lord lightly, or failed to act upon it immediately.

In His love God warns us, He speaks to us, He counsels us, but we still have to choose to take action, and obey the leading of the Lord.

Chances are good both David and his men were tired from having fought the Philistines. All they really wanted was to rest awhile, to eat, perhaps to sleep, then figure out what they would do if Saul decided to come up to Keilah.

It is likely some of David’s men grumbled at the thought of having to leave Keilah, tired, bruised, and hungry, but God had spoken, and David was wise enough to heed the counsel of the Lord and follow through.

Many times, the promises of God are not fulfilled in our lives, because we did not follow through with what He commanded of us.

If God tells us to go minister in a certain place, and He would show great signs and stir the hearts of many to repentance, if we fail to go, if we fail to obey, then we cannot expect him to fulfill the promise of stirring hearts and showing great signs.

The signs and the stirring of the hearts were contingent upon us going. If we fail to obey, then God cannot fulfill the rest of His promise toward us.

Something strange happens in the hearts of men when they don’t follow through with what God has instructed, and when, as consequence, God doesn’t follow through with what He promised. Rather than search their hearts to see why God’s promises have not come to fruition, they grow bitter and resentful toward God for not following through.

There are certain promises God makes which are contingent upon the obedience, steadfastness, and faithfulness of the individual. If the individual in question does not obey, if they get distracted, or otherwise sidetracked, God simply finds another vessel through which to perform the works He promised, and carry out His will.

God is not dependent upon us, we are dependent upon God. No man – no matter how great the calling on their life or the gifting in which they operated – is indispensable. God will not overlook sin, disobedience, rebellion, or duplicity in the heart of an individual no matter how gifted they might be, because God would rather not do a thing, than have the thing He desired to do be tainted.

God is a holy God, he is a righteous God, and it is in righteousness and holiness He performs and brings to pass His will in the lives of obedient and humble servants.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 188

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of David continued...

Since this is not a teaching on the boldness or obedience of David, but rather about his prayer life, as much as it pains me to leave treasure unearthed – since the man’s entire life is a goldmine of teachable moments – we will shift our focus to his prayers, and his prayer life.

Whether he found himself in the valley or on the mountaintop David was consistently a man of prayer. David prayed when times were good and when times were bad, when victory was his, and when he suffered defeat.

David was not a man to pray only when he needed God’s help. He genuinely loved being in the presence of the Lord, communing with Him, and being in fellowship with Him. As such, we see David spending time in prayer both when he is a sheepherder as well as when he is king, when he is preparing to go up against Goliath, as well as when he’s basking in the victory of having vanquished him.

In the most difficult of times, we find David running to God, and strengthening himself in Him. We see a man who knew his limitations in David, and who realized human strength, intelligence, and aptitude will only carry you so far. Any further, and you have to trust God.

We see David’s willingness to humble himself before the Lord in every difficult circumstance of his life. We see his character, even though he was not a perfect man, and we see His dependency upon the Lord.

One of the most telling events of David’s life was also one of the most heartbreaking. It was during his campaign against the Amalekites, shortly after they had burned Ziklag with fire and taken captive the women and those who were there.

It was a dark time for David, his own wives having been taken captive, and his men growing angrier with each passing minute because of what had occurred.

1 Samuel 30:6, “Then David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord.”

His wives taken captive, his men ready to stone him, and rather than attempt anything of his own volition, David strengthened himself in the Lord. When we come to know the Lord, we realize we have strength in Him.

What does a prayer of a man dependent upon God sound like? What attributes are found within the prayers themselves that differentiate them from other prayers?

The first prayer assigned to David within the pages of Scripture, is one wherein he inquires of the Lord whether he should go to war.

The Philistines had gone to war against a place called Keilah, and upon being informed of this, rather than make a spur of the moment decision as to whether he ought to attack the Philistines, or stay out of the skirmish, David inquired of the Lord.

1 Samuel 23:2, “Therefore David inquired of the Lord, saying, ‘Shall I go and attack these Philistines?’ And the Lord said to David, ‘Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.’”

David asked, and God answered. It should have been as simple as that, but when David informed his men they were about to attack the Philistines, his men reminded him of their perilous predicament, and how they were already fearful, without having to engage the enemy.

1 Samuel 23:3-4, “And David’s men said to him, ‘Look, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?’ Then David inquired of the Lord once again. And the Lord answered him and said, ‘Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistines in your hand.’”

God did not rebuke David for inquiring of Him again. Even though God had already told him to go and attack the Philistines, David’s men began to filter what God had said through the prism of human reason, and had concluded that they were fearful on their own turf, without having to confront an enemy. Because of their fear, David inquired of the Lord once more, and the Lord reconfirmed the victory they would obtain over the Philistines.

If you are at a crossroads in your life, if the Lord has spoken to you and told you to do something outside of your comfort zone, there is no sin in asking the Lord to confirm what He has told you. It’s one thing to venture out halfheartedly thinking we heard the voice of the Lord, it’s another to venture out wholly committed to the task at hand because we know the Lord has spoken to us.

It is a dangerous thing to be plagued by uncertainty, fear, or doubt when set upon a task and purpose meant to further the kingdom of God.

No matter how faithful one might be, if they are uncertain or doubtful in regards to having heard from God, there will be hesitation in their decisions, second guessing, and often times even a paralyzing fear.

Few feelings in life are worse than finding ourselves far from everything we’ve ever known, separated from friends and family alike, and wondering whether or not this was the will of God for our lives, or if we talked ourselves into believing something concerning which we are now doubtful and skeptical.

Whatever the task, whether great or small, confirm and reconfirm, until you are at peace, and know it was the voice of God you heard, and it was God who commissioned you to set about a certain course.

David wanted to make sure the Lord had said what He had said. David wanted to be certain it was not his own ego driving him to war against the Philistines, but rather the Lord. Once he was certain, David and his men struck a mighty blow to the Philistines, and saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 187

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of David

The history of David is a complex one. Depending on whom you ask, opinions about David are wide-ranging and varied. For some, David will always be the boy with the slingshot who took down the giant. For others, David will always be the king of Israel, the man who replaced Saul and fathered Solomon. For others still, David will always be the man who gave in to his temptations, and orchestrated a plot to take Bathsheba from her husband.

David was all these things and more. He was also a man of prayer, and one whom God considered to be after His own heart.

By all accounts David was an imperfect man. There is no disputing the facts as they are plainly laid out in Scripture, and often times David’s behavior is cringe worthy. Even so, his ability to repent endeared him toward God, because when David repented it was not just lip service or an attempt to appease a wrathful God, but true and heartfelt repentance which brought about change in him.

What do we know about David and his prayer life?

There is more written about David in the Scriptures than almost any other individual. He is a central figure within the pages of the Bible, arguably the greatest warrior-king Israel has ever known, and the writer of many of the psalms we have in the book of Psalms.

Looking back on David’s life, none would have guessed that the boy assigned to watch over his father’s sheep would end up being king over all of Israel. No one could doubt the hand of God at work as a shepherd boy was anointed to rule over Israel, especially one who happened to be the youngest of eight siblings, coming from a family of little to no renown.

Only a fool despises small beginnings, and where we end up in life has very little to do with the benefits we were afforded in our adolescence and everything to do with God’s plan and purpose for our life.

Advantages in life do not guarantee success, nor do disadvantages in life guarantee failure.

It was from a fragile age that David developed a reverence for God. Since he spent his days and nights alone in the fields watching over his father’s sheep, David’s awe of God grew in him organically and independently.

Unlike Samuel, David was not raised in the temple or the tabernacle. His relationship with God grew out of an individual desire to know Him, and a continual meditation upon the person of God and the things of God.

Because the foundation of his relationship with God had already been established, when David is sent to the battlefront with supplies for his older brothers and hears Goliath mocking God, he accepts the challenge of fighting the giant and fells him with a single stone.

We can see by David’s reaction to Goliath’s mocking, that his relationship with God was personal and intimate. He was deeply affected by the mockery and disdain brought to the name of his God, and David knew God would stand with him if he stood to defend the name of God.

In retrospect, David being thrust upon the national stage of Israel seems to have been either accidental or fortuitous in the eyes of the world, but providential to those who believe in the sovereignty of God.

To those of the world, even if they believe in the historical David, and that he felled the giant Goliath, they are reticent when it comes to accepting that the hand of God was guiding this young shepherd every step of the way.

To those who believe, however, the hand of God on David’s life from early youth is undeniable, and we see God not only guiding him, but protecting him and working through him.

One stone, one slingshot, and a boatload of courage, made David a household name overnight.

David did not go seeking fame; he didn’t go to the battlefront hoping to encounter some Philistines, never mind the biggest Philistine of them all, he was there because his father had sent him with food for his brothers, and his willingness to believe God beyond what he could see in the physical facilitated his encounter with Goliath.

Often times, we never confront our Goliath because we think ourselves too weak to vanquish him.

David was well aware that in and of himself there was little to no chance of defeating a man Goliath’s size. Seeing as even the king and all his warriors feared confronting this Philistine, for David to think that he could do it was either madness, or faithfulness toward God.

Yes, sometimes our faithfulness might seem like madness to some, but our only concern ought to be what God thinks of us, and not what men might think of us.

I’ve known men whom God told to leave thriving businesses and move halfway around the world to work in some of the poorest regions on the planet, just offering aid, comfort and shelter. To human reason, this seems as foolish as taking a slingshot and a few stones and going to confront a giant in full armor who had likely spent most of his adult life taking lives.

It is in obedience that we see the power of God made manifest in our lives. We can talk about obedience, talk about others who are being obedient, but until we step out in faith, and walk in obedience we will not see the manifest power of God.

These men I mentioned who left everything they knew to go and be a comfort to others see the power of God manifest in their lives by way of provision, as well as supernatural healings and miracles. They are seeing these victories, just as David saw his victory, because they are following through, and walking in the obedience God demands of His children.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Speaking In Milwaukee

Since I'm planning on filming some teaching series while I am here, my public speaking schedule is somewhat limited this time around. Even so, there are still a few venues I will be giving talks in, and one of them is this coming Sunday.

Sunday, October 21, 2012 10:30 AM
Pentecostal Church of Wisconsin
2121 West Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee Wi 53233

I will also be doing a few radio interviews throughout next week, and as soon as I know the times and stations, I will post them on here.

Tomorrow we continue with our teaching series 'Lord, Teach Us To Pray!' and will begin discussing the prayer life of David. This time no books coming out to keep me from keeping my word.

My thanks to all those who ordered the book, and please remember to leave a comment on Amazon after you read it.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power, Presence, and Purpose!

Made it home safe and sound, but not without a little excitement. Heavy, protracted turbulance is never fun, especially when you're hours away from any visible landmass. Other than another flight over Texas some years ago, it was the worst flight I've ever been on. Even the pilot sounded less than certain about the situation as he halfheartedly informed us we would be 'experiencing turbulence for some time.'

Gut wrenching turbulence notwithstanding, we made it. Thank you all for your prayers.

On an entirely different matter, 'Buy my book! Buy my book! BUY MY BOOK!'

Yeah, I don't like that either. I'm a horrible self promoter. I don't like the idea of self promoting, nevermind actually promoting myself. However, since some of you inquired as to when the book would be done, I am happy to inform you the book on the Holy Spirit has gone live on Amazon.

Coming in at over 550 pages, it is certainly not an afternoon read.

I want to thank Joe at the Wild Olive Press, and Dave at Lamb Creek Creative Services for all their hard work and persistence.

I would also like to thank those of you who kept me in your prayers, and encouraged this project along the way.

I would ask you to go to amazon, and if you have read the study in its original form, leave an honest comment, and if you want a copy of the book, by all means, order one, and please leave a comment.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

The Holy Spirit: Power, Presence, and Purpose!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

En Route

Since this weekend I will be returning to the States, it will be difficult for me to try and grab a chunk of time in which to post. As such, we will resume our teaching series 'Lord, Teach Us To Pray!' bright and early Tuesday morning, when we will begin delving into the prayer life of David.

If you can spare a few words, please keep my wife and I in your prayers as we travel, since the world is getting perilously short fused and the likelyhood of violence on any given continent is higher than it has been in some time.

We press on, knowing there is no retreat in this battle of ours.

Romans 14:8, "For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's."

Lord willing, next week I will also have news on the Holy Spirit book, since I know some of you have inquired, as well as where I'll be speaking while I am in America. I know I'm planning on filming a couple teaching series while I am there, so public speaking engagements are only a handful.

New audio is up at www.handofhelp.com for anyone interested, and with that, God bless you and keep you until the next time our paths cross.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Freeform Friday Week 19

We either speak the truth in love, or speak a lie in hate. Even though the lie we speak might be shrouded in loving words, even though on the surface it seems tolerant and all-embracing, due to its nature a lie is still hateful.

Try as we might we cannot change the nature of a thing. A tiger stalks its prey, because its nature is to stalk its prey. A lie is hateful, because its nature is hateful. Men, who speak lies to you, whether from a pulpit or a political dais, hate you.

We fool ourselves into believing they are ‘protecting us from the truth,’ but in reality what they are doing whenever they perpetuate their lies is saying, ‘I have so little respect for you as a human being, that I will lie to your face, without blushing or flinching.’

Truth isn’t always sweet to the taste, light to the touch, or pretty to the eye, but it is the only way which leads to life.

Tragically we have come to despise those who speak the truth, and deify those who do the best job of lying to us. I fear it takes more than skill to convince someone that they’re not really seeing what they are in fact seeing, or hearing what they are in fact hearing…it takes the tacit acquiescence of the second party to believe the fables being regurgitated by the first party.

‘I know you’re lying, you know you’re lying, but the truth is so uncomfortable that I’d rather pretend you’re telling me the truth.’

So, yes, elbow grease and tenacity will get us out of the pit we’ve dug for ourselves, there are political solutions to spiritual problems, Jesus doesn’t care what you do as long as you tithe, and of all the nations of the earth, we are the only one who will be spared the justice of God.

While we’re at it, I’m not fat I’m just big boned, my hairline isn’t receding my forehead’s just getting bigger, and soy burgers really do taste like the real thing.

We can either continue wasting time attempting to will our illusions into the realm of reality, or find a quiet place, get on our knees, and pray like we’ve never prayed before.

Although men will continue to lie to your face telling you everything’s going to be alright, the future is bright, and if you buy their special vitamin water you will be a swimsuit model within a fortnight, your eyes, your ears, and common sense itself tell you different.

The one thing in this entire equation that is as yet unpredictable, is how violently those whose illusions are about to shatter into a million pieces will react upon seeing reality for the first time.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 186

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Samuel continued...

Samuel knew there was no one else he could turn to in such a time. He prayed to God because he knew God has all the answers. It’s never hit or miss with God. We never find He is out of town, on vacation, or too busy to speak to us, nor that He has grown so successful in His chosen field that He no longer gives us the time of day.

God hears our prayers, and answers our prayers. He desires to fellowship with His creation, and be in communion with us.

We’re not imposing when we approach God. We come before Him boldly, knowing He will receive us and hear us. Any excuse we might have for not coming before God in prayer, for not pouring out our souls whenever the need arises, is unfounded and has no basis in fact.

God knows the need for man to communicate with Him is a fundamental one. Man is fragmented and incomplete until he establishes a relationship with God the Father, and learns to dialogue, fellowship and communicate with Him.

Even the Christ went to prayer in His moments of hardship and trial. Even the Christ prayed to the Father as His time drew near.

We see these great men of the faith, and even Christ Jesus Himself spending time in prayer and supplication before the Father, and somehow we still convince ourselves we are above the need to pray and fellowship with God.

‘They might have needed to spend time in prayer, but they didn’t know the secrets of being self-assured, and self-confident.’

The heroes of the Bible spent time in prayer because they realized only God could provide a remedy for their heartache, their pain, and their disappointment.

Samuel got attacked by the elders of Israel on all fronts. His competence was called into question, his family was maligned, and his labors in leading Israel were marginalized, because the people wanted something new, something different, something like the rest of the nations had.

New isn’t always better, and this is also true of churches and fellowships who are so focused on being relevant and engaging of our modern culture, that they abandon the truth of Christ and the gospel for the sake of relevance.

Another glimpse into the heart of Samuel, and the true measure of love and faithfulness this man possessed, is when God rejects Saul as king, and tells Samuel as much.

Keep in mind, the elders swept Samuel to the side in order to have a king, and now the king which had been anointed to rule and judge over Israel, was being rejected of God.

For most people this would have been the perfect time to gloat. It would have been the perfect time to point out how the elders had gotten it wrong, and demand an apology. Instead of doing what most men would have done, Samuel proceeds to do what Christ would later teach us we must do, and that is pray for Saul and be grieved by God’s rejection of him.

1 Samuel 15:10-11, “Now the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, ‘I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.’ And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night.”

Even though Saul had essentially replaced him as far as judging over the people was concerned, Samuel still found it in his heart to cry out to the Lord all night, being grieved by God’s rejection of Saul as king.

It is within certain contexts, and certain moment that we discover men’s true hearts. It is in those instances wherein they do not know they are being watched, wherein they are not trying to impress, or project an image that the true character of an individual rises to the surface.

The word of the Lord had come to Samuel informing him of Saul’s failures, and it grieved him to the point of crying out to the Lord all night. He didn’t go into the square, he didn’t gather the people, he didn’t schedule an extra special night of prayer and intercession for the king, he cried out to the Lord where he was, without drawing attention to himself.

Samuel didn’t pretend to be grieved, he was grieved. Even though the removal of Saul would both justify and solidify his own position, Samuel cried out to the Lord on behalf of Saul.

Uncommon practices draw the eye, and Samuel being grieved for the sake of Saul drew my eye. You don’t often find those who feel as though they have been cast aside praying for the individual who replaced them. You don’t often find an individual being grieved and crying out to the Lord all night on behalf of another, who succeeded him, and appropriated his authority.

Samuel’s true heart and character shone bright in his actions, and we see both the faithfulness and tenderness of this prophet of God in his prayer for Saul, the king whom God rejected.

1 Samuel 16:1, “Then the Lord said to Samuel, ‘how long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.’”

Even though Samuel ‘went no more to see Saul until the day of his death,’ he continued to mourn for Saul. This went on for so long, that the Lord Himself said to Samuel, ‘how long will you mourn for Saul?’

Just because someone chooses the path of rebellion, it does not mean we ought to stop praying, interceding, and even mourning for them. Just because someone chooses to turn their back on the truth, it does not mean we ought not to remember them in our petitions to the Lord. As long as they have breath they can still repent and turn toward God.

Yes, Samuel separated himself from Saul and no longer went to see him, but he continued to pray for him in earnest.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 185

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Samuel continued...

‘Clean house before you invite God in.’ This was the essence of Samuel’s message to the people. God is not willing to share space with another, nor is He willing to have only half your heart. With God it’s either all or nothing at all.

It is because we’ve allowed for half measures when it comes to serving God that we now have an entire generation of lukewarm, passionless individuals roaming about calling themselves Christians, believers, and sons and daughters of God.

There can be no half measures when it comes to following after God. Either we belong to Him, or we belong to the world. Either we serve Him, or we serve another.

Samuel understood this, and because he understood it, he was able to relay it to the people.

Job 11:13-17, “If you would prepare your heart, and stretch out your hands toward Him; if iniquity were in your hand, and you put it far away, and would not let wickedness dwell in your tents; then surely you could lift up your face without spot; yes, you could be steadfast, and not fear; because you would forget your misery, and remember it as waters that have passed away, and your life would be brighter than noonday. Though you were dark, you would be like morning.”

When it comes to spiritual things, we don’t like seeing the word ‘if’ anywhere, either in the vicinity or in close proximity. As put off as we might by this two letter word however, we cannot deny its existence, nor deny its inclusion within the pages of Scripture.

The word of God uses the word ‘if’ often, in order to denote conditionality. If we prepare our hearts, if we put iniquity far from us, if we remove it from our tents, then we could be steadfast and not fear, and lift up our face without spot.

Only after telling the people of their need to repent and put away their gods and idols, only after telling them they needed to turn their hearts wholly toward God, did Samuel pray, and intercede on behalf of Israel.

1 Samuel 7:9, “And Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. Then Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him.”

Samuel could have cried out to the Lord for Israel before Israel turned their hearts back to the Lord, but the Lord would not have answered his prayers. Knowing this, Samuel laid the groundwork to ensure that when he did cry out to the Lord, the Lord would not only hear him, but answer him.

Another moment in the prayer life of Samuel worthy of meditation and contemplation took place when he, having grown older in years, was disrespected by the elders of Israel. In the elders’ defense, Samuel’s sons had not followed in their father’s footsteps, and they had turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.

Since Samuel was getting on in years, it was his sons who would have been the new judges of the people, and the people realized how far removed in character Samuel’s sons were from Samuel himself.

1 Samuel 7:4-6, “Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, ‘Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make for us a king to judge us like all the nations.’ But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, ‘Give us a king to judge us.’ So Samuel prayed to the Lord.”

No longer did the people want a judge to rule over them, they wanted a king to judge them, like all the nations surrounding them already had.

Bringing up Samuel’s age was just an excuse, a way for these elders to make their point without really stating why they no longer desired his guidance and counsel. Samuel knew he was getting old, no one needed to point it out, but he was still strong enough wherein he could perform the tasks God had given him without complaint.

What the elders really wanted was a change. They wanted to be like the rest of the nations. They wanted a king, and even if Samuel would have been in the prime of his life, they still would have found a reason or excuse to remove him and bring in a king.

What I love about Samuel’s reaction to hearing the elders speak to him the way they did, is that instead of screaming at them, beating his chest and asking them if they knew who they were talking to, asking them to leave, or doing a myriad of other things, Samuel prayed to the Lord.

We see the character of Samuel in this often overlooked action he took when the elders of Israel came against him, because he did not attempt to defend himself, he did not attempt to rise to their provocations, he went and prayed to the Lord.

It is in times of hardship, stress, opposition or turmoil that our true character is revealed. When everything is going well, it is easy to feign piety, it is easy to feign a tender heart and a humble spirit, but when everything in our lives is upended, when what was once sweet is now sour, our true character is revealed in how we deal with such situations, and how we react toward them.

Samuel went to God in prayer, because he knew no one could clarify the situation better than the One who had spoken to him since early youth, the One who guided him, instructed Him, empowered him, and comforted him.

Is God the first one we run to when things are going south? Is He the first one we talk to when the unexpected happens, and we are left stunned and speechless?

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 184

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Samuel continued...

The first of Samuel’s prayers we will discuss is a short yet profound prayer he prayed on behalf of Israel. Israel was in a deplorable state once more. They had strayed from the one true God, given their hearts over to idols, and even sinned with the Ark of the Lord.

For twenty years they had forgotten about the Ark of the Lord, they had dismissed all the warnings of God, but finally, as they saw the Philistines subjugate them to the point of slavery, they turned their hearts toward God once more and began to seek Him.

As is often the case, when we refuse to heed the loving warnings of a loving God, He removes His hand of protection and gives free reign to our enemies. Oftentimes we tend to believe that God Himself must judge, and punish, but all that is required for a nation to be upended is for God to remove His protection from around it. The nation’s enemies will do the rest.

God had long since removed His protection from around Israel, for they had not heeded His words, and now when they saw that without Him they were powerless, impotent, and at the mercy of the Philistines, they began to cry out to God, and turn their hearts back to Him again.

When the desire for God is sparked in men’s hearts, when they begin to lament after the Lord, a man whom God has been preparing to lead His people will always make an appearance, and compel them to repentance and righteousness.

1 Samuel 7:3, “Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, ‘if you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.’”

Notice, Samuel didn’t come before the people and say, ‘it is well that you lament after the Lord, now I will pray for you and everything’s going to be alright.’ Samuel knew that without the people’s hearts turning fully toward the Lord and abandoning their idols altogether, his prayer would not have amounted to much.

The people desired to follow after God, and Samuel told them what they needed to do in order to make this happen. Samuel was direct when it came to telling the people what God required of them. If they really did desire to return to the Lord, then they needed to put away the foreign gods from among them, and prepare their hearts for the Lord, serving Him only.

The people lamented after the Lord, but as yet they had not put away their idols and false gods. In their hearts they desired the one true God, but as yet had taken no practical steps toward reconciliation with Him.

We know God remains the same from age to age and generation to generation, yet somehow we’ve allowed ourselves to be deceived into believing He no longer requires the same turning away from the sins in our lives, and the wholehearted embracing of Him.

God’s requirements of those who desire to come to Him have remained the same. Somewhere along the way however, men deemed putting away their idols and preparing their hearts for the Lord too difficult a task.

Samuel knew he could not do on behalf of the people what was incumbent upon them to do themselves. He could neither give up their idols for them, nor turn their hearts to the Lord. All Samuel could do was show them the path, and give them the instruction. Whether or not they followed and obeyed was entirely up to them.

1 Kings 8:48-49, “And when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who led them away captive, and pray to You toward their land which You gave their fathers, the city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name: then hear in heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplication and maintain their cause.”

The preceding is an excerpt from a much longer prayer prayed by Solomon for the people of Israel. Being wise as he was, Solomon knew that unless the people returned to the Lord with all their heart and all their soul, God would not hear their prayer and supplication, nor maintain their cause.

Whenever discussing Israel of old, we tend to forget that they were the people of God. The Jews were, as they continue to be, God’s people, but even they would not have the ear of God unless their hearts were right before Him.

Just because we raised a hand in church does not mean we get to cut to the front of the line, or discount God’s pre-established parameters in regards to what He demands of those calling themselves His children. If Israel didn’t get a pass, if Israel had to repent, turn their hearts toward God, and seek His face in order to be heard of God, then we likewise must break ties with those things keeping us tethered to this world, and surrender our all to Him.

Israel had seen the light. They had realized the impossibility of victory without the aid of God, and it is within this context that Samuel asks for all of Israel to be gathered at Mizpah, that he might pray for them.

1 Samuel 7:5-6, “And Samuel said, ‘Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.’ So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water, and poured it out before the Lord. And they fasted that day, and said there, ‘we have sinned against the Lord.’ And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpah.”

It was here that the people acknowledged their sin. It was here the people acknowledge their need to be forgiven and reconciled unto God, having been made ready to make the necessary changes in order to facilitate this outcome.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 183

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Samuel continued...

Samuel did not pray because it was his job to pray for others, nor did he pray because of who might be listening in on his prayers. Samuel did not pray out of habit or routine, he prayed because he understood that to not pray for the people was to sin against the Lord.

1 Samuel 12:23, “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.”

Samuel considered it sin to cease praying for the people of Israel. He considered it sin to cease coming before the Lord and seeking His face, even though the people had chosen contrary to Samuel’s wishes. Even so, Samuel vowed that he would continue to teach them the good and right way.

A teacher’s duty is to teach, a pupil’s duty is to receive the teaching. I must do my utmost to make certain that at the end of the day, and at the end of my life, there is no blood on my hands, and that I’ve preached the whole counsel of God.

The duty of those who hear me speak, or read what I write, is to receive the teaching, and allow it to take root in their heart, or reject it outright.

My duty is to preach the truth; your duty is to receive the truth.

Samuel knew his prayers would only go so far. He knew that whether Israel thrived or was judged depended on the people and whether or not they feared the Lord and served Him in truth with all their heart.

1 Samuel 12:24-25, “Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”

We can pray for a nation, cry out for a nation, intercede for a nation, but as long as the nation does not fear the Lord and serves Him with all its heart, God will still judge and the nation will still be swept away.

Whether speaking of America, Romania, or any other nation where the children of God happen to reside, though God may hear our prayers for a nation, if the nation rebels against Him, does wickedly, and refuses to repent, He will judge it even with believers having prayed for the nation in question.

Does this mean we ought to stop interceding for the nations we pray for? No, for ceasing to pray for a nation would be as sinning against the Lord. What I am saying, is if God chooses to judge a nation even after we’ve prayed and interceded for it, may we be wise enough to understand that God did not disregard our prayers, or refuse to hear them, but that His justice demanded wickedness be judged.

Another area in which Samuel excelled was the knowledge of God’s expectations of His people. Samuel knew that omission was still a sin, and this is the reason he was so adamant in not ceasing to pray for the people.

Often times professing Christians are seen by non-Christians in either a place they ought not to be, doing something they ought not to be doing, wearing something they ought not to be wearing, or saying something they ought not to be saying, and even non-believers shake their head and say, ‘he ought to know better than that!’

We have no excuse for not knowing better because we have the word of God, and it teaches us what we must do, how we must live, and what we must repent of.

Samuel knew better than to not pray for God’s people, and knowing better meant that if he chose to cease praying for them, it would be counted as sin.

We all know God rejoices when He sees His children desire fellowship with Him. We know our prayers are as sweet smelling incense or sacrifice to God, so we have no excuse for circumventing prayer, or thinking it unnecessary in our modern age.

We read or hear of God speaking to regular, ordinary, everyday men and women, and feel a twinge of jealousy because it isn’t us. We read the Scriptures and see the mighty ways in which God used certain individuals, and can’t help but think to ourselves, ‘I wish I could have been there to see that…I wish I could have lived in those times.’

What we often gloss over, or choose to ignore, are the endless hours such individuals spent in prayer and supplication before God, how they nurtured and cemented their relationship with the Lord for years, even decades, until He started speaking to them and using them in such magnificent ways.

We all want to be used of God, but none of us want to put in the time required to get to that spiritual place of being ready to be used of God.

There was a time when even Samuel did not know the voice of the Lord. There was a time when even Samuel did not know the Lord well enough to approach Him, but through obedience, humility, and a desire to be pleasing to the Lord, he became the man we know today as the last, and greatest judge of God’s people, one of the most renowned prophets of the Old Testament, and the man for whom two books of the Bible are named.

To see him as he was, freshly weaned from his mother and brought to the house of the Lord, no one could have guessed at the man Samuel would become, and the ways in which God would use him.

Before he could be used of God however, he had to grow in the knowledge of God, and we grow in the knowledge of God by diligently studying His word, and spending time in prayer.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 182

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Samuel continued...

God speaks to us through His word, and we in turn speak to Him through prayer. Just the knowledge that we can come before the Creator of all that is, both seen and unseen, ought to compel us and inspire us to spend more time in prayer than we do.

What could be more fulfilling in this life than knowing you can speak to God, and that He is listening?

You could meet the president of every nation, shake their hand, and have tea, and it still wouldn’t compare with being able to speak to God, and having Him speak back.

We’ve grown so used to certain things that we have stripped all the wonder and majesty from them. Prayer is one of the things we’ve allowed to become a usual thing in our lives, so much so that we often forget what it is we are doing when we pray.

When I pray, I, Michael Boldea, the son of a glassblower and the grandson of a potato farmer, am speaking to God almighty, creator of heaven and earth, sustainer of life and existence as we know it.

Who am I to have such an honor? Who am I to have the privilege of communicating and fellowshipping with the God of the universe?

And yet, so often, we say a few hurried words on our way out the door, or before biting into our meal, as though we were doing Him the favor by uttering a prayer.

There is one other undeniable trait in Samuel – as well as all the men of God whom God used as vessels of honor – his reverence for the person of God.

Every biblical figure who was a man or woman of prayer was also deeply reverential toward God. They knew God, and because they knew God they had reverence and veneration for Him.

Lack of reverence for the house of God, the things of God, and the person of God is one of my personal pet peeves, and whenever I see it in individuals who ought to know better, I just can’t abide it.

Only one who does not understand who God is, or know the person of God both intimately and through the prism of Scripture can be so indifferent as to be irreverent when coming before Him. Not only is irreverence practiced in many a churches, it is encouraged by certain leaders who insist God is nothing more than our buddy, our pal, our go to individual in case of emergency, but nothing so imposing as King, Creator, Master or Lord.

Samuel the prophet of the Lord is counted among the many notables who understood the nature of God and as a direct result came before Him with reverence and humility.

Even the people realized Samuel was a man of prayer, and that His prayers were received of God.

1 Samuel 7:8, “So the children of Israel said to Samuel, ‘do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.’”

The people knew Samuel was interceding on their behalf. They knew Samuel was crying out to the Lord for them, and they asked him not to cease doing this, so God might save them from the hand of the Philistines.

It’s good to know someone is praying for us. I have individuals who will write me from time to time and say, ‘you’re in our prayers, keep doing what you’re doing.’ Knowing that I’m in their prayers, knowing that someone is crying out to the Lord on my behalf, gives me strength and a new desire to keep pressing on, and doing the work to which I have been called to the best of my ability.

The knowledge that you are in someone’s prayers is a source of strength. The people knew Samuel’s prayers mattered, they knew God heard when he petitioned and cried out on their behalf, and they asked him not to stop.

Although Samuel loved the people of Israel to the point that by their own admission he ‘cried out to the Lord on their behalf,’ he did not compromise the truth, or attempt to sidestep sensitive issues in regards to their obedience toward God.

You can love the people of God, and still speak the truth with boldness. You can love the people of God and still call sin by its name, and call the household of faith to repentance.

In recent years we’ve been conditioned to believe that if someone challenges our lifestyle, if they point out inconsistencies or outright sin in our lives and counsel us to repent, they are unloving, judgmental, unkind, and not possessing the heart of Christ.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Someone who will take the time to challenge you because the Bible compels them to is not hateful, intolerant, or bigoted, but rather loving, kind and obedient toward God.

In spite of the fact that he was raised in the tabernacle, and did not grow up in a family of warriors or soldiers, Samuel was a bold man who did not shy away from doing his duty, and saying the difficult thing when the difficult thing was required.

Samuel’s boldness and courage extended to the point of calling the king of Israel a fool for not keeping the commandment of the Lord.

In our day and age it seems we associate men of God with soft spoken, non-confrontational, perpetually smiling individuals who only have kind and positive words to say to us, even though our lives and conduct are not in accordance with scripture.

It was not always so, and as recently as twenty years ago, there were still men of God who walked in His authority, and spoke the truth fearlessly to anyone regardless of the position they held or the power they wielded.

Unfortunately such men grow rarer by the day, now when we need men of boldness and action more than ever before.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 181

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Samuel

Since Samuel was a man of lifelong prayer, it is near impossible to choose one prayer out of the many the word of God tells us Samuel prayed. As such, we will be discussing the broader context of Samuel’s prayer life, and include more than one of his prayers in our study.

Samuel was promised to God from before his conception. His mother Hannah pleaded with the Lord, and promised if He would grant her a male child, she would consecrate him unto the Lord, and bring him to the house of the Lord.

Hannah kept her word, and once he had been weaned, Samuel was brought to the tabernacle of the Lord. From early youth Samuel learns the ways of God ministering before the Lord even as a child.

It is in his youth that God begins to speak to Samuel, and one of his first assignments, was to tell his mentor Eli, the man who had cared and watched over him since the day he had been brought to the tabernacle, that God had judged his family because he had failed to reign in his two sons.

As far as historical context goes, Samuel was also the last judge of Israel. Even though he was the last judge in Israel, he was also the greatest judge Israel had ever known, simultaneously serving as a priest in the tabernacle of the Lord and as a prophet of God.

Although Samuel was a man of multiple callings, and was even assigned to oversee the transition of Israel to a unified nation with a single king, he always made time for prayer. We find him in the presence of God, praying to Him, petitioning Him, and beseeching Him as often as any Old Testament figure barring a couple exceptions.

Perhaps his mother had told him the story of how she had been barren, had prayed, and had been blessed with a son as an answer to her prayers. Perhaps he saw his mentor Eli praying, and coming before the altar of the Lord with regularity. Whatever sparked Samuel’s awareness of how important prayer was, it stayed with him all of his days, and he continued living a life of prayer and supplication throughout his journey here on earth.

The first thing we can learn from Samuel, even before we begin to discuss the prayers he prayed, is the importance of knowing how important prayer is in the life of a believer. Samuel knew prayer was paramount in his life, and though for many of us the sheer volume of his responsibilities might seem impossible to manage, he always made time to come before the Lord and have fellowship with Him.

We always make time for what we deem as necessary in our lives. We always make time for those things we think we can’t do without. Admittedly, some things such as eating periodically, drinking water, and sleeping are indispensable and necessary, but other things we do on a daily basis are anything but.

We squander the most precious resource we’ve been given i.e. time, chasing after childish distractions, all the while talking ourselves into believing we can’t live without them.

If you were to make a list of the indispensable things in your life, would prayer be near the top of that list? If not, why not?

Samuel understood from an early age how indispensable, necessary, and paramount prayer was in the life of one who desires to hear the voice of God, have a relationship with God, and know the heart of God.

Even though as he grew so did his responsibilities, the foundation of Samuel’s prayer life had already been firmly established, and whatever else he was called to do, from anointing the first king of Israel, to anointing his replacement, Samuel still found time to pray.

If a man tasked with anointing kings, prophesying over nations and serving as priest in the tabernacle of the Lord found time to pray, you and I have no excuse.

Whether we have to clean the house, do laundry, take the kids to soccer practice, mow the lawn, not to mention surf the net, watch television, or a hundred other things that occupy our time some of which are utterly pointless, chances are we still won’t be as busy as Samuel. If Samuel found time to pray, then we ought to be able to find time to pray.

It all boils down to one solitary question: ‘do I think prayer an important enough component in my spiritual walk to sacrifice other less important things in order to make time to pray?’

It is not a question I can answer for you, nor can you answer it for me. We are each responsible for what we do with the time we’ve been given, how we use it, and what we apply ourselves to. If we apply ourselves to building our relationship with God and discovering more of Him, then prayer will be a priority in our lives, and we will do away with the vain, foolish, or unproductive things in our daily activities in order to make time for it.

If, however, God and the knowledge of Him are at the bottom of the list, somewhere between getting a new air freshener for the car and picking up Joel’s latest spiritualized humanism drivel, then we will always find something else to do in lieu of going to our prayer closet, and spending some time with God.

Men of God are not born men of God. Men of God are called, then molded, chiseled, built up, equipped, finding their fulfillment in God, and the presence of Him alone. The lights, the cameras, the pulpits, the book signings, the interviews, are all distractions which take away from a man of God’s primary purpose…to spend time with his Master, fellowship with Him, and grow in the knowledge of Him.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Freeform Friday Week 18

As of late I’ve realized I am exceedingly more cautious of certain words then I was in my younger years. The older I get, the more I seem to have an aversion to words such as ‘foolproof, unprecedented, cutting edge,’ and a myriad of others.

Although the word ‘consensus’ is somewhere near the middle of the pack, it is a word that seems to be inching its way up the list in recent months.

Apparently, nowadays all that’s necessary for something to be considered acceptable, scriptural, or dogmatically accurate, is the consensus of a handful of stuffy old suits who call themselves theologians.

Even though God’s word is clear on certain topics, we are asked to suspend what the word of God clearly says, and receive instead what a handful of men are saying, because they have reached consensus.

A consensus, for those who slept through English class, is an opinion or position reached by a group as a whole.

What frustrates me to no end is the indisputable fact that in recent years we have allowed denominational consensus to dictate what we believe, all the while disregarding what the word of God clearly says.

As a general rule, I don’t take issue with the notion of consensus. If the consensus is that a certain chicken joint is better than another, or a burger joint makes better burgers than their competition, then I will most likely try the place which the majority of individuals preferred.

What I do take umbrage with, is superimposing the notion of consensus upon the things of God.

First off, human consensus doesn’t make something right, nor does it make it true.

There is a memorable event within the pages of scripture which speaks to the danger of consensus, and of receiving it as gospel. It is an event we would do well to remember each time we hear that there is a consensus regarding certain spiritual realities, which contradicts the word of God.

As it so happened, one day the king of Israel and the king of Judah got together, and agreed to go to war against a place called Ramoth Gilead. Before marching their armies, they decided to inquire of the Lord as to whether or not they ought to proceed. Four hundred prophets were gathered together and asked whether they should go to war against Ramoth Gilead, and four hundred men said as one, ‘Go up, for God will deliver it into the king’s hand.’

Not only was there consensus, there was unanimous consensus among all the prophets of Israel, that if Ahab and Jehoshaphat went against Ramoth Gilead they would obtain victory.

2 Chronicles 18:6-7, “But Jehoshaphat said, ‘Is there not still a prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of Him?’ So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘there is still one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, because he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil. He is Micaiah the son of Imla.’ And Jehoshaphat said, ‘Let not the king say such things!’”

Although four hundred men had assured them of their victory, something just didn’t sit right with Jehoshaphat. After inquiring if there was not another of whom they might inquire of the Lord, Jehoshaphat was informed there was one more, but because he always prophesied evil concerning him, Ahab hated him.

If Ahab would have been a righteous man, a man after God’s own heart, one given to obeying the commands of God, then Micaiah would not have prophesied evil concerning him.

What Ahab failed to understand, is what many believers fail to understand in our day and age: those who prophesy judgment on a nation, don’t necessarily hate the nation, and those who prophesy abundance and prosperity, don’t necessarily love it.

Of all the prophets in Israel, Micaiah was the lone voice amidst four hundred who warned that if they went up to Ramoth Gilead Ahab would die. Rather than be praised for telling a hard truth, he was put in prison and fed with the bread of affliction and the water of affliction.

Tell a lie and men will love you. Tell a hard truth, and men will despise you.

I wish I could lend my voice to the chorus of voices that says the worst is behind us, we’re moving ahead, and the prosperity train will be pulling into the station momentarily. I wish I could say as others do that we will not have to endure, suffer, or stand for our faith, but instead be allowed to cut to the front of the line, and wait in the first class lounge while the rest of Christendom is persecuted for their faith.

I wish I could, but I cannot, for I do not answer to men but to God for the things that I say. No one will stand before God in my stead on that Day of Days; no one will act as defense counsel on my behalf. And so, if I have to endure the mocking and disdain of some in order to stand before my God absent the blood of innocents on my hands, so be it!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 180

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Hannah continued...

Since we’ve already discussed Hannah’s attitude while she prayed, I want to take some time and see what, if anything, we can glean from her actual prayer.

The first thing we notice when meditating upon Hannah’s prayer is its specificity. Hannah was specific in her request to God. She wanted a male child, and it was a male child she asked God for. As she prayed she did not begin to address all the reasons why her prayer wouldn’t, or couldn’t be answered. She didn’t say, ‘if it doesn’t happen I understand, I’m barren, and that’s a big hurtle to jump over,’ only that if God willed it, it would be thus.

There was faith in Hannah’s prayer, not so much that what she was asking for would be given to her, but in God’s ability to do what she was asking Him to do. She never, for an instant, doubted God’s ability to make her fertile, or give her a male child. She did however understand that in order for her petition to be answered, it had to be in accordance with God’s will.

Hannah prayed in faith, and God heard her prayer. Hannah likewise vowed to bring her son to the house of the Lord, and good to her word she did as she promised. It is in the house of the Lord that Hannah’s son remained, and she would come and bring him new clothes as he’d outgrow his old ones, but never once did she go before God and say, ‘I’ve lent him to you long enough, now it’s time for me to take him home.’

Hannah knew that her son being in the house of the Lord was the best possible place for him to be, even if it meant she would have to sacrifice in order for this to come to pass.

This son, this answered prayer of Hannah’s, grew up to be none other than Samuel the prophet of God, the man to whom God spoke audibly, and who became the spiritual leader of God’s people during a very turbulent time in their history.

We have high hopes for our children. We want to see them get good educations, good jobs, good spouses, succeed in life, and make a future for themselves, but what we ought to hope and pray for more than anything else – especially given the times we are living in – is that they remain in the house of the Lord, and close to Him.

Daniel 11:32, “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”

Do you want your son or daughter to succeed? Do you want your son or daughter to be strong and do great exploits? Then do your utmost to make certain they know their God. Bring them to the house of the Lord, commit them to Him, point them to the Christ, and stand in the gap on their behalf.

We live in a world full of distractions. We live in a world intent on building then reinforcing a wall between man and God, and if we are not watchful and vigilant, if we don’t prioritize our lives in such a way wherein we make time to teach our children to walk in the way of the Lord, then the war’s already lost and we might as well pack it all up and go about our business.

We must see our children for the gifts and blessings of God that they are, and be single minded in our desire to see what He has entrusted us with, grow up to serve and obey Him.

Is it an easy task? No, it is not an easy task, and it is growing more difficult with each passing day. It is however a worthwhile task, one in which there is great joy and fulfillment, as well as great reward.

Be specific in your prayers for your children, just as Hannah was specific in asking the Lord for a male child. Pray with specificity that their hearts will be tender toward Christ, that they will have abhorrence toward evil, that they will know and understand God, that they will feel His love, mercy, peace and joy, that they would walk in obedience.

There are times in life when it’s fine to generalize…praying for our children is not one of those times.

Long before I was called to ministry, before I started preaching, writing, and teaching God’s word, my mother used to tell me stories of how my grandfather would pray for me while I was still a toddler. I was a sickly child, (although you couldn’t tell it by looking at me now,) and though the doctors told my parents to prepare for the worst, my parents prayed for my healing until it came about. My mom used to say that while she and my father prayed for my general healing and wellbeing, my grandfather would pray that I would grow up big, and strong, and be a preacher of God’s word.

Although God answered my mother and father’s prayers in that I received my healing, He also answered my grandfather’s specific request in regards to me, wherein I grew up big, and strong, and have indeed become a preacher of God’s word.

Don’t be afraid to be specific when you come before God. Don’t be reticent in pouring your soul out to Him, and telling Him the desire of your heart. Trust and believe that He is able. Stand on His promises, and with sincerity petition Him for that with which you desire to further His kingdom and magnify His name.

Hannah’s journey began with a prayer made in faith. It continued with a vow to return unto God that which God would give, and due to her faith and faithfulness we have the shining example of what it means to be a man of God, in her son Samuel.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.