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Monday, September 30, 2019

The New Currency


I don’t know why you’d want to, but everyone seems to agree that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. By the same token, there are infinitely more forms of currency than just the legal tender you have in your wallet or coin purse.

Position can be a currency; influence can be a currency, who you know can be a currency, even who you went to college with can be a currency if they’re the right person, and you’ve kept in touch.

Of late, there is a new currency that is being traded, and no, I’m not talking about bitcoin, ethereum, or litecoin. The new currency I speak of is conformity. If you are willing to fall in line, assimilate, conform and go along, then in return for your subservience, you get the keys to the particular kingdom you are trying to gain entrance into.

Whether it’s the right kind of business connections, a spot on television as a talking head, or membership into the cool kid gang, it’s no longer about merit, it’s no longer about ability, it’s no longer about being most qualified, it’s about whether or not you have conformed to the new normal, and are faithfully towing the line.

Once the narrative has been established, everyone must parrot it, mindlessly, soullessly, over and over, because all they have is the narrative itself. Name one of ten things currently in the headlines, parroted by B rate actors and newscasters alike, and when you drill down, you realize they are making it up out of whole cloth. If you present something as a statement of fact, it needs to be factual. If you reach a conclusion regarding something, then the evidentiary burden of proving your conclusion is on you.

Maybe it’s just me, but I get the sense that most average folks are getting fed up, angry, and frustrated, and the pressure continues to build and build. There’s only so much you can take. There are only so many times you can be called a bigot for not putting your little boy in a dress or a planet murderer for not setting your gas-guzzling car on fire to save the environment or be told you’re too ignorant to understand what your lying eyes are telling you.

Those who have chosen conformity for a seat at the table, and in the process abandoned reason and logic, feel that your conformity is owed them as well. They insist that you must do as they have done, that you must abandon principles, and morals for the sake of inclusivity and validation, because deep down, in those moments where they can be honest with themselves, they realize the mistake they made, and what their conformity cost them.

When you start selling your soul piecemeal, eventually you run out of pieces. Once you run out of pieces, all you are is a disposable husk, something that can no longer be exploited, and as such useless to those who convinced you to make the bargain with darkness in the first place.

Stand on truth, and do not be swayed. Though storms may come, truth is a solid enough foundation to weather any storm, and once the storm passes, your soul will still be intact. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Good and Faithful


For a brief time, some years ago, I worked third shift restocking shelves at the local Walmart. No, no, don’t be jealous, it sounds far more glamorous than it really is. There were no champagne wishes and caviar dreams, but there was ample body odor and plenty of missing teeth on the third shift.

It was quiet work for the most part, save for the few times customers came in at three or four in the morning looking for Nicorette, duct tape, baked beans, or stain remover, you know, the things you can’t wait for until morning.

I was about halfway through my first eight-hour stint, having assured the junior manager that difficult as it may seem I had grasped the intricate art of shelf restocking when I got approached by a co-worker. He introduced himself as Tim, explained that he’d been working the job for six years, then in a hushed, conspiratorial tone told me to take it easy on the speed with which I did my job.

“I’ve been watching you, and you’re making the same mistake everyone else does when they first get here; you’re too quick. We get paid by the hour, not by the shelf, so just take it easy.”

I tried to be polite, and in so many words told Tim that it was just my pace, and if I’m here, I might as well do my best. He didn’t seem very happy with my answer, but he didn’t say anything more. He turned and walked off, and I went back to work.

I found myself thinking about Tim’s mindset that night, wondering if he’d ever considered maybe it was because of his attitude that he was still doing the same job six years in. Could he have made shift manager, or junior manager, or even store manager if he’d applied himself and done his best those past six years?

In the parable of the talents, all three men were servants. They each received according to their ability from their master, but only the two who proved themselves good and faithful received a reward upon His return. There are qualifiers to servanthood. We are either good and faithful or wicked and lazy. The value of the talents the servants received was the same, some receiving more, some less, but it’s what they chose to do with the talents they received that determined whether they were good or wicked, faithful or lazy.

For every one e-mail I get asking how to do more for God, grow in God, or mature spiritually, I get at least ten asking if some pet vice or other is a sin, or how far the envelope can be pushed while still making it to heaven.

If the constant in your life is how to retain more of the flesh rather than to mortify it, if rather than defend holiness and righteousness, you find yourself on the side of defending aberrant practices, and sinful conduct, your desire is not to please your Master, but to please yourself.

You will never grow in God or be entrusted with more if you are not faithful with what you have already been given. If we desire to be good and faithful servants, we must strive to excel rather than do the bare minimum. We must strive to enter His gates with thanksgiving, and the expectation of being found good and faithful rather than constantly wondering if we’ll make it in by the skin of our teeth. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Oasis


If I were conspiratorial in nature I would conclude that everything is purposefully engineered to keep people anxious, afraid, scattered, joyless, and on edge. There are only so many things that can occur sequentially one can wave off as coincidence before they have to admit to themselves that there is focused intent behind what is occurring.

If you woke up one morning and found your car tires slashed, you could shrug it off, change your tire, and get on with your day. If, however, you woke up seven days in a row to find your tires slashed every morning, then you would have to conclude that you are being targeted. It’s no accident; it’s no coincidence, you are not the unluckiest person to have walked the earth; someone has it out for you.

Ever since I was young the world’s been ending. By the year 2000 we would have had to either grow gills, learn to breathe underwater or live on rickety rafts bobbing in a forever ocean. We were told by no less than the Vice President of these United States that polar ice caps would be completely gone within a decade three decades ago, and life as we know it would cease to be. We’re still here, this rock is still spinning, and oceanfront property on both coasts is still selling like hotcakes at nosebleed prices.

Now, a renowned part-time scientist and former full-time bartender from New York has concluded we only have twelve years left, and a disturbing number of elected officials are parroting this absurdity as though it was scientific fact. An autistic girl from Sweden has gotten in on the act, so passionate about climate that she sailed a multi-million-dollar yacht across the ocean to browbeat and lecture fully grown adults as to how they’re destroying her future, even though her activist parents already destroyed her parents by robbing her of a childhood.

When talk of world-ending climate change dies down a smidgen, there’s always the threat of nuclear war, terrorism, random acts of violence, heart disease, vaping, lethal mosquito bites, Ebola outbreaks, hurricanes, Canola oil, or meteors to keep us on edge, fearful, panicky, and discombobulated.

The pattern is emerging, and it is undeniable. It is obvious that the underlying intent of all these end of the world scenarios, all these hyper aggressive, scientifically baseless predictions, is to rob the average soul of their peace. How can you enjoy that tasty ribeye when you know that the mere mastication of it is irreparably destroying the planet? How can you think about the first snow of the winter, or making snow angels with your kids when we’ll all be dead in 12 years’ time? How can you consider going to Walmart when a loon with a gun is hiding behind every bush just waiting for you to arrive?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I don’t know how the godless cope. One of the most underappreciated benefits of having a true and lasting relationship with God is the knowledge that we are safe in His embrace. He is the oasis of peace, hope, joy, and security the world is clamoring for and hoping to manufacture.

I do not worry about tomorrow because Jesus said I shouldn’t. He is already there making a way. That doesn’t mean I am not aware of what’s going on around me, or that I don’t diligently study prophecy, but I do not allow it to rob me of my peace.

Tomorrow will come whether you worry about it, fret over it, or fear it. Tomorrow will also come if you have peace about it. The sun will rise, the sun will set, and you will be one day older, and the only thing you can control is how you greet that new day. Are you in the oasis, or are you on the outside looking in?

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Blindsided


A narrow focus is good for some things. When we are single-minded in a pursuit, whether it’s to attain knowledge or lose a few pounds if our focus is on a singular task rather than a plethora of things, it is more likely we will succeed in whatever undertaking we are pursuing. Diligent consistency and focus are the main ingredients required to thrive in most environments, and these are things that can be nurtured, grown, and matured in everyone.

Focus is a learned skill, as are discipline, diligence, and consistency. Although these things come easier for some than for others, they are not unattainable, or attainable by a select, gifted few, like being able to run the four-minute mile.

Focused, single-minded individuals have achieved some remarkable things, and most are quick to cheer on their achievements, but very few ask the paramount question at what cost? We can all see the guy who made it to the mountaintop, but very few take the time to consider what it took to get there.

Of late, I have been getting prayer requests from brothers in Christ, men whom I respect, who I consider both seasoned and mature, that are going through seasons of trial. Save one, they all conclude that they got blindsided by their current crisis, they never saw it coming, and it took them by surprise.

While narrow focus is good for some things, it is destructive and detrimental when it comes to living a balanced life. Even if it’s something noble like ministry if the rest of your life suffers and is left to ruin, from health, marriage, or relationships with your children, eventually it will catch up to you, and the consequences will be life-altering.

Being sanctimoniously self-righteous and declaring to one and all that ministry is your life, your wife and kids have to get used to it, and anyone unwilling to follow suit is unworthy of ministry is all well and good until your testimony is marred, oftentimes irreparably, and everything in your life falls apart.

I’ve seen it too many times, and I am one who would rather learn from someone else’s mistakes than having to live the heartache myself.

If you are called to be a minister, then be a minister, but that does not mean you stop being a father, a husband, a son, or a friend. You can fulfill your calling while maintaining balance in your life, but for this to occur, the ego must be kept well in check.

Most people shipwreck not because they did what God told them to do, but because they went beyond their instructions, thinking that God just hadn’t gotten around to sending the latest batch of orders. They take it upon themselves to build bigger than God commanded, unwilling to acknowledge that God had a reason and purpose for every minute detail of His instructions to them.

If the enemy can’t tempt you, beguile you or destroy you, he is more than happy to sideline you by going after the areas in your life left unattended. If a frontal assault doesn't work, he will feel around the edges until he finds a breach, a weakness, a means to gain entry, to rob you of your peace and joy.

Vigilantly guard your soul, guard your mind, guard your heart, and be aware of the enemy’s devices. Don’t pick one point off in the distance to focus on, but scan the horizon for any sign of danger, then proceed to shore up your defenses. It is easier by far to maintain a strong citadel, than clear out the rubble thereof and begin building it anew. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Delusions


It’s troubling, the length to which some people will go to maintain an illusion and keep their delusions intact. I have seen it firsthand on more than one occasion, and the unequivocal refusal to listen to reason is breathtaking.

When it comes to delusions there are two types of people. Those who internalize their delusion, who aren’t harming anyone but themselves, then there are those who externalize their delusions and insist that all of humanity fall in lockstep to their every proclamation.

The guy who still wakes up puts on a suit makes coffee and drives off every morning because he can’t bear to tell his wife he got fired a month ago isn’t really harming anyone. Sooner or later, if no other gainful employment is found he’ll have to pull off the Band-Aid, tell his wife, and the obfuscation will make matter worse, but he attempted to impose no new philosophy on anyone else.

Then there are the other types of delusional people, and those are the dangerous ones because they insist, nay, they demand, that you not only validate their delusion, but upturn your life, and radically change the way you live your day to day. All this, without a shred of scientific evidence, or any room for debate.

If you don’t believe in manmade climate change, global warming, global cooling, or climate disruption, then you don’t deserve to breathe the same air as those who do. That’s it! There’s no debating this point, there’s reasoning or attempting to inject logic into the conversation. Either you submit to every idiot thing they come up with, or you hate your kids, your neighbors, and the planet.

This movement has morphed into a religion, but a religion where the individual is still god. Hear me out on this, I’ve thought through it quite a bit.

What this new cultish religion is now preaching is that you have the ability to affect the planet’s climate. It is within your power as an individual, if only you stop eating meat, use only one square of toilet tissue per movement, stop driving, flying, using anything with a combustible engine, and go live in a hole in the ground cooking all your meals by the sun’s rays.

This new religion even has its apostles of sorts, like an autistic Swedish teenager who was lecturing the United States Congress recently about how evil this nation is because we still sell plastic straws to people.

If you attempt to point out that plunging this economy into the dark ages for the sake of climate change will do nothing to alleviate it, especially if China, India, Europe, and pretty much the rest of the civilized world doesn’t get on board, then you’re not looking for a solution, you’re just part of the problem.

These people are zealots, and as zealots have done since time immemorial, they are more than willing to destroy your way of life in order to keep their delusions intact. To true zealots it’s less about whether what you plan on doing will work or not, it’s the fact that you did something!

For anyone to think that their actions on any given day or throughout their life will have any effect on the climate is the epitome of delusion and self-importance. Then again, it’s right up the alley of those who believe they are their own god and can heal the earth by switching to tofu, and not bathing. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Old Dogs


When it comes to stories of long-time advocates of certain extra-biblical doctrines suddenly making a shift, let’s just say I am guardedly optimistic. I wouldn’t quite call it skeptical, but it nudges close enough to skepticism wherein it could readily be mistaken for it.

It’s not that I don’t believe men can change; it is a demonstrable fact that they can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and I have known individuals who went from being one hair-trigger away from exploding into violence, to the gentlest, most docile teddy bears you’ve ever seen. Men can change, men do change, but change is more than some verbal acknowledgment of one’s wrongdoing, it is the cessation of doing that which you knew was wrong.

Once I was an innocent lad, but being in ministry for over thirty years has changed that. I know, shocker, life in ministry has jaded me, and those of you who know the history of the ministry I now helm can readily attest to the fact that my guarded optimism or outright skepticism is warranted.

Don’t get me wrong; I never grew disillusioned with God, or with the average believer. I grew disillusioned with the less than godly practices of backbiting, backstabbing, sabotaging, undermining, positioning and politicking carried out by the leadership.

I came into ministry believing it was a brotherhood, and quickly realized it was more like a blood sport. From attempted coups to forced mergers, to takeovers as ruthless as any corporate takeover those of the world engage in, I realized early on that some men were more concerned with building their kingdoms, than furthering the kingdom of God.

It was also early on that I decided I would never play along. I promised myself I would never become some ruthless, cunning vampire whose sole purpose was to get an ever-increasing slice of the pie, even if it meant climbing over my fellow brothers and sisters to do it. That’s not what ministry is supposed to be about, and I think somewhere along the way we’ve lost sight of that.

I started this post talking about something else, and somewhere along the way, we took a hard left. It happens, and I know it happens for a reason.

Recently a clip of a well-known prosperity preacher denouncing the prosperity gospel has been making the rounds. The hopeful side of me wants to believe this is sincere and motivated by a new understanding of the gospel. The skeptical side of me goes back to the tried and true saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and if anyone could sniff out the impending implosion of the prosperity gospel, it would be this individual.

Perhaps there was a true change of heart, and I hope it is so. Then again, perhaps he was the first rat to feel the ship sinking and decided to push the eject button. It’s sad that I could view this newfound change of heart as nothing more than a new multi-layered scheme, but then again, I’ve been in ministry over thirty years, and I’ve seen it all.

My problem is that I have a good memory, and I remember the green prosperity handkerchiefs, the holy water from Ukraine, the holy oil from Israel, the packets of seeds, the bragging about getting an old woman to give her last five dollars. Names like Robert Tilton, Paul Crouch, Mike Murdock, Jesse Duplantis, Kenneth Copeland, and yes, the Benny Hinn are still fresh on my mind, as is their willful twisting of God’s Word.

I remember all the heartache such men have caused, the wounds they inflicted on the sheep, the disillusionment they wrought on the innocent, when they ten thousand fold return never materialized, and they lost their homes, and their marriages, and had to rebuild their lives from nothing.

It’s one thing to say you’ve had a change of heart, it’s another to do as Zacchaeus, and not only give half of your possessions to the poor but if you’ve defrauded anyone give it back fourfold.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.



Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Purposefully Malicious


We are seeing a new trend emerging in what was once known as journalism, and that is the rise of purposefully malicious reporting, specifically regarding individuals, with the intent of discrediting or otherwise removing them from the public eye.

These propagandists pretending to be reporters don’t care if what they are saying is true, or whether there is any evidence to support their claims. Their only concern is that it be effective, strike the right note, and get people thinking that perhaps that mild-mannered milquetoast guy who’s as vanilla as they come really is an insatiable sexual predator.

Did it work? That is the only metric by which so-called reporters now judge their contributions to the once noble craft of journalism. Never you mind if it was true, never you mind if we attempted to systematically destroy an innocent man’s life; did it work?

That’s the kind of sleazy I just can’t stomach because I know the gut punch you feel when someone accuses you of something you know yourself to be innocent of. What’s worse, we have now shifted from innocent until proven guilty, to guilty until proven innocent. Prove you didn’t do what someone you’ve never met, with an obvious agenda and bias is accusing you of doing.

Is that the new standard for justice? If it is, then it needs to be applied across the board and not just selectively. When the same reporters accusing innocent men of untoward things fully aware that they are innocent sit on stories and bury evidence of pedophilia, and other horrors simply because of the individual’s political leanings, Lucy, you got some ‘splaining to do.

There is a very clear delineation between freedom of the press, and freedom of propaganda. The first amendment protects one but does not protect the other. When a self-described news source only leans one direction, when all the filthy, dirty, vapid, malicious, baseless accusations they are summarily forced to retract only flow one way, it’s no longer news; it’s propaganda.

The reason they’ve become so desperate, the reason they are willing to abandon their last shred of journalistic integrity if they possessed any to begin with, is because with each brushstroke they see a picture come to life. They realize they can no longer rely on judicial activism to get their way.

Over 150 federal court judges have been confirmed over the last three years, the Supreme Court is leaning conservative for the first time in a long time, and those who hoped that courts would continue to legislate against the will of the people, are pushing the panic button.

Their desperation will only grow, their hate will only intensify, and when the rule of law will no longer serve their purpose, they will abandon it forthwith.

Watching everything that is unfolding with a critical eye, I can’t help but wonder if this upcoming election won’t be the thing that pushes them over the edge. Will this be the spark that ignites the internal turmoil spoken of thirty-five years ago?

Whether next year or in the years to follow, a reckoning is coming. It is not something that can be put off indefinitely. The cracks are already starting to show, and everything is converging toward fulfillment.

So what are we supposed to do? That is the question I get most often. What do we do in the face of this? What do we do knowing what we know? The short answer is to trust God. I know it’s not as glamorous as building a tunnel system, or an underground city, but it is the most important thing we can do as believers.

Trust, like faith, grows and expands each time it is tapped into. If I can’t trust God for the little things today, it will be next to impossible for me to trust Him to protect and feed my family when that time comes.

Everything substantive in our spiritual life, from faith, to trust, to learning to hear the voice of God, takes time and consistency. Our physical bodies grow gradually, year after year if fed the necessary nutrition. It is no different for our spiritual man. Tune out the purposefully malicious, tune out the liars who promise you shortcuts, tune out the unnecessary and trivial, and focus on the essential of knowing the fullness of the God you serve. This is how you will weather the coming storm. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Give Us Bondage!


What motivates and animates certain people is often readily discernible. Even if I disagree with an individual’s action or position, if I can deduce what is driving them, why they are choosing a particular course of action, at least I can understand where they’re coming from.

Even though his actions were cowardly, self-serving, and the path of least resistance, I can understand why Pilate did what he did. The need for the fulfillment of prophecy notwithstanding, Pilate was a politician, and he did what politicians have always done; he took the easy way out.

Pilate knew Jesus was innocent. Of this, we are certain based on the Biblical retelling of how the entire drama unfolded. Pilate held no grudge, had no particular animus toward Jesus, but he knew that if he meant to keep the peace, he’d have to give the Pharisees their pound of flesh while coming up with a scenario he could live with.

Pilate was far from a righteous man, yet he possessed enough awareness to discern right from wrong, and sentencing Jesus outright was not an option for him. As such, Pilate devised a plan.

He would allow the people to choose who would be released at the feast. From the way he presents his plan, there was no doubt in Pilate’s mind that the people would choose Jesus, but as we all know, that’s not the way it worked out.

As I said, I can understand the reasoning behind Pilate’s actions. I cannot say the same about the people who cried they wanted Barabbas in lieu of Christ.

We are making the same mistake Pilate made two millennia ago, in that we believe our fellow man will make the right choice. We cannot conceive of someone choosing bondage over freedom, choosing to be monitored, controlled, subsidized, and constrained rather than be free, live free, and be left alone to live their life as they deem fit.

Perhaps some folks are choosing bondage because they don’t know what it really is. Perhaps they are cheering, applauding, hooting and hollering when an aspiring presidential candidate insists that he will confiscate certain firearms he disapproves of from law-abiding citizens because they believe that’s where it will end.

The problem with tyranny is that it’s ever-evolving. The more time passes, the more tyrannical tyrants become for fear of losing their grip; for fear of losing control.

You may cheer for bondage today because you don’t believe the bondage you are cheering for will ever affect you. The truth nobody wants to talk about is that once a nation is in bondage, eventually they will come for something you do care about, and something that does affect you.

As I said at the beginning of this quasi-rant, I understand what motivated Pilate, as I understand what motivates the politicians of today. What I don’t understand is the cheering crowds. What I don’t understand are the people who would see an innocent man die, and a guilty one set free. What I don’t understand are those who would see their fellow citizens stripped of their freedoms for an illusory sense of safety that will irreparably shatter once a criminal shoves a gun they were mandated to sell back to the government in their face.

When the masses begin to cheer the abrogation of freedom, maybe they deserve the bondage they are clamoring for with the requisite pain, hopelessness, and privation that come along with it.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Where Are You Going?


Every journey begins with a destination in mind. Whether it’s going to the local grocery store, or a cross country drive, even before you take your first step, you know where you want to go, and have a pretty clear idea of how to get there.

Some people are more diligent about mapping out their journey than others, but unless you’re Forrest Gump and just decide to run one day for the sake of running, there is always an end goal, a terminus, a finish line, that remains constant. Not only is the destination a constant, something always at the forefront of your mind as you inch your way toward it, it is also fixed.

Depending on how important it is for you to get to where you’re going, if perchance there are detours, roadblocks, or impediments, you will find a way around them, and push ever forward.

If you give up on a journey because you’ve been met with difficulty at some point along the way, the destination was never that important to you to begin with.

Even if there is traffic, even if there is a backup, even if the road is closed, if where I’m going is important enough to me, I will find a way to get there.

If there’s too much traffic on the way to the greasy spoon where I was planning on having lunch, I will alter my plans, and go somewhere closer. If there’s too much traffic on the way to my daughter’s school where she is waiting for me to pick her up, altering my plan or my destination is not an option. I need to pick her up, and not doing so won’t even cross my mind. I’ll sit in the traffic, I’ll find a way around the roadblock, because where I’m going is so important to me, that I will let nothing stand in my way.

Tragically, this is not the prism through which many believers today view their journey toward eternity. They have not adopted the necessary mindset that they must reach their destination at any cost. Many are content to run in circles or jog in place, or just sit and watch the world go by justifying their inaction and absence of drive with tired tropes such as ‘if it’s meant to be, it will be,’ or ‘it will all work out in the end.’

Long forgotten is the admonition that we must run the race with perseverance, or run it in such a way as to obtain the prize. We have surrendered to terminal indifference, and have bought into the lie that everyone gets a prize in the end, whether they ran the race, or crossed the finish line.

If anything, the present state of disinterest betrays our true hearts. We are indifferent, disinterested, easily sidelined, distracted, and unfocused because the destination just isn’t that important to us.

Why put forth the effort to get somewhere when I can just Google Earth it? Why press in, agonize, pray, and ask for the power of God, when I could just read about other men’s experiences?

The answer to this question is a simple one. No matter how ultra-high-definition your screen, no matter how big or how modern, nothing can replace the feel of the hot sand between your toes, or the salty breeze on your face.

If you are diligent ad single-minded in reaching your journey’s end, you will. The destination is worth the effort you put into making the journey. It is worth the disappointments, frustrations, setbacks, sacrifices, and time it takes to get there, because only by making the journey will we hear ‘well done good and faithful servant.' 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Wisdom


There is a difference between wisdom and knowledge. Although they can be likened to twin sisters, they are by no means, identical twins. The Word tells us that while God’s people perish for lack of knowledge, we are to diligently pursue wisdom. It is a nuanced, subtle difference, but a difference nevertheless.

It’s been raining steadily for the last couple of days. The sky is dark and overcast, and not at all conducive to cheerily greeting the day. This is the sort of weather that makes you want to stay in bed for an extra few minutes, and avoid going outdoors if at all possible.

Every time it rains, I make it a habit to go and check the dehumidifier in the basement. It gets humid mighty quick, and I like to make sure everything is working rather than have to deal with mold and mildew later on. Our basement dehumidifier is ancient, and so I’ve been expecting it to give up the ghost at some point. Yesterday was that point.

I’m not a mister fix-it sort of guy. I’m not handy with electronics, I don’t have a garage full of tools, and I possess enough self-awareness to know when something is beyond my purview.

Because I possess the knowledge of what will occur if I don’t get the dehumidifier fixed, I realized it is something that needed to be remedied. However, because I possess the wisdom to do a price comparison between having someone come out and try to revive the old dinosaur, or just buy a new one I came to the conclusion that I could have a new, modern, silent, energy-efficient dehumidifier for roughly the same price it would have cost to get the new one fixed.

Knowledge is possessing all the requisite information regarding any given topic. Wisdom is looking at the aggregate data and drawing conclusions based on the knowledge you’ve amassed.

Knowledge is the doorway by which we enter into wisdom. Without first having obtained knowledge, we will never reach the heights of wisdom.

God’s people perish for lack of knowledge. This means that they have not taken the time to inform themselves, to acquire the necessary information, to study, to dig deep, to search, and to contemplate.

There are also many within the household of faith who having attained knowledge, never pursue wisdom. They have volumes of information, stacks of books, and thousands of essays, they know their eschatology backward and forward, can recite prophecies verbatim, but they never pause to wonder what they should do with all the information they’ve amassed.

Wisdom allows you to take the appropriate action and make the right decisions based on the knowledge you’ve been able to acquire.

Although a wise man will always possess knowledge, a knowledgeable man won’t always possess wisdom.
When wisdom is lacking, all we are left with is impulsive reactions to the knowledge we’ve obtained, often realizing that we made the wrong choice only with the benefit of hindsight. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Irrational Fears


My youngest daughter is afraid of flies. Although she has an aversion to all creepy crawlies, from bugs to spiders, to ants and caterpillars, she is most afraid of flies. If she sees one in the house, peace is shattered, screams commence, and she runs to the shelter of my arms or her mother’s arms, depending on who is in closer proximity to her.

If you’ve never tried to explain why they shouldn’t be afraid to an almost two-year-old, then you’ve never really had your patience tested. It doesn’t matter how many times her mother and I insist that there is nothing to be afraid of, or how many times we show her how to shoo away the fly, all she knows is that they scare her, and the only place she feels safe when she sees one is in our arms.

Sooner or later this fear will pass. As she grows, she will realize that flies really are nothing to be afraid of, but until that time comes all we can do is consistently remind her, and show her the truth of it. Because we are the parents, we react differently than she does, and eventually she will begin to make the connection. She will begin to see that there is no reason to fear. If she has the same reaction when she is twenty years old as she does when she is twenty months old, then we will have a problem to be sure.

Even though our heavenly Father has repeatedly told us not to be afraid, some of us still are. We harbor irrational fears regarding things we have no control over, and if we fail to consistently return to the Word and be reminded that we have nothing to fear, we spiral, growing all the more agitated, until we are robbed of peace and joy in our lives.

From giant solar flares to the reversal of earth’s magnetic field, to global epidemics, to gamma-ray bursts, to rogue black holes, to the tried and true asteroid impact, these are just the natural disasters that can snuff out human existence as we know it. Once we get into all the man-made ways it the end can come such as nuclear war or random acts of violence, we quickly realize that just as the flies my daughter is afraid of, there’s just too many to count. If we gave in to fear every time, we’d all wind up in a dark corner, sucking our thumbs, never leaving our homes, waiting for the end of the world.

Yes, it can get overwhelming sometimes, and that’s when we just need a hug from Dad, but as we grow, as we mature past the stage of spiritual infancy, we do away with these irrational fears, and come to understand that the only power they have over us is the power we are willing to assign to them. They’re just flies!

So am I overly concerned about a rogue asteroid, or other such things? No, because I’m not Bruce Willis, this isn’t a motion picture, and there is nothing I can do to affect it even if it were a reality. Before we give in to fear regarding things we can’t control before we allow these things to consume our time and rob us of our peace, may we remember that there is shelter in our Father’s arms. Come what may, His will is the best possible place where you can find yourself, and it is in that fellowship, that intimacy, that knowledge that He can protect you from the flies, or the asteroids, that you will rediscover peace. 

With love in Christ, 
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Merchants of Fear


The easiest way to get someone to act against their own self-interest is to create an environment of fear, then convince them that the only way to do away with the fear you’ve created is for them to give up certain rights, privileges, or protections.

Self-preservation or at least the promise thereof will always trump self-interest, and more often than not when an argument is framed around the notion of self-preservation, reason, logic, or the need for scientific proof to back up one’s assertions fall by the wayside.

Because they know that when it comes to self-preservation, most people will usually react emotionally rather than logically, the merchants of fear are beating the drums of existential crisis with such ferocity as to give religious zealots and cult members a run for their money.

Unless we give up something, and that something varies from debate to debate depending on what the cataclysm du jour happens to be, we are doomed, facing total annihilation, just waiting to die in some horrific way.

It’s for the good of humanity, don’t you know? Why else would the merchants of fear be so single-minded in their desire to strip you of your freedoms and rights? I mean, come on, it couldn’t be for something as petty as control. It couldn’t be for something as sinister as enforcing globalism on a sovereign nation, could it?

You want to live as the indentured servant of Bernard Sanders or Elizabeth Warren; you just don’t know it yet. You want your pre-teen daughters seeing boys pretending to be girls changing in front of them, robbing them of their innocence, you just don’t know it yet. You want reading the Bible verbatim to be viewed as a hate crime; you just don’t know it yet. You want an open homosexual to shame you into silence because you believe the baby kicking in your belly and responding to your voice is alive, and not just a clump of cells good for nothing more than to be butchered, vacuumed out, and disposed of in the trash. You want all these things; you have to want them; otherwise we’re all doomed.

You want to chase rats down alleyways and see for yourself that cat tastes a lot like chicken; how can you not if you are a responsible citizen of the world? Granted, eating cats and rats as they do in Venezuela has become passé, so now there’s a push, I kid you not, to save the planet via cannibalism.

Not surprisingly, everything the merchants of fear are pushing and attempting to normalize ultimately gives them more power and strips you of the ability to control your own life. They know better than you, and they have no qualms about reiterating it. Go along, do as you are told, grovel well enough, long enough, with enough excitement and fervor, and when they take power, there may be something in it for you. You might be close enough to the ruling class where unlike the rest of the plebs you may just get to drive your car every other weekend for no more than ten miles, or have a piece of steak once in a blue moon.

What of freedom? You can’t possibly expect to live free anymore; we have a planet to save. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Before It's Too Late


There are certain things that if you planned on doing, you’d better do sooner rather than later. Don’t put it off, don’t terry, because you just might wake up and find yourself on the wrong side of the law if you do, and though illegal aliens get a pass when it comes to lawbreaking, you’d better believe they’ll throw the book at you without hesitation.

I realize we all have better things to do than to listen to the ravings of madmen and idiots talking about mandating everyone to go vegan, engineering population control through abortion, doing away with the combustible engine, and returning to the stone age in the hope of altering the planet’s temperature by less than half of one percent. We have families to feed, mortgages to pay, lawns to mow, and churches to attend.

In the back of our mind there’s that reassuring thought that there can’t possibly be enough crazy people in this country to make an Elizabeth Warren or a Bernard Sanders or a Joe Biden president in a year’s time, and I would agree save for a couple of things.

First, we can never underestimate the power of propaganda. Second, we can never underestimate the power of fear. And third, let’s face it, try as we might to think the best about our fellow man, have you walked onto a college campus recently?

The mass media is doing all it can to inject fear into as many people as possible and convince them that the only way to save ourselves, the only way to save the planet is to return to the days of yore. We must return to a time when most people never traveled past twenty miles from the place they were born, had no electricity, rode horses for transportation, and bowed and scraped before the lords and ladies of the aristocracy.

A time when men could not even envision freedom, lived at the mercy of the monarchy and were dictated to, taxed without representation, and manhandled by dullards who were exempt from the rules they demanded everyone else abide by.

If you listened, really listened to what these people are proposing, you would conclude that this is how people without hope, without God, and without a shred of humanity left in their rotting carcasses view the world and their fellow man. Everything is dark, grim, hopeless, apocalyptic, humanity itself is on the brink of extinction, but fear not, you have the power to save the earth by only using one square of toilet tissue.

In their madness these people think themselves gods, able to control the outcome of an entire planet, by subjugating you, the little people, and demanding that you kill your unborn babies, stop driving your car, eat tofu and lentils for the rest of your life, and work tirelessly to fund their utopian vision. Why would you not want to go along with this? Don’t you want to save the planet?

Without any scientific data, we are told we have eleven years to make it right. All this, while the selfsame people insisting we must return to living in caves and reading by candlelight are buying multi-million dollar beachfront properties.

Far be it from me to doubt the scientific bonafides of a former bartender, but if you’re asking me to upturn my entire life, I need a little more proof than just your sayso.

It’s the hypocrisy that’s galling, yet no one seems to be pointing it out.

So if I were you I’d enjoy a nice steak, listen to the roar of a V8 engine, take a flight even if it’s to the next state over, now, before it’s too late. And if you planned on digging any holes in your backyard whether a cellar, or one of those spider holes they fished Saddam Hussein out of, I’d get to digging, because who knows how long it will be before they say that using a shovel is wounding the earth, and we must do away with those as well. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

An Update


I’m tearing up again, but this time my wife is not here to see it. She had an early appointment, the kids are off to school, and I just now got a few moments to collect my thoughts, and give you an update on Dumi’s situation.

The surgery went better than anyone expected. This is not me saying it; it’s coming from my brother Daniel who isn’t known for his unbridled optimism. By what we’ve learned thus far, I would agree. By any metric, the surgery was a glowing success. They only had to remove part of Dumi’s lung, which we were told would have to be excised completely, and he is already taking a few steps at a time, staying active, and recovering quite nicely.

I couldn’t imagine the spectrum of emotion I would feel if a handful of months prior I would have been given a death sentence, written off by the medical establishment and told there was nothing that could be done, to now seeing a life and a future beyond a few months. For a young twenty-something, it must have been a rollercoaster, and that’s putting it mildly.

This entire episode was a learning lesson, and if ever we sit down to write just how we came to have Dumi operated on by the most renowned surgeon of his kind in the whole of Europe, you will understand that miracle upon miracle had to occur for this to take place.

I do believe in divine healing, but I also believe that God uses people whom he has endowed with abilities to bring about His perfect will.

The reason I’m tearing up isn’t so much because the surgery was a success, although that’s part of it, it’s because of the outpouring of support so many of you offered for a young man who many of you have never met, nor likely ever meet.

It warms my heart and humbles me that so many of you answered the call, and without hesitation gave to this cause. To all who prayed for Dumi, I thank you. To all who contributed to this need, I thank you. To all who plan on giving toward this need, I thank you. All I can do is say thank you. All I can do is express gratitude, but the God who sees all things can do far more. It is He who watches, it is He who sees, and it is He who rewards.

Please continue to pray for Dumi’s swift recovery, and if the knowledge that you helped save a young man’s life doesn’t make you cry, I hope that at least it makes you smile. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.


GoFundMe/HelpDumi

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Signs


It was not an easy decision to come to, but I see no other way. It was not spur-of-the-moment, or something I decided on lightly, but once I combed through all the aggregate data, once I took all the nuances and subtleties into consideration, I realized it had to be done.

From now on, whenever I am giving a talk, whether in a church or at a conference, I will be wearing oven mitts on my hands. Yes, you read that right. I will be wearing oven mitts. The big, quilted kind, the kind that only has the thumb hole, and no fingers, because I realized it’s the only way that someone couldn’t freeze-frame a nanosecond of an hour-long sermon, and accuse me of being a Luciferian who was secretly sending out hidden hand signals.

Sometimes you have to counter absurdity with absurdity. It’s the only way to contextualize the utter inanity of it all.

My inbox has been flooded of late, and the theme seems to be consistent. Intrepid amateur sleuths are combing through the archives of other men’s sermons and discovering the hidden hand signals.

You have individuals who were doing nothing more untoward than rolling a booger between their thumb and index finger being accused of flashing 666 to the cameras and being labeled Luciferian plants.

No further inquiry needed, no query into whether or not their message is Biblical, or if they are preaching the gospel, they rubbed their eye with their middle finger forty minutes into their talk, and that’s all the evidence we need to declare them sullied, compromised, and forsaken.

We can’t allow for the possibility that they scratched behind their ear just because they had an itch. It had to be something more, it had to, and now we will expose them for all the world to see.

Our duty as believers, if we aspire to be as the Bereans, is to examine and study the Scriptures every day to see whether or not the teaching we are hearing is true. A very important distinction, and one that we seem to have glossed over wholesale.

As Paul preached to the Bereans, they weren’t watching his hands, and they weren’t looking at his fingers. They weren’t trying to find a “gotcha” moment they could then plaster on the internet and accuse him of being of the devil. They were studying the scriptures to see if what they heard coming out of Paul’s mouth was in harmony with the written Word.

When we allow our overactive imaginations to look for signs that aren’t there, rather than diligently study the Scriptures to see whether or not truth is being spoken, we run the risk of accusing and besmirching the righteous and ignoring the treacherous and deceptive.

The only thing you need to identify deception is to know the truth. Study the Scriptures, know them, let them take root and spring to life inside of you. Then, when you hear something not of Scripture you will know it for what it is instantly. You won’t have to go blind watching video footage of someone hoping that they rub their chin or pick their nose so you can expose them. You will nourish your spiritual man with truth, thereby growing, maturing, and realizing how comically irrelevant freeze-framing someone’s hand gesture to make it seem like they were doing something they likely weren’t is. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, September 2, 2019

My Father's Son


I am my father’s son. Because I am my father’s son, I carry his name. Because I carry his name, all that I do, all the choices I make, how I interact with the world around me reflect on him, for better or worse. Through my conduct and the life I choose to live, I can bring honor to my father’s name, or bring dishonor to it.

We are inexorably linked and will be so forever. Men will always associate me with my father, and as I’ve overheard regarding others on various occasions, they’ll either say he raised a good one, or lament that for some reason one particular apple fell far from the tree. I love my father; therefore, I comport myself in such a manner as to brighten his heart and bring a smile to his face.

Because he is my father, not only do I carry his name, I have taken on certain features, mannerisms, quirks, and inclinations exclusive to him. It’s not because I tried to pattern myself after my father, or mimic what he does; it is because the nature of who he is has been transferred down to me through DNA.

I noticed this more clearly while my dad was visiting because I could see myself in him at the oddest moments. The way he would wave his hand when trying to make a point, the way he arches his eyebrows when he disapproves of something, little things, but noticeable once you start to look.

At one point, while we were sitting down to dinner, I noticed my wife looking at me, then at my dad, then back at me again, and when she noticed me noticing she shrugged her shoulders and said, “at least I know what you’ll look like when you get old.”

Not only do I call him my father, but he also acknowledges me as his son. If my father needs me, I will prioritize him over all else, and if I need him, I know he will show me the same deference. I know without a shadow of doubt that if ever I need anything if it is within his power or ability, my father will do it.

He is always welcome into my home, and I am always welcome in his. There need be no protocol, special invitation, or appointment. We know, reciprocally so, that the door is always open and if we need to talk, or spend some time together we do it.

As a son or daughter of God our relationship with Him is no different. Not only do we carry His name upon becoming heirs of the promise, but we also take on His nature. We are transformed from within, and without.

We become mindful that our conduct and interactions with those around us reflect on Him, and we are quick to flee the appearance of evil, never mind evil itself. Whenever we find ourselves at a crossroads or wonder if something is acceptable, the only question we need ask is whether or not He would approve. Would we be in that place, would we say those words, would we pursue those pleasures, if He were standing beside us.

There are innumerable benefits to being a son or daughter of God, but there are also responsibilities that come along with it. Most folks nowadays want to boast that their Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but fewer than ever before want to pursue holiness and righteousness to become more like their Father. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.