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Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Watchful Eye


Ever since I could remember and likely long before that, it has been said that you can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps. This saying has evolved with the years, everyone adding something, tweaking it a bit, but the gist of it is if you can make a composite of a man’s friends, tease out some common character traits and practices, then you have a somewhat accurate snapshot of who the man is.

I believe it is exceedingly easier to understand a man and his character by the enemies he has made, than by the friends in his orbit at the time of your inquiry. Friendship is subjective. Someone might call themselves your best friend, and you see them as an acquaintance at best. Other people met you once, then if your name is of any prominence or note, will endlessly drone on how they spend winters in your chalet, and summers at the vineyards. Shocking, I know, but some people orbit other people to benefit from their influence or exploit their relationship.

Even if someone is your friend, are the just fair-weather friends, or something more, deeper, and lasting? Will they turn tail and run at the first sign that your fortunes are shifting, or will they strap on their sword and stand shoulder to shoulder to you against overwhelming odds? Can you count on them in difficulty, or are you only assured of their presence when the steaks are sizzling, and merriment is guaranteed?

The thing about your enemies is that they can’t help themselves. They wear their animosity like a mask, a shroud, an unmistakable telltale sign that bubbles to the surface and begins to consume reason itself. I’m less concerned about who loves you than I am about who hates you. Who hates you gives me far more information than discovering who loves you ever will.

If someone dislikes you or outright hates you, they will make sure everybody knows it. There is no ambiguity as to whether they might dislike you or not, as there can be with whether someone is your friend or not. Your enemies will go out of their way to set themselves apart and identify themselves as such.

Being the level headed man that I am, not one to jump to conclusions or proclaim something as irrevocably true before all the evidence is in, I’ve taken to keeping a watchful eye on who the enemies of certain individuals are, and the first question I ask myself is am I willing to align myself with that particular lot.

If I recoil at the thought of aligning myself with the enemies of someone I’m dubious about, the fact that his enemies would likely be my enemies too given a chance tends to tip the scales toward my giving the individual the benefit of the doubt.

If those you would inadvertently be aligning yourself with make your stomach churn, if their actions and positions are ghoulish and soulless and in diametrical opposition to what you believe, if even thinking of being in their camp makes you want to take a hot shower, then maybe the person you think you hate, or want to hate, or are told to hate, isn’t as vile and evil as you think he is, or they make him out to be. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Gatekeepers


Imagine being someone some two thousand years ago watching Saul of Tarsus give the nod for Stephen’s execution, then proceeding to play at being a human coatrack for those who did the wicked deed. 

Imagine you were just another face in the crowd, taking in the details, seeing as the mob deferred to this one man, waiting for his consent before they picked up rocks and hurled them at a kneeling figure with all the force zeal and rage could muster.

Since human nature remains unchanged from millennia to millennia, I’m also certain there were murmurs and whispers in the crowd as to how Stephen did not deserve to die this way and how this Saul was on a murderous quest to rid the world of Christ-followers.

Now fast forward a few years, and once more you find yourself in a crowd, this time not to witness an execution but to hear someone preach. It has been whispered that this preacher was well versed in the law, well-spoken, and you were just curious to see what he had to say. You push your way through the crowd to get a better look, and then you see that face; that face that was etched into your mind’s eye, and for an instant, your heart stops beating in your chest.

What is the meaning of this? This man is no preacher; he is no convert; he is no follower of the way. He is Saul of Tarsus, hater of Christians, and hunter of the righteous. Sure, Jesus saves, sure Jesus transforms, but there has to be a limit, doesn’t there? I mean, Saul? Saul? Nope, I don’t believe it! I don’t have to listen to what he has to say; it’s just not possible!

And that’s how some people are reacting to news that Kanye West has been found, and that the love of Christ has overcome him.

I’ve debated whether or not to share my thoughts on this, because, for some unexplained reason, one man’s conversion is controversial to the point of contention. This morning’s e-mail on the topic was one e-mail too many, so here goes:

The lost are lost until they are found! There are no degrees of being lost; there’s just lost. God sent Jesus that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life. Perhaps another translation might include the addendum, but my Bible doesn’t say except for Kanye West.

Unless I missed the memo, none of us have been appointed as heaven’s gatekeepers, nor is it up to us to decide who is worthy of passing through the pearly gates, and who isn’t. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and that includes me, and you, and every gatekeeper pretending to have the skeleton key to heaven’s gate.

Unlike so many who have outright denounced this man’s conversion, I’ve taken the time to listen to a couple of interviews he has given post rebirth, as well as his new album. What I’ve come away with is the impression of someone at their first love, excited, and zealous about doing something, anything to be of service to Christ.

Unlike most Christian music today, there is no ambiguity in his lyrics. You don’t sit there and wonder if he is singing about a love interest, a hot date, a fantasy, or Jesus. He mentions Jesus more times in a thirty-minute album than Joel Osteen does in a four-hundred-page tome about being your best self, and unabashedly calls himself a follower of Christ, aware of the slings and arrows he is sure to suffer for it.

My concern isn’t whether or not this was a true conversion. My concern is that the wolves will attempt to exploit him, and those in a position to offer discipleship and spiritual wisdom are too busy being sanctimonious and self-righteous, forgetting from whence they came, and how they too were transformed by the saving power of Christ.

God help us if we are the reason someone fails to walk in the fullness of Christ because we’ve concluded that they are the exception; that they are the one person Jesus can’t transform. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Masters and Servants


Almost a quarter of a millennia ago, a nation was founded on the premise that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. There would be no caste system, there would be no overlords, there would be no ruling class, it would be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. In order to for this vision to come to fruition, those elected to office would not abuse the power entrusted to them, and govern with the understanding that they were not masters over commoners, but representatives of a constituency.

This nation would be the first of its kind. It would be one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Liberty and justice would not extend only to a select few, or to a protected class, but all would benefit from these paragons of fulfillment. Give a man liberty, ensure him justice, then whether he succeeds or fails in life will be something he is wholly responsible for.

Happiness was never guaranteed to anyone; the pursuit of happiness was. No one can guarantee that you will achieve that which you pursue, but having the opportunity to pursue it is something few in the world enjoyed.

This is the America I learned about. This is the America I fell in love with as a young boy, having been spirited away from my homeland and all that I had ever known. This is the America I have dedicated all of my adult life to warning, to pleading with for repentance and a return to the fundamentals that made this nation the beacon of hope it once was.

I watch what this nation is becoming in horror and with great dismay. In horror, because I see the similarities between the actions we are undertaking, and the actions every empire that crumbled under the weight of its own hubris has taken in the past. With dismay, because it is now evident we have not learned the lessons of those who came before us, and are now doomed to suffer the same fate.

We have taken liberty for granted, and somewhere along the way forgot that liberty must be preserved, fought for, and sacrificed for. We turn a blind eye to those who ought to be representing the people but are instead enriching themselves at the expense of their constituencies.

Everyone’s got a grift, everyone’s got an angle, everyone lobbies for laws, regulations, and carve outs negatively impacting the citizenry that they swore to represent. Both political parties, both houses, no exceptions, save for a handful that still hold to the principles of why they were elected in the first place.

To them it’s all a game, and they care not a whit that they are playing with people’s lives. They make promises they know they won’t keep, offer benefits they know are economically unsustainable, all to get four more years at the taxpayer through, and glut themselves to overflowing off the backs of hard working men and women who cling to the hope that this nation is still the constitutional republic those who came before us bled and died to preserve. Sadly, we are looking more like a banana republic than a constitutional one with each passing day. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Madness


If we did to our pets what we do to our children, we would be brought up on charges, summarily tried, sentenced, and sent to prison for a very long time. If you told a stranger that you wanted to take your male puppy, pump him full of drugs, then take him to a butcher to remove pieces, cut pieces, sew pieces, and reshape pieces onto him, all because you wanted validation, or to be called brave, they’d pick up the phone and call the nearest police station to report a case of animal cruelty.

Recently I read an article that almost pushed me over the edge. The reason it affected me on multiple levels, is because there are multiple layers of madness to it, all flowing into a crescendo of lunacy that left me questioning the mental sanity of most folks we would call normal.

A divorced mother of twin boys sued the father of said boys because she didn’t want him spending so much time with one of them in particular. The reason? Well, a couple years back she decided she already had a spare, and that she really wanted a girl, so she started dressing the boy in dresses, insisting that he was now a girl, and even had a coming-out party for him at the age of five.

Yes, you read that right. The age of five! Now the boy is seven, and this lunatic wants to start pumping the child full of hormone blockers and other drugs which have been scientifically proven to have killed at least sixty thousand people who took them. You can’t make this stuff up. Even the cruelest, most psychotic of writers with a Machiavellian bend to their worldview couldn’t engineer a story so disturbing.

So why did this so-called mother sue the father? Well, because the boy in question acted like a boy whenever his father took him for the days allotted him, and she just couldn’t have that. It’s not that the father was absentee, or that he abandoned his kids. It’s that the boy was acting too much like a boy whenever he was around a male role model, and this ghoul would have none of it.

She couldn’t risk not being called brave anymore if her son refused to wear girl’s clothing anymore. She couldn’t risk not being special anymore, or unique, or courageous, because she put her baby boy in a dress, pressured him, and emotionally manipulated him until he went along with it.

This entire lunacy of transitioning children, or preteens, is relatively new, and the little aggregate data we have as to what happens to these children in their later years is heartbreaking and disturbing. Suicide rates are through the roof, as are early deaths due to the drugs they inject into them to stop nature from taking its rightful course.

Playing god never works out well. Destroying your child’s life, future, and any chance at normalcy just because it makes you feel special when other sad, pathetic, lonely women think you’re brave, is no reason to put your child’s life in danger.

Oh, and the caveat, the cherry on the crazy cake, is that a jury of twelve people, voted 11 to 1 against the father, allowing for the mother to commence transitioning the boy into a girl, even though the boy has never said he felt like a girl, was a girl, or wanted to be a girl; he just doesn’t want to upset mommy. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Stubborn Mountains


If you pray for rain, you’d better carry an umbrella. No, I didn’t come up with that little nugget, it’s been making the rounds in my homeland for some years now. The point of it is that if you pray for something, your actions ought to confirm that you prayed in faith, that you prayed with expectation, and that you prayed with full assurance that not only did God hear your prayer, but that He will answer it.

It’s one of those feel-good tropes, and although I am not a fan of personal affirmations or mantras, I do enjoy a zesty one-liner that encapsulates a deeper, more profound thought.

But what if you pray for rain, you carry the umbrella, and no rain is forthcoming. What if you stand before the mountain, command it to be lifted and thrown into the sea, and nothing happens? What if you end up being just a guy or gal talking to a mountain as though you belong in a room with lots of padding as to not cause yourself bodily harm?

Maybe it’s just me, but I can recall a handful of things that I prayed for in faith that did not materialize. Yes, some of them were answered with delay, but others never were. I, too, have had my moment of wanting to move a mountain, and that stubborn thing wouldn’t budge.

What do we do then? What do we do when the mountain doesn't move? Do we just give up? Do we sit in the dirt and wait for the end to come? We all have different mountains, different obstacles, different situations in life that seem insurmountable, but Jesus promised that with enough faith, we could overcome them all. If your mountain doesn't move, there are still options to be had.

If a mountain stands before you, you can either go around it, over it or through it if it refuses to do as you command. It may take longer, it may not be as spectacular as watching it throw itself into the sea, but the goal was never to get a book deal, or be on Christian Television talking about how you moved a mountain, the goal was to no longer be hindered by that particular obstacle.

So back to the question: what do we do when the mountain doesn't move?

The first thing is to stop talking about your mountain and start talking to your mountain. We all have that friend, or perhaps we are that friend, that has a laundry list of mountains they want to discuss with us every time we meet. The more you talk about your mountain, the bigger your mountain will become. You will begin to see an anthill as nothing less than Everest itself.

Talking about your mountain to someone else will not make it budge; talking to your mountain, addressing the issue, acknowledging not only its presence but its inability to stop your growth, will.

If you do not speak to your mountain, your mountain will most certainly speak to you, and everything it says will be meant to intimidate you, put fear in your heart, or make it seem like its already won. Be proactive. Speak to your mountain.

One other thing we must acknowledge, and for some, it is a difficult thing to do, is that sometimes God may choose to move you, and leave the mountain where it is. Mountains don’t have feet; you do.

None of us can question Paul’s faith, or deny that there were countless mountains he overcame, yet there was one mountain that would not budge, no matter how hard he tried. Paul’s mountain was called Asia, and though his desire to go and preach the gospel there was noble, although he had faith the likes of which has rarely been seen, every time he tried to overcome this mountain, he could make no headway.

Eventually the Holy Spirit sent him to Greece to do the work to which he had been called, and rather than keep trying to move the mountain that would not budge, he went to reap a harvest of souls in another place.

It’s not that God isn’t able. It’s just that sometimes it may not be His will or perfect plan for your mountain to throw itself into the sea.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Good Fight


The older I get, the less impressed I am about all manner of things. The pool of things I find impressive is ever-shrinking, and I think this is a feeling shared by many. Remember when a cute cat video made us laugh uproariously for hours on end? Maybe we were more innocent, maybe we still thought of laughter as being the best medicine instead of Oxy, but nowadays it takes the nearly impossible just to make us smirk. Gone are the days of a cat chasing a laser pointer; now we need bears riding unicycles on a flaming high wire while juggling seals to make us hit the share button.

One thing that still impresses me consistently is scars. I show no deference to resplendent armor, crimson capes, or wavy plumes, but when I spot someone with bruises, scars, welts, and dents, I am impressed. It tells me that not only did the individual not back down from battle, but that they fought the good fight, and though the enemy might have gotten a few good blows in, they did not lay down their sword and surrender.

I would rather go into battle with someone who looks like they survived a wood chipper by my side than someone in couture armor. I went to a renaissance fair once; they had pretty costumes too.

My only concern when going into battle is whether or not the persons to my left and my right can fight. That’s it! I don’t care that you macramé on the weekends, or that you knitted booties for your six kittens. 

Do you know how to fight? Can you take a blow? Do you know how to use the weapons in your arsenal? Will you get back up if you get knocked on your backside, or will you stay down for the count? Are you in this for your own glory, or the glory of the King?

There are many faux warriors roaming the landscape today who show up to the battlefield only to showcase themselves. They come so others might see how shiny their armor, or how intricate their new crest. Such souls I have no patience for, because when it comes time to fight, they will do their utmost to avoid it.

Be sure, that if the battle goes your way, and the day is won, those who cowered in the back or played possum will be the first to take credit for the great victory, or spin a yarn that will make them out to be the bravest of the brave who singlehandedly pushed back the enemy.

True warriors don’t talk about fighting; they fight. Once the battle is done, they bind their wounds, patch up their armor, sharpen their swords, and get back to it. Never once have I heard someone who has been to war regale others of their bravery in combat. I have, however, heard individuals bragging about killing the enemy, even though they were on another continent, watching real warriors doing it on a television monitor.

We don’t tell war stories because the war isn’t over. We don’t whoop and holler and pat each other on the back for today’s win, because we are still behind enemy lines, and tomorrow is another day. The enemy is not vanquished, his forces are still advancing, and those who fight understand that we have more important things to do than praise ourselves or seek out vainglory.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Gone Fishing


We’ve gotten good at obsessing over things we can’t control. There are entire movements, with rabidly zealous followers, whose entire premise and reason for being can be likened to a man with a thimble setting out to empty the ocean. Every day some new existential crisis seems to rear its apocalyptic head, and it keeps us on edge, distracted, and hyperventilating.

Perhaps we’re just unwilling to acknowledge our impotence or realize how irrelevant our attempts at saving humanity one plastic straw at a time are, but a large swath of people is tilting at windmills, desperately trying to do the impossible, getting angry, frustrated, and disillusioned in the process.

Looking at the chaos the world finds itself in, I can’t help but conclude that this is a good, can’t miss, once in a lifetime opportunity to go fishing. You read that, right! Grab your pole, grab your bait, and go fishing.

Maybe it’s because we don’t have time to think anymore, never mind reason things out, but we are not here simply to react to news headlines. We are not here to beat ourselves bloody trying to do what we know we can’t so that we can say we tried. You may not be able to change the climate or divert an asteroid, or a hundred other things that have the potential to be existentially problematic, but you can go fishing.

A good fisherman goes where the fish are. That’s rule number one. I’ve never heard of anyone sitting in their apartment with a frying pan waiting for fish to jump in. Fish will not come to you; you must go to it.

A good fisherman also understands fish. No, he does not become a fish to catch fish, but he understands them. Some may argue that this is a nuanced distinction, but it is not.

You don’t become a drunkard to reach drunkards, or a liar to reach liars. You can, however, understand them, and by understanding them, just as a good fisherman understands fish, you have a much better chance at a successful outing.

The great thing about fishing is that anyone can do it. You don’t have to own a boat or buy a fishing trawler replete with nets and cranes. All you need is your pole, some bait, and a bit of persistence and patience.

If hitting someone over the head with the Bible doesn’t seem to be having the desired effect, try buying them a sandwich or a cup of coffee, and initiate a conversation that way. If you are summarily rejected today, come back tomorrow, then the day after, as long as you know that you are going where the fish are, don’t give up trying.

The undeniable reality that more people than ever are empty, lost, hopeless, disillusioned, aching, hurting, broken, seeking, and searching, means that the opportunity for you to share the love of Christ is likewise increasing.

This is no longer trout fishing in a river in Montana. This is fishing in a hatchery, where you can’t see the bottom of the pond for all the fish swimming in it. If you want to be a fisher of men, minimal skill is required. All you need is the willingness to get out of your comfort zone, go where the fish are, and cast a line into the water. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you will feel a tug on your line. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Bread and Circuses


The problem with bread and circuses is that bread gets stale, and circuses get repetitive. How many times can you watch the same clown show over and over again, before you disengage, grow bored, go to your bread, but it too has grown stale?

Juvenal was wrong, or at least myopic in his statement. Not all long dead guys who said something witty or profound were right, they just said something witty and profound for their time, within the context of what their nation was going through.

Juvenal was a poet in ancient Rome, and the assertion that if you give the people bread and circus they will never revolt is largely attributed to him. I’m not saying he was all wrong, but the idea that you can put off dealing with the hard issues indefinitely by doling out bread and circus proved itself to be a lie given that the Roman empire collapsed shortly after he wrote his satirical prose.

Bread and circuses may keep the people distracted for a season, it may cause them to miss the passing of new and important legislation because they were busy cheering on the clouds, but save for God, nothing lasts forever, and the docility of the masses is always short-lived, even if the bread is freshly baked and the entertainment is engaging.

You might clap along with all the other trained seals when you see an elephant balance a ball on its head, or a miniature horse jump through a hoop, but the joy of it all begins to sour quickly when on your way home you have to hopscotch over human filth and pull dirty hypodermics from the soles of your feet.

Eventually you start to see the circus for the mockery that it is, because while you laughed and applauded and ate a crust of bread, your nation became less safe, your family more vulnerable, and the constant nagging feeling that all it would take to make it all come crashing down is nothing more than a strong breeze won’t go away no matter how loud and raucous the clowns get.

Then reality sets in, and with it a sense of bitterness, because you begin to realize who the clowns are underneath all the makeup, that you are paying them to do something wholly different than what they’ve been doing, and the crusts of bread they so enthusiastically throw into the crowd was made with your money then sold back to you at an inflated, extortionate rate.

It takes a moment, an instant, a breath for the perception to shift, and for the crowds to go from laughing to jeering. Because they are clowns, and their bag of tricks is empty, even though they can sense the shift, the unease, the tension, all they can do is what they’ve always done, only louder and more cringe-worthy, because the red bulbous noses have become hackneyed, and they’re all out of bears in tutus, and pies they can fling at each other.

This isn’t how you keep people from revolting; this is what drives people to revolt. The clowns just aren’t funny anymore, and the adults in the room need to strap on their big boy pants and start fixing what the clowns have so systematically attempted to destroy, or risk becoming a carbon copy of countless other empires which have fallen throughout the centuries.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, October 11, 2019

On the Road Again


I woke up in a strange bed this morning. The mattress was too soft, the pillow was too small, and it took me a second, that second between sleep and full wakefulness, to put the pieces together and remember that I was on the road again.

It has been a while since I’ve left home without the wife and kids in tow. My life, for the most part, is gloriously nondescript, common, and simple, and that’s the way I prefer it. There isn’t much fanfare, chaos, or unpredictability. Most days I wake up early, spend some quiet time with God while the rest of my family sleeps, and make an omelet for the girls before they head off to school. On the days we want to change it up a bit, my wife makes them waffle sticks instead.

Even when I used to travel a lot more, back when I was younger, and the knees didn’t creak as bad, it wasn’t because I liked living out of a suitcase, waking up in strange beds, rubbing knots in my back from too much driving, or getting food poisoning because I thought it was a great idea to order the chicken wings at a truck stop out in the middle of nowhere.

We tend to glamorize everything nowadays. Garbage men are now sanitation experts, stewardesses are now cabin attendants, and hucksters and confidence men are now elected officials and representatives of the people.

There is no glamour to being on the road, at least not in the way I travel. While some people have visions of private jets, stretch limousines, and penthouse suites dancing in their heads, the reality of it is more akin to crying babies, cramped seats, lost luggage, and the newest mile-high horror, emotional support animals that really aren’t.

Nothing quite like an 80-pound bulldog with an overflowing diaper to brighten up one’s morning.

So why do it? Why put up with being patted down by an overly enthusiastic stranger who foreshadowed what he was going to do, just not how aggressively he was going to do it, or being herded like cattle, only to be told that there will be a delay in takeoff because some paperwork needed to get signed? Because it’s still day. Anticlimactic? Perhaps, but it is the truth nevertheless.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m not interested in building a kingdom, being an influencer, or having a fan base. I am supremely content making an omelet for my kids every morning, reading bedtime stories, and playing in the park.

If not for the mandate to work while it’s still day, right about now I’d be driving my oldest daughter to school. Try as we might to ignore the reality of it, we know that night is coming. It is well on its way, and with it comes all manner of creepy-crawly things that love to cling to the shadows.

We work while it’s day because we are certain of the night’s arrival. We are diligent while we can be so because when night comes, no man can work though he might want to, or desire to. It’s enough for me to know that Jesus said no man could work when the night comes. The specifics of it are irrelevant to the underlying implication.

Do what you can today because tomorrow does not belong to you. You cannot guarantee with any degree of certainty that tomorrow you will be able to do for the kingdom what you could have done today, or even that you will be here for that matter. Awareness of our temporal existence is a gift, not a curse. Knowing that the end is certain and imminent not only compels us to savor every morsel, hopefully it compels us to roll up our sleeves and finish strong. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Unringing Bells


Some things in life are easier to remedy than others, while others are impossible to remedy, to bring back to what it once was, and somehow pretend it never happened. There are consequences to the actions we undertake in life, and this is a lesson the newest up and coming generation is learning the hard way.

Nothing you do is done in a vacuum. You do not live your life in a bubble. Spontaneous decisions you made because you thought it was cool, edgy, or because your mom might be called brave can have permanent, lasting effects, and consequences you can’t sidestep as easily as not leaving your room for two weeks waiting for your hair to grow back after you let your best friend practice their hair cutting technique on you.

Let me assure you; you had a far easier time with the haircut than the guy who decided it was nothing short of brilliant to tattoo ‘idiot’ across his forehead. Get it, because he wasn’t really an idiot, he just wanted you to think he was and be wowed by his brilliance once you engaged in meaningful conversation. That decision may have only cost him a few bucks and a half hour or so, but undoing it, unringing that particular bell will likely cost him a few thousand dollars in laser tattoo removal fees, and not a negligible amount of pain.

Then you have those who do irreparable harm to themselves and their bodies in their quest to play god, whose only recourse is regret. It’s one thing when an adult chooses to butcher their body, then regrets it afterward. I have less empathy for them because they were adults. What breaks my heart is the children, who years away from puberty were nudged toward thinking that they weren’t really who God made them to be, but with a cocktail of drugs, and a few snips and tugs, mommy would always have the little girl she dreamed of and be called brave in the process.

The thing about consequence of action is that often there is a delay in seeing the consequences of the actions we choose to undertake. If the consequences were immediate, then perhaps more people would see them as the cautionary tales they are, and not be so quick to make decisions, they will not be able to undo.

If, with the first puff of a cigarette, you could see the tumor growing on the side of someone’s neck, chances are fewer people would pick up the habit. If you could see a snapshot of a woman’s life, steeped in regret, celebrating the birthdays of the would-be baby she aborted, baking cakes and lighting candles for ghost, haunted by thoughts of what it could have grown up to be, maybe fewer women would be so flippant about taking a life.

Now a new crisis is brewing, and it is young people regretting gender transition, seeking some way to reverse it. They tried to bury this story because it flies in the face of the narrative, but the number is now in the hundreds, and only getting larger, and the details are beginning to emerge.

This is what we get when we allow children who can’t decide on whether they want chocolate milk or white milk with their lunch to decide something as permanent as going under the knife and doing irreparable harm to themselves.

Whether it’s because the adults were indifferent, absentee, or selfish enough to sacrifice their child’s wellbeing for a shot at appearing on a daytime talk show to talk about how brave and forward-thinking they are, the consequences are nothing less than hopelessness, despair, and regret.

There are unavoidable consequences to playing god, and I fear we are just beginning to see the tip of this particular iceberg.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

The Lives of Men


Thankfully, generally speaking and for the most part, we men have simple dreams. We dream of waking up next to someone we love every morning, watching our kids grow up healthy, and balanced enough to make the right decisions on their own, paying off the mortgage, and still being able to climb a flight of stairs at fifty.

We do not dream of conquest and power, we do not dream of control and ruling with an iron fist, our dreams are simple, and that’s the way we like it.

No, I do not subscribe to Thoreau’s musing that most men live lives of quiet desperation. I think it just looks that way to someone whose aspirations are greater than their abilities. Most men don’t dream of power. Most men don’t dream of stardom, or influence, or sway, but then again, some do.

It’s the ones that dream of power that should never get it. It’s the ones that dream of control that should never be in a position to make decisions on behalf of others because the acquisition of a position of power always comes at a price. Those who forfeited family, friendships, love, and even their integrity in their quest for power, feel entitled to wield it with maximum force once they attain it.

They feel as though they’ve paid their dues, put in their time, crawled through mud and broken glass, and now have every right to tell you what you can eat, where you can live, how many children you can have, what you can drive, and anything and everything else, to the most minute of detail, such as how many squares of toilet tissue you should be able to use.

Long ago, when men were wiser and more even-tempered, our forefathers designed a system whereby the power the power-hungry craved would always be out of reach. Terms like checks and balances were fleshed out and then implemented so that nevermore would the average citizen with simple dreams be made a serf and slave to those who dreamt of power and control.

Leave me to my simple dreams! Wars were fought, blood was spilled, and lives were lost over this one simple but all-encompassing premise. Judge me as unmotivated, visionless, simpleminded, or simplistic if you will, but leave me to my simple dreams.

The clash between those who dream of power and control and those who just want to be left alone to work their jobs, love their God, and raise their children is inevitable. If there is one silver lining, one ray of hope, it’s that those scrambling for power are so incompetent and full of themselves, that they not only telegraph and describe in great detail how they dream of stripping you of your dreams but do so while you still have the ability to do something about it.

The lives of men are fleeting. Some choose God, peace, joy, love, family, and simplicity, while others go a different route. If we are unwilling to fight for the good with as much intensity as they are to fight for evil, we will lose. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Blueprint


No matter what it is you are trying to cultivate, it requires the right environment. No matter what it is you are trying to build, it requires the right blueprint and materials. If you have the right environment, you can hire a farmhand to tend to the soil and water the crops. If you have the blueprint or the materials, you can hire a builder to carry out the project.

I live in Wisconsin, and I know that no matter how much someone might want to plant a pineapple orchard, it would never take. The environment here is not conducive to growing pineapples, though it would be nice to walk up to a pineapple tree and cut down a fresh one.

I’ve been asked on more than one occasion why I’m so stubborn about the coming revival. I’ve even been asked why it is that I don’t want to see revival happening. In reality, one of my heart’s greatest desires is to see a true, God-centered, God-ordained, and God fueled revival not just here, but throughout the world.

I have dedicated my life to serving God, and the main thrust of what I’ve been called to do is preach the gospel. To say that I don’t want to see a revival would be on par with a surgeon saying he doesn’t want to see patients made well after applying his talents and skills in the hopes of restoring them to good health. It’s illogical and absent reason.

Though I desire to see a revival with every fiber of my being, I must also point out that the current environment within the household of faith is not conducive for revival. There is a Biblical blueprint, a step by step instructional guide, that if followed, will create the right environment for the outpouring of revival, and rather than get closer to that mark, the church is slipping further away from it.

True Biblical revival can only occur in an environment of humility, brokenness, repentance, and prayerfulness among God’s people. Without these four pillars, there is no foundation for true revival.

We find ourselves in a time when a good portion of what we deem to be the church won’t even humble itself enough to acknowledge that God knows better than they. We live in an age where self-identifying saved folk get into wars of words with God Himself because they are unwilling to let go of their pet sin or vice.

How can we hope for God to hear us from heaven and heal our land when we are unwilling to humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, or turn from our wicked ways? What God describes in 2 Chronicles is His reaction to His people’s actions. If no action is taken on our part if we grow more stiff-necked and self-assured in our idolatry and self-worship, can we have any expectation of His intervening, and bringing healing and revival to the land?

I have never intimated that it is impossible for true revival to occur. I do stand by my assertion that we are far from an environment where it can occur. It must begin with the church, it must begin with the household of faith, and leaving post-it notes on a pastor’s car calling him a bigot and unloving for preaching the gospel, is not a step in the right direction.

We have the blueprint, and it is simple and to the point. If we want God’s intervention, if we want God’s healing, we must create the environment wherein He can do these things. It must be done on His terms, not ours. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

They!


Have you ever read a Bible passage and wondered to whom it was referring? There are certain verses and even entire chapters that seem vague at first referring to individuals as ‘they,’ not putting a face to the subject, but broad brushing it to the point that one starts to wonder if perhaps the wording couldn’t have been a bit more deliberate.

The only thing more contentious than the word ‘they’ within certain Christian circles seems to be the word ‘if,’ coincidentally also found in the Bible at various times.

The big bone of contention regarding the first of these words is who the Word was referring to, whether the godless, the saved, the people of that time or people of a future time. Depending on who you ask you’ll get a different answer, and if you press them on it, or try to point out the inconsistency of their argument, well, then you’re just Ichabod, and they can no longer have fellowship with you.

The reason for the back and forth regarding the second word is obvious, and although it is there for all the world to see, some people pretend as though it isn’t. If denotes conditionality, and for some people, being required to repent, deny the flesh, or turn from their wicked ways is a nonstarter.

I woke up early this morning. Early even for me. I was up by 2 am, and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to use my time wisely, and do a little reading. As I slowly made my way through Paul’s second letter to Timothy, I got stuck on one verse in particular, and couldn’t see myself past it without giving it some serious thought.

2 Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”

I had to think about why this verse hit me so hard this particular morning. I must have read it a few hundred times throughout my lifetime, even preached it a few dozen times, but why have this impact now?

Then I remembered an article I read not long ago about a pastor in Oklahoma whose congregation began walking out while he was giving a sermon and mentioned homosexuality, calling it a sin.

It’s no accident or coincidence that Paul identified men’s lusts as being the cause of their not being able to endure sound doctrine. It is not happenstance that Paul spoke of a time that would come, when they, meaning those within the household of faith, those calling themselves believers, and children of God, would no longer endure sound doctrine.

Rather than submit to Christ, they would follow after their lusts, and find teachers to suit their unregenerate nature.

In understanding that we are living the times Paul foresaw, we must likewise understand that judgment is not afar off.

I know we tend to point at the shepherds who feed poison to their flock, coddling their sin, justifying their indifference, and validating their abominations, but just so we’re clear, the sheep aren’t all doe-eyed innocents looking for truth and holiness either.

A pastor did what a pastor is supposed to do: he preached the gospel! As a direct result of preaching the gospel, the sheep walked out and sought another shepherd who would not preach the gospel to them.

And somehow I’m supposed to believe that today’s church is ready to take on the darkness. Somehow I’m supposed to believe that today’s church is fully equipped, in battle array, ready to make war against the enemy.

The great falling away is upon us, and there is no great revival in sight. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.