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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Tangible Evidence


Those of you living in Florida, California, Georgia, or anywhere with palm trees or cactuses may not be able to relate to the following. I spent the better part of two hours this morning shoveling snow. It wasn’t the Christmas movie kind of snow either, with the fat snowflakes falling gently, peppering the landscape with pristine white. It was half sleet, half snow, heavy, and wet, and each shovelful felt like I was tossing a three-month-old piglet.

No matter, I enjoyed every moment of it, as I do every time it snows here in Wisconsin, and I have to be outside by the break of dawn, shovel in hand so that the kids can get off to school on time. I find shoveling snow oddly therapeutic, in large part, because there is tangible evidence of progress.

You start the morning with a blanket of white a few inches deep, you put hand to shovel, and you begin to work. With each shovelful, you can track the progress that you’ve made; you can see the path that you cleared, the snow that you moved. You see the result of the work of your hands in real-time. You don’t have to wait six months for a crop like farmers do, or six years to lose that fifteen pounds you’ve been meaning to lose, it’s immediate, and the immediacy of it is oddly gratifying to me.

Before the e-mails start rolling in, I know I could take the easy way out and buy a snowblower, but I refuse to do it partly because I enjoy seeing the slow and steady clearing off of my driveway, but also because it’s forced exercise, something I don’t get nearly enough of especially in the winter months.

It also allows me to think, to meditate and to ponder, without the kids jumping on my lap, or insisting that we play hide and seek for the fifteenth time in as many minutes.

About an hour in, having worked up a good sweat, I looked back on the progress I’d made, and it was undeniable. That’s when I had this quasi epiphany of sorts, standing there leaning against my shovel. Our Christian walk is a lot like shoveling snow. You begin with your first step, your first day, your first shovelful, but if you are growing in Christ, if you are being perfected, if God is pruning and cleaning, the progress will be undeniable.

If your spiritual maturity is the same today as it was five years ago, then all you’ve been doing is spinning your wheels in the same place. If your understanding of scripture, of Christ, of grace, of holiness, of warfare, of the spiritual realm, and of yourself are the same today as they were when you first started out, you have not progressed, you have not matured, you have not grown, and though you might insist on the contrary, the evidence refutes your claims.

If I spent two hours outside this morning, came in with a big smile and declared that I was done shoveling the driveway, but when my wife peeked out the window the driveway was covered with snow as it had been when I first stepped outside, my wife would have some questions, and rightly so.

The amazing thing about growing in Christ is that you can track your progress. You can look back on the last few weeks, months or years, and see how you have decreased and He has increased. If it is not so then, you may consider this a reality check.

There’s one other thought that came to me as I was gauging my progress this morning. Sometimes when it snows, it is light and fluffy, and the process of clearing my driveway is almost effortless. Then you get the kind of snow we had last night, and by the time you’re done, everything’s aching, and all you want to do is lay down and take a nap.

Sometimes the road is easy, at other times, it’s a hard climb, but whether burdensome or light, you must press on because giving up is not an option. You’ll never reach your destination if you pitch your tent at the first rest stop you come across.

Your journey had a beginning, and it must have an end. Your destination is well determined, well defined, and you know the direction you ought to be traveling in. Set your eyes firmly upon Him, and let nothing deter you from putting one foot in front of another. It’s the only way you, or I, or anyone else will hear those blessed words, well done!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr. 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Omega


Everything that has a beginning has an end. The timeframe may differ, but all things end eventually. The mayfly gets twenty-four hours to experience life on earth from birth to death, a frighteningly short time to do anything other than see one sunrise, one sunset, and buzz around a few feet. No five-year plan here, no what are we doing with the kids this summer, no having to remember a dentist’s appointment three weeks out, or thinking about what to wear the next day. There isn’t even any time for the old mayfly to tell the young may fly any when I was your age stories.

On the other side of the spectrum, the sequoia tree has a ballpark lifespan of about 3,000 years, with some even reaching 3,500 years. To put that into context, it’s only been 2,000 years since Jesus walked the earth. A smidgen of rudimentary math will tell you that there were sequoia trees that were already a thousand years old by the time Jesus was born that are still around today. And yet, eventually, at some point, they too will die, because there is no escaping finality, there is no escaping the end, and the only one without an end because He had no beginning, is God.

Although the Bible speaks quite openly and poignantly about the end times, the last days, the end of days, or simply the end, whenever we broach the topic, it always seems to be in the abstract. We preach on, write about, and discuss the last days, but always within the context and with the underlying premise that it’s something some generation afar off will have to contend with at some point in the far off future.

Because our discussion is within the sphere of a far off future our children’s great-grandchildren might see up close and personal, there is never any urgency or motivation to contextually appropriate the telltale signs of the end times in the present.

Well, yes, there are false teachers, false Christs, and false prophets, and there have been rumors of war. There have been earthquakes in various places, some, in places which have never been documented to be prone to such things. There is pestilence, there are new diseases, and viruses that have the potential to take out a substantial percentage of the planet.

Even though we might not like to admit it, there is famine in various parts of the world, and there is a noticeable and undeniable uptick in the persecution of Christians throughout, but that’s just coincidence, they mumble. It’s happenstance; it’s the accidental fulfillment of end times prophecy, and by no means deliberate, and purposeful.

We can’t be living the times of which Jesus spoke, because the thing I believed had to happen in order for all the other things to happen hasn’t happened, even though the Bible doesn’t definitively say it will happen.

We cannot deny the reality of a thing simply because we believed some other thing had to precede it. If we discount what is happening and brush it off simply because it doesn’t fit our narrative, if we deny reality just because we feel like it, our mental stability is as questionable as those who think they can turn a boy into a girl simply because they say it is so.

So what’s the point of today’s musings? Quite simply, if you’re a mayfly thinking you’re a sequoia, you will squander the time you have left, thinking you have far more time than you really do. It’s a new day! For many on this earth, it will be their last day. Make all you can of this day, because another day is not guaranteed to anyone. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Not Quite Right

Once in a great while, on a cold night, when the moon is bright and the snow is falling unabated, I like to sit by the window, watch it all unfold, and sip a cup of warm milk and honey. I know, edgy, rebellious even, but it is what it is. I’m a middle-aged man who’s been married to the same woman for twenty years, has two daughters and a mortgage, so it would be a hard sell for me to tell you I drink gasoline straight from the pump.

Yes, I like warm milk and honey, and I don’t care who knows it. It may be because it’s what my mother used to make for me when I was young, perhaps the nostalgia of it is more profound than first considered, but it’s one of those things that calms me, and for a few minutes, staring out that window watching snowflakes fall to the earth, all is right with the world.

Last winter, around the tail end of February we were having one of those nights, the girls were already asleep, and the wife was doing some work, so I went into the kitchen, warmed up some milk, then noticed a cup on the counter. It looked clean, so I poured the milk into it, squeezed some honey out of the bottle, gave it a good stir, and went to sit by the window and watch the snow.

From the start, something seemed off. Something wasn’t quite right. With each sip, there was a faint flavor to the milk that ought not to have been there, something that made my taste buds react and spoiled the entire experience.

I tried a few more sips, but still, the faint flavor of something that I knew shouldn’t be there was evident. I walked into the kitchen, intending to dump the milk into the sink when my wife noticed the cup I was holding.

“Did you rinse the cup before you put the milk in?” she asked.

“No,” I answered. “It seemed clean, and it was on the counter.”

“I just had hot tea and lemon in that cup,” my wife said. “Did something taste off?”

I nodded in the affirmative, went to the sink, dumped out the milk, rinsed the cup, and put it on the rack. Even though the cup seemed clean to the naked eye, it still had enough of the lemon residue to make the milk taste different than it ought.

Whenever you hear someone bloviating endlessly about how someone else is not righteous enough, saintly enough, up to their standards of decorum and piety, but something doesn’t feel quite right, when something is throwing off the entire flavor profile and making their words ring hollow, it’s hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy and self-righteous pontificating go together about as well as milk and lemon. Some people will choke it down because they’re hoping it gets better as they get to the bottom of the cup, but it won’t, it never does.

Funny thing how the only one without sin who was within His rights to cast the first stone didn’t, and how some folks today who are demonstrably guilty of the selfsame thing they are pointing out in others who never claimed to be spiritual authorities, preachers, or teachers, as they have.

A standard is no longer a standard when seeped in hypocrisy. Better to keep silent and repent of our own misdeeds than sanctimoniously declare that the mere consideration that someone’s past does not define their present or determine their future is Ichabod, especially when the person in question isn’t in spiritual authority over anyone. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Happy Warriors

I’ve had the honor of knowing a few in my life. They come in all shapes and sizes, ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities, differing in their style of delivery, temperament, and level of education, but the one thing they all have in common is that they answered the call to enlist in the brotherhood of the sword.

For the most part, they are unassuming men, even-tempered, slow to speak, but quick to act when it comes to defending the truth, the gospel, and the name of Jesus. Their words are seasoned, and direct, lacking pretense, ambiguity, or an underlying desire to please men. They don’t like talking about themselves, or their accomplishments, realizing that anything good, virtuous, or worthy of praise in them comes from God and does not originate with them.

Because they know the source of their authority, because they know the source of their power, because they know that the gifting they possess was gifted to them, they are humble, and self-effacing, and quick to brush off any hint of praise that may come their way.

You will never see a true warrior insist that you call him that, or go out of his way to let everyone know that they are one. If you have to walk around in full military regalia and let everyone you come in contact with know that you’re a warrior, chances are you’re only a warrior in your own mind.

A true warrior knows the hardships of battle and doesn’t fantasize or hope for it, but neither does he waver or falter in the face of it. If battle comes, they are prepared. If they must fight, they’ll fight to win, but until that time, they will be about the work of the kingdom, doing what they must to ensure that there’s something worth fighting for, something to come back to.

We cannot be so consumed with thoughts of battle, that we do nothing to maintain what we are going to battle to defend. If I am called upon to sacrifice, there must still be a people worth sacrificing for, otherwise, what’s the point?

If we do not raise our sons and daughters and train them in the way they should go, if we do not stand for decency and allow everything around us to go to rot, if we do not cherish those whom God gave us as life mates and push them into the arms of another, what exactly is it that we’re fighting to defend?

A man with nothing left to fight for will fight like he’s got nothing left to fight for.

Because there is a purpose, because they know what they’re fighting for, true warriors are also happy warriors. It’s the cheerleaders and the armchair quarterbacks that are morose and glum, always sullen and looking for others to join their misery choir. It’s those who would never dare strap on a sword, and who insist on preemptive surrender that act as though they have PTSD even though they’ve never been anywhere near a battlefield.

True warriors walk into battle with their heads held high, and a grin on their faces, and once the dust settles and the battle is won, that grin is still there. It’s not like it never left, but it always returns. They know that there will be another battle, another skirmish, another time they will be called upon to push back the hordes of darkness, but they do not dwell on it or fixate on it. When it comes, it comes. Until then, there is work to be done, and there is no time to waste. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Small People


We’ve all known a few throughout our lives, and no I’m not talking about little people, I’m talking about small people. You know, petty, vindictive, malicious, resentful, mean-spirited, the kind of person that would hock a loogie into the punch bowl at your birthday party because they feel they were slighted in some form or fashion.

 No matter how they try to control their nature, no matter how under wraps they try to keep their basic instinct of pettiness and vindictiveness, if you watch a small person long enough, the mask will inevitably slip, and their true face will reveal itself in all its resentful, mean-spirited glory.

I used to get frustrated when small people would lash out. I used to react instinctively when I saw pettiness and maliciousness on display, but no longer. I realized that by reacting to their actions, all I was doing is demeaning myself and allowing their actions to rob me of my peace.

The thing about small people, in general, is that they want you to be as miserable as they are. Their singular desire is for you to become like them, to grow resentful and petty, and see every occasion as an opportunity to ruin someone’s day.

If you know what to look for, you can spot small people everywhere throughout society, from the customer at the local greasy spoon who feels the need to talk down a waitress because she didn’t bring his second helping of biscuits and gravy fast enough, or the cashier who goes on a rant over an expired coupon for ten cents off a dozen eggs, or the speaker of the house who theatrically rips up a speech one page at a time because she is seething inside.

All they are, are impotent fits of rage intended to hurt, demean, or otherwise ruin the day of another person. One would be better served by trying to swat away raindrops, or shovel snow with a toothpick, but you will never get a small person to see the futility of their actions.

The best thing you can do when you run across a small person is not engaging. Don’t react to their pettiness, don’t react to their vitriol, because if you do, at some point you will become that small person who screams at a mother for letting their toddler scribble on the sidewalk with chalk, or at a vendor for selling a bruised apple at a farmer’s market.

The best way to neutralize a small person, at least as far as I’ve found, is with joy. Joy is like a pesticide to small people; they can’t stand to be around it, and they’ll do almost anything to get away from it. Whether it’s because they are seeing something they know they do not possess, or are envious of the person who possesses it. Joy to the small person is like garlic to a vampire, or capitalism to a socialist.

So the next time you run across a small person who’s just trying to get under your skin, smile. The next time someone is being vindictive and petty, put on the joy of the Lord, and do not try to hold it back. Not only will it deescalate the situation, but it will also highlight just how small the person is being, and perhaps serve as a wakeup call as to their character flaw.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Predictable Outcomes


While nature may abhor a vacuum, the devil loves them. Whenever light removes itself from any arena, be it culture, society, politics, education, or yes, dare I say, even religion, the devil is quick to fill the vacuum with darkness.

I find it odd, that though we have chosen to surrender the battleground of culture, even going insofar as attacking those who would attempt to affect it as not being heavenly minded enough, we are still aghast at the filth and degradation the godless can generate and bring to the masses.

I woke up this morning, and upon checking my messages saw no less than ten e-mails from various individuals asking some variation of whether or not I could believe how bad the super bowl halftime show was. I didn’t watch it, or the super bowl. I was playing charades with my kids and reading bedtime stories. Time far better spent, in my humble opinion, but I digress.

To answer the question, yes, I believe it, even though I didn’t even see it. I would believe anything up to and including the sacrifice of a live goat at this point, so when I went to a couple of news sites to check what the hubbub was all about, I had to smirk and shake my head.

You’re beside yourself that a couple of has been so-called singers were gyrating hard enough to pop their artificial hips out of joint? This is what you’re surprised about? This is what has you all up in arms? This is what’s causing all this consternation?

What did you think would happen when you abandoned the battlefield of culture? What did you think would happen when the church insulated itself within its four walls and decided to keep its head low because they didn’t want to draw the ire of the godless?

Did we honestly believe that everything would remain the same once the light decided it didn’t want to do battle against darkness any longer? Did we honestly believe that the godless wouldn’t attempt to push the envelope and attempt to outdo themselves yet again?

Once we grew silent, the outcome became predictable. Once we waved the white flag of surrender and told the devil he could have culture, and he could have society as long as he left us to our four walls and wooden pews, it was all over save for the fat lady belting out a tune.

By the time we realized that the devil wasn’t one to keep up his end of the bargain, and that not even the church was off-limits, it was too late. He’d taken full advantage of our lethargy, he’d taken full advantage of our indifference, and he’d rooted himself so deep into every aspect of society that now our four and five-year-olds are being taught the glories of homosexuality in public schools, replete with cartoons depicting sex acts. But yes, it’s two over the hill clowns lip singing their long-forgotten songs that I should be out of sorts about.

When you think about it, it’s a brilliant strategy. Throw out some red meat once in a while, get some clowns to bang drums and make a ruckus, so that no one notices the grotesque things you are doing silently, in the shadows, and far away from prying eyes.

Get everyone talking about retiree crooners, and maybe they won’t notice that we are indoctrinating their children from the moment they’re old enough to crawl, turning them against anything wholesome and good, and normalizing aberrant perversions.

So, yes, let’s clutch our pearls, do our best chatty Cathy impressions with the ‘oh can you believe it’ chorus, then go back to doing nothing, like we always do, while brick by brick, anything of virtue or decency is being dismantled before our eyes.

And one last thing, just so I can avoid the ‘it’s God’s will’ e-mails, don’t lay at God’s doorstep something He had no hand in. Don’t blame God for something that occurred because you stopped watching, praying, fighting, warring, and speaking up. Don’t blame God for something that occurred because your inaction created a vacuum that the devil then filled with all manner of creepy, crawly things.

God’s will is that all should come to repentance. God’s will is that none perish. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God’s will is for His servants to do nothing so that the devil can create a tortured hellscape on earth. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Peace


True and lasting peace is impossible absent of Christ. Especially in this hour, this moment in human history, even the most sheltered, financially independent, and well-prepared men are having a harder and harder time clinging to peace.

Too much is going on, too many things are happening all at once, and though they’ve tried their best to insulate themselves, though they tried their best to make sure that they will have some semblance of peace while the rest of the world drowns in chaos and uncertainty, they have come to realize just how ethereal manufactured peace is, and how quickly it can slip through one’s fingers.

I don’t want to quibble about which is more important in life if one had to choose between health and peace. One’s health is certainly in the top three of what one requires to live a full life, but if you have health and no peace, all you are is a miserable healthy person who sees no reason to get out of bed in the morning or do anything productive throughout their day. I’ve met a few of those in my time; I’m sure you have too.

I’ve also known people throughout my life who did not have their health, not in the latter stages of their existence, but who didn’t have their health from the moment they were born. Yet they had peace, and the peace they had allowed them to achieve with their infirmity what other perfectly healthy people could only dream about. In some instances, their infirmity made them more committed, focused, and disciplined, to the point that they expressed their doubt as to being able to achieve all they had without it.

Without peace, however, there can be no joy in one’s life. Without peace, even the greatest of accomplishments seem lifeless and brittle. Without peace, we race to acquire the things we do not need and put off the essential things; the things that make life worth living.

Words matter, especially the words Jesus spoke, and none was spoken in haste or without a deep and profound purpose. Of all the things Jesus could have bestowed upon those closest to Him, His inner circle, those who had walked with Him, had been discipled by Him and fellowshipped with Him, He chose peace.

He could have bestowed health; it was within His power to do so. He could have bestowed wealth; it was within His power to do so. He could have bestowed notoriety; it was within His power to do so. Yet, of all the things Jesus could have left to His disciples, He chose to leave them peace.

This was not a retirement party for junior management at a real estate firm where they get a Walmart cake, an engraved pen, and a happy retirement balloon. Jesus wasn’t trying to give his disciples some piddling thing and show them the door hoping they never came back. Jesus loved His disciples, and we know this. Because we know the love Jesus had for His disciples, we know that what He chose to leave them with would not be a worthless trinket, but something truly priceless.

Jesus chose to leave His disciples peace. He chose to give them peace when what He could have given them was limitless. He wasn’t scraping the bottom of the goody bag. He wasn’t haphazardly throwing something out because he’d forgotten all about His departure, and it would have been awkward to leave His disciples empty-handed.

This is how important peace is in one’s life. It’s so important that it was the one thing Jesus gave to those He loved the most while He walked the earth. If you have His peace, the peace He gives which is not as the world gives, though others may quake, though others may rage, though others may hide in fear, His peace will envelop you, and your heart will be neither troubled or afraid.

Some things in life you can do without, while others are indispensable. May we have the wisdom to know which is which, and pursue them accordingly. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

For Posterity

Some things must be said for posterity’s sake. It’s not because you are hoping to change anyone’s mind on a given subject, or make them see the situation from a different angle. Let’s face it; for the most part, people have cemented themselves so thoroughly to a position that nothing save a bulldozer will move them from it. They know what they know, and no amount of evidence to the contrary will change their minds.

Healthy debate is dead and buried, and the level of polarization is such even among believers, that if you dare point out the holes in their hypothesis, well, then you’re just an agent of darkness, working hand in hand with Beelzebub himself, having pretended at being a Christian for the last three decades so that you can muddy the waters.

We will no longer allow for the possibility that someone’s views or position on a certain topic have changed over the years, even though we boast about belonging to the faith that is all about a transformational experience wherein we no longer think as we once thought, among other things. Nope, once a cur always a cur, even though all evidence points to the contrary. We know what we know, and will not let pesky things like facts detour us from our stated position.

Recently this current president spoke at the march for life rally in Washington D.C., live and in person, something no other president before him has done. Even though we’ve had staunch pro-life supporters in the white house before, they usually recorded a message and played it for the crowds, but none had shown up in person thus far.

The speech itself was an ode to the beauty and preciousness of life, insisting that each life was a gift from God and must be treated as such.

The more cynical among us would be quick to insist that this was nothing more than a political stunt; red meat for the base, something to pacify a certain demographic. If this were the case, he could have easily recorded a message, as have all other presidents before him, and more likely than not, the demographic would have been just as pacified.

Understand that from a purely political standpoint, making a personal appearance at something as polarizing as the march for life, is not in this president’s best interest. His base isn’t going anywhere, and between any of the candidates running on the other side and their insistence that it’s perfectly fine to kill a baby while it’s crowning, and the stance this administration has taken, the choice is a no-brainer.

The fact that he made an appearance at the march for life, will likely be used as a cudgel by those whose biggest fear is that that the supreme court will overturn Roe V Wade if he wins another term, and his advisers are politically savvy enough to have pointed this out, yet he showed up anyway.

I understand it’s easy to roll our eyes, and mutter I doubt he’s changed his position under our breath, but again, those pesky facts keep stacking up, pointing to the reality that there was a heart change after all. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.   

Sunday, January 26, 2020

If You Build It


I know what you’re thinking, and no, I haven’t grown nostalgic over Kevin Costner movies, nor have I gone back and watched Field of Dreams. I wasn’t about to say that if you build it, they will come, but what I am going to say, what this entire essay is about, is the truer adage, that if you build it, you must feed it.

Sometimes you can build something, and they will not come. Empty business, restaurants, music halls, and countless other things prove the veracity of this. If all it took were building it, then Pan Am airlines would still be in business, and Howard Johnson’s would still be the premier hotel chain in the nation.
A more apt truism than if you build it, they will come, at least in my estimation, is if you build it, you must feed it. Whatever it is that you are trying to build, if it isn’t constantly fed, it will either contract, grow sickly, and die or begin to eat itself.

If someone starts a business, I take no issue with them trying to build it as big as they could. I have no quarrel with big dreamers, because when a big dreamer puts in the effort and achieves what they dreamt of achieving, more often than not it is impressive, and comes close to defying logic. The world needs big dreamers because, without big dreamers, we wouldn’t have skyscrapers, transatlantic flight, the internet, or dare I say, even flushable toilets.

What I take umbrage with, however, is applying the dream big business model to ministry. I’m sorry, but ministry and business are not interchangeable. Yes, you might run the finances of a ministry like you would a business, being accountable, keeping records, and being above board, but when you start to plan the growth of a ministry out and implement worldly schemes in order to achieve this result, it becomes something other than what it was intended.

I have known quite a few ministries in my life that blew up only to flame out because the growth was inorganic. Once they got big, they had to continue feeding the machine in order to stay that way, and what they began feeding it became less and less spiritually nutritive. The pressure was on to continue providing content, and if God was silent for a stretch, well, they still had to throw something up; otherwise, the natives might get restless. It became a vicious cycle that always ended in the same manner, because whenever something is of human origin rather than divine origin, it rings hollow, no matter how much you try to spiritualize it or deliver it in King James English.

Ministry is a calling; it is not a business. If God calls you into ministry, then God will be faithful in providing all that you need in order for your ministry to function at the level He intended, and be as big or as small as He intends it to be. It’s not up to you to manufacture growth. Your only duty is to be faithful to the calling to which you have been called. The rest rests on God’s capable shoulders. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Lords of Ash


Ever wonder what became of those bratty kids that went around stomping other children’s sandcastles at the beach or tearing down their building blocks at the playground? You know the type, the insufferably narcissistic kid, the entitled kid, the kid for whom only two options existed: either he possesses the toy or the toy must be destroyed. Either he gets to choose what happens to whatever he determines belongs to him by right or privilege, or he would rather choke the life out of it, and set it ablaze so no one else could have it.

Well, if you’ve ever wondered what became of such children when they grew up, wonder no longer. Evidently, they became members of congress whose actions confirm that they’d rather see it all burn to the ground than have a decent economy and a working government that they are not in complete control of. They would rather lord over the ashes of a once vibrant, living thing than being removed from the levers of power. It’s as simple as that!

When you cut through all the pontification, the self-righteous bloviating, the sanctimony, and hypocrisy, it’s all about the fact that they no longer have power, and that is something they cannot abide. Either they get power back whether by hook or by crook, then in their eyes all will be right with the world, or they claw and tear at the foundation of this nation with their bleeding fingers until it’s nothing more than a heap of rubble, something once impressive, but no longer.

Do as we want, say as we say, because if you don’t, we’re going to tear it down anyway. Bend to our will, or we will take a crowbar to every institution in this country because we don’t have the requisite neurons bouncing around in our skulls to consider the consequences of our actions, or the precedent it sets. The single-minded pursuit of a goal without regard for collateral damage or unintended consequences is dangerous. If today is all that matters, and if they don’t get their way, they are threatening to burn it to a crisp, maybe these are not the types of people we should be entrusting with matches and gasoline.

For those who understand the intent behind all that’s been happening in the governing bodies of these United States, seeing people who would likely begin to burn and blister at the sight of a cross attempt to heave themselves upon moral high horses is both sad and comical. It’s not that they don’t have a leg to stand on, they don’t even have the nubs the legs were attached to anymore, but they persevere nevertheless because they cannot live with the notion that they are no longer in control of your life.

I’ve been told that sort of power is addictive, seductive, but also caustic to the soul. When by the raising of a hand, or the signing of a name, you can control the fate of some three hundred million people, it’s the power trip to end all power trips.

The handful of virtuous souls still in government want to abide by the founding principles of this nation and allow the people as much freedom as humanly possible; those not so virtuous want to control every aspect of your life, down to how large of a soda pop you can get at a gas station, or how many times a week you can have a burger. The more finite the control, the greater the control, and the greater the control, the easier it is to manipulate the masses into doing your bidding. Pretty soon they’ll take your kids away just for insisting that gender is binary, or that homosexuality is an aberrant sexual perversion. Oh wait, they’re already doing that. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Twisted Heart


It was supposed to be the watershed moment. This was it! Now or never! The nation, nay, the world would finally know that anyone inclined to support the second amendment was nothing more than a brute, a barbarian, a Neanderthal, a knuckle dragger whose only recourse is violence of the worst kind.

The talking heads on television were giddy with anticipation, already taking bets on what the body count would be, likely starting an office pool on how many dead and how many wounded. This could only end one way: with violence and bloodshed and gore.

Why were they so certain of this? Because this is who these people envision you to be. This is who these people think you are, and in their twisted heart, they believe they can will you into being that grotesque caricature they’ve cemented in their mind’s eye.

It doesn’t matter whether the person is black, white, or mulatto, young or old, male or female, when they hear second amendment supporter, what they see is a camo jacket, a trucker hat, bandolero bullet belts, black teeth, a cheek packed full of chewing tobacco, and a tattered copy of the Bible and the constitution somewhere on their person. Their bias allows them to see nothing more than a caricature, and because all they see is a caricature of what they think someone should be, they believe wholeheartedly that the only feasible outcome is the worst possible one.

Yesterday the people of Virginia woke up from their stupor, and though the horse is already out of the barn due to their indifference and ambivalence, they are attempting to right the wrong. They are trying to remedy the situation, and make it known that they will not stand for living in a police state, where a college student with a lisp and a clipboard will knock on their door demanding they turn over their guns; otherwise, they have SWAT on speed dial.

The media was hoping and praying to whatever ghoulish god they pray to that the demonstration would end badly, and if anyone had gotten as much as a paper cut it’s a guarantee that they would have made it look as though this was a repeat of Little Bighorn. They did their best. They tried to gin it up, they tried to fuel the flames, they heightened the anticipation, but to their great dismay, nothing happened. Nobody got shot, nobody got stabbed, nobody got trampled, pepper-sprayed, hit with a bike chain, clubbed with a bat, punched in the throat, or poked in the eye. Except for people picking up after themselves, and cleaning up the trash, nothing of note happened in Virginia, even though thousands upon thousands of people carrying and brandishing evil firearms were gathered in one place.

I know! Blow me over with a feather. Law-abiding citizens being law-abiding. Next, you’ll tell me that lava is hot, and ice is cold. I mean, come on, is this an upside-down world or something?

If anyone thinks this will be the end of it, they are mistaken. This attempt at eroding constitutional freedoms will continue, and every time we fail to be vigilant, we will inevitably abdicate power to those who think they can run your life better than you can.

Virginia was a test run, and the pushback they got was unexpected. They were hoping they could make lemonade out of lemons, and loop someone bleeding from a thigh wound for the next two weeks, but alas, the average citizen is not the bloodthirsty, violent time bomb they think him to be. The average citizen just wants to be left alone to serve his God, love his family, work his job, pay his taxes, and yes, defend his homestead if it came down to it. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Object Lessons


For the past week, both of my girls have had the sickies. That’s what we call being under the weather, not feeling quite right, or as a well-known cold medicine likes to describe as sniffling, sneezing, coughing, and achy. It’s not quite the flu, but it is flu adjacent, to the point that there has been a fair share of sleepless nights, an overabundance of whining, and a general state of unrest in the house.

I am a firm believer that everything in life can serve as an object lesson if you are willing to view it from the right angle. I’ve had time to think about this between runs to the supermarket for more Kleenex and chicken noodle soup, and once again, I’ve concluded that few things in this world can highlight not only the love God has for us but how we ought to approach Him, than parenthood.

Whether you’re a mother or a father, whether your children are young, or they’ve moved on to have families of their own, I am certain you remember those moments when your kids were sick, when they caught a bug or came down with something that only time could remedy.

Especially for the younger of the two, there isn’t much one can do except keep them hydrated, make sure they don’t spike a fever, and wait it out. It’s taxing, and by the end of it, your nerves are frayed, but the gratitude you feel when it’s finally over and they’re not sniffling, coughing, refusing to eat, and clinging to you as though you were a life raft in a stormy sea is immeasurable.

There was not one instant throughout this entire week that I would not have gladly traded places with both of my daughters, and taken on the full berth of their illness just so they could have some relief. Seeing them coughing and sniffling hurt me more than having to cough and sniffle myself ever could.

Another thing that stood out is that comfort could only be found within close proximity of either myself or their mother. The younger one gravitates toward her mother more, and the older one toward me, but both of them seemed to calm down and do better when we held them, or cuddled, or laid in bed with them reading them a story, telling them a story, or playing rock, paper, scissors until the onset of tennis elbow was undeniable.

Proximity to the Father will make even the most difficult of circumstances tolerable if He is truly our Father, and we know Him as such. His presence gives us comfort; His presence gives us peace. His presence takes away the pain, but only insofar as He is our father indeed, and not in name only.

While I disagree with the regurgitating of the trope that God wants you to be wealthy and healthy with a full head of hair and a mouthful of teeth, I do believe that God desires to be ever-present in our lives, and by His presence make the struggles of this life bearable.

He is our Father, and though sometimes He will not take away the pain, He will always be a comfort and a balm.

My daughters have the horrible habit of putting toys in their mouth even though both their mother and I have told them time and again they ought not to. I know exactly where they picked up the bug they did, and when, because when I saw the younger one put a plastic piece of orange in her mouth mimicking eating it in a local children’s play area, my heart sank, and I knew that there was a good chance she’d get sick from it.

God tells us what not to do in His word. He repeats it time and again, trying to make us understand that it’s for our own good that certain practices are forbidden and prohibited. Yet, like my daughter, we often disregard what we are told, then have to suffer the consequences of our actions.

God doesn’t abandon people, or break their hearts, or betray them; people do; the selfsame people we’ve been warned not to trust, or surrender our hearts to, yet we do it with disturbing consistency. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Not Aging Well


Some things get better with time. Certain cheeses, wine from what I hear, even an aged steak will make your taste buds stand up and take notice. The older something is, chances are time has increased its value, unless we’re talking about the last thirty years where everything was either made in China or bought at Ikea; those things don’t retain value, never mind an increase in value.

For someone under twenty, thirty years might seem like a lifetime, ancient even, but I’m talking about really old things, like an 1800’s carved mahogany writing desk with clawed feet and pearl inlay, painstakingly hand-tooled by men of a time when such craftsmanship was admired and aspired to.

One of those masterpieces will set you back a pretty penny today, and even with the onset of furniture you assemble at home then brag about how you did it all by your lonesome, some appreciate the detail, the work, the patina, the history, and everything else that Ikea can never replicate.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some things do not age well, and it doesn’t take long for them to spoil, go bad, become worthless, or be proven fallacious. The list of things that don’t age well or that time is not kind to be far longer than that of things that get better with time. From that new car that just lost 30% of its value once you drove it off the lot, or those nifty bellbottom pants that you were sure would never go out of style, to disco music, leeching, crinoline dresses, powdered wigs, the list is inexhaustible. The thing about time is that it proves things out. Some things stand the test of time; others crumble into dust.

This is doubly true for predictions, whether they are of a certain date, like all the hubbub over Y2K, or Harold Camping’s ill-fated insistence that April of 2011 is when we should all stop paying our bills because come the month of May we would be feasting at the banquet in the sky, or of a certain imminent event like, I don’t know, off the top of my head, World War III.

I hate beating a dead horse as much as the next guy, but this particular one needs a few extra whacks for posterity if for nothing else. It’s been less than a week since we were all supposed to lock ourselves in our bunkers and dive headfirst into a bucket of potatoes au gratin compliments of the Jim Baker show. This was it! The end was here, and at best, we had time to kiss our loved ones goodbye and see one last sunset without the backdrop of a mushroom cloud.

It used to be that when an individual predicted something of this magnitude and time proved that it was either wishful thinking or something wholly of the flesh without an ounce of divine revelation, they’d slink away for a few years, lick their wounds, hopefully repent, spend some serious time in prayer and seeking the face of God, then return to the public arena.

Nowadays, someone can be wrong today, not apologize for scaring people into heart murmurs, not acknowledge they were wrong, then come out with another apocalyptic, extinction-level prediction for tomorrow. Even though they sometimes preface what they say with I feel, or I believe, or I think I heard from the Lord, they are bolstered in their foolishness by a handful of others whom I’ve dubbed the I bear witness choir. You know, every time someone ‘has a word,’ they’re the first to bear witness, no matter how outlandish the word might be.

Either it’s from the Lord, or it’s your opinion, and if you say it’s the Lord, it better be. How will we know? Time. Time will reveal the truth of the matter more thoroughly than anything else because if you tell me the Lord told you we’d be glowing in the dark from nuclear fallout by mid-January and now I have to scramble to find a Valentine’s day present for my wife because it didn’t happen, allow me to either call you a liar to your face or declare that you did not hear from the Lord. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Forced Narratives


There is artistic license; then, there are outright lies. There are poetic flourishes, adjective laden descriptions, and then there are fabrications, creations from whole cloth of things that never happened, and virtues the individual you’re attempting to canonize never possessed.

The media in this country wants a war, and they are doing their best to push the nation towards it. It’s not just because it’s good for ratings, although it is, it is because they believe the only way to remove this administration from office in the next election cycle is dead American soldiers.

Sure, if it bleeds, it leads, but that’s just the icing on the cake. The real goal, the real purpose, is to do away with the bad orange man who mocks them openly and has effectively exposed them for the propagandists that they are.

Unfortunately, the media did not get the third world war they were hoping for, the whole edge of your seat atmosphere fizzled, and the entire thing de-escalated to the point that the focus is now on the downed Ukrainian plane, to which the Iranian regime has owned up to shooting down accidentally.

It’s not for lack of trying on their part mind you; they did their best to present a bloodthirsty terrorist as a cross between Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Mickey Mouse, a lovable, affable, ever selfless soul whose only crime was making the cotton candy he gave out to impoverished children too colorful. They were beside themselves, incensed, nay dare I say enraged at the thought that the people would not demand vengeance, swift and bloody, for the untimely demise of the most huggable soul on the planet.

Farfetched as this may sound, do your research, and you will see that if I am exaggerating, it is negligible. From the war hawks in government to the talking heads on television, and yes, even the newly minted Facebook prophetic figures, they really, really wanted this war.

So what’s the point of this musing? Actually, there is more than one point. The first, and most obvious is that no matter how much the powers that be try to force a narrative, no matter how much effort they put into achieving their desired outcome, God is still in control, and what was foretold will occur only in His timeframe.

The second less obvious point is geared more towards those who self-identify as prophetic, gifted, or in receipt of divine revelation: make sure it is! Make sure it is prophetic, make sure it is divine revelation, and not just a gut feeling or something you deduce will play out in a certain fashion. You are just as guilty of forcing revelation, as the media is of forcing a narrative.

Just because Drudge says it’s war, it doesn’t mean God confirmed it, and if Drudge is already saying it, it’s safe to assume that whatever revelation you think you’ve received is more likely to be the conclusion of a probability matrix you went through in your head than revelation.

I’ve said this before on occasion, and I will likely say it again, but God does not compete with the local news for the breaking headline. Prophecy, by its very definition, is a foretelling of an event, or events, far enough in advance wherein it seems improbable, and even impossible at the time of its delivery.

We’ve been scared so many times, and for so many reasons, we’re on the brink of suffering from adrenal depletion. Every other day it’s either a war, a new disease, a rogue asteroid, a black hole, an experiment gone bad, an experiment gone right, global warming, global cooling, giants, killer nanorobots, population control, rabid squirrels, pole shifts, cooling sun, warming core, and the list goes on.

We spend so much time afraid of dying that we never really live, not acknowledging that death comes for us all, whether we fear it, or accept it as part of this journey called life. God doesn’t warn of things to come so you might live in fear; God warns of things to come so that you would not fear the unknown, redeeming the time, and understanding that being a finite resource, you must place the requisite value on it, and not waste it as though it meant nothing. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Prevention


Aggressors understand aggression. Bullies will continue to be bullies until the kid they keep giving wedgies and swirlies to finally has enough and stands up to them. Whenever someone being bullied turns the tables and pushes back, it is so surprising that more often than not, it throws the bully off-kilter and causes them to stop. Sure, they’ll bluster, shake their first, threaten the beating of a lifetime after school, behind the bleachers, or in the parking lot, but everyone knows that the bully just got got, and the illusion of unflappability is shattered.

People who seethe, and foam, and make threats they could never reasonably carry out, do so out of impotence. They are angry, but also frustrated at the level of their own inability to do anything more meaningful than scream and yank their hair out by the root, and so they have to lash out, to make dire threats about how they will lay waste to the entirety of a continent because a monster and a merchant of death was dealt with swiftly, and with finality.

 I’m not one to toe the line with anyone or anything other than the Word of God. That, to me, is the only absolute, the only plumb line. Truth is the only hill I’m willing to die on, and so for those just itching to write a snippy response as to how I’m just seeing the situation from one side, allow me to assure you that I’m a looking at it as objectively as a father of two can. Yes, I know, those pesky kids again, but yes, they matter, at least to me, and I have to look at something even as complex as geopolitical machinations through that prism.

Back in the day, the English had a saying that prevention was better than the cure. In so many words, do all you can not to get sick, rather than try and remedy the illness itself. It is better to prevent something, even if in the short term, it might be frustrating or difficult than to have to deal with the disease and attempt to find the subsequent cure somewhere down the line.

The disease, in this case, would be an all-out war. It is not something any of us want to see, and if taking out a mass murderer in such a way that it makes all the other mass murderers hesitate, then you’ve succeeded in preventing something far worse.

The thing about bullies, political or otherwise, is that they talk a good game until they realize that they are not safe from the aftereffects of what they are attempting to gin up. If someone like Soleimani could be taken out by a kid with a joystick and a screen a thousand miles away, they realize that their grasp on power is tenuous at best, and their safety is illusory.

The actions undertaken recently may be the best means of preventing an otherwise protracted, bloody, and uncertain cure. One makes themselves best understood by speaking the language the other party is fluent in. When a barbarian realizes that you not only understand, but speak barbarism as fluently as they, it is an impacting realization, and one that just might make them take their foot off the throttle of all-out war. It’s not that we don’t speak their language; it’s that we choose not to for the most part!

Yes, I know, unbecoming, uncouth, beneath us, but power struggles, kingdoms, monarchies, governments, turf wars, tribes, and tribalism have been bloody business since there were enough of us roaming the earth to coalesce into a group and try to take what the other group had by force. It will be this way until the Prince of Peace returns, and His kingdom is established.

If we wanted to pick a fight, we’ve had ample reason throughout the years since the unpleasantness with Iran all started back in the 1970s. Even as recently as this past couple of years, we’ve had everything from embassy attacks, to drones being shot down, to soldiers maimed by IED’s funded by the Iranian regime.

I’m not na├»ve enough to believe in utopia, global peace, bloodless wars, or whatever other nonsense is being bandied about. Even in knitting, there is sometimes bloodshed, never mind in war; I just don’t think it’s a war we are after in this particular situation. If they escalate, it will be another story altogether. Time will tell. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.