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Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Smell Test


If you’re unsure about a carton of milk that’s been in the fridge for longer than you can remember, you don’t take a swig to see whether it’s still good or not; you give it the smell test. One sniff will tell you whether or not it’s still comestible, or if you should throw it out.

Most of us are so used to doing this when it comes to certain things, that we’ve even coined the term passing the smell test. If it doesn’t pass the smell test, then there’s no point in further analysis, is there? If the milk is bad, it’s bad, and no amount of discussion regarding how the milk turned or when exactly it might have turned is pointless.

For the most part, life comes at us, and we must take it as it comes. Rarely is anything ideal, rarely is anything precisely the way we would have wanted, and there’s also something we would have liked to change even if it’s a small thing in the grand scheme of things.

During this pandemic, we’ve seen the best of humanity and the worst of humanity. We’ve seen young people volunteering to buy groceries for their aged neighbors, individuals offering rolls of toilet tissue to those without in their community. We’ve also seen people coughing on produce, spitting in people’s faces, and leveraging panic to make a couple quick billion dollars.

With the small exception of genuinely scared individuals, most of the panic being fanned and fomented doesn’t pass the smell test. Less than a week ago, a well-known hedge fund manager got on television, and with the grim visage of a man who’d just seen his own death, declared that this country was done. Put a fork in it; it’s finished. We are doomed, it’s over, the fat lady done sung her song, and all the mourners have gone home.

He was so credible in his passionate declaration of the time of death that the markets took a nosedive. As everyone was panic selling, he was buying at such a deep discount, that by the time the dust settled, he walked away with two billion dollars, making a 10,000% return. Yes, you read that right, no I didn’t throw an extra zero in there just for giggles.

It’s like these blowhards who keep saying we’ll need a snorkel to see the top floor of the Empire State Building any day now, still snatching up real estate on both coasts at every turn. If they really believed the load of cow pies they were selling, then Nebraska would be the priciest real estate in the country.

If someone’s actions are in diametrical opposition to the words coming out of their mouth, you’ve been had.

There have always been unscrupulous people, and the most unscrupulous know that the easiest thing to exploit in another human being is their fear. If you can make someone afraid, truly afraid, for their life, or their family’s life, then offer them a means of alleviating that fear, they’ll hand you all their cash for a bottle of dirty bathwater, and thank you profusely for being so magnanimous.

If you are afraid, they will find a way to leverage your fear! Knowing this, the fastest way to defang these vampires of human misery is to not be afraid. Do not fear what can kill the body; I read that somewhere, and someone really important said it. Excellent, timely, poignant council worth heeding. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Worse Than the Disease


Never let a good crisis go to waste! Not only is that a motto for some politicians today, but it is also a way of life. If anyone still held to the hope that their elected representatives gave two snot bubbles and a chicken turd about them, their families, their business, or even their wellbeing, that illusion has been permanently shattered.

With the help of a compliant media which seeks to frame the narrative at every turn, there is a push in the halls of Congress to ram through new legislation that would make its implementation far worse of a situation for the average citizen than this virus ever could.

Tactically speaking, it’s good timing. Everyone’s either distracted, fearful, or told that they should be afraid; otherwise, they do not really understand what’s going on. People are legitimately hurting already, and it hasn’t even been a full week of shuttered businesses, working from home, no school, and shutdowns. Imagine if this thing drags on for two, three, even four months?

By then, toilet tissue won’t be a problem anymore, because most people won’t have any money to buy it. When babies, toddlers, children, and even adults start suffering from malnutrition, thereby becoming susceptible to all sorts of bugs their immune system would have fought off had they been adequately fed, the average death won’t be 80.5 years young; it’ll drop like a rock. At some point, we’ll stop counting how many dead, just wondering if there will be anyone left to bury us.

It’s one thing when politicians play politics in a time of national crisis. We sort of come to expect it. They are, after all, the bottom feeders of society, the one group of people that makes lawyers and prostitutes seem noble and forthright. When, however, almost every major news outlet is doing everything it can to frame the narrative in their favor, it’s called propaganda. Since the eloquence of Bernard Sanders couldn’t convince the average citizen to embrace Communism, maybe convincing them that it’s the only way to solve their existential crisis will.

If you want to take a peek behind the curtain, you do so at your own risk, but if you do, consider what isn’t being reported rather than what is in any given news cycle, then you will get an idea of just how evil the string-pullers are.

Why is every news story about how many people have tested positive for this virus, and none about how many have recovered?

Why is no one pointing out that most people won’t even be symptomatic?

Why did they suddenly stop flashing how many dead in Italy every morning, as though it was the outcome of some soccer match? Could it be the numbers have peaked and are beginning to drop?

Why is it that you have to read the body text of an article that declares a man dead from Chloroquine, only to discover that what he ingested was Chloroquine Phosphate, an aquarium cleaning product, and not the medicine itself?

Why is it that before declaring it’s the end of the world, no one takes a pen and paper and does some rudimentary math regarding this virus? Why is no one point out that only among those showing severe enough symptoms to seek medical help is the death rate somewhere at 1% among septuagenarians and octogenarians with preexisting comorbidity? Yes, I know, one 30-year-old died, but what they failed to mention is that he had a compromised immune system having just survived testicular cancer.

If they can keep you fearful and panicking, if they can keep you from thinking things through, if they can keep you from using logic and reason, they just might get everything they’ve ever wanted that the average citizen would have never voted for.

Do you want to know why I don’t believe this is the last trump? You want to know why I don’t believe it’s time to pack our bags and find someone to take my pet fish when we get raptured? Because it’s not nearly bad enough to warrant it. Because what the Bible says will happen during the last days doesn’t come close to what is happening currently.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Newton's Third Law


There comes a point after every storm, no matter how violent, concentrated, or intense, that the waves recede, the wind stops howling, the dust settles. With a look that can only be replicated in war, the survivors begin to assess the damage that was wrought.

Most of the time, people are just happy they made it through, glad they survived, and they begin to rebuild if they are able or find a new place to inhabit, to call home, and eventually make it home if they are not. When it’s a natural disaster like an earthquake, a hurricane, a tornado, a volcano, or a tsunami, there really isn’t anyone to blame. It was naturally occurring, something that has been happening since before recorded history, and mankind takes it as it comes, mourns if it is called for, then regroups, and goes on living because it’s the only option afforded to them.

There are situations, however, when the cause of the heartache and chaos, the cause of the tears and fear is either manmade or artificially inflated to the point of causing mass hysteria and panic. It is when the culprits can be readily identified, when the source of the hysterical prognostications and proclamations is evident to all, that Newton’s third law must be applied. The punishment for such individuals must be commensurate with the heartache they caused.

They must be punished not only because justice demands it, but to serve as an object lesson to all future generations, a cautionary tale so vivid and garish as to make anyone fifty years hence think twice about producing fear porn and passing it off as legitimate news.

When the dust settles, and it will, every rectally prolapsed sexual deviant pretending to be a journalist who somberly declared that that death was inevitable and imminent, every alarmist with quaffed hair that insisted if you were to ensure one more meal for your loved ones you’d have to stab another human being in Sam’s Club to get it, must be called to task, exposed, shamed, and made an example of.

For every parent that stayed up pacing half the night wondering if they would find diapers or wipes at the store the next morning, these ghouls must be punished. For every small business that will have to shutter its doors, these ghouls must be punished. For every person that can’t go to work to put food on the table for their family, these ghouls must be punished. For every missed opportunity to smile, for every dream that was dashed, for every untoward thought you were engineered into having about another human being just because they happened to cough within hearing distance, these ghouls must be punished.

There is a time for mercy, but the unrepentant are undeserving of it. Loving one’s enemies does not invalidate, nullify, or abrogate justice itself; the two are not mutually exclusive!

Mark these words: if those responsible for making the panic more harmful than the actual virus are not called to answer for their actions, they will simply do it again, and again, until our nerves are so frayed we either shut down altogether or jump out of our skin every time someone within a square mile sneezes.

What if this thing disappears as quickly as it came, and we don’t have the million-plus fresh graves every grotesque figure on television relishes repeating over and over? What if, after all the panic and hysteria, the number is not even a fraction of what they were projecting?

We will still have a cratered economy, a new precedent for governmental overreach, thousands upon thousands without jobs, a newfound and unhealthy dependence on all things government, and the ever-present realization that we’ve been had by a cabal of individuals who are good at framing a narrative and repeating alarmist propaganda tirelessly. It may take only a handful of days to bring this behemoth of an economy to a grinding standstill, but getting it back up and running will be a far longer and more difficult task to be sure. Call me callous, heartless, or whatever adjective you choose, but at some point, the law of diminishing returns must also come into play. 

With love in Christ, 
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Ripple Effects


When panic grabs hold reason is the first casualty. It is why hindsight oftentimes makes us wonder what we were thinking, and how we could have bungled up a situation to such an extent. There is a naturally occurring ripple effect to panic that makes people do things they would have adamantly denounced only a few days prior.

Even if we contain this, even if we flatten the curve, even if social distancing, or whatever new buzzword they come up with has the desired effect, the fallout, repercussions, and collateral damage of the panic we’ve allowed ourselves to descend into will be felt for years to come.

As should be the case with most thinking adults, the first question that must be asked and answered is whether the global panic we are seeing is warranted.  In the United States, there have been under 100 deaths to date, most of which occurred at a senior care facility in Seattle. Granted, that number is likely to rise, but it’s a long road from under 100 to over a million as some of the more vocal doomsayers have been prognosticating.

Since everyone is fond of pointing to Italy which tops out at circa 2200 dead since this ordeal began, let us also take into account that over 90% of those deaths occurred among individuals who are 70 or older, at least half of which would have likely been felled by a bout of the run of the mill flu. It is undeniable at this juncture that this virus affects the elderly and those with compromised immune systems most profoundly.

As of the last count, this virus has contributed to 7,332 deaths globally. Obesity kills 2.8 million annually!

Currently, you are more likely to win the Powerball Lottery than you are to die of the Coronavirus. Let that sink in for a spell before making another run to the supermarket for more toilet tissue even though you can’t fit any more of it in your garage.

No, this isn’t fun facts with Mike time. Still, in order to understand what we’ve given up as far as liberties are concerned over the course of just a handful of days, without a coup, without a shot being fired, and without any protesters in the streets, we must contextualize the situation for what it is.

We are seeing governors, mayors, and all manner of paper-pushing bureaucrats use this pandemic to waylay people’s constitutional rights using the virus outbreak as a cover. From declaring prohibitions on everything from church services to public gatherings to sales of ammunition, to sales of firearms, these people feel emboldened because they saw this as an opportunity to exploit people’s fears.

How much freedom are you willing to give up in order to mitigate catching something that to most folks is no worse than the common flu? That is the question before us, and it’s a thorny one because drowning people usually don’t look to see who is attached to the arm offering to pull them out of the drink.

My concern isn’t so much this virus, but the precedent it sets vis-à-vis the actions government feels within its rights to carry out. There are cities in these United States where the local government has ordered its citizens to stay home, and are prohibited from gathering outside even if they happen to live in the same complex or home.

It’s scary how readily we’ve allowed ourselves to be culled without a whimper or a protest of any kind. We assume, for some unexplained reason, that the bureaucrats coming up with these restrictions are smarter than us somehow, forgetting that government work, for the most part, has the lowest barrier to entry of any field.

We are become sheeple, and it’s a tragic thing to behold. If, as some have said, this was a dry run to test individual compliance, well, we either failed miserably or passed with flying colors depending on what side of the power structure you find yourself. One thing is sure; the next time panic is induced, stoked, and fanned, it may be for something far less, and the freedoms they strip from the average citizen far more.  

Be wary of anyone trying to sell you on taking away your freedoms for your own good. It never is!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

In Case of Emergency!


It used to be most folks had appropriate reactions given a particular set of circumstances. If it were chilly outside, they’d put on a coat. If there was a bug going around, they were more diligent about washing their hands. And, if it looked that their daily routine would be inconvenienced by what was happening nationally or globally, they’d take it in stride and made the best of it.

In a bygone era, when John Wayne walked around with sixty-odd pounds of undigested meat in his lower intestine and still managed to crank out some timeless westerns, people used to be level headed.

It used to be the appropriate reaction to an imminent nuclear attack was to get under your desk at school, and cover your head with your hands. Just think about that. I used to see those videos, and sort of smirk. In case of emergency, get under your desk and cover your head—no bunkers, hazmat suits, rebreathers, gas masks, or barrels full of hand sanitizer.

What were you supposed to do if you cut off a finger or worse yet a limb? Stop the bleeding, then find your local blacksmith so he can cauterize the wound. If you had the time, maybe bite down on something like a piece of leather to keep from squealing like a little girl.

Those days are long gone. They are far in the rearview, and nowadays, people are more likely to die from heart attacks induced by the panic they’re basting in ceaselessly than they are from a virus that for most folks is akin to the common flu.

People throughout the country are taking a run at toilet tissue in such a panicky fashion that one would think all the world’s villains got together in the dead of night and decided that the best way to undo modern society was to bomb all the toilet paper factories. They are acting as though it will nevermore be produced or trucked to their local grocer, and until the end of days, what you get is what you’ve got, and that’ll be the end of it.

I see pictures of individuals with man buns in flip flops loading up cart fulls of toilet paper, yet not bothering to snag a can of tuna or a bag of beans on their way out of the store. Kind of counterintuitive if you ask me, because if there’s nothing to put in, nothing will come out, and that sort of makes the need for toilet paper nonexistent, doesn’t it?  

The truth of it all is that we’ve become a generation of coddled, panicky, sissified man-babies, overreacting to everything around us. Because individualism has been eroding for the last three decades, we are prone to giving in to herd mentality and groupthink, to the point that if we saw one person buying something in the store, we feel the need to do likewise.

If we hear some talking head spit out the worst case, apocalyptic scenarios on television, we immediately believe it to be the God’s honest truth. Because a certain age demographic has never had to deal with a crisis, they allow their minds to run wild and begin to believe that millions of dead littering the streets is the best we can hope for.

This is why you have suburban moms putting plastic bags over their kids’ heads and duct taping them really good so the virus can’t get in, then wondering why little Bobby is turning blue. The panic is being stoked for a purpose, and once that train starts rolling downhill, it’s impossible to stop of its own inertia. Cooler heads must prevail; otherwise, the next fad will be people digging their own graves.

For those of you who have been writing to me and saying I’m not taking this seriously enough, perk up, the following paragraph is for you: We are all going to die! You are going to die; I am going to die, your neighbor, your pastor, your teacher, and the guy who mows your lawn in the summer, death is a guarantee for everyone! The certainty of death is the one absolute rule for every living thing that has taken ever drawn breath. Life has a 100% mortality rate, and the giver of life is in complete control over when to call that spark of life back to Himself. The spirit returns to God, the dust returns to the ground, and no amount of toilet paper or hand sanitizer will change that. If it’s my time, it’s my time, and if I gots to go, I gots to go; zero loss, all gain.

Since your local church, being brave and fearless in the face of death itself likely canceled services today, go outside instead. Breathe some fresh air, talk to God, take a walk, watch the birds, wonder at the complexity of everything around you, then remind yourself that He is in control of it all. What have you to fear?

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Imbroglio


Trying to play at being an end-times prophecy expert, especially when people are on edge and ready to jump out of their skin at the mere rustling of a bush, is about as smart as playing chicken with a lit dynamite stick.

Granted, there are some less than reputable hucksters out there trying to exploit men’s fears. Some are going so far as selling bottled bathwater as a cure-all for what is likely an astronomical profit margin, but for the most part, everyone feels like they have to say something, chime in, and give their two cents, even if no one asked for it.

I have no problem with people voicing an opinion. That’s the beauty of a free country, and it’s your job as an individual to weed out the nonsensical, improbable, impossible, and deceptive from the truth. What I do have a problem with is people playing an end times version of Jenga. Removing one phrase from here, another from there, Old Testament, New Testament, end times prophecy, prophecy explicitly for Israel, and stacking them upon each other trying to build their own miniature version of a prophetic tower of Babel.

What they end up with is something rickety, confusing, and given enough time, demonstrably false. The fact that at some later time we can look back and prove that their assertions were wrong is cold comfort in the present. Presently, some people are fearful, on the precipice of panic, because they are being bombarded nonstop by individuals who have suddenly developed prophetic gifting, insisting that this is it! The pale horse is here, neighing, and braying, and there’s nothing you can do but curl up in a ball in the corner and wait for the end.

Never mind the fact that the sequence in which the seals are broken is of great import, never mind the fact that war and scarcity must come before death does, never mind the fact that a fourth of the world killed by Death and Hades would be with sword, hunger, and by the beasts of the field and not a virus. Never mind all that! This is it, it doesn’t get any paler than this, lights out, the end!

We are tinkering with the revelation of Jesus Christ here kids. We are slicing and dicing and putting back together prophetic utterance given to Christ by God to show His servants things which must shortly take place. This is not something you have the liberty to put your own spin on! This is not something you have the liberty to masticate and regurgitate, having added your personal flavor profile to the mix because you’ve still got a thousand buckets of potatoes au gratin sitting in storage waiting to be snatched up.

As far as scaring people into the arms of Jesus goes, as soon as this passes, they’ll just wiggle back out because they were never interested in a relationship with Him to begin with. Then, when the pale horse really does come riding, no matter how persistent, they’ll just brush you off because you’ve been saying the same thing for twenty years. You cannot force, coerce, or trick someone into salvation, even if your intentions are noble and admirable.

There are a lot of self-titled end-times prophets, seers, visionaries, and such that will have egg on their faces when this passes, we’ll still be here, and not yet living through a post-apocalyptic hellscape, challenging people to duels for a roll of toilet tissue.  

Whether they did it for a quick buck, their five minutes, or because they genuinely believed what they were saying is contextually irrelevant. They still used the Word of God, and the Revelation of Jesus Christ to give weight and validation to their proclamation, and that’s wrong no matter how you cut it. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Fear Not!


Whether it’s in the Bible once for every day of the year is up for debate. Technically, if you choose to remove context, yes, the term ‘fear not’ is in the Bible some 366 times. Still, if you add contextualization, it is uttered as a command, admonition, or encouragement far less than that. All told, it falls a hair short of one hundred.

Whether it’s eighty or 366 makes no difference to me. If I had to tell any of my children to do something, or not do something eighty times, it’d have to be because I was bound to a chair and couldn’t go, take them by the hand, and direct them to what they were supposed to do or stop them from what they had been doing.

Granted, more often than not, it’s trying to stop them from doing something like throwing rocks into the goldfish bowl pretending to play submarine, but it doesn’t take eighty times or even eight times. They know I mean what I say, and it only takes one time with the right tonality to make them stop in their tracks and keep them from accidentally killing the fish.

When God tells us not to be afraid, it’s not just a blanket statement without the explanation as to why we shouldn’t be. It’s one of the things I’ve been trying to work on with my children, because, apparently experts say you’re supposed to explain why something is good or bad, why something should be done or shouldn’t so they would better understand, and keep from repeating the mistake in the future.

God didn’t just tell us not to be afraid; He told us why we shouldn’t be. In a nutshell, we shouldn’t be afraid because He is God! He is in control, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, He is a good Father, He will nourish you, He will fight for you, He will provide, He will protect, He will heal, He is your salvation, the strength of your life, and the list goes on. These are just a handful I came up with while the first shot of caffeine for the day is still making its way through my system.

So what’s the point? Well, the point is quite simple: no one is saying not to take precautions. No one is insisting you should start licking subway turnstiles or truck stop door handles to prove you’re not afraid or show your faith. No one is telling you not to use wisdom!

However, God is telling you not to be afraid, no matter what. Whatever the circumstance, situation, grim outlook, or sense of dread being hoisted upon us by the talking heads on television, we ought not to be afraid. Prudent, yes! Afraid, no!

It’s fear that makes people act contrary to their nature. It’s fear that makes one fully grown adult punch another fully grown adult over a few rolls of toilet paper. It’s toilet paper! It may not be as soft, but in a pinch, you can even use a corn cob if you run out of Charmin.

It is because we have both God’s promises and His command not to fear that our reaction to crisis must be different than that of the world’s. It is amid hopelessness that hope shines that much brighter, becoming as a beacon for those in despair.

If God has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us and we have declared with our mouths that He is sufficient, if we are then hyperventilating with panic at every turn, then we either lied, or we don’t have God. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Fragile Fabric


Most of us, including myself, are usually unaware of how fragile the fabric of society and civility are until something happens that dispels any fantasy of virtue, kindness, brotherly love, and all those other heartwarming tropes that have little basis in reality. When you witness it if only in a microcosm, you realize how rapidly society can descend into chaos, doing its best to re-enact the Mad Max movies.

A night before last, my wife wanted to make the girls mashed potatoes, to go along with the chicken she’d baked, and the broccoli she’d steamed. The only problem was that we’d run out of potatoes, so she asked if I could go to the store and pick some up. Being the awesome, selfless husband that I am, I threw on a pair of sneakers, a jacket, and a hat, and braved the tempest to go get potatoes. If my babies want mashed potatoes, it’s mashed potatoes they’ll get. And yes, before you ask, my wife insists on making mashed potatoes from whole potatoes—no boxes or powders. You peel, quarter, boil, drain, add sour cream and butter, then mash the potatoes. Even to remind her that there are easier ways to make them will garner that look all husbands know well, and that shuts down the conversation before it begins.

Anyway, off track. I’d picked up a bag of potatoes, and was rolling my car through the store trying to remember what else shed’ asked me to pick up when I heard a commotion from two isles away. I sped up just a little, you know, curiosity and the such, and I saw two adult women, shoving at each other, their voices getting louder and louder.

I didn’t want to seem nosy even though I was, so I pretended to pass by the aisle, made a U-turn, and came back the same way, trying to figure out what they were fighting over. That’s when I spotted both of them holding the same bottle of Purell, one from the bottom, and one from the top, neither seeming to want to let go.

Purell! Adult women were yelling and shoving at each other over Purell. Granted, it was the last bottle on the shelf, but we’re not talking about basic essentials here like clean water, heart medicine, or food.

If we are willing to descend to shoving and shouting matches over Purell when you know, soap was in abundance on the same shelf, imagine what it would be like if every store shelf was bare, there was nothing to be had, and luxuries we take for granted like supermarkets, credit cards, drive-thru restaurants, and civil order were no more.

Given the overreaction we’ve seen of late, I would hazard to conclude that this present generation is far less ready, both psychologically and physically, to cope with a breakdown of civil society, than any other generation that came before it.

Panic first reason later seems to be the motto of the hour, and panicked people are dangerous people. We often wonder if those verses in the Bible talking about men’s hearts failing them for fear of what is to come are hyperbolic, or exaggerated for effect, but the recent reaction to something that in the great scheme of things is not an extinction-level event by any stretch, tells us that they are not.

If you are His, be still and know that He is God. If you are not His, time is finite, and fading fast. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

A Teachable Moment


This past week there was one day in particular where it got to within a cat’s whisker of fifty degrees. While for some that may be frigid, comparatively speaking, for us, it is downright balmy. There was no way we could spend such a glorious day indoors, so the wife and I decided to take the girls to the zoo.

They’re still at that age where animals of any sort are exciting, and the look of wonder still bursts through from time to time. I know that this will be short-lived; I know that soon there will come a day when they will want nothing to do with the zoo or with watching penguins waddle about as though unaware of the mass of people staring at them.

After spending a good bit of time in the reptile and fish exhibit, mostly because it didn’t have the animal odor of the ape exhibit, we decided we would visit the big cat exhibit. Although the lion was somewhere in a corner sleeping, and the hyenas were doing likewise in their enclosure, the tiger was fully awake, pacing by the glass separating the onlookers from its fangs.

This was a big boy. All of four hundred pounds of muscle, sinew, claws, and fangs, with a hungry look in its eye as it paced, and paced, then stopped to spray the window once in a while, marking its territory. I propped my youngest, Malina, up onto a small outcropping so she could get a better view, and without hesitation, she proceeded to slap the glass and yell here kitty, kitty, kitty as loud as her lungs would allow.

Although the zoo called it the big cat enclosure, my daughter referred to the tiger as a kitty, and stuffy shirts wearing tweed jackets insist that the tiger is part of the feline family, it didn’t change or alter the reality that what was pacing behind the glass was a lethal killing machine. Shakespeare was right, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but a cow pie by any other name would smell as foul.

For some unexplained reason, we are at this moment in our country bending over backward, trying to split hairs over the difference between socialism, communism, and yes, the latest, democratic socialism. The difference between the three is the same difference between calling a tiger a big cat, a kitty, or feline. When it comes down to it, it’s all semantics.

Whatever you want to call it, the end result is the same, every single time. Whether you call a tiger a kitty, a feline, or a big cat, put it in a room with anything it considers prey, and it will tear it asunder.

It’s not as though we haven’t seen the results of the bill of goods attempting to be sold to the American people. Every time it’s been tried, it has failed! Every time it’s been tried, it’s ended in tyranny, subjugation, hunger, poverty, genocide, suppression, persecution, and countless other things that no sane person would voluntarily want to live through.

And yet, we’re being told that a tiger is not a tiger; it’s nothing more than a kitty, to be petted, and scratched under the chin. We are being told that this time, this tiger will not act in a manner consistent with every other tiger, but that he will be something contrary to its nature.

If you believe it long enough to get into the same enclosure with the tiger, it will be too late, and there will be no going back. Same goes for democratic socialism, or as it’s known in other nations where it’s been tried, communism. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Uncomplicated


Life can get harrowing at times. At times it can be as complicated and difficult to unravel as a blind person trying to solve a Rubik’s cube underwater. The reason life can get overwhelmingly complicated more often than not is because no choice or decision is made in a vacuum. Every choice we make, every decision, every path, every crossroads, brings with it an almost infinite amount of ramifications that ripple outward throughout our lives.

From what career path to choose, to whom to marry, to what to name your firstborn, to whether or not you should buy that puppy your kids have been begging for even though you know they’ll never pick up after it or feed it the way they’ve been promising. Each choice bears consequence, and if we make the wrong choices often enough, we eventually find ourselves at the bottom of a pit, we dug with our own two hands.

How is it that some people get thousands of dollars in debt and unable to pay their bills? Simple answer, one bad choice at a time. How is it that some people get to the twilight of their existence without having had a meaningful relationship, been in love, gotten married, or held their newborn in their arms? Once again, one bad choice at a time. How is it that your stretchy pants don’t stretch anymore, and those few winter weight pounds turned into a few dozen winter weight pounds? You guessed it! One supersized combo of burgers and milkshakes won’t make you balloon to a record-breaking personal weight, but a few months or years of combo platters will.

Life is complicated. Anyone who tells you otherwise is living in blissful ignorance that is enviable only insofar as they can maintain the illusion they’ve created for themselves. Eventually, inevitably, the dam breaks, the illusion cracks, the ignorance is revealed for what it is, then nothing will ever be the same again from that moment forward.

I believe it’s because God knew life would be complicated that He made redemption and salvation so uncomplicated. We don’t have to stand on our heads, repeating a secret mantra while clapping our hands with one eye closed in order to be saved. Nor do we have to shave our heads, cut, self-immolate, or flog ourselves in the streets until we are a bloody pulp in order to attain salvation.  If we are willing to surrender, if we are willing to submit, if we are willing to fall at the foot of the cross in repentance, deny ourselves, pick up our crosses, and follow after Him, visionary or fool, it is a readily replicable process.

Salvation is purposefully uncomplicated because it is one less excuse man will have when he stands before God. There will not be a soul that stands before the great white throne of judgment who will accuse God of making it too complicated, challenging, difficult, or out of reach. No one will be able to surmise that they wanted to get saved, but the directions were just too hard to follow, so they gave up.

When men reject Christ, when men reject salvation, it’s not because the process is veiled in shadow, overly complicated, or impossible to decipher. Men reject Christ because they love their sin more than they love Him, they prefer their flesh over their spiritual man, and they make a choice to reject the gift that is salvation.

It was the selfsame Christ whom men reject that said if you love anything more than you love Him, whether your mother, wife, daughter, son, father, husband, mother, hobby, vice, position, possession, or sin, you are not worthy of Him. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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.