Sunday, May 28, 2023


 People will try to make an idol out of a true shepherd just as readily as they will a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The only difference is that the true shepherd won’t allow it; the wolf will. True shepherds know that all they are is men in service to the King. The wolves, false teachers, and false prophets see themselves as kings searching for a kingdom, a lord searching for a fiefdom. Their intent is not to serve but to be served, and whenever their authority is challenged, they react instinctively to protect their piece of the pie.

Their notion of love is anchored in words, while they expect everyone else to reciprocate with action. It’s not really the sheep they love; it’s the wool the sheep provide. Some realized this, belatedly so, when they fell on hard times and needed help with funeral expenses or an electric bill, and they were turned away by the same pastors whose churches they tithed to for decades.

Evidently, the blessing of prosperity is a one-way, dead-end street. It flows to me but not to thee. You can’t tell me people’s opinions about God don’t change when the supposed man of God has been telling them they’re one sacrificial love offering away from their breakthrough for twenty solid years, with no breakthrough in sight. It’s usually not the man they get embittered toward but God because, in their minds, the two are inexorably linked. The man behind the pulpit made sure it was so. It was the only way he could exude authority over them.

We laugh off the pulpit pimps of today, thinking them benign and inoffensive, but they are not, and when their poisoned fruit is fully ripened, there will be scores of souls so turned off by the idea of God that they will actively seek to persecute those who still cling to the hem of His garment.

When someone loves you only so long as you can provide a service or some benefit, and their affection is based on your ability to provide said service or benefit, it’s not love; it’s exploitation. Why does this matter? Why is this important? Because we have entered a season where a lot of the selfsame sheep certain false shepherds have been fleecing will be in dire need of help.

The worm is about to turn, and with its turning, a famine will descend upon the land the likes of which this present generation could not conceive, nevermind live through. I was recently asked in an interview what the best thing a local church can do to prepare for what’s coming, and other than pray and draw closer to God, I suggested a benevolence fund that would be used to help those within the church as the need arises.

Interdependency on each other, and total dependency upon God, is the only way I see believers getting through what’s coming. The body must take care of the body. If your thumb or toe is hurting, you don’t just take a cleaver to them; you try to remedy the hurt as best as possible.

While some dread the inevitability of hardships in America, I believe there will be some benefit to it. No, I don’t want to see people suffer or go hungry; I’ve seen enough of that in my life. However, generations go through cycles of feast or famine and have since the beginning of creation, and they come at such regular intervals that a pattern has emerged. What’s coming cannot be helped, but in the midst of it, you will know the true shepherds from the false ones with the clarity and force of being stirred from slumber by a punch to the nose.

The true shepherds will do their best to comfort the hurting and keep their flock safe, while the false ones will disavow themselves of their sheep the moment they can no longer provide the life of leisure they feel they’re entitled to.

It’s hard to convince someone they’re being used when they see it as love and affection. After a certain point, even when they start to see hints of something being off, they soldier on because they invested too much time and emotion to admit they were wrong.

I acknowledge that you may feel as though we’ve spent too much time on this topic. Still, we need to understand that it won’t be just one thing that will lead to a falling away so great that the world has yet to see one its size; it will be a confluence of things that will come together in a symphony of destruction.

It will affect the unprepared the hardest. Those who sat under shepherds that were disinterested in their spiritual well-being or the level of preparedness for what the Bible says is coming will be caught unaware. When they will need to lean on their shepherd for support, he will be nowhere to be found.

It’s up to you to pick your shepherd, so pick your shepherd well. Are they more interested in sparing feelings or saving souls? Are they more interested in embracing the current culture, or are they determined to march against the tide of compromise and sin?

Take as much time picking your shepherd as you would your dentist or hairdresser. I know that’s a stretch for a lot of people, but if the only factor as to whether or not you will attend a church is how long the service is and if it ends early enough so you can be the first in line at the Old Country Buffet, you’ve got a problem that needs fixing.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Saturday, May 27, 2023


 In his exhortation to the Ephesian elders, Paul described two types of dangers that would assail the church once he was no more. First, savage wolves would come in among them, and second, men from among them would try to draw away disciples after themselves. The latter category wouldn’t be trying to draw disciples away to themselves by preaching the gospel or speaking the truth but by speaking perverse things.

The more I read what Paul wrote to the Ephesian elders, the more questions I have. It goes to reason that if someone saw a wolf approaching, they would either try to chase it off with a stick or anything handy and with a point. If they couldn’t manage to fend it off, they would at least bar the door so the wolf couldn’t get in. That Paul knew with certainty that savage wolves would come in among them tells me that Paul understood the mechanisms by which the enemy infiltrates a church.

Jesus forewarned His disciples before Paul met with Him on the road to Damascus. He elucidated the matter by warning that the wolves would employ camouflage to worm their way into the congregation of the saints.

Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”

The easiest way to creep into any congregation is to declare yourself a prophet of the Lord and say that you come with a message from the almighty. Because the only scriptures we know by heart nowadays are the ones about the good measure that will be pressed down, shaken together, and running over, such individuals have an easy time gaining access to the ears and hearts of the sheep.

Especially if the message they’re supposed to declare to the church body has to do with their pastor and how the Lord will use him to win the nations, or something equally boisterous, like being the first missionary to Mars, they’ll have free reign of the pulpit for as long as they need. By the time anyone’s the wiser, seeds have been planted, the division has been sown, and heartache and heartbreak are soon to follow.

It’s easy to spot a wolf in sheep’s clothing because he’ll be speaking perverse things and things demonstrably unbiblical. They may start out mimicking a true believer, but eventually, the mask comes off, and they start to feast. If you’re not prepared for the eventuality that a wolf may attempt to sneak among the sheep disguised as a sheep, sharp fangs will be at your throat before you can sound the alarm.

Because everything nowadays must be nuanced, save someone burn their esophagus because nobody told them coffee was hot, the barometer, plumb line, and litmus test as to whether someone is a wolf, a false prophet, or a false teacher is the Bible. Not your opinion, not whether you like their delivery, not whether you think they’re overdressed or underdressed, or if they have a beard, a goatee, or that streamlined look I gravitate toward nowadays.

My grandpa was a preacher, my dad’s a preacher, and I’m a preacher too. Each had different delivery, cadence, sermon structure, and energy level. That never entered the equation, as it shouldn’t. Although my dad’s soft-spoken, my grandfather was more enthusiastic, and I fall somewhere in the middle, we all strive to be biblical.

Don’t confuse not liking someone’s delivery or the fact that they’re a topical preacher rather than an exegetical one for them being of evil intent. Content matters more than delivery, whether expository, textual, or topical. Are they honoring Jesus as Lord and King? Are they preaching the gospel? Are they rightly dividing the word?

Not everyone can be everyone else’s cup of tea. There are preachers I can’t listen to because their tonal range irritates my ears. That doesn’t mean they’re not biblical; I just don’t like their voice. And so, rather than listen to their sermons, I read what they write or leave the captions on and mute them altogether.

Some of the guys I like you may not like, and that’s fine as well, but whomever you gravitate toward as far as your spiritual nourishment, make sure they’re Biblical! Don’t just do it once and forget about it; sample the food to see if it’s still nourishing. People change. I’ve seen it. It’s sad and disappointing, but we soldier on toward the prize and the crown.

I can’t even count the number of restaurants I stopped going to because something changed, and the food was no longer good. Whether it was new management, a new chef, or a new supplier, the food wasn’t worth the drive, the wait, or the money. That’s why I like gas station grilled cheese sandwiches. They never disappoint. Even when they do, they’re only a dollar.

Some people live with the memory of how good a place was until they go back and realize it’s not what it used to be. Very few remain consistent through the years, and to those that do, God bless you, and may you never compromise.

Right now, you’re thinking to yourself, is he talking about restaurants or preachers, or both? I’ll let you decide. For now, I’ve made myself hungry with all this talk about food. The question is, will I riffle through a few pages of Gurnall’s tome, or will I go get a grilled cheese?

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr 

Friday, May 26, 2023


 There is good intent, evil intent, and there is biblical intent. Although not always mutually exclusive, good intentions can be subjective, and depending on who defines the good and how broad a definition one uses, good intentions can end up far from being biblical. This is why it irks me when I hear someone say they had the best of intentions, but when you dig a little deeper, you discover they really didn’t because if they’d had the best of intentions, they would have had biblical intentions, and they wouldn’t have ended up being mocked by every half-wit on late night television.

It’s because you didn’t have biblical intentions that you ended up being a punchline, Ted, not because the devil was out to get you. At least he wasn’t out to get you any more than he is anyone else. When someone offers you a massage, and you bring the baby oil, that’s complicity. At any point, you could have rebuked the devil, thrown the baby oil out the window, along with the meth, gone back home, and repented for the rest of the evening. But you didn’t, and not because the devil made you do it, but because you wanted to.

There is biblical, and then there is everything else. It’s a simple principle, uncomplicated, straightforward, yet sparsely applied in today’s church. Biblical doesn’t get clicks. Biblical rarely fills pews. You need to have a hook, something to set you apart. I’m waiting for the first ventriloquist pastor to appear on the scene. He'd probably draw a crowd if he could go for a while without breaking character. He could even use the dummy to say biblical things that modern ears find offensive, then blame it when people get upset.

“It wasn’t me; I’d never quote that verse; it was him; the dummy did it.”

Intent matters only insofar as being able to trace it back and determine the reason for the outcome of a situation. Sometimes good intentions go horribly wrong from the start; other times, it takes a while for them to marinate before things begin to fall apart. Sooner or later, whatever is not built upon the foundation of Scripture will be shaken and crumble into the dust.

We’re seeing it with the exodus taking place in most major denominations. They suspended biblical teaching to appeal to a broader audience because they were told that’s what the sheep were clamoring for. Once the sheep got what they wanted, they realized they were wholly underwhelmed and disillusioned.

God knows what you need, and more often than not, it’s contrary to what you want. The household of faith does not exist to service your wants but see to your needs, and not the needs of your physical man, but the needs of your spiritual man. You had one duty! That duty was to feed the sheep of God’s pasture, not make them feel good about their unibrow, ingrown toenails, or the extra fifty pounds they were carrying around. It wasn’t to help them balance their checkbook or teach them how to color coordinate. It was to preach the gospel.

That’s the difference between a job and a calling. You make compromises in order to keep your job; you sacrifice to walk in your calling. There are individuals behind pulpits today that do not believe Jesus is Lord, that do not believe He is the only way, truth, and life, and that do not believe in heaven or hell. These are not shepherds over small congregations but some of the biggest in the nation.

A job’s a job, it pays well enough, and you only really have to work one day a week. Why upset the apple cart by preaching the gospel? Why risk offending those helping facilitate your rock star lifestyle by being biblical?

Some of the current luminaries know deep in their hearts that they couldn’t have made a go of it in any other field and been as successful. When you have the intelligence level of an apricot but are worth tens of millions of dollars, you won’t risk rocking the boat. I fully expect some of them to have enough self-awareness to know that nothing else they could think of doing would be as profitable, so whatever they have to do to maintain their current lifestyle, they will do without question.

We’ve seen how readily some fell in line, encouraging those who looked to them for guidance to do things that were not in their best interest. What subcategory of preaching the gospel does coercing people into doing something they feel uncomfortable doing by claiming Jesus would have done it does that fall under?

The individuals Jude is focusing on are not those with good intentions that went off the rail but those with evil intentions who have nothing of light, truth, or Christ in them. He, along with Paul, John, James, Peter, Luke, and Jesus, made it abundantly clear that such individuals are among us. They’re not outside the church lobbing Molotov cocktails; they’re inside the church trying to burn it down.

With those on the outside, it’s hit or miss. Their shots don’t all hit the mark, but those inside have greater accuracy because they don’t have to aim as far. Learn to discern the difference between true shepherds and those whose only purpose is to fleece the sheep.

Acts 20:29-31, “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Thursday, May 25, 2023


 When I was younger, I wanted to be an archeologist. It was something that drew me, spoke to me, and fascinated me all at once. One of the hard and fast rules about any archeological site is never to dig too deep too fast. You don’t use a shovel where a brush will do, and you take your time, even though everything inside you is screaming to open the sarcophagus.

Even though you want to get the crowbar and pry it open, you must document your find in situ, take pictures or charcoal rub if you’re old school, and ensure you’re not missing anything of import.

You brush off layer after layer of thousand-year-old dust, dirt, and grime because the journey, the experience, and the work itself are as exciting as the payoff. You know it’s going to end at some point, but you don’t want it to end. Even so, you can’t drag your feet either, so you find the perfect balance of efficient but unhurried.

This is how I’m approaching the book of Jude, and with each reading, upon waking, something else bubbles to the surface, ready to be uncovered and studied. That’s the beauty of God’s Word; it’s layered, and one pass-through just won’t do. There is always something more profound if you’re willing to be patient and use the brush rather than the shovel to get at it.  Part of you is whispering, “Get to the good stuff,” but the sensible, rational part is quick to point out that it’s all good stuff.

It doesn’t matter how fast you run if you’re running in the wrong direction. The faster you run, the further you get from where you want to go, and at some point, stubbornness sets in, and rather than admit this is not the way, you double down and commit to continuing your journey. The mindset that we’ve come too far to turn back now is dangerous, especially when it comes to spiritual matters. The only thing that matters is whether or not we’re running in the right direction, and if we discover that we are not, it’s never too late to change course. Are you running toward life? Are you running toward Christ? Or are you running in circles trying to balance a divided loyalty?

Depending on the direction in which you’re running, you will gravitate either toward the truth of Scripture or the fairy tales of men. You will either accept uncomfortable realities pertaining to the Bible because they are true or embrace fanciful lies because they are palatable and allow you to remain in your comfort zone.

Are you growing in your faith? Are you growing in your discernment? Are you growing in God? If so, you are headed in the right direction. If, however, you find yourself spending less time in His presence and not being bothered by it, if your desire has shifted from knowing all of Him to experimenting with sin, then the direction you’re headed in is incompatible with an eternity in the presence of Christ.

There are those who parrot foolishness out of ignorance or because they believe it’s the fastest way to grow a congregation, then there are those who were long ago marked out for this condemnation. Those who do it out of ignorance are still open to correction because their intention wasn’t to deceive; they just believed something they shouldn’t have.

Those who are marked for this condemnation know precisely what they are doing, what they are teaching, and the effects it will have on the household of faith. They come into the church with the singular intent of destroying it and will use any form of deception, coercion, falsehood, and Scripture twisting to reach their desired result. You don’t give a wolf the benefit of the doubt when he says he thought you were a chicken rather than a lamb.

When you confront one such as these and refuse to fall for the narrative that they were just asking honest questions or voicing honest opinions, their last line of attack will be of a personal nature, accusing whoever stood up to them of being unkind, unloving, and intentionally hurting the sheep. The enemy and his minions will always be first out of the gate, accusing others of whatever they’re doing. It helps take the focus off of them, and if the sheep are easily swayed, they may even end up chasing away the shepherd and getting the flock all to themselves.

If you’ve never been embroiled in church politics or the attempted takeover of a ministry, consider yourself blessed and fortunate. It’s unpleasant, to say the least, because usually, it’s people you trusted and counted on stabbing knives into your back as though you were some juicy piece of meat. Getting stabbed by strangers hurts bad enough, but when it’s someone you count as a friend, it hurts much worse.

It’s not at all an easy thing to contend with and save for the knowledge that you are where God told you to be doing what God told you to do; you’d likely throw your hand up in frustration and go work the cash register at your local gas station.

This isn’t me imagining what it would be like to walk a mile in someone’s shoes; I’m speaking from lived experience. This is why you must be confident and fully convinced that what you are doing is what God meant for you to do; otherwise, the pressure exerted by the enemy is such that walking away is a very tempting proposition.

The devil is shameless and doesn’t care whom he hurts along the way in order to get what he wants. This is why it’s best that the ego dies and the flesh is well and truly crucified before you go toe to toe with his minions.

With love in Christ, 

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2023


 It only takes knowing what the enemy targets to understand what he fears and considers calamitous regarding his plans. The two-pronged attack upon the church, as far as Jude was concerned, was turning the grace of God into lewdness and denying the only Lord God and Jesus Christ. Those were their two points of attack, and that’s what their entire mission revolved around.

It wasn’t about whether believers should or shouldn’t have beards or about whether or not they wear a wedding band. Nor was it about whether to call Him Jesus, Yeshua, or Lord. It’s not as though if you cry out Lord or Jesus, your message goes directly to spam or His phone flashes ‘unknown caller.’ We’re trying to convince people that the sinless Son of God, who died on the cross for our sins, suddenly caught a case of sanctimony and pretentiousness and will not answer our cries unless they are formally submitted.

Sometimes all you have the strength for is to cry out “Help.” Exhausted, beaten, bruised, and barely hanging on, all you can do is let the tears flow and open your heart to Him, and that’s enough for Him to fill you with the peace that passes all understanding.

If you cry out to Jesus with brokenness, humility, repentance, and sincerity of heart, His answer will never be, “Why doest thou not address me in Hebrew or ancient Sumerian?”

Some of the things we choose to bicker over are childish on the best of days and a waste of time and energy every day. While we’re busy going back and forth about whether we should attend church on Sunday or Saturday or if we should attend church at all, the enemy’s primary focus is still to pervert grace and deny the singularity of Christ.

He’s not trying to convince anyone that there isn’t a god, a spiritual force, or a supernatural entity; the devil’s trying to convince everyone there’s a plethora. It’s like Baskin Robins. Why settle for one flavor when you can have thirty-one? Nine out of ten heretics approve! The tenth one thinks he is a god, and his narcissism won’t allow him to share the platform.

Perhaps that’s how they’re able to sneak in. We’re so distracted with the foolishness that we overlook the real danger. We’re at each other’s throats about issues that are not salvific, and the salvific issues get chipped away every single day.

Even a little doubt can cripple your conviction and hamstring your faith. It’s not that you’ll stop running toward the prize altogether, but doubt will make you slow your pace, and the more you give heed to it, the more corrosive it will become. With enough doubt and enough time, you’ll have once-professing Christians not only turn from the faith but become militant about opposing it.

They feel compelled to share their newfound atheism and declare its benefits as though they were part of some multi-level marketing scheme, and for every new person they convert, they get a free vacation. I never understood that level of compulsion. It’s akin to people who are part of a group that decides to part ways and must declare their departure publicly and vociferously. It’s not an airport lounge; you can leave without making an announcement.

Some people do it to elicit sympathy, others do it to elicit attention, and others still do it hoping someone tries to stop them. Still, whatever the reasoning, it’s self-centered and hedonistic to go out of your way to make sure everyone in the world knows you no longer belong to the Piggly Wiggly loyalty program.  

The devil sows doubt like a farmer sows seed. Your heart is the soil; if a seed can take root, it grows and spreads like a mint bush in your backyard. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, go buy a mint plant for a couple of bucks, and plant it. Three years later, you’ll have so much mint everywhere you’ll be forced to pull them from the ground, roots and all, just to save your grass. Mint is invasive. So is doubt. It will spread for as long as it’s allowed to spread and take over areas of your heart you had no intention of surrendering.

Jude saw the dangers and warned the church, but rather than taking his warnings to heart and being vigilant, they chose to ignore his writings as though he was of lesser spiritual mettle than other contributors to the New Testament. Is it possible we don’t give the half-brothers of Jesus the respect they deserve because we don’t like the things they have to say about heady topics we’ve predetermined the narrative of?

I keep returning to the principle of all scripture being by inspiration of God and profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. Once we accept that truth, our theology becomes more fleshed out, more complete, and not so one-sided and unyielding.

I’m well aware that we all have our favorite scriptures, our favorite doctrinal pillars, but we cannot exclude significant portions of the Bible just because they conflict with our view on a given doctrinal point. If both were under attack, most people today would defend their denomination rather than Jesus. Your membership to a given denomination will not gain you entry into heaven. Your being washed in the blood of Christ, sanctified, and set apart, will.

When it comes to setting up defenses, whether of a castle, or a belief system, you first prioritize the most important aspects of your defense to the least. If it’s a castle, your priority is defending every point of ingress, knowing that if the enemy can breach the gate or the walls, it’s all over, but for the body-positive lady singing.

When it comes to doctrine, whether there is carpet in the sanctuary or we let brother Rooster play his guitar during worship are tertiary matters compared to the Lordship of Jesus and other fundamental teachings of the Bible, basic principles that support the foundation of the faith. If we consistently focus on the superficial and let the enemy mutilate the essentials, we may win a battle here or there, but we will lose the war.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Monday, May 22, 2023


The reason we fight to preserve anything is because someone else is doing their best to destroy it. If no opposition existed, if no enemy were to be present, there would be no need to fight, to contend, or to defend. It is because men attempt to pervert the faith and distort the truth that we must stand in stark opposition to their plans and machinations. It is because men speak lies that we must boldly proclaim the truth.

Jude said he found it necessary to exhort us to contend earnestly for the faith because the enemy was carrying out his plans, having snuck certain men in unnoticed whose purpose was as nefarious as their master. The church body may not have noticed that these men had crept in, but God did, and via the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, used Jude to send up the warning flares.

I always find it odd that after such men get exposed and their kingdoms are turned to dust, those left to pick up the pieces of their lives, dazed, confused, and discombobulated, insist that there were no warning signs that they weren’t the wholesome, caring, spiritual individual they claimed to be.

The guy said he was Jesus incarnate. That should have been a warning sign. He claimed such spiritual superiority and was so indispensable to the plan of God for the world that he got a special dispensation to do things God found abhorrent and unacceptable. That, too, should have been a warning sign.

Whenever anyone places themselves above the authority of the Bible and insists they are no longer accountable to Scripture but have grown past it, it’s a lie, and the individual in question is not to be believed. I know that’s what the Bible says, but God showed me something different should never be uttered by a true disciple of Christ, no matter the context. God does not contradict His word, either through prophecy, revelation, dreams, or visions. He is not the author of confusion and hasn’t changed His mind regarding repentance, holiness, sanctification, or obedience.

The reason men are able to creep in unnoticed is because their heresy is always shrouded in some amount of truth. If someone tried to poison you and handed you a vile of poison, you’d reject it outright. If they baked an apple pie, snuck the poison inside, and insisted you eat the whole thing, it would be harder to discern. Because it’s poison, the first bite should tell you something is off. Perhaps even the smell it gives off is not entirely as it should be, but the first bite is sure to set off alarms.

If it tastes funny, don’t take a second bite hoping the flavor profile changes. Put the fork down, push the plate away, and go spit it out. I’ve known people who’ve gotten horribly sick from eating bad meat, who, in hindsight, admitted that something tasted off, but they were really hungry and ignored it.

There is a caveat to what I just said: for you to know that the apple pie tasted off, you must be aware of what apple pie without the poison additive should taste like. Stop speaking in riddles, fat man; I don’t have that kind of time; Creflo Dollar’s about to come on. For you to discern deception, you must know what the word of God says! Concise enough?

If you never read your Bible, when a pompadour with gleaming teeth insists that the Good Book says an apple a day keeps the doctor away, you just shrug your shoulders and think to yourself, that’s a pretty good saying. Maybe I should go buy some apples.

If you do read your Bible and someone says that, you know they’re a fool, and you stop listening.

Reading your Bible makes you less likely to be deceived, discouraged, defeated, and disenchanted. If all you do is listen to men tell you what they believe the Bible means, confusion will be a constant companion, and what you believe may not align with the Word of God.

The enemy knows that a bit of leaven leavens the lump. So he’s not about to sneak his minions into a congregation where they start drawing pentagrams on the wall and insisting that Anton Lavey is the thirteenth apostle.

If the enemy went through the trouble of infiltrating a congregation, he would employ consistent subtlety to circumvent and undermine the truth. He will do as the serpent did in the garden and begin with a question: ‘Has God indeed said?’

If nobody is bold enough to stand in the congregation of the saints and declare, ‘Yes, God has indeed said,’ then the subterfuge begins, and ever so slowly, individuals are drawn away from the person of Jesus, the Lordship of Jesus, and the salvific power of faith, to pointless inanities.

When they’re called out, such individuals play the innocent, insisting that they were just asking an honest question and wondering out loud, usually in full few of many, why we’re so afraid of questions or if we don’t believe the Bible can stand up to scrutiny.

Even when they acknowledge that’s what God said, the next question is usually, “But are you sure that’s what He meant?” Oddly enough, whenever that question is asked, the individual never tries to err on the side of purity, righteousness, self-control, or virtue. It’s always something their flesh wants to do that the Bible tells them they can’t do, and they want to find a way around the written word.

I have long held to the belief that those who would pervert grace and deny the Lordship of Christ are not innocent or harmless but dangerous and cruel, not because I am spoiling for a fight but because the Bible tells me they are.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Sunday, May 21, 2023

What If?

 Fear of what could be, what may be, and what is likely to be, keeps many believers from contending for the faith. The devil is good at stoking fear and uncertainty, and every once in a while, you will hear a story of a pastor getting arrested or a grandma getting interrogated by federal agencies for the high crime of praying in front of an abortion clinic. Murderers and thieves can wait; we have real criminals to contend with!

It’s no accident that anything virtuous, moral, wholesome, or traditional is demonized to a degree heretofore unseen since perhaps the days of the apostles. If you are a follower of Christ, in the world’s eyes, you are, by virtue of your association with Him, a second-class citizen. Those who study history recognize the pattern and know what’s coming next. It can’t happen all in one fell swoop; Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all, but if you can manage to single out a particular class of individuals, isolate them, vilify them, demonize them, and dehumanize them, you can do pretty much anything to them, and no one will bat an eye.

I know what you’re thinking: this was supposed to be an encouragement to contend for the faith, but instead, you’re bumming me out. There’s no point in sugarcoating something that Jesus was very clear on. I’d rather you understand the situation upfront than nurture the misconception that the world will love and embrace you for your defense of truth and righteousness. They will not. They will hate you for it, attempt to silence you at every turn, and even justify the most hateful outbursts and actions. Freedoms may be well and good, but they end the moment you confront someone about their sin. In the words of a spoiled child with no understanding of the world, who is now, coincidentally, an honorary doctor in theology, “How dare you?”

That whole coexist thing only works as long as you fall in line and agree with every delusion some sycophantic loner comes up with. We can coexist as long as you agree with, validate, celebrate, and even venerate everything I say. Otherwise, you must die! What sort of monster would deny the existence of interstellar unicorns? I’ll tell you what sort, the sort that has no place in a civil society.

The way to get past the fear, to eliminate it altogether, is to determine what the worst-case scenario would be for contending earnestly for the faith and decide if you’re willing to endure it. Once you’ve determined that you are, then nothing that happens will shake your confidence, cause you to fear, or compel you to retreat.

The worst they can do is kill the body. That is the pinnacle of the enemy’s threat, and given that eternity is on the other side of your last breath, that’s no threat at all. Are you willing to die for the cause of Christ? If the answer is yes, then the fear of death no longer has sway over you.

I ran across a street preacher some time back who liked to stand outside of bars before last call and do open-air preaching. He said it wasn’t God who told him to do it; he just liked the excitement that came with the possibility of getting swung on by a drunkard. Judging the wisdom of his actions is not my intent, but the story he shared with me is.

I asked him if it had ever come to blows, and he said a couple of times, then proceeded to ask him what his most dramatic experience had been since he’d started doing this.

“There was this one time,” he began, “when a guy pulled a knife on me and said if I didn’t shut up, he’d kill me right then and there. I told him he’d be doing me a favor, and I don’t think that was the answer he expected. He put the knife back in his pocket and just walked away.”

Matthew 10:28, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

That was Christ’s take on fear, and being who He was, we can take His advice to heart. We can play the what-if game in our heads until we go mad, or we can defer to Jesus and determine that we will not fear those who can kill the body, no matter how fearsome they might seem at first glance. By the way, that’s always the case. The enemy always looks fiercest at first glance. Once you let your eyes adjust, you realize it’s not a hulking giant standing before you but a confused pimply-faced kid who likes to scream too much and doesn’t have the bone density to land a solid punch.

If you shy away from delusionally overconfident children, you’ll never make it before governors and kings.

Matthew 10:18-20, “You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”

Fear is something you can regulate, it is something you can control, and it is something you can overcome, especially given the knowledge that it will be the Spirit of God speaking through you and not you alone. What have you to fear, even before governors and kings?

We are strong not in and of ourselves but in the Lord and the power of His might. We overcome not in our strength but in His. Why be afraid? Your life is forfeit anyway. Be bold, and have courage, God is with you, and He will not fail.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.