Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Great Inconsistency

I couldn’t sleep last night, so after easing myself out of bed as to not wake my wife, I went into the other room and began to read my Bible. I do this often when I am restless, and as I was thumbing through the first book of Kings the description of the temple caught my eye.

It must have been a sight to behold, a magnificent edifice, gleaming and overlaid with gold, imposing in its size, and awe inspiring in the carvings that were on its walls.

As I read through the description of the temple that Solomon had built, I was overtaken by a sadness of sorts because I realized the great inconsistency between the beauty of the temple, and the lives of the priests therein as well as those who came to bring offering and sacrifice. The walls of the temple looked more like heaven than the priests; the temple was purer than the worshippers that filled it every Sabbath.

As I continued to pursue this train of thought a teaching of sorts began to take shape, and I realize that such an inconsistency was not reserved merely for those of old, but it is plain and visible in our day and age.

1 Kings 6:29-32, “Then he carved all the walls of the temple all around, both the inner and outer sanctuaries, with carved figures of cherubim, palm trees and open flowers. And the floor of the temple he overlaid with gold, both the inner and outer sanctuaries. For the entrance of the inner sanctuary he made doors of olive wood; the lintel and doorposts were one-fifth of the wall. The two doors were of olive wood; and he carved on them figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold; and he spread gold on the cherubim and on the palm trees.”

As I said, one could readily imagine the beauty of the temple, Solomon having spared no expense, even overlaying the floor of the temple with gold, and spreading gold on the carvings of the cherubim and the palm trees all around the inner and outer sanctuaries.

The temple was beautiful, of this there was no doubt, as many sanctuaries are today throughout our land, one more imposing and ornate than the other, one more dazzling and oddly shaped than the next, but just as in the days of old, there is an inconsistency between the beauty of our sanctuaries, and the duplicity of our hearts.

One need only juxtapose the passage in 1 Kings with the message God gave Jeremiah for those coming to worship in the temple to see the great inconsistency for themselves.

Jeremiah 7:1-4, “The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, ‘stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the Lord!’ Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust in these lying words saying, ‘the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.’

Jeremiah 7:9-10, “Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name and say, ‘we are delivered to do all these abominations?’

We build as though God is impressed without cathedrals, we carve and inlay with gold as though this will somehow take away from the reality that our hearts are filled to overflowing with idolatry and adultery and covetousness and jealousy and all manner of things that have no place in the house of God. We believe the lying words of those who proclaim that as long as we give to the building fund, and the airplane fund, and the new parsonage fund God will somehow overlook the inconsistency between what we speak and how we live or that He will somehow gloss over the sin that is ever present in our lives.

God is not impressed by sanctuaries, God is not impressed by cathedrals, and He would rather have a handful of faithful, righteous, sanctified souls worship Him in a shack, than thousands of hypocrites feigning worship in a temple.

There are however certain lessons we can learn from the temple and the way it was decorated, lessons those of Jeremiah’s time would have done well to perceive, so that their worship might have been authentic, and true, and received in the sight of God.

The first thing that leapt out at me was the fact that not only were the inner and outer sanctuaries covered with carved cherubim, but the two doors of the temple had carvings of cherubim as well.

So why is this seemingly irrelevant fact noteworthy? What could it possibly teach us?

To me at least, and from a spiritual perspective what this signifies is that we must be on the outside as we are inside. There cannot be any inconsistency between the heart and the life of the believer. Our words must mirror our actions, our conduct must mirror our beliefs, and our lives must mirror the life of Christ.

Now I realize there are some who say that the outwardly parts have nothing to do with the inward state of the heart, but it was Jesus who said that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. That which is in the heart of a man is evident in his life, whether the fruit of the spirit or the fruit of unrighteousness, one’s actions always reveal one’s heart.

The second thing I noticed is that none of the cherubim were holding swords. Nowhere in the description of the temple does it say that the carved cherubim were holding swords, even though we are told in Genesis that the cherubim that was guarding the tree of life was in fact holding a fiery sword.

What this signifies to me is that the house of God, the temple of God ought not to be a place of warfare. When we come together in fellowship it should be to encourage one another, to build up one another, to strengthen one another, and not to stab at each other blindly in the hope that we will climb the ladder of church or denominational hierarchy by another rung by standing on our brother’s corpse. The battle is not with my brothers or my sisters in Christ, it is with the hosts of darkness and the principalities thereof.

The third thing that stood out in regards to the decoration of the temple was the palm trees that were carved on the walls. Ask anyone who’s been in the desert what a palm tree signifies, and they will readily tell you that it signifies there is a water source nearby. For those traveling through the desert, water is nothing less than life itself, and from a spiritual perspective, we as believers ought to be as palm trees, clearly and visibly declaring that we are trees planted by the waters of life, that in the midst of this desert we call the world, we have found life in Christ Jesus. We are not branches, we are not leaves, we are trees with deep roots, we are trees that are fruitful, we are trees that are dependent on Christ for life, and the world must see this in us.

Having cathedrals and building extravagant sanctuaries will not attract the power of God, it will not compel God to move in supernatural ways, but having a clean heart, having a humble spirit, and having a heavenly minded purpose will.

Clean temples and filthy hearts are an abomination to God, and though we might cry ‘the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord’, God sees beyond the words into the hearts of men, and it is the hearts of men He judges in righteousness and holiness.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Three Harbingers Of Doom Part 4

The third evident sign, the third harbinger of doom is the decline of social order.

Judges 21:25, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

When no order exists, chaos is guaranteed. In the twentieth chapter of the book of Judges we are even witness to an all-out civil war, wherein the children of Israel turned against the children of Benjamin and struck them down with the edge of the sword. These were all Israelites, just from different tribes, but because there was no order, because lawlessness abounded, brother turned against brother and unprecedented chaos reigned supreme.

Israel had no king, and as such everyone did what was right in their own eyes. Not having learned the requisite lessons that history would have gladly taught us, it is as it was, and more than ever before everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes.

More often than not one hears the qualifiers ‘I feel’ or ‘I think’ in regards to the Word of God, and most often what we are feeling or thinking is in opposition to the Bible. I’ve said it before, and it is certain that I will say it again, if our feelings or our thoughts on a doctrinal or Biblical matter contradict the Word itself, then we are in open rebellion toward God, worshiping idols of our own making rather than the Christ.

Oddly enough, when people feel a certain way about a given Biblical doctrine, or think a certain way about a certain passage, they are never inclined toward a more sanctified walk, or a greater degree of faithfulness and righteousness, but rather toward a widening of the narrow path of faith.

We cannot do what is right in our own eyes, we must do what is right in God’s eyes, and it is man who must submit to the authority of God, and not the other way around.

Israel refused to repent, Israel refused to live in accordance with the laws of God, yet when it came to it they thought they could force God into defending them, they thought they could force God into protecting them, and they thought they could force God into giving them victory over the Philistines.

‘Let’s bring the ark of God into the camp, surely that will compel God to give us victory over the enemy, it’s His ark, His laws are contained therein, surely because we have brought the ark with us, our victory is assured.’

Unlike man however, God cannot be pressured into doing something against His nature, God cannot be made to overlook sin simply because we carry a trinket with us. He is righteous and holy and altogether just, and He acts and reacts in accordance to His nature.

We fall into our own snare of self-delusion if for one second we believe that we can somehow find a way around repentance and turning our hearts back toward God as a nation. Israel tried, and they failed miserably. They wanted to keep their idols, they wanted to hold onto their sin, they wanted to continue in their rebellion, but also have the protection and provision of God.

A nation in rebellion against God, cannot expect to have His protection! A nation in rebellion against God, cannot expect to have favor in His sight!

‘But we have ‘in God we trust’ on our currency, surely that should count for something.’

Israel had the ark of God in the camp, and they too thought that should count for something. We cannot despise the things of God, we cannot rebel against His will, we cannot declare our independence from Him all the while expecting Him to be like a long suffering grandfatherly type, who just shakes his head, shrugs his shoulders and gives us what we’ve been asking Him for anyway.

When men attempt to remove the justice of God and the righteousness of God from among His attributes, then it is easy for them to conclude that no matter how they dishonor Him, no matter how they marginalize Him, no matter how they bring offense to Him, He must be there, ever willing to give us victory over our enemies because His love will compel Him to do so. The only problem is that although men have attempted to remove these attributes, although they’ve attempted to expunge the notion of God’s justice and God’s righteousness in regards to who He is, and conveniently leave only the love aspect of God intact, God Himself has not changed, nor has He done away with either justice or righteousness.

Psalm 7:11-15, “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If he does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready. He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; He makes His arrows into fiery shafts. Behold the wicked travails with iniquity, conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood. He made a pit and dug it out, and has fallen into the ditch which he made.”

So when exactly is God angry with the wicked, is it just once in a while, was it just in the Old Testament days? No, God is angry with the wicked every day, and if the wicked does not turn back, if the wicked does not repent, if the wicked does not humble himself and seek the face of God, then God will sharpen His sword.

Because we have chosen rebellion rather than repentance, because we have chosen iniquity rather than righteousness, because we have hardened our hearts as God called us to turn back to Him, He is sharpening His sword, and bending His bow, and preparing for Himself instruments of death.

The harbingers of doom are evident even to the most obtuse among us, even to those who refuse to believe that God still judges in righteousness, and that His justice is perfect. Although the following might be unpopular, even politically incorrect, it is nevertheless true, we have dug the ditch into which we have fallen with our own hands, and in our rebellion we refuse to acknowledge that there is but one remedy, one way out of the pit, and that is by turning back to God.

Jeremiah 51:9, “We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed. Forsake her, and let us go everyone to his own country; for her judgment reaches to heaven and is lifted up to the skies.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Three Harbingers Of Doom Part 3

The second evident sign, the second harbinger of doom and one that one could argue is a direct result of the first, was the decline in morality, or of a moral standard.

We read of the moral decline of Israel in the Word of God, and often times one must stop and wonder if it was truly the people of God that were being described. The sins and immorality that they gave themselves over to would make even the most hardened of souls blush, committing openly, sins that God both abhorred and detested, and still does to this day.

A traveler journeying from Bethlehem to the remote mountains of Ephraim, stopped in a city called Gibeah to lodge for the night. An old man seeing the traveler sitting by himself in the open square, offered him a place to stay, as well as food and drink.

Judges 19:22, “Now as they were enjoying themselves, suddenly certain men of the city, perverted men, surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, ‘bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!’

The story just gets worse from there, with the man’s concubine being abused until the morning, dying on his threshold and being cut up in twelve pieces, but I think you get the point of the moral decline that Israel found itself in.

Perversion, depravity, sin, all these were arbitrary terms to the people of that time, just as they are to the people of our time, and if it felt good, then they did whatever felt good, and because it felt good, they reasoned to themselves, it couldn’t be wrong or sinful. The pleasures that satisfied today, no longer satisfied tomorrow, and so the appetite for perversion continued to grow until men were surrounding the homes of their neighbors, beating down the doors wanting to do unspeakable things to their guests.

A nation reaches the height of its spiritual and moral decline when the priests, the preachers, the pastors, the elders, those who ought to be the spiritual authorities of the time likewise descend into sin and depravity.

1 Samuel 2:12, “Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the Lord.”

Who were the sons of Eli? The sons of Eli were priests in the house of the Lord, those who were to be the mouthpieces of God and bring offerings before Him. Yet they were corrupt, they did not know God, they abused and profiteered off of those who came to bring offering to the Lord, and even lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Because of them, because of the sons of Eli and their great sin before the Lord, the men abhorred the offering of the Lord.

1 Samuel 2:22-24, “Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. So he said to them, ‘why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the Lord’s people transgress.”

Two chapters later, in 1 Samuel, Israel gets conquered by the Philistines, the ark of God is taken, thirty four thousand soldiers die, as do the sons of Eli, and Eli himself upon hearing of the catastrophe that had befallen the Israelites.

Throughout their descent into lawlessness, throughout their journey from sacred to profane, never once was there a self-analysis, never once did they look at their lives and at the Word of God and point out the inconsistencies therein, as long as the priest left them alone and didn’t bug them about their sin, as long as no one spoke up concerning their fallen state, as long as everyone went along to get along, the people were happy and content, but this did not mean that God was.

They were actually shocked when they lost the first battle, and even more so after losing the second battle to the Philistines. Even as a vanquished people, even as those fleeing from before the armies of the Philistines, I’m certain that some still wondered to themselves what had just happened.

‘But we brought the ark of God in our midst, our victory should have been assured, we should have won this battle, maybe God is losing His touch, maybe the years have taken a toll.’

Men today have the same reaction to hardship and calamity in their life, because well, they went to church once in a while, and they wrote out a check for the ‘special fund’ and the ‘church fund’ they even donated items to goodwill, and now this has happened.

On the surface, superficially, the church of today is doing great. We’re building buildings, building colleges, building universities, building recreation centers, we’re innovators and pioneers in speaking volumes but really saying very little, we’re geniuses at marketing and self-promotion, and through it all we think God is with us, how could He not be, until the day we have to stand and fight and realize that He has long departed.

What many today fail to realize, even many believers I’m sad to say, is that spiritual and moral decline are progressive in nature. Unless a nation actively seeks to stop its descent into sin and depravity, unless a nation actively seeks to change course and return to God, it will continue to fall further and further into the pit because it has no bottom.

‘Well, it’s gotten this bad, but thankfully it can’t get any worse.’

These are actual words I heard passing the lips of a pastor who was lamenting the fact that the church could have done more in preventing the rapid decline of both morality and spirituality in this nation. When I asked how he had come to the conclusion that it couldn’t get any worse, his only response was that he couldn’t think of anything more depraved going on than what was already going on. I shook my head and simply said, ‘then you have no understanding of how evil flesh can truly be.’

Unless God has enough and calamity comes, unless the cup of God’s wrath finally boils over and catastrophe upon catastrophe will begin to be visited upon our shores, mark my words, it can get worse, it will get worse, because sin knows no limits, perversion knows no bounds, and somehow, some way, the unimaginable will become common practice.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Three Harbingers Of Doom Part 2

The first evident sign, the first harbinger of doom was the decline of the spiritual, or of spirituality, among the people. Preceding this great catastrophe the people had given themselves over to idols, they were worshiping graven images, they had mixed with the people that surrounded them and adopted their traditions, their proclivity for sin, as well as their gods. In essence the people of God had assimilated with those of the world and the outcome was a hideous amalgam of the sacred and the profane, a people who still believed that God was with them even though His glory had long departed their midst.

Even after all these years of studying the Word of God, it still amazes me that although the fear of the Lord had long ceased to exist among them, although reverence for the things of God had long ceased to be evident, although the keeping of God’s statutes had long ceased to be practiced, the people still believed or at least assumed that God was with them, and that they would be victorious over their enemies.

Judges 17:1-3, “Now there was a man from the mountains of Ephraim, whose name was Micah. And he said to his mother, ‘The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you, and on which you put a curse, even saying it in my ears – here is the silver with me; I took it.’ And his mother said, ‘may you be blessed by the Lord my son!’ So when he had returned the eleven shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, ‘I had wholly dedicated the silver from my hand to the Lord for my son, to make a carved image and a molded image; now therefore, I will return it to you.’”

This is just one of many examples of how convoluted the people’s thinking had become, how polluted and contaminated their hearts were, how impure and tainted their spiritual lives had come to be, that there was no longer a delineation between the Lord, the one true God, and the idols they were worshiping.

Here is a woman who by her own words had dedicated the silver which she had previously cursed to the Lord, then offers it up that a carved image might be molded from it. Lest we forget the first commandment that God gave to Moses is that the people have no other gods before Him, yet here this woman was having an idol molded of her silver, all the while dedicating it to the Lord. She was doing as unto the Lord, something the Lord hated, and commanded against, yet in her mind it seemed reasonable, and even something worth bragging about.

This is what happens when we attempt to blend, to amalgamate, or to meld the lifestyles, beliefs, traditions, and mindsets of the world with those of the household of faith. No good can come of it. Compromise as the church might, there will be no tolerant and all-inclusive utopia, wherein the perverted, profane, and blasphemous will walk hand in hand with the righteous, the sanctified and the holy. The only thing that will occur is what has occurred in the past. We will become a bane in the sight of God, a stench in His nostrils, and the recipients of His well-deserved wrath.

Another thing that occurs as a direct result of spiritual decline is that the people begin to look for teachers who will tickle their ears, who will not convict them of their sin, and who will not preach the righteousness of God.

Within the same chapter in Judges, there is yet another telling interaction between the man from the mountains of Ephraim named Micah, and a young man from Bethlehem, who was a Levite, and from what the Word tells us, a wanderer of sorts, going from place to place, and residing temporarily wherever he could. As it happened his journeys took him to the mountains of Ephraim, to the house of Micah.

Judges 17:9-10, “And Micah said to him, ‘where do you come from?’ So he said to him, ‘I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am on my way to find a place to sojourn.’ Micah said to him, ‘Dwell with me, and be a father and a priest to me, and I will give you ten shekels of silver per year, a suit of clothes and your sustenance.’ So the Levite went in.”

If it were not so tragic, one would think that the preceding interaction was the beginning of a bad joke.

‘A stranger walks into a house, and the master of the house wants to make him a priest!’

Perhaps there was still some spiritual figure in Micah’s life that spoke the truth to him, perhaps there was still someone who was willing to point out the inconsistencies, so what he did was create and finance his own ‘yes’ man.

‘I’m going to pay you, I’m going to clothe you, I’m going to feed you, you better say what I like to hear, you better tell me I am the apple of God’s eye, and that I am blessed coming and going, and that my cup is going to be pressed down, shaken together and running over. You’d better say soothing things to me, you’d better tell me how good and noble I am, because I’m holding the purse strings buddy, I’m the one paying your way. Just keep that in mind before you go spouting off ‘words from the Lord’.

How, is what is happening today in most churches any different than what Micah did with the young Levite?

‘No, we don’t care if you weren’t called to the ministry, nor do we care that you know nothing of the Word of God, or even the paramount importance of Jesus Christ, or even that Jesus is the only way to salvation, you have the look we’re looking for, you have a great smile, and our polling suggests that you seem trustworthy to senior citizens and women between the ages of thirty five and fifty six. We’ll pay you well, buy you nice suits, get you a mansion for a parsonage, and all you have to do is crack a few jokes, speak in platitudes, avoid controversial topics like hell, or Jesus, or repentance at all cost, and make us feel good about ourselves. If we have a deal, sign on the dotted line.’

Solomon was right; there is nothing new under the sun, just the same old perverted human nature that attempts to supplant God, reinventing the same old schemes and tricks to keep their hearts from being convicted, and one of the best methods of doing this, is knowing that the person who’s supposed to be your spiritual leader is well in your pocket, indebted to you, and so comfortable in his current existence that he would not dare rock the boat.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Three Harbingers Of Doom Part 1

I spent a good thirty minutes trying to find a title that was less fatalistic than ‘the three harbingers of doom’ but no other title would suffice. I assure you the title of this post is not meant to elicit a fearful response, but by the same token it is not exaggerated by any means. Throughout history we have seen these three harbingers of doom, destruction, catastrophe and devastation, and it would be foolish for us as wise children of God to dismiss them or pretend they don’t exist just so we won’t have to deal with the issue. If you sweep enough dust under a rug, eventually it becomes a hillock, and sooner or later you either remove the dust from under the rug, or do away with the rug altogether and plant an azalea bush in the middle of your living room. Although logically and reasonably it would be to our benefit to talk about the pink elephant in the room, many a preacher and pastor still refuse to do it because to admit that for years now we have seen these selfsame harbingers within our own nation, is to admit that tragedy and calamity are not far behind. And who wants to hear that nowadays?

As the Spanish philosopher George Santayana once said, ‘those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’ I would go a step further and say that the only people who cannot learn from history are the stubborn, the foolhardy, and those unfortunate souls who feel as though they already know everything and as such have nothing left to learn.

History is a great teacher in what to do as a nation, as well as what not to do as a nation, and so today we will journey through history, more specifically the history of the nation of Israel and see the warning signs that calamity was near, and the magnitude of the calamity once it arrived.

Israel was a nation accustomed to winning battles, or armed conflicts. They went to war with the expectation of being victorious, of conquering their enemy whether their enemy outnumbered them or not. They had become so accustomed to winning battles, they had become so accustomed to having the Lord by their side and obtaining victory, that when the Philistines put themselves in battle array against Israel, it was neither frightening, surprising, nor a reason for concern.

To the armies of Israel, it was just another battle in a long line of battles that they would surely win because the Lord was on their side, and if the Lord was on their side how could they lose?

1 Samuel 4:1-2, “And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines, and encamped beside Ebenezer; and the philistines encamped in Aphek. Then the Philistines put themselves in battle array against Israel. And when they joined battle, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men of the army in the field.”

Being defeated on the field of battle was a new experience for the armies of Israel, and by the Philistines no less who’d had their clocks cleaned by the Israelites more times than they could number. Four thousand men lay in the dust, dead or dying, and as the people came back into the camp they began to question why it was that the Lord had defeated them before the Philistines.

1 Samuel 4:3, “And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, ‘Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies.”

They did as they had purposed, they sent for the ark, the ark arrived, and when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook.

Perhaps they weren’t paying attention in Sunday school class, perhaps they had forgotten the lessons their parents had taught them, but Israel was getting excited over a symbol, when the substance thereof, had long departed. Yes, they shouted, they worked themselves up into a lather, the earth shook, and the Philistines were afraid, but this did not change the outcome of what was about to transpire.

The Philistines knew their enemies well, they knew that the same God that had struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness, was the selfsame God that was presently in the camp of the Israelites. What they didn’t know however, what they couldn’t possibly know because the even the elders and the priests hadn’t yet figured it out, is that what they had brought into the camp was nothing more than a fancy box, because the glory of God had departed.

Even though they were afraid, the Philistines knew they had no choice but to go into battle, and after a pep talk of sorts they did just that.

1 Samuel 4:9-11, “Be strong and conduct yourselves like men, you Philistines, that you do not become servants of the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Conduct yourselves like men and fight!’ So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. Also the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas died.”

By any definition what had just occurred was an unmitigated disaster. It was a catastrophe of epic proportions, made all the more vivid by Israel’s exuberance at seeing the ark of God come into the camp, then losing thirty thousand foot soldiers, on top of the four thousand they’d already lost, the sons of Eli, and the ark itself to the Philistines.

So what brought about this astounding defeat of Israel’s army? What brought this catastrophe upon a people that God Himself called His own? Could they have prevented this from happening? Were there warning signs that what they believed would be an easy victory wouldn’t turn out as such?

Yes, this defeat could have been prevented, yes the warning signs were evident, and if the watchmen had not been distracted by other things, if the watchmen had not stopped watching, perhaps this catastrophe could have been averted.

No, God was not busy with something else; no, God was not on hiatus; no, God hadn’t confused His schedule and forgotten that Israel was about to go to war with the Philistine army, God had departed, because those who were to be His people were acting like anything but, and those who were supposed to uphold the virtues of righteousness and holiness were as defiled as the godless Philistines they thought God would deliver into their hands.

For those with eyes to see the warning signs of impending doom were clear. These signs are just as evident, and clear today, if not more so than they were in the days of old, and once again, only those choose to ignore them can pretend that all is well, and that there is no reason for concern.

So what were these three signs, these three harbingers of doom that were so evident?

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Learning from Nehemiah

If you’ve ever heard a teaching on Nehemiah, chances are you’ve heard it either within the context of learning how to delegate responsibility, the virtues of true patriotism, how if we see a problem then we should attempt to fix it, or how to deal with slander seeing as Tobiah and Sanbalat, are what one could readily call prototypical slanderers.

Today however I wanted to discuss, if only briefly, a few more spiritual aspects of the life and work of the prophet Nehemiah, and hopefully get a better understanding of not only the man, but also what fueled his mission to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem that was broken down.

After many years in captivity, those who survived returned to Jerusalem only to find its gates burned with fire, and the wall that surrounded the city laying in ruin. Due to countless years of neglect, marauders, and enemy forces the wall that once surrounded Jerusalem, the wall that was a barrier and a protection for those living within the city was in shambles, broken and destroyed.

In those days, a city without walls was in essence a city without defenses. Wherein no walls existed the people of the community were at the mercy of their enemies, susceptible in every way, from being easy prey for bands of bandits, as well as easy conquests for neighboring nations.

News of the wall’s destruction and the burning of the gates of Jerusalem reached Nehemiah who was at the time a high official at the Persian court. Although he lived in another nation and in service to its king, Nehemiah was broken hearted when he heard of what had transpired in Jerusalem, and after informing king Artaxerxes of why he was sorrowful, the king granted his request to be sent to Jerusalem, to rebuild the wall.

The greatest lesson that I personally gleaned from the rebuilding of the wall, was the undeniable importance of prayer. Nehemiah prayed for three months, before rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem in fifty two days. Here was a man who likewise understood the importance of communing with God, and making certain it is God who has set you on a given course.

Nehemiah prayed almost twice as long as it took him to rebuild the wall, a wall that had laid in ruin for almost one hundred years.

On his own Nehemiah had neither the resources or the manpower to rebuild the wall, he didn’t even have the time having been in the service of the king of Persia, but when God gives a plan the go ahead, everything comes together in a beautiful way, like a forty person orchestra performing a symphony.

So what are some practical and spiritual lessons we can glean from this moment in history? What are some practical and spiritual lessons we can learn from the life of the prophet Nehemiah?

First, and foremost, pray before you act.

The rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem was a noble ideal, it was selfless and necessary since the Israelites suffered great distress and reproach for not having a wall, but sometimes good ideas come to a bad end, and noble gestures end up backfiring. Nehemiah prayed, not for a day, or a week, he prayed for three months until he knew that his plan was in accordance with God’s plan.

The second practical and spiritual lesson we can learn from the life of the prophet Nehemiah, is that we must overcome our own selves in order to see the plan of God come to pass.

One day, after having prayed for three months, Nehemiah found himself before the king, giving him his wine, and the king noticed that his countenance was different than what he was accustomed to.

Nehemiah 2:2-3, ‘Therefore the king said to me, ‘why is your face sad since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.’ Then I became dreadfully afraid, and said to the king, ‘may the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?’”

There are twenty different ways this interaction could have played out if Nehemiah hadn’t overcome himself, if he had not reigned in his fear, and spoken the truth to the king. By his own words Nehemiah testifies that he became dreadfully afraid, he was after all standing before the king of Persia the greatest empire of that time, having to explain why his face was sad. It would be enough to cause trepidation in even the most valiant of men, yet Nehemiah overcame his own fears, and explained why he was so sorrowful to the king.

Not only did the king allow him to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall, he gave him letters of passage for all the governors of the region until he came to Judah, as well as timber from his own forest to make beams for the gates of the citadel.

Too often our own fears keep us from seeing the plan of God come to pass in our lives, and our own self keeps us from experiencing His power in greater measure.

The third practical and spiritual lesson we can learn from the life of the prophet Nehemiah, is to follow through.

We must do our part; we must follow through; we must go where God leads us and not expect that someone else will pick up the slack or complete the tasks that were specifically designated to us.

Once Nehemiah reached Jerusalem, the first thing he did was inspect the wall thoroughly. He arose in the night, and went through the Valley Gate, to the Serpent Well, and to the Refuse Gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire.

Nehemiah 2:17-18, “Then I said to them, ‘You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the walls of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.’ And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, ‘Let us rise up and build.’ Then they set their hands to do this good work.’”

‘Well brother, if God has a plan than He’s going to make it happen.’

True enough, but God’s plan includes you, and it includes me. God’s plans include men who are willing to obey, to follow through, to roll up their sleeves and do a difficult thing even in the face of opposition, even when those comfortable and content with the status quo stand in defiance using any means at their disposal, whether slander, threats or even violence, to keep the plan of God from coming to pass.

Pray before you act, overcome your fears, and follow through to the end, and you will go from victory to victory in Christ our Lord.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Realistic Expectations!

Nowadays for many, ministry is more a career choice than it is a calling. Because of certain individuals and their lifestyles many young people today have unrealistic expectations of what being in ministry entails, and what’s worse they come to the decision of attending seminary or pastoral college based on human reasoning rather than an undeniable call on their lives.

As such the role models of many young ministers are no longer Paul or Stephen or Peter or Philip, or any of the notable servants of God who ran their races faithfully to the end, but rather the pulpit pimps who collect mansions like some people collect baseball cards, who know nothing of suffering or privation, and who believe that the mere title of ‘Pastor’ entitles them to riches beyond the scope of human comprehension.

I’ve met my share of young people who desired to go into ministry, but when I would ask what the driving force behind their decision was, very few gave the right answer. The only right answer as to why someone would pursue ministry is because God has called them to it, and if God has called them to it than their expectations of what their life in ministry will be like will not be private jets, fancy cars and opulent abodes, but rather lifelong, consistent, and perpetual servitude and obedience.

Today I wanted to discuss the realistic expectations we ought to have when God calls us into ministry, when He puts a burden in our hearts and a word on our lips, and when He sends us out to preach the truth to a world that is growing increasingly averse to it.

The first expectation we ought to have when we are called into ministry, is that we will be called upon to deliver a difficult message.

Throughout the Word of God, when God chose a messenger and poured a message into their hearts it was never a feel good message. Nowhere in the Bible does it say the Lord commanded a servant to go and tell the people that they were doing great, nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Lord commanded a servant to go and tell the people that their lives were in keeping with His statutes, but rather every time God sent a messenger it was with a message of repentance, and a warning of coming judgment if said repentance was not evident. God doesn’t pat people on the back, He’s not a politician attempting to get into our good graces by coddling us, He is a righteous God, a holy God, and a God who rebukes in love whenever His children stray.

The second expectation we ought to have when we are called into ministry is that we will be hated, mocked, and ridiculed for the message that we were commanded to deliver.

Some time ago we discussed a man by the name of Jehoiada, who was a priest, and who was able to positively influence the king of that time namely Joash. After his passing, Joash and the people began to worship idols, and serve wooden images, and after sending prophets to the people, to bring them back to the Lord, after the people refused to listen to the words of the prophets, God called Jehoiada’s son Zechariah, to be His mouthpiece and call the people to repentance.

2 Chronicles 24:20, “Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people, and said to them, ‘Thus says God: ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, He also has forsaken you.”

So what was the people’s reaction upon hearing this word from God? Did they rejoice that God had spoken to them? Did they repent, and return to the Lord? Did they pat Zechariah on the back and congratulate him for having the courage to deliver such a difficult message?

2 Chronicles 24:21, “So they conspired against him, and at the commandment of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the Lord.”

So the people’s reaction to the word of the Lord was to kill the messenger that delivered it. They conspired against him, who knows how long, or to what lengths, but in the end the king himself commanded that Zechariah be stoned in the court of the house of the Lord.

As a side note on a tangentially related matter, to the gentleman that wrote me and said he couldn’t receive what I write because God is not into nepotism, that there is no precedent wherein a son followed in his father’s footsteps in ministry, and because my grandfather was a preacher, and because my father is a preacher that somehow excludes me from ministry, Zechariah was the son of Jehoiada, who was a priest in the house of the Lord. Precedent!

No, having a father who is a preacher or a grandfather who was a preacher does not automatically mean you yourself will be called into ministry, but it does not exclude you from being called into ministry either.

Would I have chosen to be in the ministry for myself? Knowing what I knew concerning the toll ministry takes one one’s life, the standard to which God holds His servants, and the hardships one is likely to endure, no I would not have chosen ministry. Lord knows I tried to beg off the call to ministry, Lord knows I tried to pretend as though He was not calling me, Lord knows I tried to find excuses as to why I wasn’t well suited for such a calling, but in the end I had to submit to His will for my life.

The third expectation we ought to have when we are called into ministry is that it will cost us everything.

When God calls you into ministry, your life is forfeit; it is already a foregone conclusion. Live with the expectation that at some point you may even have to lay down your life for the cause of Christ, because anything less than total commitment is unacceptable.

When we live with the knowledge that our lives are already forfeit, the allure of fame, fortune or human praise holds no temptation for us, and our only purpose, our only goal is to be obedient to God and bring glory to His name.

In an hour such as this, I pray that God would call, prepare and equip true servants whose only desire will be to do His will.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why Must We Be Filled With The Spirit Part 3

The second thing we must do in order to be ready for the infilling of the Holy Spirit is root out the weeds and till the soil of our hearts.

Good seed requires good soil, and in order for the seed to grow and mature it cannot be choked out by weeds and thistles and briars and all manner of unwanted vegetation that serves no purpose other than attempting to destroy the good seed.

Whether via the prism of the parable of the seed the sower and the soil, or the parable of the wineskins, the Word makes it very clear that it is incumbent upon us to do away with those sins, vices, hobbies or habits that would inhibit the Spirit of God from taking full control of our hearts.

A divided heart, a heart that has not been tilled and plucked of weeds is the perfect environment for duplicity and hypocrisy. It is such hearts that are the object of our scorn, it is such hearts that produce deformed specimens within the house of God which the world points at with glee, and who bring shame to the household of faith.

Pluck the weeds, till the soil of your heart, or to use another metaphor, clean out the clutter, clear the cobwebs, wash the floors in expectation of a new and permanent tenant in your heart. The Holy Spirit does not like to share space, in fact He refuses to do so, and it would be a tragic thing for Him to come to the door of our heart only to find six or seven squatters already there.

Make no mistake; God’s standard is a high one to be sure. Men have attempted to lower God’s standard throughout the years, but God Himself has not, for it is He who said, ‘be holy, for I am holy!’

Leviticus 20:26, “And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.”

‘But that was just for Israel brother Mike, we’re under a new covenant now, we’re under grace, and so that whole business about holiness doesn’t apply anymore. Jesus made it so much easier, just raise your hand, go about your business, and be welcomed into the kingdom. Haven’t you heard about unconditional election? Haven’t you heard about eternal security? God will drag you from the gutter, kicking and screaming all the way into heaven even if you don’t want it. No repentance required, no burdensome cross to carry, no need to endure to the end in order to be saved, it’s the bullet train to heaven. All that stuff about sanctification, and holiness, and righteousness, and prayer, and fasting, and obedience was for the Levites or something, because it would be way too time consuming if it was meant for us as well.’

1 Peter 1:13-16, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’”

The third thing we must do in order to be ready for the infilling of the Holy Spirit is be wholly dedicated to God.

God does not deal in half measures; He will not be content with partial dedication, or halfhearted commitment, with God it is all or nothing.

‘Sad little bird, don’t you know you’re supposed to be living your best life now?’

But that’s the point isn’t it? If I am wholly dedicated to God, then I have no life of my own. My life is His, and He does with it what He pleases. Do you think for a second that those who went to their deaths or suffered unspeakable tortures for the sake of Christ were anything less than wholly committed and dedicated to God? Do you think for a second that their relationship with God was cursory or tangential? If they were wholly committed, if they were wholly dedicated, what makes us think God will accept anything less of us?

‘Come on brother Mike, it can’t be that bad, God’s got an army marching through the land don’t you know? We sing it often enough so it must be true.’

Where is this great army pray tell? The sad reality is that the army by and large is absent without leave. The generals are too busy practicing their golf swings and building multimedia empires to open their eyes to what is happening all around them, too self-involved to take the time and listen to the voice of God, and the soldiers are too busy doing other things to realize that their generals are negotiating the terms of their surrender to the enemy.

It was none other than Jesus who laid out the requirements of following after Him; it was none other than Jesus who detailed what was required of a true servant and follower of His.

Luke 9:23, ‘Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

If not for the word ‘daily’ this verse wouldn’t be so bad for most people. Deny yourself once, pick up your cross once just to see how it feels, then you’re free to do what you want for the rest of your life. Jesus however emphasized that one word that’s like a fishbone stuck in the throat for some people, that one word being ‘daily.’ Daily deny yourself, daily take up your cross, daily follow after Him. These are the rules; these are the requirements; this is the standard!

Luke 14:23, “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

So what exactly must we forsake in order to be Christ’s disciples? Just the stuff we don’t really care about, everything except the one or two things that we think we can’t live without? ‘Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.’

All! The whole amount, quantity or extent of; every member or individual component of; the whole number or sum of; that is what forsaking all that we have means.

Jesus isn’t asking for your tithe, He isn’t asking for an hour on Sunday, He isn’t asking you to take a ‘missions trip’ to Cancun every other year, He’s asking for your all, and He will accept nothing less.

When the rich young ruler came to Jesus, although the Word tells us that Jesus looked at him, and loved him, after telling him that he lacked one thing, to go and sell whatever he had and give it to the poor, as he went away grieved Jesus didn’t try to stop him, or barter with him.

‘If you’re not willing to forsake all how about half? If you’re not willing to forsake half how about a third?’ These words never passed Christ’s lips, and though he loved the rich young ruler, He allowed him to go his way because God will not barter with any man for a percentage of his heart.

So the next time we begin to wonder why so few are filled with the Holy Spirit nowadays, consider how many are doing the things they must do in order to be ready to receive it and you will have your answer.

I write these things because I love you, and because my purpose is neither to garner fame, popularity nor the praise of men, but rather to be faithful to the One who redeemed me by His sacrifice, who bled and who died on a hill named Golgotha that I might have life in Him.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Why Must We Be Filled With The Spirit Part 2

Now that we’ve established why we must be filled with the Holy Spirit I want to discuss if only briefly since an entire series on the topic awaits your perusal, how it is that we can be filled with the Holy Spirit.

By a large margin, the most often asked question I receive in regards to the Holy Spirit is ‘how long do I have to wait?’ Unfortunately what many today have done is they’ve taken the ‘fast food, have it your way right away, delivered in thirty minutes or your money back’ mentality and superimposed it on the things of God.

‘But Brother Mike you don’t understand I prayed for a whole thirty minutes and nothing happened.’ (Excerpt from a real life conversation I had with someone concerning this topic.)

What we fail to understand is that it took three and a half years of being taught by Jesus for the disciples of Christ to be ready to receive the power of the Holy Spirit, and even then when they were all gathered together in prayer and fellowship they had to wait another forty days for the power to descend.

Yes there are certain things that we can do, that are incumbent upon us to do, that we might be filled with the Holy Spirit, but the timing thereof is up to God and God alone. I needed to make this clear, because men attempting to impose their will on God, and saying ‘do this for me now or else’ is a tragic epidemic within the house of God.

Although the timing is up to God, as I said, there are certain things that we must do in order to ensure that we are ready to receive when He is ready to pour out.

The first thing we must do in order to be ready for the infilling of the Holy Spirit, is to desire it. This desire must spring from the depth of our hearts, it must be real and palpable and burning. Some have not, because they ask not, and contrary to popular belief, no, this does not apply to prosperity but rather the fullness of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The disinterest concerning the things of God within His own house, is evident enough for anyone to see. The disinterest and lack of desire for the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit is likewise evident in many congregations. Weak preachers offer up weak teachings which in turn produce weak Christians who are content with the thirty minutes per week they spend listening to their randomly chosen ‘spiritual leader’ who goes out of his way to appease their sensibilities, coddle their sin, and stroke their ego. There is not an ounce of desire, there is not even an inclination to press in to pray, to seek, to want more of God, because more of God would mean less of self, and we couldn’t have that because after all, self is that which we love more dearly than God Himself.

I realize this may sound cynical, even jaded, blame it on the twenty five years I’ve been in ministry, but much of the church is filled with pretenders, with posers, with hypocrites of all shapes, sizes and positions within the hierarchies of their chosen denominations, who like the camaraderie of being in a fellowship setting, but not the sacrifice and self-renunciation that comes with being a child of God. Most people who attend church today prefer it this way, they prefer being part of a spiritualized version of the rotary club, or the Shriners club, or whoever wears those funny fezzes. No we don’t wear fezzes, the little silver fish on our back bumper is our version of it though, and as long as we pay our membership fee, and attend the mandatory by-annual meetings, Easter and Christmas, then we’re golden.

Even though the Word tells us we are a peculiar people, we have an aversion to being considered different by those of the world, and we do our utmost to blend in, to assimilate, and to fit in. The only way a child of God can blend in with the world, the only way a child of God can fit in with those of the world is to become more like the world and as a direct result less like Christ.

We must desire to be more than a nominal Christian; we must desire the fullness of God in our life; we must desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit; and we must be ready and willing to lay aside every stumbling block that stands in the way of seeing these desires come to pass.

If we do not desire these things, if we continually seek out negative examples to point to in order to justify our indifference, if we put off seeking after God because it’s just not the right time, we will never know the power to which we as children of God have access to.

Doctrinal positions notwithstanding, the Bible tells us we are not to grieve, despise or treat with contempt the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 4:30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”

To me, these passages sound more like commands than they do suggestions or an alternative means by which to approach the spiritual. We are not to grieve the Holy Spirit, we are not to quench the Holy Spirit, and we are not to despise prophecy which is a gift of the Holy Spirit. What could grieve the Holy Spirit of God more than not being believed, or having His entire existence, relevance, purpose and presence doubted, maligned, and marginalized by those who claim to be of Christ?

If we take a position on any given doctrine or dogma let’s make sure it is Biblically sound rather than denominationally acceptable. Being consistently biblical rather than consistently towing the denominational line will save us much heartache and disappointment throughout our lives.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Why Must We Be Filled With The Spirit Part 1

Since for the past few weeks I’ve been compiling the series on the Holy Spirit, and by any standard I’ve been in what one might call ‘a Holy Spirit frame of mind’, it was inevitable that at some point it would bleed through into my daily blog post.

As much as I tried to focus on another topic, or write about something else, I kept returning to this particular title, and the subsequent teaching. And so, today we will discuss why we must be filled with the Spirit. No, I am not jumping the gun on the series I’ve planned and this particular teaching is not part of the outline. It’s just something that has been on my heart for the past few days that has finally made its way to the forefront of my mind, and rather than spend the next few hours trying to write about something else and ending up writing about this topic anyway, I might as well proceed now without further delay.

Ephesians 5:18, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.”

So why is it that we must be filled with the Spirit? First and foremost we must be filled with the Spirit because it was commanded of us. Paul does not write and say instead of being drunk with wine I would highly recommend that you be filled with the Spirit, he doesn’t say being filled with the Spirit wouldn’t hurt, he doesn’t say it would be in your best interest to be filled with the Spirit, what Paul says in his epistle to the Ephesians is ‘be filled with the Spirit!’

It was a command that was not spoken only to the deacons, or the elders, the preachers or the evangelists of certain congregations, it was a command spoken to all who call themselves children of God. Be filled with the Spirit!

The second reason we must be filled with the Spirit is that there are no other alternatives, replacements or surrogates for it. In my younger years I used to buy cars, fix them up and sell them to earn a little money. When I would need a part, I had the option of either buying the original part from the dealer, or looking for an aftermarket outfit that made the same part but for allot less money. When it comes to having the Spirit, and being filled with the Spirit there are no other options, no aftermarket outfits that can offer you something almost identical at half the cost. We are either of the Spirit, or we are of the flesh, there is no third category to which we can subscribe.

Know this, sooner or later, that which we are filled with will become evident to all. If we are filled with the Spirit the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in our lives, not only on Sundays but throughout the week no matter where we might find ourselves or who we happen to come in contact with. When we are filled with the Spirit, it shows just as it shows when we are still of the flesh because try as we might to rein it in, the flesh will assert itself and make itself evident.

The third reason we must be filled with the Spirit is because it is a necessity in the life of the believer.

Why is being filled with the Spirit a necessity? No, it’s not because I say it is, but rather because the Bible proves it out. One of the greatest examples of why being filled with the Spirit is a necessity rather than a negligible option is the life of none other than the Apostle Peter.

None of us could deny the faithfulness and sacrificial nature of Peter, who having abandoned his business, his livelihood and his family followed after Christ faithfully. Faithful as he was however, when Peter was not filled with the Spirit he perceived all things through the prism of human understanding and reason.

When Jesus gathered His disciples unto Himself and informed them that soon He would be crucified, rather than perceiving the spiritual implications of this, rather than understanding that only by the sacrifice of Christ could we be reconciled unto God, Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him saying, ‘far be it from You Lord; this shall not happen to You!’

Peter perceived the situation through the flesh, through the prism of human understanding, and what he perceived was not the Lamb of God that would take on the sins of the world, but rather the death of his Rabbi, his Teacher, his Lord and his Friend.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is a necessity in the life of the believer because only by being filled with the Spirit can we perceive and understand things spiritually.

Another example from Peter’s life that is worth mentioning within the context of the necessity of being filled with the Spirit is the high estimation of self that Peter had before he was filled, declaring before Christ and all who would hear, that ‘even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.’

Just in case anyone missed that particular Sunday school class, Peter said this before denying Christ three times, and even cursed and swore that he did not know the Man. Before he was filled with the Spirit, Peter thought himself strong, Peter thought himself superior to his brothers, Peter believed that even if all the other disciples were made to stumble he himself would remain faithful and would never be made to stumble.

What a humbling experience it must be to realize that you are not as strong as you believed yourself to be, and that you have come to do what you never thought you would. This is the danger of trusting in self, in thinking that we can in and of our own strength do great exploits and show great signs of faith.

After being filled with the Spirit, Peter did go on to do great exploits, he went on to do great signs and wonders in the name of Christ, but he never again took the credit for it, he never again believed he could do it on his own.

We need the Holy Spirit today, we need Him in our churches, we need Him in our fellowships, we need Him in our families, we need Him in our lives, because only by the Holy Spirit can we have power, only by the unction of the Holy Spirit will our simple words captivate the hearts of learned men and cause them to weep tears of repentance.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Babel Unraveling!

History continues to repeat itself because man is utterly and hopelessly unoriginal. We possess about as much originality as jackals do social graces, and so, even though the small details might differ from generation to generation, at the heart, and the root of our actions, at the basic level and foundation of our undertakings we are our ancestors, those of old whom we so readily dismiss as backward, unthinking brutes who had no purpose other than their own survival.

Admittedly the tower we have attempted to erect is not as the tower of Babel in antiquity. Instead of brick and mortar we have chosen to use other materials but the underlying desire for building our own version of the tower is the same as those of old.

Today our brick is excess, and our mortar is independence from God. We have built and hurriedly so within the past few years, and with each brick we lay, with each pestle of mortar we lather on our self-importance only grows, and what we only dared to think in the dark of night concerning being the masters of our own destiny we now declare openly for all who would hear.

‘See, we have done this! It is we who have built and erected, it is we who have progressed and achieved, God is an antiquated concept to which we offer undue glory and undeserved thanks. It was never Him, it was always us.’

We have come to convince ourselves that not only could we achieve the greatest nation the world has ever known in and of our own prowess, but that we could maintain it for generations to come. We glibly told ourselves that the hardest part was behind us, that the difficult part was the building of this society, this nation, this ideal, this democracy, and maintaining it would be a walk in the park, a piece of cake, something that could be accomplished in our spare time and without much effort.

In the throes of hubris and our own self-importance we chose to dismiss and discount the lessons history would teach us, that it is in fact much more difficult to maintain an empire than to build one, that every empire that has existed since the beginning of history had a zenith then a decline, or that the downfall of every empire began with the downfall of morality and the destruction of family.

‘Others may have made those mistakes in the past, but we are wiser and more evolved, we will not repeat the mistakes of the ancients, we will ascend and ascend until we pierce the heavens, then go a bit further for good measure.’

Alas our Babel is unraveling, and the cracks in the edifice we’ve erected are already too deep and too pronounced to ignore. The God we thought was just a figment of our imagination, the God we thought we could forget, ignore and declare our independence from wasn’t sleeping after all, He was not on vacation or busy with other things, but in His infinite goodness, mercy and patience He waited to see whether we would perhaps awaken from our self-delusion and seek His face once more.

Instead of turning our hearts toward God however, we have accelerated the pace with which we are attempting to wipe clean the very memory of Him, we have accelerated the pace with which we glory in perversion and mock and scorn and abuse those who would cling to Him, who would worship Him, who would serve Him, and who would follow after His precepts.

As our Babel unravels there are some who insist that the remedy is to use more mortar, to further and in more violent ways declare our independence from God, because only when we are rid of Him for good, only when all those who still serve Him are thoroughly silenced can our Babel remain standing.

Little do they know that all it took for our Babel to come crumbling back to earth, all that it took for all that we built to disintegrate before our very eyes was for the God they scorn and mock and reject to remove His hand of blessing and protection from upon our nation.

What we are seeing is neither wrath nor judgment, it is not an angry God doling out justice with righteous indignation, these have not as yet commenced. All we are seeing presently is the removal of blessing, the removal of favor, the removal of protection, and the removal of peace.

When judgment comes and wrath is poured out it will be another matter entirely.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How To Be Obedient

John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

John 7:17, “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.”

It is undeniable that faith is tethered to obedience. One cannot possess faith in God without also possessing obedience toward God. These two aspects of our Christian walk are symbiotic, and they are interdependent. No man can say that they have faith in God, yet simultaneously be in disobedience or rebellion to the selfsame God they claim to have faith in.

As Samuel said to Saul so long ago, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

So how can we be obedient? How is it that we are to obey the voice of God, the urging of God, and the will of God for our lives?

The first we way in which we must be obedient, is with urgency of purpose or with immediacy.

One of the most vivid examples in the Word as to the dangers of delayed obedience occurred while Israel was making its way from Egypt toward the Promised Land.

Throughout their journey Israel had seen the hand of God upon them; they had seen the protection of God, as well as God intervening on their behalf. They were now within a stone’s throw away from laying hold of the promise of God, from taking that which God promised them, and they sent out spies to reconnoiter the land before them. Twelve spies were sent to Canaan that they might have a better understanding of who they were up against.

When the spies returned, ten of the twelve were distraught, already defeated before the first blow was struck informing the people that there was no possible way they would be able to overcome the Canaanites because they were giants, and the land itself devours its inhabitants.

Only Joshua and Caleb stood on the promise of God, and because they saw through the prism of the spiritual, rather than tell the people that the land devours its inhabitants, they said that the land is an exceedingly good land, a land which flows with milk and honey.

Numbers 14:9, “Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.”

Rather than heed the voice of Joshua and Caleb, rather than acknowledge the fact that the Lord was with them, and that the people of Canaan would be as food for their consumption, the entire congregation was ready to stone them with stones.

God had commanded a thing, He had proven Himself time and again, He had interceded on behalf of Israel, He had shown them His awesome power, and now the people wanted to stone the two messengers that brought them the truth.

Numbers 14:11-12, “And the Lord said to Moses: ‘How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”

God was angry, and justifiably so. Even though God had promised them the land before them, they chose not to believe Him. As such, God said that Israel would wander and die in the desert, and the only ones who would see the fulfillment of the promise, the only ones who would enter the land which God swore He would make Israel to dwell in would be Caleb and Joshua.

When the people heard this, they mourned greatly, and early the next morning they decided to obey the voice of God, but it was too late.

Numbers 14:40-45, “And they rose early in the morning and went up to the top of the mountain, saying, ‘Here we are, and we will go up to the place which the Lord has promised, for we have sinned!’ Then Moses said, ‘Now why do you transgress the command of the Lord? For this will not succeed. Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the Lord is not among you. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned away from the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.’ But they presumed to go up to the mountaintop; nevertheless, neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed from the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them, and drove them back as far as Hormah.”

When the people heard that due to their lack obedience they would be made to wander and die in the desert, they finally wised up and decided to obey God. It was however, too late, and even though they presumed to go up to the mountaintop, God was not with them, and they were driven back by the Amalekites and the Canaanites. If only they had obeyed the command of God without delay, if only they had trusted and believed, and gone up against their enemies rather than attempt to murder Joshua and Caleb, Israel would have been spared forty years of wandering in the desert, and that present generation would have not only seen but settled into the Promised Land.

We don’t obey God when we get around to it, we don’t obey God when it seems logical and reasonable in our own mind, we obey God with urgency and immediacy of purpose in whatever He asks us to do.

Matthew 21:28, “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.”

Today! ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ Not a week from now, not a month from now, not when you think the grapes are ripe enough to be plucked, today, go work in the Father’s vineyard.

The second way we must be obedient is with specificity.

Obey the command of God in all its fullness. If God commands a certain thing of us, then we must be obedient to the last and most finite of details.

Many believers today choose to play it by ear when it comes to obeying God. The ‘good enough’ mentality is alive and well among many servants, but when it comes to obedience ‘good enough’ won’t cut it.

God sends Samuel to Saul with a command. It is simple, straightforward, and absent of any ambiguity.

1 Samuel 15:3, “Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”

And so, Saul gathers the people together, goes to war against the Amalekites, and attacks them taking the entire nation. So far so good, but then Saul starts to think that ‘good enough’ is good enough, or that he knows better than God, and his obedience becomes incomplete.

1 Samuel 15:9, “But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.”

From a purely human standpoint, what Saul did was not so terrible. He showed mercy and spared the king of the Amalekites, spared the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings and the lambs, because let’s face it, the people could have used some good livestock, and why let it fall to the sword when they could use it, but in doing these things Saul also disobeyed the specifics of God’s command.

1 Samuel 15:10-11, “Now the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, ‘I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.’ And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night.”

Seems a little extreme doesn’t it God greatly regretting setting up Saul as king for sparing some livestock and the life of Agag? The livestock was not the issue, the spared life of Agag was not the issue, the issue was disobedience, or incomplete obedience of what God had commanded Saul to do.

1 Samuel 15:17-19, “So Samuel said, ‘when you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the Lord anoint you king over Israel? Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the Lord?’”

When you were small in your own eyes, you did not presume to interpret the mind of God, when you were small in your own eyes, you did not presume to know the mind of God, when you were small in your own eyes, you obeyed, not in general terms but in specifics, doing everything the Lord God commanded. May we continue to remain small in our own eyes, may we continue to lean not on our own understanding, may we continue to walk humbly, and obediently, with God, doing His will not in part but in the fullness thereof.

The third way we must be obedient is with all our heart.

It is undeniable that Balaam was indeed a prophet of the Lord. This is the selfsame man who had a vision of none other than Christ Jesus, when he said, ‘I see Him, but not now; I behold Him but not near; A star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel.’

Yet it was this selfsame man, who had such glorious visions, who allowed himself to be talked into coming against the people of God because a king made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. If we are God’s than we are God’s in our totality, with all our heart, with all our strength, with all our being, and with all our purpose. We let nothing stand in the way of our obedience toward Him, nor do we allow ourselves to be dissuaded by offers of possessions or positions.

May we be wise servants and as such obey God our Father with urgency, in totality, and with all our hearts.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How To Walk Led By the Spirit Part 5

The fourth action we must undertake in order to walk led by the Spirit is to submit to the will of God without delay.

Matthew 2:13-14, “Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word: for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.’ When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt.”

Joseph was a man who knew to submit to the will of God without delay. When the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and told him to arise, take the young Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, Joseph didn’t wake up the next morning and visit the neighbors to say goodbye, he didn’t go to his extended family to explain the situation, he didn’t wonder whether he would find a job in Egypt or if they had enough money to get there, he arose, took the young Child and His mother by night, and departed for Egypt.

Often times when God speaks an instruction, when He assigns us a task, when He commands us to do a certain thing, it is time sensitive. He does not speak to us today, that we might do what He commanded when we get around to it, when we have nothing more pressing, when time will allow it, or when we’re more rested.

When God speaks, He expects us to obey, and to submit to His will without delay.

I often wonder what would have happened if Joseph had put off fleeing to Egypt for a week, or a month, or until he finished his latest carpentry project. What would have happened if after the angel appeared to him in his dream, Joseph would have reasoned to himself that it wasn’t really a good time, or that he could protect the young Child on his own, or that there were just so many other things he had to get done before he could leave.

If we desire to walk led by the Spirit, we cannot begin to consider what we are leaving behind if God tells us to go, nor can we consider how we will arrive at our destination, or how it is that we will be able to fulfill the calling to which God has called us.

I have always loved Phillip for his unwavering obedience and submission to the will of God without delay or qualification.

Let’s be honest, what God asked Phillip to do was a difficult thing through the prism of human logic, and I dare say it was something very few ministers of the gospel today would be willing or able to do.

Phillip found himself in Samaria, preaching Christ, healing the sick, and casting out demons, and the people were so receptive that soon Philip was spearheading a full blown revival. Multitudes believed, multitudes were converted, there was great joy in the city, and at the height of it all an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip and told him to arise and go in the desert.

Philip did not try to reason with the angel of the Lord, he didn’t try to point out the fact that he was leading a massive revival, and the angel was telling him to go into the desert, he didn’t try to boost his self-importance by saying ‘I am needed here’, the Word tells us that Philip arose and went. No qualifiers, no further explanation, no attempt to beg off a journey into the desert, Philip simply arose and went.

God asked Philip to leave behind a revival and go into the desert, that one man, an Ethiopian eunuch, might hear the word of God and be converted and baptized.

Keep in mind, the angel didn’t tell Philip the purpose for which he was being sent out into the desert, he didn’t say ‘once you get there, there will be a chariot, and a man, and you’re going to get to tell him about Jesus’, the first instruction Philip received, was to go into the desert, and only after obeying the first part, did the Lord tell him to chase down the chariot and tell the Ethiopian of Christ.

This is the kind of submission God requires of us, and He will accept nothing less.

If He commanded, than He will make a way, if He called you then He will equip you, if He told you to speak then He will put words in your mouth, all that you must do is obey and submit to His will.

Yes, often times what God commands goes against the grain of human reason; yes, often times what God commands will take us out of our comfort zone; yes, often times what God commands will seem difficult at best; yes, often times what God commands will bring about the ridicule and scorn of family, friends and even brothers and sisters, but all we can do is remain faithful to the voice of God, and submit to His will.

Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

In times such as these, when deception upon deception is being perpetrated upon the house of God, when the faith of many is growing cold, when fewer and fewer individuals still retain the fire of their first love, being led by the spirit is not a luxury, or a perk, it is a necessity for every believer. Be led by the Spirit and you will have your fill of the spiritual succor so many are starving for. The Spirit will always lead you to the Word, and the Word will always provide spiritual nourishment, and having been spiritually nourished we will continue to grow from strength to strength, from grace to grace, and from faith to faith.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, July 18, 2011

How To Walk Led By The Spirit Part 4

The third action we must undertake in order to walk led by the Spirit is to activate and consistently use our discernment.

Acts 17:11, “These were more fair minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”

One of the great plagues of our modern era, one of the reasons much of the church finds itself in the spiritual condition it is currently in is lack of discernment. Few today possess the heart of a Berean; few today take the time to search the scriptures daily to find out whether the things they have heard are so.

In my years of ministry I’ve had the misfortune of hearing many distorted and outright heretical doctrines. Every time they are spoken with conviction and pathos, yet when I ask the individuals espousing them where such things can be found within the Bible, they begin to backpedal, stutter, and point to the individual who came up with said doctrine.

‘You’ve got to believe this brother Mike, it came from a reputable source, it came from a very popular minister, a well-known evangelist, how can you doubt the veracity of it?’

Because it’s not in the Bible!

We must have discernment when it comes to the things of God, and we must take the time to search the Scriptures and make certain that what we hear, what we receive, what we allow to take root in our hearts lines up with the Word of God.

When we entrust our spiritual nourishment to a third party, and blindly masticate and swallow everything they say, we run the risk of shipwrecking our faith and following after blind teachers who would have you follow them rather than follow Christ.

I hope and pray that if I ever start teaching transcendental meditation, multiple ways into the kingdom of God, the nonexistence of hell, and dozens of other unscriptural doctrines floating about, you would be wise enough, and discerning enough, and know the Word of God well enough to call me on it.

I’ve had people I thought were spiritually stable throw me curve balls insisting that Paul the Apostle was a demonic plant, an impostor who sought to lead the church astray, that ‘the rapture’ had already happened and we were living in the millennium, that it no longer matters if we sin, or what sins we commit because grace covers it all, and a host of other things.

And I used to wonder why my hair was turning gray!

Since we’re on the topic of discernment, I want to discuss if only briefly how it is that we can discern the voice of the Lord. Much could be said of discernment, but there are four ways in which we can know whether we are hearing from the Lord or not.

The first way we can know that what we are hearing is the voice of the Lord is that it will exhort us to holiness, righteousness and sanctification.

The voice of the Lord will never direct us toward licentiousness; the voice of the Lord will never direct us toward sin, covetousness, pride, arrogance, or self-righteousness. The voice of the Lord will always exhort to daily deny ourselves, to daily pick up our crosses, to daily follow humbly after Christ, and to daily strive for holiness and righteousness.

The second way we can know that what we are hearing is the voice of the Lord is that it will bring freedom in the Lord.

Men today, as in the days of old, are constantly attempting to bring people under bondage.

‘Do what I tell you, only listen to my teachings, only follow my doctrines, remain faithful to our denomination.’

This is not the voice of the Lord, because there is freedom in Him, and as wise servants we must listen to the voice of Christ, and follow the doctrines of Christ, and remain faithful to Christ, rather than to men.

The third way we can know that what we are hearing is the voice of the Lord is that it will bring peace.

The peace of which I speak is not the peace that the world can offer, but rather the peace that only Christ can offer. The peace the world offers is dependent on circumstances. If you’ve got a good paying job, if you’ve got your health, if you’ve paid off your house, if you bought the new car, then in the eyes of the world you have peace. The peace Christ offers rises above our circumstances, our hardships, our trials, and in the midst of them, in spite of them, we have true peace in Him.

The fourth way we can know that what we are hearing is the voice of the Lord is that it will compel us to altruistic and selfless love.

Do you see yourself greater in your own eyes, or do you see your brother greater than yourself? The voice of the Lord will compel us to humility, it will compel us to see ourselves not as spiritual juggernauts, not as theological giants, but as servants of the cross who have much to learn, and who have much to grow.

One thing is certain, God will not leave His children in the dark, He will not be silent toward their pleas, and if we take the time to listen, if we take the time to hear, God will speak to us, and we will know that it is His voice.

Too often however the voice of the crowd drowns out the voice of God, and in our desire to be part of the crowd we dismiss or discount the voice of the Lord. Men have this overriding desire to ‘belong’ whether it is to a certain church, a denomination, or a ministry, that causes them to overlook inconsistencies, or dismiss the voice of God because what God is saying goes against what the church or denomination is saying.

One of the more extreme examples are certain denominations that have now opened their doors and their arms to all manner of perversion, and those belonging to these denominations by and large continue to fill the pews and write their tithe checks.

‘I know that my denomination is taking an unbiblical stance, I know that they are going against the fundamentals of the Scripture, but I’ve been here for so long, and I have so many friends here, and it will be hard to integrate myself into a new congregation.’

And so, they remain in a polluted place, listening to polluted teaching, and given enough time they themselves will become polluted even though the voice of God told them to run, to flee, to wipe the very dust of the place off their feet because ‘Ichabod’ had been stenciled on the walls of the sanctuary and the glory of God had long departed.

Galatians 1:10, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

How To Walk Led By The Spirit Part 3

So how do we walk led by the Spirit? This after all is the topic of this teaching, and I can encapsulate how it is that we can walk led by the Spirit within four necessary actions.

The first action we must undertake, the first thing we must do in order to walk led by the Spirit is to come to a decision or realization.

Romans 6:11, “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The word ‘reckon’ in this verse, can also mean consider, both of which are verbs, which is the part of speech that expresses action. Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, come to that decision, then to that realization that you are alive to God in Christ Jesus, and as a direct result of being alive in Christ you are indeed dead to sin.

Romans 6:13, “And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”

Once again a decision then an action is required on our part, that we no longer present our members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but rather present ourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and our members as instruments of righteousness to God.

You must present your members as instruments of righteousness, you must reckon yourself to be dead to sin, you must decide to obey and follow after Him with all your heart. I cannot make the decision for you, neither can your parents or your spouse, we make this decision in the sight of God as individuals.

We cannot be mere spectators, waiting for the Spirit to descend, we must actively decide to pursue and desire and hunger for the greater things of God.

The second action we must undertake in order to walk led by the Spirit is to obey God in all things.

God is not a fan of selective obedience, He is not enthused, excited or elated when we choose to obey Him in certain areas of our lives, and disobey Him in others. Neither is He pleased when we choose disobedience rather than obedience because we knew there would be consequence and detriment to our person if we had obeyed. Often times God will command difficult things, He will place us in uncomfortable situations, He will require us to speak uncomfortable things to influential people, but no matter the circumstance, no matter the context, no matter the situation we must first and foremost be obedient to God.

One of the greatest examples of obedience within the Word of God is the prophet Elijah whom God commanded to go to the King and bring a message of rebuke, and a prophecy of judgment. Keep in mind, Ahab, the king at the time, was not known as a calm and coolheaded individual. In fact he was known for his temper, yet Elijah went as God instructed, and delivered a difficult message to a volatile king.

1 Kings 17:1, “And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be no dew nor rain these years except at my word.’”

After delivering the message from the Lord, Elijah was instructed to get away from there, turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith. At this point human logic would have assailed most individuals, and they would begin to reason to themselves that if they fled from before the face of the king, then the king would think them a coward, or if the Lord was truly with them why would they have to run and hide, but Elijah was accustomed to obeying God, he was accustomed to deferring all the decision making to the One who knew far better than he, and so Elijah obeyed the voice of the Lord.

1 Kings 17:5, “So he went and hid according to the word of the Lord, for he went and stayed by the brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan.”

Too often we make obedience difficult because rather than simply obeying God, we attempt to understand the mind of God, and perceive the finality of the journey He has set us upon. When we establish a relationship with God, we learn to trust God enough not to know the purpose of our task in its entirety, knowing all the while that He does have a plan, and in the end we will see in full what we had only seen in part.

If we study this chapter in the life of Elijah we come to realize that God gave him instructions piecemeal, one task at a time, one journey at a time, yet throughout it all Elijah did not murmur, complain, attempt to sway the mind of God, or set off on his own; he simply obeyed.

After being told to run and hide by the brook Cherith, after being fed by ravens in the morning and in the evening the word of the Lord came to Elijah again with the next set of instructions.

1 Kings 17:8-9, “Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”

As in his previous interaction with the Lord, Elijah arose and went. Obedience is a beautiful virtue, one necessary for us as children of God if we desire to walk led by the Spirit. If the Spirit is attempting to lead us, and we are constantly resisting Him, if He tells us to go to the right, and we go to the left because the road is better paved, we won’t get much done, and our progress will be minimal at best.

In order to understand just how much against the grain of human reason God’s command was, we must be aware that Zarephath was the birthplace and the hometown of Jezebel, Ahab’s wife. It was like being sent into the lion’s den, because surely she still had family and acquaintances there that would readily send a message to the king informing him that the man he had been hunting, the man whose head he desired to see severed from his body, was among them.

Another thing we must be aware of is that before Elijah got to see the flour and the oil multiply, before he got to see the resurrection of the gentile woman’s son, he had to be obedient in the little things, the seemingly insignificant things, like going from one place to another, then from that place to another still. If we are not obedient in the little things, we will never see the greater things of God. If we are not humble enough to perform humbling, insignificant, seemingly worthless tasks when God commands, then we can never expect to be used in a greater measure by Him.

God is not impressed by how capable we think ourselves to be, God is not impressed by how educated we think ourselves to be, He will not choose one vessel over another based on the seminary he graduated from, God seeks out obedient vessels, He seeks out humble vessels who go when He tells them to go, who speak when He tells them to speak, and who labor when He tells them to labor.

Most people today have a difficult time obeying the Scriptures which are established in their entirety, never mind a singular instruction from the Lord or a word of prophecy that reveals only part of a plan.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.