Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Besieged by Tolerance

Galatians 6:1, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.”

Certain words elicit specific responses. We react one way upon hearing words like kitten, puppy or rainbow, and a wholly different way upon hearing words like bypass surgery, colonoscopy, or scurvy.

Tolerance is one of those inoffensive words that elicits an agreeable response, and in our day and age tolerance has become big business. From governments running campaigns attempting to enlighten us, the ignorant masses, as to the beauty and harmony of tolerance, to it being used as a justification for indifference within the church, tolerance is the word of the day, and can be found on the lips of young and old alike.

Notwithstanding the fact that the very notion of tolerance, and what it is has been redefined to the point that silence is the only option we are given in regards to sin and perversion, one can rarely if ever open their mouth nowadays, even in a spirit of gentleness, without being labeled intolerant.

It has become almost impossible to fight the good fight of confessing Christ. Anyone who dares to call for a return to Christian values, anyone who dares to warn of the precipice toward which we are headed, is readily accused of being a religious fundamentalist, a fanatic, rigid, extremist, and bigoted.

The humble work of speaking truth, of speaking healing and reconciliation by the grace of God, finds itself pinned against the rigid wall of tolerance time and again. It is strange and absurdly ironic that those who foam at the mouth screaming tolerance at the top of their lungs are among the most intolerant people on the face of the earth when it comes to opposing points of view, or a denial of their pet perversion.

Wherever you turn, every hour of every day, you are being bombarded with everyone from preachers to politicians telling you, you must be tolerant. The message of tolerance has taken on such astronomical proportions that even those within the house of God have come to relativize sin, vice, immorality, and perversion, calling good evil, and evil good.

We have come to the point in our crippled culture, a culture given over to the desires of its own heart that ethicists are now saying merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life, and so, in their view, post birth abortions are perfectly fine, legitimate, and something they are in favor of. In order to feel the outrage I am currently feeling at this latest insanity, you must know two things. First, a post birth abortion is a nice way of saying murdering a newborn baby, and second and ethicist is supposed to be a philosopher who specializes in ethics. Oddly enough, ethics, the selfsame things that ethicists are supposed to specialize in are defined as the rules of conduct, or moral principles recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions, a particular group, or culture.

In the world of tolerance, the borders between good and evil, truth and deception, sacred and profane, have been erased. The spirit of tolerance demands that you accept men’s proclivities and abnormalities as their personal normalcy, doing nothing and saying nothing as you watch them marching deeper into the darkness.

The word of God teaches us to make the clear distinction between sin itself, and the sinful man. It likewise teaches us the difference between judging others, and restoring a brother in the spirit of gentleness. It is due to our indifference and the coldness of our hearts that we are quick to call warning someone, judging them.

If I see someone about to fall off a cliff and I call out to them, I am not judging them, I am not calling them foolish for not looking where they were going, or ignorant for not taking precautions against falling over the edge, I am warning them as to the danger that they are in, and hopefully keeping them from hurting themselves.

Being more tolerant than God is a sin. There was no other way I could have worded the previous statement, and I stand by it with every fiber of my being. It is a sin to attempt being more merciful or tolerant than God, as it is likewise a sin to attempt widening the narrow path of faith.

Although many have wrongly interpreted God’s love for tolerance, the Bible is very clear as to what must occur in our lives when we come to the knowledge of Christ.

No, we cannot remain as we were, we cannot think as we thought, we cannot act as we acted, nor can we pursue those things we once pursued which were not in accordance with, and adherence to God’s word.

Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

If we continue to be conformed to the world, then we are of the world, and if we turn a blind eye when our contemporaries live like those of the world, we are in essence being more tolerant than God is.

It is one thing to speak of the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, it is quite another to live in such a way that we prove out these things. Words are wind. They are empty and meaningless if we are not transformed by the renewing of our minds that we might prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.

John the Baptist was never tolerant of sin, Jesus was never tolerant of sin, Paul was never tolerant of sin, Peter was never tolerant of sin, yet somehow we think it fitting that we are.

We were not born into this world to be, but rather to become. Man is born into sin; man is born separate from God, and if man does not become saved, if he does not become transformed by the renewing of his mind, then he remains as he was.

Today, more than ever before in its history, the church is being called upon to preach a real gospel, the only force in the universe that can save the sinner. It is also being called upon to preach a a complete gospel, the only standard God ever established for the right living as well as the righteous judgment of every individual.

The gospel which Jesus preached and lived exhorts us to love, to accept and to restore, but for the sake of our souls and those who are still lost, we must not pervert it, transforming its essence into indifference, resignation and tolerance.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The World We Live In Part 5

So what are we to do? Having discussed corruption, having discussed the consequences thereof, having discussed how God feels about it, what are we as children of God to do in the face of it?

Ought we to be indifferent toward it? Ought we to promote it as some have taken to doing? Ought we to condemn it or condone it? Ought we to isolate ourselves from it? And what do we do if it doesn’t stop? What do we do if corruption continues to grow, and besmirch even more minds and hearts with its influence?

The first thing we must do as individuals in regards to corruption is flee from it. It is incumbent upon us as individuals to guard our hearts, and to be the watchmen of our own conscience.

I realize this is not the answer some were expecting, but it is a biblical answer nevertheless. From Joseph fleeing from before Potiphar’s wife, to Timothy being exhorted of Paul to flee youthful lusts, there is wisdom in fleeing from even the appearance of evil.

1 Corinthians 10:12, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”

Many who thought to dialogue with corruption, many who thought to make a truce with it discovered that given enough time, they were overcome by it. You don’t dialogue with sin, you don’t try to find common ground with corruption, you flee from it, you guard your heart, and you run into the arms of Jesus, your protector.

The second thing we must do as individuals in regards to corruption is adopt the same mindset as God when it comes to it. In recent years there has been a resounding divergence between the way God sees certain things, and the way we, His servants, see the selfsame things. The opinion of the servant cannot differ from that of his Master. If God calls it sin, we must likewise call it sin, even though the world does not see it as such and embraces it. We make allowances where no allowances can be made, and because we take it upon ourselves to think we are wiser than God, we find ourselves thoroughly shackled and ensnared.

There is but one way to escape the wrath of God, there is but one way to dwell in safety, and that is by obeying the voice of God, and adhering to His word.

Proverbs 1:33, “But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.”

Dwelling safely, being secure, and living without fear of evil are just a few of the many benefits of obedience toward God. When we obey God, we are certain of His protection, when we obey God we are certain of His guidance, and we know that He will not lead us astray, nor lead us to withered pastures.

When what God commands and what men say that God commanded are contradictory to each other, it is our responsibility to go to the word of God, and see the truth for ourselves. It is incumbent upon us to be diligent in the knowledge of God’s will, that we might not be led astray by those who would have vested interests, and ulterior motives for teaching what amounts to abject heresy.

Proverbs 2:10-14, “When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you, to deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things, from those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness; who rejoice in doing evil, and delight in the perversity of the wicked.”

At this juncture perhaps some of you may be asking yourselves, and rightly so, if there is nothing we can do in order to stop or at least slow down the spread of corruption. Are we fated to be mere spectators? Is all we can do stand by and watch as the world fractures and crumbles all around us? Are we called to be mere accusers, to point the finger, to proclaim divine judgment and nothing more? Is our calling only to be a Jonah of sorts?

What we can do, is what Jesus did. Jesus came, He prayed, and He lived as a light for others, and as the salt of the earth, teaching all who would hear how they might be reconciled unto God. Jesus offered the possibility of transformation from a sinful nature, to a glorious one, a nature renewed of mind and heart, preaching repentance and forgiveness of sins.

We know not how many people we will be able to reach, we know not how many people we will be able to influence, but our duty remains the same nevertheless. Our duty before an eternal God is to preach Christ and Him crucified, to preach redemption through the shed blood of Christ, and salvation through His precious name.

Yes, we are to remain incorruptible in a corrupt world, and this is only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us and through us, and our obedience to the word of God.

Though you might be as Noah or Lot, alone among the corrupt, your duty remains ever the same. Be as Christ was, doing as Christ did, and living as Christ lived.

To this day the message of the cross continues to transform, and Jesus, through His servants, continues to change the world one person at a time.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The World We Live In Part 4

The eight aspect of corruption that is undeniable, is that God hates it. Yes, God hates! He hates corruption, He hates the effect it has on His children, He hates proud looks, and lying tongues, and hands that shed innocent blood, as well as hearts that devise wicked plans and feet that are swift in running to evil.

Proverbs 6:16-19, “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”

The ninth aspect of corruption that is evident throughout the word of God is that He punishes it. Even though God is patient, even though God is merciful, even though His grace extends beyond human comprehension, the day comes when He punishes corruption, and justifiably so.

Seeing as corruption is present in the world, more so than ever before, seeing as it exists, one wonders what its effects are. Why has corruption become so pervasive even within the church? Does it offer us something positive? Does it make us better people? Does it make us healthier, wiser, more useful or more fulfilled? What does the experience of past generations tell us concerning corruption?

Genesis 6:5-6, “Then the Lord saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”

Noah was born about twenty years after Adam’s death, and it is during Noah’s time that the Lord saw the wickedness of man becoming great in the earth. Wickedness, corruption, sin, rebellion, disobedience, all these things grieve God’s heart. God’s heart is no less grieved today, than it was upon seeing the wickedness of Noah’s generation, for He is the same God, with the same tender heart.

When God is grieved, when God is angered, we must always remember that His grief and His anger are well motivated, and justified. God doesn’t get angry like men get angry. He doesn’t have good days and bad days, reacting accordingly. When He is angry, God’s anger is well founded.

So what becomes of a people that have stirred the wrath of God? What becomes of a nation, or even a world that refuses to repent, that refuses to seek after righteousness, and the intent of the thoughts of their hearts is only evil continually?

Genesis 6:7, “So the Lord said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’”

When God punishes corruption, when God punishes sin, when God punishes evil, He does so in a frightfully complete and thorough manner. Nothing could save those of Noah’s generation or the citizenry of Sodom and Gomorrah, rich and poor alike paying the price for their corruption.

Throughout the history of man, corruption has brought nothing positive or uplifting. Without fail, corruption destroys lives, it destroys families, and it destroys nations.

No man in his right mind can desire the effects of corruption, but due to the masks that it wears, and the falsehoods it promises, millions upon millions have given their hearts over to it nevertheless.

As God continues to warn and we ignore His warnings, as God continues to call out and we pretend as though we have not heard His voice, as God continues to reach out and no one regards Him, eventually all that is left for Him to do is to give men over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.

Proverbs 1:24-31, “Because I have called you and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my reproof, I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, when your terror comes like a storm, and your destruction comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, they would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies.”

As the days grow darker, and the future grimmer, we refuse and disregard and disdain God at our own peril. It’s not as if He hasn’t tried, it’s not as if He hasn’t reached out, it’s not as if He hasn’t counseled. It is we who have ignored Him, it is we who have disregarded Him, it is we who took it upon ourselves to remove ourselves from under His authority and protection.

If today we do not repent and seek God’s face, if today we do not humble ourselves and pray, the day will come when we will call upon Him and He will not answer, when we will seek Him diligently, and not be able to find Him.

We either follow the way of God, or eat the fruit of our own way. We either serve Him, and worship Him, and obey Him, or one day soon we will be filled to the full with our own fancies.

Perhaps we’ve grown accustomed to the stench of corruption that is permeating the world today. Perhaps we’ve grown used to the smell of hypocrisy and sin within the house of God, but it is still a stench in His nostrils.

The world may be changing at a rapid pace, but God has not changed, and that which He judged in times past, He will judge once more, in righteousness and holiness.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The World We Live In Part 3

The fifth aspect of corruption we must never forget, is how hideously ugly it truly is. Try as it might to mask itself, try as it might to camouflage itself, try as it might to conceal its true nature, at its heart the corruption that is in the world, is hideous and ugly and disfigured and putrid.

If corruption is ugly on its own turf, if it is foul even in the world, it is doubly so when seen within the church.

In a perfect world, a world that God envisioned for His children, the corruption of the world would never be seen within the church. Sadly, due to our continual rebellion, due to our continued disobedience, due to our continual concessions in the hope that the world would embrace us, corruption is flourishing within the fellowship, and few even bother to preach the righteousness and holiness of God any more.

For those that still insist on preaching righteousness, repentance, holiness, and obedience, for those that still lift high the name of Jesus, and preach the whole counsel of God, it is an uphill climb to say the least, trying to stay true to Scripture while sidestepping the sticks and stones and arrows and rotten tomatoes being hurled at you not only by the world, but also by those you considered brothers, and fellow soldiers in the fight.

The sheep no longer care that the shepherds are accountable to God. They no longer care that they will one day have to stand before an omniscient God and answer for the omissions, the exclusions, and the diluted gospel the sheep demand the shepherds preach.

‘Tell us good things preacher! We pay your salary, we buy your food, we make the payments on your parsonage, and we leased you that new car. You’d better tell us something we want to hear, you’d better tell us we’re the apple of God’s eye, and no sin we commit, no matter how untoward, will be held against us.’

It’s not as though the word of God didn’t warn us that these times would come. It’s not as though this has never happened before. Yes, men, with the frequency and consistency of a Swiss timepiece fashion for themselves leaders that are nothing more than echo chambers, repeating to them the high and lofty opinions they already have of themselves.

Because shepherds no longer shepherd, and leaders no longer lead, the corruption that is in the world now also has a place of honor in many a church. From abortion, to homosexuality, to adultery, to prostitution, to drunkenness, to rebellion, to divorce, to theft, to deception, all these things and more are comfortably ensconced within the church. Those who embrace such things, are in turn embraced, classified as luminaries of their generation, progressive thinkers who wouldn’t let something as pesky as the word of God stand in the way of the overall global agenda.

I don’t know, I guess I’m just in one of those moods today, but I know that most of the few who are still preaching the truth nowadays are feeling pretty much as beat up and scarred as I am. We’re preaching something nobody wants to hear, even though it’s the word of God, and all we get in return is people hating us, and tearing us down every chance they get. I’ve never seen more vicious and vitriolic backlashes than when you highlight someone’s pet sin, or pet doctrine, and disprove their assertions or rebuke their sin biblically.

As a friend of mine said recently as we were having a cup of coffee and discussing the current spiritual climate throughout the world, ‘I’m glad heaven’s forever, because it might just take me that long to heal up and rest up from the battles I’ve been going through these past few years.’

Just remember this: someone willing to tell you a difficult truth loves you more than someone who indulges your flesh with a comfortable lie.

The sixth aspect of corruption that is self-evident is its deceptive nature. The corruption of the world is deceptive! It promises revelry and freedom and joy and bliss, and all it gives is bitterness and hopelessness and emptiness and darkness.

Everyone who has ever attempted to make a deal with the devil has always gotten the short end of it. No matter how great it looked from the outside, whatever it was the devil promised in return for one’s compromise, turned out to be less than advertised.

That momentary pleasure came with a terminal disease, that indiscretion came with a well-deserved and public shaming, the world’s embrace came at the expense of God’s offense, and the twisted gospel that propelled you to unimagined heights came at the expense of men’s souls.

The enemy will never give you something for nothing. Yes, he is generous, seemingly exceedingly so, promising Jesus the world, if only He would bow and worship him, but what he wants in return for his generosity is always worth more than what he is offering.

Matthew 4:8-10, “Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

The seventh aspect of corruption that we must likewise be mindful of is that God is not ignorant of it. He knew of the corruption in Noah’s generation, He knew of the corruption of Sodom, He knew of the corruption of the Canaanites, He knew of the corruption of His own people, as well as the corruption of Nineveh, and dealt with each accordingly and at the appointed time.

God is not blind and God is not deaf. He sees, and He hears, and He will judge all things in righteousness beginning with His own house.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The World We Live In Part 2

The second aspect of corruption we must be aware of is that it is generalized. Corruption is no longer contained, it no longer has borders, and it doesn’t play by the rules. No matter the nationality, no matter the age group, no matter what rung of the social ladder one happens to be perched upon, corruption is now a generalized condition.

One cannot say that only a certain nation, a certain city, a certain neighborhood, a certain school, or a certain social class is corrupt, for the malignancy of corruption that is in the world through lust, has infiltrated every strata and every demographic.

Corruption is in the hearts of men, and sadly those of corrupt minds and hearts are in the majority nowadays. The dirtiest, filthiest place in the world is man’s heart, because perversity resides there. It is from the heart that all manner of evil originates, even if the outlet of that evil might be one’s mouth, one’s hands, one’s eyes, or one’s feet. The root of evil action stems from the heart of man which harbors evil intent.

Matthew 15:18-19, “But those things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”

The third aspect of corruption that we must take into account is that it is expanding. Corruption is always growing, it is always multiplying, it is always attempting to find new crevices, new chinks, new hearts to leech its way into and begin its destructive work. Although some are hoping for a contraction of corruption, although some are hoping that men, of their own initiative will see how destructive a force it is, we see the opposite taking place.

Seemingly on a daily basis now something new occurs, that causes us to shake our heads and wonder if only to ourselves how much further into the abyss is it possible to descend. What once was seen as a perversion, and a sin, is now accepted as normalcy, as something to be celebrated and embraced. The more corruption spread, the more it expanded, the more the hearts and minds of men were likewise corrupted into calling evil good and good evil.

We’ve developed cute and cuddly names for corruption, inoffensive names that one would be hard pressed to find fault in, and anyone who would dare stand against the fury of the tide attempting to do away with the notion of morality, is summarily criminalized and labeled as being hateful and intolerant.

The fourth aspect of corruption that is self-evident in our day and age is that it is encouraged. We are the generation that glories in shame, that revels in perversion, and that rewards the abjectly immoral. Examples are ample and already well known enough that it would be redundant for us to revisit them in detail.

No one blushes over the corruption of their hearts any more, the flaunt it and highlight it, and demand that everyone accept it as normal. We have redefined words like aberrant, deviant, or anomalous to such an extent that if you disagree with the pervasive corruption sweeping the world, you are the one who is anomalous and deviant.

It used to be, and not even that long ago, that parents encouraged their children to get an education, find a decent job, get married, buy a house, have some children, and establish their family unit.

Nowadays however, the message that is reaching children is that you can forego education, as long as you get a few face tattoos, get addicted to crack, have a few children out of wedlock, start robbing senior citizens of their pension checks, and subsist on a diet of goat hearts and sea algae. Do these things and you’ll get a reality television show, live in the lap of luxury, and enjoy untold fame and fortune.

The more aberrant one is in their conduct, actions, and practices, the greater the chances of being ‘discovered’ and made a star.

Normalcy is boring, it is outdated, and it is clichéd. What, you have a job, and you’re married, and you pay your taxes, and you try your best to keep a roof over your children’s heads and food on the table? Next you’ll tell me you still believe in God and go to church. That’s not normal!

The new normal is abandoning your kids, stepping out on your spouse, surgically altering yourself until you’re equal parts plastic and flesh, being obsessed only with yourself and your own personal wellbeing, believing there is nothing greater in the universe than the human spirit, and despising anyone that still holds to the values and morals that defined this nation until recently.

The more we encourage corruption, the more we reward it, applaud it, and demand that everyone tolerate it, the more it will grow, and spread, and consume, because that is the essence of its nature, that is the reason it exists.

I fear it is not a far leap at all from demanding that everyone, everywhere embrace corruption, to actively seeking to punish those who refuse to do so. If you still believe the word of God to be true, if you still believe that the values and morals of the Bible are a good foundation, if you still follow after Jesus, then you dear sir or madam are standing in the way of progress, you are among the unenlightened that need be weeded from among the masses that they might attain their utopia, wherein there is no God, no rule of law, no morality, no values, and no consequence.

And so, we descend further into the abyss, with smiles upon our faces.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The World We Live In Part 1

2 Peter 1:2-4, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Every generation has had its own identifying characteristics. The one characteristic every generation has shared is that of corruption. Two thousand years ago, Peter writes to his fellow brothers in Christ, and although his generation was not as advanced and cosmopolitan, corruption was still an evident sign of the times.

Throughout the ages the corruption that is in the world has been both constant and undeniable, because man’s fallen nature is given to its ways.

Our world is very different than that of Peter, Paul, Luke, Mark, Matthew and the rest of the Apostles. We are more informed, more connected, in our own estimation more educated, and have undeniably easier lives than they did, yet the corruption that is in the world has remained the same as far as its nature goes, only growing in size, and exponentially so.

So why talk about the corruption of the world we live in? Because it is something that we can neither ignore, nor pretend does not exist. It is because the household of faith has consistently attempted to sweep the corruption of the world that has wormed its way into the church under the rug, that the lines between the saved and the unsaved have been blurred, and rather than white as snow, many calling themselves believers today are wearing grey garments instead. We have escaped the corruption that is in the world, but we must be cautious, ever guarding our hearts, that we do not return to it; that we do not willingly put back on the shackles from which Christ through His blood freed us.

Many believers have taken the ‘ignore it and it will go away’ stance when it comes to the corruption of the world, but the evidence proves that ignoring it has only emboldened it, allowing it to spread and metastasize unchecked.

One of the most important aspects of any battle, any war, any skirmish, is that you know your enemy. If you know your enemy, the weapons he has at his disposal, and the tactics he employs, not only will you know how to defend yourself, you will also see the weaknesses in his methodology, and be able to exploit them to your advantage.

The corruption of the world is one of our enemy’s weapons, a weapon he makes use of with great success. It is a weapon that can be blunt or subtle, focused or generalized, playing the victim when it suits its interests, but also applying force when it is needed.

The nature of the corruption that is in the world can be broken down into nine different aspects.

The first aspect of corruption that we can all clearly see is its immensity. Corruption has grown out of control, it has reached a zenith, and even those who once escaped it now tolerate it for fear of being hounded and persecuted by the world. The stench of corruption is palpable, and the tentacles thereof are readily visible to anyone who has eyes to see. We see it in the home, in the streets, in the high places and the insignificant ones, in the government, in the schools, and sadly, often times even in the church. The attacks of the enemy are so pervasive, so persistent and so prevalent, corruption is so widespread, that many believers are just getting worn down, wearier with every battle fought, knowing that another will commence before they have time to catch their breath.

Yes, we have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, but we have not become immune to it. We are neither invulnerable nor are we insusceptible to the corruption of the world. We have broken out of its prison by becoming partakers of its divine nature, but those who would enslave us once more, those who would see us in shackles, drowning in the pollution they have embraced, still roam the landscape looking for their next victim, looking for the next believer foolish enough to have let their guard down.

The Bible never tells us we will not be tempted, it tells us to resist temptation. Scripture never tells us that the enemy will not attempt to mount an attack against us, it tells us to resist the devil, and upon resisting him, he will flee. The word of God never tells us that we will never have to do battle, it tells us to put on the whole armor of God that we may stand in the evil day.

Fire burns, sin kills, and corruption corrupts. The indifferent, apathetic attitude many have toward the corruption of the world, stems from the belief that they are beyond it, unaffected, and impervious.

Due to this aura of invincibility that many have, they stop watching, they stop guarding their hearts, they begin to flirt with the corruption and pollution of the world that they had previously escaped, and soon enough, the love wanes, the fire burns out, and they are once again entangled in the selfsame things they had been delivered from.

2 Peter 2:20-21, “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Journey of the Soul

The book of Habakkuk has always fascinated me. I think what fascinates me more than the book itself, is the honesty and forthrightness with which Habakkuk the prophet pours out his heart, writing openly about his life, the different stages of his walk with God, and the decisions that he made.

Habakkuk is classified as one of the Minor Prophets, and the book of Habakkuk is eighth among the twelve books of the Minor Prophets towards the end of the Old Testament.

As I was rereading this admittedly short, yet profoundly impacting book, I started jotting down some notes regarding what I was personally taking away from Habakkuk’s conversation with God, having more to do with our daily lives, than the prophetic implications of it.

The first thing I jotted down, and underlined repeatedly is that even men of God go through trying times, and discouraging moments. Being a believer does not exempt us from going through hardships, from being discouraged, from suffering loss, from feeling pain, or from having our hearts broken.

Habakkuk was a man discouraged. Habakkuk saw the discrepancy between the wicked and the righteous; he observed how the righteous were being surrounded by the wicked, and concluded to himself that God was not intervening the way he would have wanted Him to.

Although nobody likes to be discouraged, there are various examples of some of the most renowned men of faith being discouraged in the Bible. From Abraham, who was discouraged and asked that Eleazar be his heir, to Elijah who was so discouraged that he asked God to kill him, to David, and even the Apostle Paul; men of God have gone through their moments of discouragement.

If you are discouraged today, do not despair. You are not alone, nor is it something abnormal in the life of a believer.

Moments of discouragement are frequent traveling companions in our lives, and in those moments we are tempted to think that the promises of God belong in the past, we are tempted to believe that God has forgotten us, we are tempted to murmur, and on occasion we are tempted to judge God and our fellow man as Habakkuk attempted to do.

Habakkuk 1:2-4, “O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ and You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds.”

Since it is as impossible to avoid discouragement in this life as it is growing old, the question we must ask is what must we do when we are discouraged? Do we just endure discouragement, do we tell others about it, do we look for the cause, do we find someone to blame, or do we console ourselves with the knowledge that others are going through it as well?

The wise thing to do when we are discouraged is to do what Habakkuk did.

Knowing who God is, knowing what He can do, Habakkuk tells God what he sees, he tells God what is bothering him, He tells God why he is discouraged, and also what his expectations are. Habakkuk is polite, yet insistent in his pleas to God, and God answers him.

As God begins to speak to him, Habakkuk’s hope is rekindled as he remembers the nature of God, the power of God, the holiness of God, and the plan of God for the righteous as well as the wicked.

Habakkuk 1:12, “Are You not from everlasting, O Lord My God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, You have appointed them for judgment; O Rock, You have marked them for correction. You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness.”

Even though the present had not changed, Habakkuk’s hope was rekindled upon being reminded that he served an unchanging God, a God who is faithful to those who remain faithful, and who keeps His promises no matter the circumstances.

If today you are discouraged, if today you are disheartened, remember the God you serve. Remember His faithfulness, remember His mercy, remember His holiness, remember His steadfastness, and let your hope be rekindled.

There are many things concerning tomorrow of which we are ignorant, but one thing we can be certain of in perpetuity, and that is the nature of the God we serve.

Habakkuk’s journey of the soul took him from the valley of despair and the crushing weight of discouragement to the heights of hope in God, not because circumstances changed, not because things began to fall into place the way he’d expected them to, but because he remembered His God, and the faithfulness of Him.

Habakkuk knew that in His time God would judge justly between the wicked and the righteous. He knew that in His righteousness God had to judge Judah, but he also realized that Judah would be restored once they repented.

Bring to remembrance the love God has for you, bring to remembrance the faithfulness He has shown you, bring to remembrance the promises He has made to you, and your discouragement will be a passing and fleeting feeling, rather than a continual state of being.

Romans 11:22, “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Apple and The Tree!

Judges 2:10, “When all the generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.”

We are all aware of such classic idioms as ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, like father like son’, or ‘a chip off the old block.’ As homey as these idioms might sound, and as often used as they might be, children aren’t apples, and often times one can find little similarity between a son and his father, or a daughter and her mother.

The word of God itself disproves the myth that a son will automatically take after his father, and it does so in a very heartbreaking way.

The generation that had known God, the generation that had seen the power of God, the generation that brought to remembrance all that God had done for the people of Israel had gone back to the earth, and been gathered to their fathers.

A new generation arose, and if the sayings held true, then the sons and daughters of those that had passed on, ought to have been as faithful, as true, as obedient and worshipful of the one true God as their fathers had been. Alas, the word of God tells us that this new generation knew neither the Lord, nor the work which he had done for Israel.

Yes, a new generation arose, but while the previous generation knew the fear of the Lord, the new generation had no fear of Him, and while their fathers worshiped God, the new generation wanted nothing whatsoever to do with Him.

Even for someone such as me, who as yet has no children, this passage in Judges was heartbreaking and it stirred certain questions within my heart to which I was hesitant to give voice.

What happens when a generation which does not follow in its forefathers’ footsteps arises and reaches maturity?

History tells us that the result of such an event is tragic, catastrophic and heartrending.

Judges 2:11-14, “Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. They forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies.”

Notice that the new generation did not stop worshipping, nor did they abandon worship. They simply switched gods. Rather than serve the Lord God, they began to serve Baal, and the Ashtoreths, which were the goddesses of the people who were all around them.

What does this have to do with the present generation?

It only takes eyes to see and ears to hear that this present generation has done what those who provoked the Lord to anger did. They have cherry picked attributes that appealed to them, borrowed from the practices of those around them, and fashioned for themselves their own personal deity, their own personal god, which is not the one true God.

Israel still held to its rituals, it still held to its name, it still held to the Temple and the celebrations, but they had turned their hearts away from God, and had embraced other gods in lieu of the Lord.

Although we still claim to be a Christian nation, although as yet we still have ‘in God we trust’ on our currency, our hearts have likewise turned away from Him, and that which we worship is something other than the God of the Bible.

We still call ourselves Christians, just as the Jews called themselves the people of God, but their actions proved them liars, just as our actions, our conduct, and our choices prove that our hearts are far from God.

Even the Levites, those responsible for the spiritual wellbeing of the people strayed from the path of righteousness, and began to practice those things which God had decreed as unlawful.

The parallels we can draw from these dark pages in Israel’s past are almost infinite, and we can see history repeating itself before our very eyes.

It is their abandonment of the one true God, and their indifference towards Him that provoked God’s anger, and compelled Him to withhold His blessing and His protection from them.

Israel being delivered into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them, and being sold into the hands of their enemies all around, was the direct result of their actions, and their rebellion against the Lord their God.

It wasn’t that God kept Himself hidden from the new generation that arose, it wasn’t that He was more difficult to discover than He had been for past generations, they did not want to know Him, they did not want to seek Him, they turned their backs to Him, and surrendered their hearts to other gods.

Men, nations and generations make choices, and everyone must suffer the consequences of their actions and the choices they’ve made to the full. We abandon, reject, and rebel against God at our own peril, and we seek and embrace the ways of the world at our own risk.

The roadmap to getting ourselves out of the mess we’ve made has not changed, nor has the prescription to cure the disease that ails us. It has been the same from generation to generation, as available and guaranteed to work today as it was during the ancient times: repent, seek God, and obey Him!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Among Them but Not Like Them!

Genesis 21:34, “And Abraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines many days.”

Everybody has to be somewhere. Everybody has to live among a people, a nationality, among individuals with customs and traditions, people with gods and idols, people with practices and predilections contrary to the word of God. Yes, it would be far simpler for there to be one Christian nation, to which we could all emigrate, wherein everyone served Jesus, lived righteousness, and worshipped God in unity and love.

Even the most optimistic and positive among us knows that’s never going to happen. Just as Abraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines many days, we also sojourn in someone’s land, but there is a vast difference between living among a people, and becoming like the people among which we live.

The congregation of God began its activity in Jerusalem. Officially, Jerusalem is the birthplace of Christianity, yet even among the most religious men of their generation the followers of Christ lived differently once Christ became Lord and King of their lives. They continued in prayer and supplication, and in the teachings of the Apostles, in Jerusalem but separate in conduct, purpose, and practice from those of Jerusalem, who had not received the Christ.

After a time, the church is scattered throughout the region due to persecution, and the Christians once of Jerusalem, reach Judea, Samaria, Antioch, Corinth, Rome, and scores of other cities, yet their daily lives do not begin to reflect the lives of those living in those cities, nor do they attempt to amalgamate themselves and blend in with the rest of the citizenry.

The people of the cities to which the followers of Christ fled saw the difference in their daily lives, they saw their Christ centeredness, and began to call them Christians.

As the Apostles began to go on missionary journeys, as they began to travel and preach the gospel of the risen Christ, their message was evidently similar, and almost identical, no matter where they went.

Those of Rome are told to live differently than the Romans. Those of Corinth are told to live differently than the Corinthians. Those of Galatia are told to live differently than the Galatians. Those of Crete are told to live differently than the Cretans. Are we starting to see the pattern yet or should I go on?

Peter writes to those who had scattered, and admonishes them to be holy and righteous. James writes to his fellow brothers in Christ and asks them to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the name Jesus. John writes to the churches and commands them not to love the world or the things of the world. Jude tells us to live differently, and contend for the faith.

The question isn’t where should we flee; the question is how should we live?

The church has been crippled as of late because we’ve bought into the notion that in order to affect the world, we must become more like the world. Not only have we discounted the word of God, we’ve proceeded to practice such things as are wholly contradictory to it.

We will always be among them; we will always be among those of the world regardless of the geographical location we happen to find ourselves, but no matter where we are the Bible commands us not to be like them.

Noah lived among a sinful generation, but he was not like them. Lot was in Sodom, yet he was not like its citizenry. The Jews were in Egypt, but they were not allowed to adopt Egyptian customs. Later, they would reach Canaan, and still they were commanded not to live as the Canaanites. When they would reach Assyria, the people of God were commanded not to live like the Assyrians. In Babylon, they would live different than the Babylonians.

Christ left us in the world, but told us both implicitly and explicitly that we ought not to live as the world lives, that we ought to be different, that we ought to be set apart.

If we are of Christ, and in Christ, then our nature, our convictions, and our hope must be different than those of the world. We can live anywhere on the face of the earth, but if we are called by His name there is a standard by which we must live.

Wherever we might be, wherever God might lead us to go, our duty is still to be the light in the darkness, the salt of the earth, the life among the dying, the honest among the corrupt, the humble among the proud, the hopeful among the hopeless, and the loyal among the traitorous.

It is our duty to be good among the evil, to be awake among the slumbering, to be watchful among the indifferent, to be faithful among the faithless, to be hot among the lukewarm, to bless among those who curse, and to do good to those who would do us evil.

We must pray, strive, and endeavor to be children of God among the devil’s brood, to be alive among those who are dead, to be meek among the arrogant, and to be holy among a sinful world that is headed toward its judgment on swift feet.

Until that blessed day when we will see our Lord descending from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, we will be living among those of the world, but if we are saved and sanctified we will not be living like those of the world.

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 has called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Path You've Chosen!

During the first few hours after my last post, the choice between which study series to pursue seemed like a no contest, slam dunk, decision. During the ensuing days however, the balance shifted the other way and overwhelmingly so. Not being one to build unwarranted suspense, the decision to which you came, and the path you’ve chosen to pursue, is the teaching series on prayer, entitled, ‘Lord, Teach Us To Pray’.

Seeing the first few comments glide across my screen, I was so certain that it would be the other series, that I had actually started writing out the first teaching. Alas, you have spoken, I have heard, and we will table the ‘Learning from Ordinary People’ series until after we’ve completed the one on prayer.

As Julie, who was so committed to having her vote counted that she e-mailed the hand of help office wrote, ‘My vote is for the series on ‘Lord, Teach Us To Pray’. It seems logical following a teaching on the Holy Spirit that we each learn how to communicate with Him and through Him to God. Every one of us will need the strength we will receive from His presence to endure the things that will soon be upon us. Thank you for the opportunity to have a say in what you will be teaching. Whatever the choice is, I will be reading your blog every day.’

I agree wholeheartedly that a teaching on prayer is a natural progression after the teaching on the Holy Spirit, and after perusing the outlines I’ve jotted down already, I will say that no matter how mature in the Lord, everyone will have something to learn from this series regarding prayer.

And so, on March 1, 2012 we begin a new journey, one that will reveal the beauty and the need for prayer in our daily lives.

As a man I greatly admire often said, ‘a weak prayer life translates into a weak spiritual life, and a weak spiritual life makes you attractive prey for the enemy.’

Until the first of March I will be posting standalone teachings, and whatever else God puts on my heart until then. Thank you to those who participated, who voted, and who were even insistent on the teaching they desired to see fleshed out.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Crossroads!

While finishing up the study on the Holy Spirit, I’ve also been outlining two other teaching series in tandem.

The first series is entitled ‘Lord Teach Us To Pray’ and it is an in depth study on the prayers of the Bible, from both the Old and the New Testament.

The second series is entitled ‘Learning From Ordinary People’ and it is a study of some fifty people from the Old Testament and fifty from the New Testament, and the lessons we can learn from their lives, their faith, their steadfastness, and even their mistakes.

Both studies will run for at least six months, so this is yet another protracted journey that we will be venturing upon.

My problem is this: I do not know which one to begin writing, and so I will let the readers of this web log decide. I would ask that you leave a comment, regarding which of the two aforementioned series you would prefer to delve into next.

I will leave this post up over the weekend, and I will tally your votes on Monday, and from there determine whether we will be discussing prayer for the next six months or so, or if we will be discussing the biblical heroes of the faith. In the end the choice will be up to you.

As always, thank you for participating, thank you for your prayers, as well as your encouraging words concerning the previous series we just concluded.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 191

The Gifts Part 96

Interpretation of Tongues continued...

We are nearing the end of a journey that began over six months ago. During this time we’ve discussed the person of the Holy Spirit, the attributes of the Holy Spirit, the names of the Holy Spirit, as well as the gifts of the Holy Spirit. If there is one thing I hope this protracted study has accomplished, it’s that it has ignited a fire, and stirred within your heart the desire, for the presence and gifts of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Why settle for less than all that God has for His children, especially in times such as these, when the enemy is doing all that he can, from without and from within the church to utterly destroy any remnants of the fire that still burns in the hearts of believers?

We are at war, and with each passing day it is becoming clearer. It’s open season on Christians and Christianity. Speak against sin, speak against perversion and you are automatically labeled intolerant and bigoted. Say the most hateful, vile, despising things about Christians, and well, that’s alright, it’s about time someone put the Christians in their place; they had it coming anyway.

The journey from words to deeds is far shorter than we would like to believe, and though I’ve said it often enough over the past few years, I feel the need to repeat myself once more: persecution is coming! It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when, and if we are caught unprepared, if we are found void of the Holy Spirit and the power thereof when persecution descends upon us, though we think ourselves strong and capable of standing, we will bend and we will break.

Now, while there is still time, may we seek, may we knock, and may we ask, for when the darkness descends and covers all, when the night has come, it will be too late. Too often we are given to procrastination, we are given to putting off until tomorrow that which we know we ought to have done today, but when it comes to the Holy Spirit and the gifts thereof, when it comes to seeking after the fullness of the power of God in our lives, we can’t afford to put it off any longer. Time is short, and every sign we are seeing throughout the world today highlights the reality of this truth.

One of the beautiful things about the Holy Spirit is that He requires no theological degree, no seminary diploma, and no letter of recommendation from a certain denomination in order to use someone. All that the Holy Spirit requires in order to use an individual is that they are willing to be used of God, in the manner that God sees fit.

Although it might sound simple, in reality those willing to submit and labor wherever God has need of them are fewer in number than we might think. After all this time, the laborers are still few, and the harvest is still plentiful.

When it comes to working in God’s harvest field, such things as ego and pride must be wholly removed from the equation. If pride is still embedded somewhere in our hearts, there will come a day when God will ask us to perform a certain task that our flesh will deem beneath us. Because the flesh has not been mortified, and pride has not been altogether uprooted from our hearts, we continue to believe that we are somehow more special than our fellow brothers in Christ if God chooses to equip us with certain spiritual gifts.

No man possesses a spiritual gift we are merely vessels in the hand of a holy God, who uses us as we are needed. God can take away a spiritual gift, just as readily as He has given it to us if we begin to think that it is we who are doing great and mighty works and not God doing them through us.

No matter the extent to which God chooses to use you, no matter the great and wondrous things He chooses to do through you, remain humble, and give God the glory rightly due Him. You can never go wrong with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

I think it fitting that we end this particular journey as we began it, with the word of God, reiterating the scripture that has been the foundation of this entire teaching on the power, presence and purpose of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:1-11, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom, through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”

Thank you for coming on this journey with me, and I pray that you have been edified and encouraged by it. Tomorrow we will discuss the start of a new journey, and I will require your input as to which road would be more fitting to travel.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 190

The Gifts Part 95

Interpretation of Tongues continued...

1 Corinthians 14:26-28, “How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.”

The gift of interpretation of tongues is unique among the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit in that it is the only gift that is dependent upon another gift in order to operate. Without the utterance of tongues, there can be no interpretation of tongues, and as such these two gifts are symbiotic in nature, as far as interpretation is concerned. One can speak in tongues, as Paul tells us, to ourselves and to God when no one with the gift of interpretation is present, but one cannot interpret tongues unless they are present and audibly heard amidst the congregation.

All the other gifts of the Holy Spirit operate independently, and are not beholden to another gift in order to operate.

Just as with the other gifts of the Holy Spirit, there is a biblically established order as to the functionality and operation of the gift of interpretation of tongues. Although some might balk at the idea of order, of rules, or established parameters when it comes to spiritual things, all they are doing is kicking against the goads. God established order for a purpose, and the confusion we are seeing throughout the church today due to the absence of order ought to make it crystal clear that order is necessary within every fellowship and every congregation.

To those who would bristle at the notion of order within the house of God, all I can say is that it is not man who established this order, but God Himself, for He knew the nature of His creation better than the creation itself.

The messages that come by way of the gift of interpretation of tongues vary in their nature, from being directed toward one individual, or toward an entire body of believers. The origin of the messages however, is always the same. True interpretation of tongues always comes from God via the work of the Holy Spirit, and as such we must give this gift its rightful place in the pantheon of spiritual gifts.

God speaks to His children in various ways, and by employing a variety of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but always for the same fundamental reasons, and with the same purpose of edifying, instructing, encouraging, comforting, exhorting, and correcting them that they might grow in Him, become mature in their spirits, and graduate from babe in Christ, to warrior for Christ.

God allows for a season of growth, God allows for a season of maturing, but we must grow and mature, for to remain in infancy perpetually, is to be perpetually dependent on others for our very survival.

Spiritual infancy is a choice! It is we who choose to dismiss the promises of God, it is we who choose to ignore the promises of Christ and as a direct result of our reluctance to press in and desire to grow spiritually, we remain babes in perpetuity.

Spiritual growth is not an option for believers; it is a necessity just as breathing oxygen into our bodies is necessary for our human survival. We are in Christ; therefore we grow in the knowledge of Christ. We are of Christ; therefore we walk in the authority of Christ. Just as it is with anything worth knowing, spiritual growth takes time and dedication on our part.

2 Peter 3:17-18, “You therefore beloved, since you know these things beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”

Complacency is a dangerous state of mind for a believer, and tragically many today settle for the knowledge they currently possess, having no desire to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the most beautiful aspects of our faith is that we never stop growing in God. Whether you’re eighteen or eighty, whether you’ve been a believer for a year or one hundred years, there is always more of God to discover, there is always more of God to know, there is always more room for growing in the grace and the knowledge of Him.

I realize the notion of spiritual growth is unpopular nowadays, because we all lead busy lives, with a thousand things are vying for our time every hour of every day, and those for whom God is just another in a long list of priorities take comfort in men’s claims that as long as you’ve memorized John 3:16 there really isn’t anything more you can know, for you have ascended to the mountaintop of spiritual knowledge.

Ignorance is only bliss for the ignorant, but we as children of God are called upon to be wise in all things. In love, and a foresight only the Spirit of God can inspire, Peter warns of the dangers of not growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ, exhorting us not to fall from our steadfastness, but continually pursue more of God in our daily lives.

Love compels us to desire more of God, love compels us to grow in the grace and knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ, and our pursuit of growth and maturity is neither cumbersome nor burdensome, because it is love that motivates us in these things.

John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

In order for us to decrease, Christ must increase in us, and it is by growing in the knowledge and grace of Him that we are able to accomplish this necessary transformation.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 189

The Gifts Part 94

Interpretation of Tongues

Last on the list of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as detailed by Paul the Apostle in his first epistle to the Corinthians, is the gift of interpretation of tongues. This is by far the most self-explanatory gift, since it works in concert with the gift of speaking in tongues, and allows for an individual to interpret unknown tongues, into a discernible and understandable message.

Beyond the ability to interpret tongues, the purpose of the gift of interpretation of tongues is the edification of the fellowship.

If when we speak in tongues we are speaking mysteries to God, then logic would dictate that when tongues is interpreted, by their interpretation we are hearing and understanding the mysteries of God.

Before we can begin to operate in the gift of interpretation of tongues, we must first understand what the gift is. Too often, we confuse interpretation of tongues, with translation, and though the two words might be similar in their meaning, they are also very different in their intent.

To translate is to render verbatim in another language. If I speak six words in German, and someone who speaks both German and English is acting as my translator, then that person will speak the selfsame six words in English that I spoke in German. When someone repeats the words I spoke in another language, they are not interpreting what I said; they are translating what I said.

I was my grandfather’s translator for ten years while he traveled throughout America giving his testimony. He would speak a sentence, or a fragment in Romanian, and then I would diligently translate what he said into English. I was not interpreting what he was saying; I was translating what he was saying.

Since it is something I used to do for a very long time, I am still fascinated by translators, and the liberties some take in becoming interpreters of what someone was saying rather than the translators they were hired to be. There is nothing more cringe worthy than seeing someone speak two words, and one who ought to have translated those two words and been silent, goes into a three minute monologue. One need not be the most astute of individuals to realize that something is amiss when someone speaks two words, and their intended translator speaks fifty. At this point, they are no longer translating; they are interpreting what they believed the individual had intended to say.

The gift of interpretation of tongues is just that. It is not the gift of translation of tongues; it is the gift of interpretation of tongues. As such, you will often see someone speak a handful of words in tongues, then when the interpretation comes it will be far longer or far shorter depending on what the interpretation is.

I mention this only because some dismiss certain interpretation of tongues, because the length of the interpretation seems shorter or longer than the tongues itself. As such they conclude that it could not be accurate or of divine origins due to the length of the message, rather the content.

It is not translation, it is interpretation!

You don’t translate tongues, you interpret them, just as you don’t you don’t translate hieroglyphs, but rather interpret them. Within the span of three or four crude drawings, one can interpret an entire battle, the outcome of a war, or even the life of a Pharaoh. The gift of interpretation of tongues works in much the same way, wherein a few words spoken in tongues can be interpreted into a lengthy message.

Once again, we must tread this ground, and accurately define what the gift of interpretation of tongues is, just as we have with all the other gifts, because it is important, and knowledge of any given thing will keep you from being confused or apprehensive about it.

Few things are sadder within the church when certain individuals react to the work of the Holy Spirit out of ignorance, or a pre-established idea. I have seen whole congregations ripped asunder due to ignorance, because no one took the time to delve into the word of God and discover the truth within its pages.

If God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, then logic itself would dictate that we ought to seek after knowledge, and be in complete understanding of something before we start passing judgment, and before we plant our feet firmly into the soil unwilling to give an inch.

Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being priests for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”

It’s not that knowledge is unavailable, it’s not that it is difficult to find, it’s that men willfully reject knowledge, and that compels God to reject them in turn.

We possess more knowledge today than any other generation before us. We have the word of God at our disposal, and thankfully we have it in abundance. If one desires knowledge, it is at their fingertips. Sincerity of heart and an honest desire for knowledge however, dictate that we acquiesce and submit to the knowledge we discover within the pages of scripture, and not reject it as so many have throughout the ages.

In His goodness God has provided us with knowledge, that we might understand deeper and more profound spiritual truths, but what we do with this knowledge is entirely up to us as individuals.

I can but tell you what the Bible says, I can but teach what the Bible teaches, what you do with it, how you utilize it, receive it, and apply it, is something you will have to decide for yourself. One thing is certain. Today, just as in the days of Hosea God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, because they choose to reject it, dismiss it, or altogether ignore it.

Psalm 119:11-12, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 188

The Gifts Part 93

Tongues continued...

It wasn’t just the apostles or the Disciples of Christ that needed the manifest power of the Holy Spirit. We need the gifts of the Holy Spirit just as readily as those who came before us, because we face the same foe, we are confronted with the same obstacles, and we are expected of God to walk the same narrow path.

If truly the gifts of the Holy Spirit are no more, then what pray tell has taken their place? What is that surrogate, that substitute that now suffices? Is our own intellect enough? Is our own reason a suitable substitute for the Holy Spirit? Is the humanism we so heartily embrace a worthy surrogate for the power of God? Perhaps the materialism into which the household of faith has descended is a worthy enough replacement for the manifest power of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the seminaries that are cranking out agnostics by the boat load, fools with titles and degrees who refuse outright to even consider the supremacy and singularity of Christ Jesus as the only way, the only truth, and the only life, are a suitable substitute for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the authority that comes with knowing that He resides in us after all.

When will we realize that every substitute, every surrogate, every replacement and every proxy that we are encouraged to utilize in lieu of the Holy Spirit is a mere shadow of the real thing, an unworthy stand in of the most egregious kind? Why would I settle for a drawing of a loaf of bread when I can have the loaf of bread itself? Why would I settle for a picture of a sunrise when I can see the sunrise with my own eyes? A picture of fire will not warm you, just as a picture of a loaf of bread will not fill your stomach. Theoretical knowledge without practical application is as useful as a new car with no gas in the tank. It’s pretty to look at, of this there is no doubt, but without gas in the tank that shiny new car will not operate the way it was meant to, nor will it take you to your desired destination. Given enough time, that shiny new car will lose its luster, begin to rust, and remain as useless as it ever was, just showing more of the signs of the ravages of time.

This is what many churches have become, shiny new cars with no gas in the tank. Sure, we have opulent buildings, comfy pews, state of the art sound and video equipment, ushers, doormen, parking attendants, and greeters, but no manifest power of the Holy Spirit.

Why feed our souls with stories of those in far off lands who experience the power of the Holy Spirit, who see the gifts operating within their congregations, who are witness to miracles and healings and words of knowledge and words of wisdom, when we can ask the heavenly Father in faith, and He will give us these selfsame gifts?

I cannot fathom an existence where God didn’t comfort me, speak to me, encourage me, strengthen me, or equip me. I cannot fathom an existence in which God no longer communed to His children, in which He no longer answered prayers, or in which He no longer worked mighty works.

Even the gospel the apostles and Disciples of Christ preached was preached with power due to the gifts of the Holy Spirit that operated in them. It wasn’t that they were of superior intelligence, it wasn’t that they came from exceptional stock, and save for two of them they were not extensively educated. It wasn’t eloquence, it wasn’t hermeneutics, it wasn’t cadence, it wasn’t tonality, and it wasn’t delivery. The reason they were so effective in preaching the gospel of Christ, the reason so many hearts were stirred and turned toward repentance was because the power of the Holy Spirit gave life to the words they spoke, and convicted those who heard them spoken.

For those who would attempt to claim that only some of the gifts are still among God’s children, while others have been removed, I submit to you it is an either or proposition. Either all the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still available, operating, and manifesting within the congregation of God, or none of the gifts are available, operating and manifesting.

If Christ promised that the Comforter would come, then the only thing keeping us from experiencing Him is our own doubt and unbelief. If Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would be with us and in us until the end of the age, then we either believe Him at His word, or call Him a liar to His face.

Yes, Jesus said that in the last days there would be false prophets, but He also said that there would be false teachers, so logic would dictate that if we dismiss all prophecy as being false because Christ warned of false prophets, then we must likewise dismiss all teaching as being false because He warned of false teachers as well.

We are commanded to test the spirits, we are commanded to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and especially that of tongues in an orderly manner during public worship, and in so doing not only will we spare ourselves undue heartache due to the allowance of deception in our hearts, we will also grow in God during times of fellowship with the brethren.

It is when we attempt to do as the church of Corinth did, when we attempt to highlight the gift of speaking in tongues and think ourselves superior for having been granted this gift, or operate in it in a matter outside biblical parameters that confusion takes root and begins to bloom, creating an atmosphere of disorder and disarray.

We cannot blame God for the outcome of our actions, if our actions were not in accordance with His holy word. When manifested properly, and in harmony with scripture the gift of speaking in other tongues edifies the individual, and when coupled with that of interpretation of tongues is able to edify the entire body of believers.

When speaking to God via the gift of tongues, because this is what Paul tells us tongues is, we are able to commune with Him unhindered by doubt or distraction. We know that we are speaking mysteries to God, we know that we are edifying ourselves, and we know that we are growing in Him when we operate in this gift.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 187

The Gifts Part 92

Tongues continued...

In order to understand the difference the power of the Holy Spirit makes in an individual’s life, we need look no further than Peter the Apostle of Jesus, the selfsame Apostle who stood before the religious leaders of his day and rebuked them for crucifying the Christ, as well as preached a resurrected Jesus to them.

To see a snapshot of Peter on that day after the power of the Holy Spirit fell, one would think him fearless, unshakable, and bold beyond reason. To see the entirety of Peter’s life in ensemble however, we realize the magnitude of change that this one event in his life produced.

One would barely recognize this bold and courageous Peter had they known him in days past, when sitting by a fire he denied the selfsame Christ he was now preaching not once, not twice, but three times. One would be hard pressed to reconcile the cowardly man who would not even acknowledge that he knew Jesus, with the man who now stood and boldly proclaimed a risen Christ, not before some servant girl, but before the greatest religious authority of his time.

It wasn’t Peter digging deep, it wasn’t Peter finding inner strength, it wasn’t Peter pulling himself up by his bootstraps that produced this transformation in him, it was the power of the Holy Spirit that had descended upon him, and filled him, and made him something more than he ever thought he could be.

I realize the unpopularity of the following statement, especially in the era of the ‘little god’ doctrine, wherein we’re all super human entities that can bend the world to our will by simply thinking positive thoughts or uttering some mindless self-affirming clichés, but in and of ourselves we are weak and impotent and readily given to cowardice. In and of ourselves, in our own strength, determined as we might be, we will inevitably bend and break if sufficient pressure is applied.

It is the power of the Holy Spirit in us that sustains us, that keeps us from bending or breaking even under the most extreme of pressures, because this power that resides in us begins where we end, and aids us when we need it most.

I have spoken to a multitude of believers who were tortured for their faith, who endured unspeakable cruelties at the hands of godless men, and to the last, each testified that it was not in their own strength that they stood, it was not in their own strength that they remained faithful, it was the power of God that kept them steadfast and unbending.

I have heard enough people boast as to how they would remain strong in the face of torture and even martyrdom, but sadly those who boast of their hypothetical steadfastness have never once been so much as slapped for the cause of Christ, never mind tortured.

Matthew 26:35, “Peter said to Him, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!’ And so said all the disciples.”

These were Peter’s words upon hearing Jesus tell him that thrice he would deny the Christ before the rooster crows.

Although some have said that Peter was just being boastful, or trying to show up the other disciples, I for one believe that his intentions were pure, and he meant it when he said to Christ that if he had to, he would die with Him, yet not deny Him. In his heart Peter believed, and even intended to remain faithful unto death and not deny Jesus, but when it came to it, his flesh betrayed him, and he did as Christ foretold and denied Him three times.

The lesson for us all, a lesson that is as relevant today as it was two thousand years ago, is that if we trust in the arm of the flesh, if we believe that we can stand in and of ourselves, when the time comes that we will have to stand, our flesh will betray us just as readily as Peter’s flesh betrayed him.

We need the power of the Holy Spirit residing in us, working through us, giving us the boldness and the courage that He gives so that we might stand not in ourselves, not in our own strength, but in Christ and by the power indwelling in us.

The difference in Peter was stunning, spectacular and dramatic. He went from being Peter the coward, the fearful man who denied Christ at the first sign of confrontation, to Peter the bold, Peter the rock, Peter the steadfast who preached a risen Christ even after he was put in custody and threatened never to teach in the name of Jesus again.

This is what the Holy Spirit does, this is what only the Holy Spirit can do, He gives us boldness and courage to lift high the name of Jesus, to proclaim His love and saving grace, to fearlessly present the gospel even in the face of hardship, persecution and even death.

Keep in mind that when the high priests threatened Peter and John, they were by no means empty threats. Peter and John knew the power these men wielded. They knew they had enough clout to have engineered the crucifixion of Christ and so more likely than not they took the threats very seriously.

We know that both Peter and John had families. Peter was married, John had a brother named James, so the threats the high priests made most likely extended to their families as well. Nowadays, when an individual threatens another it is likely with a lawsuit, or with a restraining order, but the men of that time were not being threatened with legal action, they were being threatened with imprisonment, torture, and death.

I submit to you, that the resolve and courage Peter and John showed, by standing before the greatest authorities of their time and boldly saying, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard’, came not from their own inner strength, but from the power of the Holy Spirit that resided in them.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 186

The Gifts Part 91

Tongues continued...

Unless I missed the memo, God’s standard hasn’t changed, nor have His expectations in regards to His children. As such, it would be a wholly unjust affair for a just God to maintain the same level of expectation while simultaneously removing certain indispensable gifts from among His children. It would be as though God demanded two individuals, one whose hands and feet were bound, and one who had free reign of his limbs to run the same marathon during the same allotted time.

If we are commanded to fulfill the great commission, if we are commanded to be the bold, righteous, sanctified and holy Body of Christ as those who came before us were, then reason itself would dictate that we would have the same resources at our disposal as those who came before us did.

I will be the first to admit that we are seeing less of the gifts of the Holy Spirit today than those of the apostolic age, but the reason for this has more to do with us than it does with God.

Although the promises of God have not changed, although the gifts of the Holy Spirit are as readily available to the congregation of God as they ever were, it is man who took it upon himself to seek emancipation from the word of God and the commandments it sets forth.

It’s not God’s fault that we are not seeing more of the gifts within the church, it is our fault for continuing to flirt with sin, for preferring the world rather than God Himself, for perverting and diluting the gospel of Christ, and for believing that God has no choice but to make do with the duplicity, hypocrisy, indifference and lip service that passes for the congregation of the saints in today’s culture.

Add the enemy’s ongoing assault against the gifts of the Holy Spirit and their availability to the already spineless, ineffective and impotent nature of many Christians today, and you can readily understand why the gifts are so sparsely distributed in our day and age.

The easiest way to get someone to stop searching for something is to convince them that it no longer exists. To this end the enemy has put on a masterful campaign, infiltrating the house of God itself, and making the nonexistence of spiritual gifts a doctrine all its own.

Whenever anyone brings up the fact that the word of God never says the gifts will cease until the return of Christ, or that it is illogical for them to have been among us for a season then summarily removed, they’re called ignorant, disruptive, divisive, and subsequently banished for fear of ‘poisoning’ the minds of the rest of the congregation.

Luke 11:8-9, “And I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Luke 11:13, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

The promise that if we would ask, it would be given to us, if we would seek, we would find that which we are seeking, and if we knock, it will be opened, was not made by mere man, but by Christ Jesus the Son of God. This is a promise that stands the test of time, is a promise that does not waver, just as the One who made the promise stands the test of time and does not waver.

In Christ’s discourse, there were things He instructed us to do, things that are incumbent upon us to do, namely ask, seek and knock, all actions that must be initiated by us.

When I ask something of someone I am certain of two things. The first thing I am certain of is that the individual who I am asking possesses that which I am asking for, and the second thing I am certain of is that it is within that individual’s ability to give me that for which I asked.

When we ask of God however, there is a third element, a third certainty that comes into play, and that certainty is that we will receive that which we are asking for.

Christ made it clear, for it is He who said that everyone who asks receives, and everyone who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. He did not say that most of those who ask will receive, He did not say that some would receive, or even that few would receive, but everyone who asks receives.

We have not because we ask not, and we ask not because we’ve been convinced that what we would be asking for is unavailable to us. It is a perfect little paradox that plays itself out in the lives of countless believers, who do not believe that they have access to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, therefore they never ask, and because they never ask they never receive, proving their initial claim that this present generation of believers cannot possess the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Before claiming and vociferously so that ‘God doesn’t do that anymore’, I would ask if truly you have sought, if truly you have knocked, and if truly you have asked of God in faith, and standing on His promise.

If evil men know how to give good gifts to their children, how much more will our heavenly Father give us the Holy Spirit if we ask Him?

God’s desire is to thoroughly equip His children, God’s desire is to pour out the power and the manifest gifts of the Holy Spirit, God’s desire is that we walk in authority with signs following, but we must first ask, we must first knock, we must first seek.

If you ask, you will discover the abundance of what God has in store for you, if you knock, you will discover the heavenly Father opening the door with haste, and if you seek, you will find the answers you’ve been searching for because He is a good God, a good Father, and a good King.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 185

The Gifts: Part 90

Tongues continued...

Now that we’ve come to understand the difference between speaking in tongues as a sign, and speaking in tongues as a gift, and we have acquired a basic understanding of what tongues entails, from speaking mysteries to God, to edifying oneself, to edifying the fellowship of the brethren once the tongues are interpreted, the question that remains to be asked and answered is whether this continues to be a viable manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and if this gift continues to be present within the house of God.

The reason we must ask and answer this question is because those who assert that the gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased, simultaneously insist that gifts such as discernment, faith, and sometimes even word of knowledge or the working of miracles are still visible within the church from time to time, but as far as speaking in tongues is concerned, that has undoubtedly ceased and been done away with.

So was speaking in tongues a singular even during apostolic times, or is it an ongoing gift of the Holy Spirit to which we as believers have access today?

Once again, we must turn to the Bible for the answer to this question, because it is neither doctrine, nor personal experience, nor denominational edicts, nor our own personal preference that determines the truth, but the eternal word of God. Yes, the Bible has a monopoly on the truth!

As such, if you are not prepared to receive the truth of scripture with sincerity of heart, if you are not prepared to go beyond denominational doctrine, personal preference, or preconceived notions, I would ask that you read no further.

When we approach scripture with an open heart, when we come before the word of God with the requisite humility required of us as children of God, when we stand before the Bible willing to abandon preconceived notions or personal opinions in lieu of God’s holy word, we are as wise and teachable servants who recognize and acknowledge the preeminence of scripture above all else in our lives.

When it comes to spiritual matters, we must possess childlike faith, and believe a certain thing simply because the word of God said it, just as a child believes a certain thing simply because their mother said it. I believe what I believe not because a certain denomination believes it, not because men whom I respect believe it, but because the Bible says it is so, and I must believe the word of God.

In order to determine whether the gift of speaking in tongues is still viable, and still for today, one need only determine the purpose of the gift. The purpose of any given thing in our lives, determines its necessity, as well the frequency of its use.

Is the purpose of the gift of speaking in tongues one that could have been necessary only for the primary church, or those of the apostolic age, or is the purpose of the gift of speaking in tongues one that has been and continues to be necessary for every generation of believers since?

As we have already established the purpose of the gift of speaking in tongues is personal spiritual edification. In his first epistle to the church of Corinth, Paul made it clear that he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, that in the spirit he speaks mysteries, and that he edifies himself. And so the only question that remains to be answered in order to determine if the gift of speaking in tongues is still for today, is do we as believers in this present generation need to be edified spiritually?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes!

Yes, we still require spiritual edification today; yes we still need to be built up spiritually today just as the forerunners of the faith needed it two thousand years ago.

Through the gift of speaking in tongues, a believer has a more profound fellowship with God, than through the prism of the rational or intellectual, and is edified in a greater measure than they might be through any other means.

1 Corinthians 14:14-15, “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the result then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”

Once again we see Paul delineating both praying and singing, revealing that one can pray and sing in the spirit, just as readily as one can pray and sing with the understanding. When we pray with the spirit, or we sing with the spirit, we are in essence communing, communicating, and fellowshipping with God. We pray and sing with the spirit not for the edification of others, but for our own personal edification.

Contrary to what some continue to assert, Paul never denounced speaking in tongues, he never had an issue with praying with the spirit, or singing with the spirit, he was simply trying to establish order within the fellowship of the brethren, that whenever they were gathered together, and those who were not saved were present, there would be no confusion among them.

1 Corinthians 14:18-19, “I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.”

It was Paul the Apostle who wrote the epistle to the Corinthians, and it is in his own hand that he writes, ‘I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all’, so yes, Paul spoke in tongues, and by his own admission more than all those who made up the church at Corinth, yet in the church he preferred to speak with understanding in order to teach others also. Paul understood the fact that he could speak in tongues, and edify himself at any time, because there are no restrictions on fellowshipping with God, and one need not be in a building with a steeple, or in a meeting with other brethren to have intimacy with the Father. He likewise understood that when the church gathered, their time together was limited, and as such it was more profitable for the entire body to be edified and taught, than for individuals to speak in tongues without an interpreter present only edifying themselves.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.