Monday, April 30, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 59

Prayers of Petition continued...

So why would asking God for the Holy Spirit be so important that it is one of the things for which we ought petition Him? It is important to petition God for the infilling of the Holy Spirit, because there is no alternative, at least biblically, to asking God for this gift and promise.

If you want to drop a few pounds there are alternatives, or different ways and means by which you can do it. You can run, jog, bike, take an aerobics class, or even swim if all the other options and alternatives are not to your liking.

When it comes to the Holy Spirit, there are no alternatives. We must ask in order to receive, and if we ask, in faith, we will receive the Holy Spirit because it is a promise God made to all of His children.

Nowadays men do more damage, and wreak more havoc with partial understanding, than they would with total ignorance of a certain pillar of the faith. Because they did not take the time to study the word of God, because they gave it a passing glance, and even that while distracted by something else, men’s doctrines do not line up with the word of God, and rather than say they don’t know a certain thing, they make it up as they go along.

If you don’t know something, admit you don’t know something, and say you don’t know that something concerning which you have been queried.

In regards to the Holy Spirit, and His presence in our lives, I’ve heard answers from seminarians that varied from ‘the Holy Spirit is no longer among us’, to ‘the Holy Spirit is everywhere, so we have Him from birth’, to ‘the moment you walk into a church the Holy Spirit falls on you’, to what the Bible actually says, which is pray and earnestly desire to receive the Holy Spirit, and God the Father will give Him to you.

We petition God for worthless thing after worthless thing, whether a new car, straighter teeth, or less acne, and we ignore the counsel of His word when it tells us we ought to ask Him for the Holy Spirit, that He might give it to us, altogether.

God is not a concierge service, it’s not His job to know what you need, and dutifully deliver it to your door. He is God the Father, omnipotent creator of all that is, and in His love He answers our prayers of petition, and gives us the Holy Spirit when we ask Him.

If I were to write on the importance of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer every day for the next thirty years, there would be no risk of over-emphasizing or exaggerating the need for Him in our lives.

Yet, we pray for sunshine when we want to go on a picnic, we pray for our favorite team to go to the playoffs, but we have better things to do when it comes to praying for the Holy Spirit.

Luke 12:12, “For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

The aforementioned verse is just one of many throughout the Bible which highlights the importance of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will teach us what to say, during times, and in situations where our own words, our own intellect will utterly fail us.

Jesus is speaking to His disciples, forewarning them that they would be brought before the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, but that they ought not to worry as to what they will answer, or what they will say.

The reason they ought not to worry was not because Jesus thought them exceedingly intelligent and capable of getting out of tough situations, but because the Holy Spirit would teach them in that very hour what they ought to say.

There have been countless times when I know with certitude, and absent equivocation, that the Holy Spirit taught me the words I was to say, the very hour I needed to say them.

For me, the greatest tragedy of the current condition of the church is that it could have been prevented. Our ignorance, duplicity, hypocrisy, rampant sin, rebellion and idolatry were all preventable, if we would have come before the heavenly Father, and petitioned Him to give us the Holy Spirit, which would guide us, and lead us, and comfort us, and teach us.

John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

Jesus promised the Father would send the Holy Spirit in His name, God promised He would give the Holy Spirit if we asked it of Him. So if there is a weak link in the chain, if someone hasn’t done their duty, it is us. It is we who have not asked, it is we who have not petitioned God, it is we who were distracted by the things of this world, and overcome by the cares of this world instead of laying them down at His feet.

Try as we might, we will find no fault in God, and sooner or later we will have to hold our own selves accountable for what we have failed to do.

Not only were we busy asking for other things, we were repeatedly encouraged to ask for them, because the ignorance of the many is to the profit of the few, and they would have preferred to see the household of faith continue in their ignorance forever.

Thankfully, the alarm bells are getting too loud to ignore, and some are waking from their slumber, searching for the truth, hoping there is still time to prepare for that which is to come.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Speaking Schedule For This Weekend

Since some of you have inquired where I would be speaking, and asked that I keep everyone updated when I started traveling again, the following are this weekend’s dates. Yes, both close to home base, thankfully, as is most of the schedule this spring, with the exception of a meeting in Tennessee, one in Branson Missouri, and a couple meetings in Bismarck North Dakota.
Please keep myself and Geno in your prayers as we travel. I will try to post as regularly as ever, but be forewarned they have not, as yet, fixed the issues Blogger has been having.

Saturday April 28, 2012 7:00 PM
In the Shelter of His Arms Church
213 West Wisconsin Street
Kaukauna Wisconsin

Sunday April 29, 2012 11:00 AM
Open Doors Ministries
1909 A Washington Street
Two Rivers Wisconsin

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 58

Prayers of Petition continued...

To answer some of your questions as kindly as possible, no, I don’t believe I was too harsh in yesterday’s post. No, I don’t believe in showing grace to unrepentant sinners behind pulpits, who attempt to widen the path of righteousness which Christ laid out, and for the integrity of which all but one of the apostles were martyred. No, I do not have a bad attitude.

Please understand, what I write, I write out of love for the body of Christ, out of love for the sheep of God’s pasture, because the days which are fast approaching will be days of trouble, and darkness and distress, and if you are not prayed up, and read up, and suited up with the armor of God, you will not withstand the evil day.

I have grown disgusted with hirelings whose only desire is to ‘grow their ministries’ never taking into account that the sheep are starving.

I’m almost forty years old. I’ve been in ministry since I was twelve years old. My hair is gray, my face is haggard, and my throat is soar from preaching repentance to a nation that wants to hear about having their best life and thinking positive thoughts instead.

I have lost friends for standing for the gospel, the ministry has lost supporters because I would not compromise the truth, and if not for the knowledge that God sees all things, knows all things, and rewards all things, I would have walked away from it all, long ago.

So, no, I am not unloving for calling sin, sin. I am not intolerant for echoing the word of God when it comes to the paramount need for righteousness and holiness, and I’m not judging anyone, because judging implies passing sentence.

God will judge, and do so with great and terrible swiftness. All I’m doing is trying to warn the handful of sheep that would still hear, and the handful of souls that still think the word of God matters, that it’s still important, or that we should still adhere to it.

I don’t write for those who think the Bible is an accessory for Sunday mornings, or that like a baseball card, it will lose value if you take it out of its wrapping. I write for the saints, because I made a vow to my God that I would.

Believe it or not, yes, there are other things I could be doing. There are other responsibilities I put off, so I could sit here every morning, and type out whatever God is putting on my heart.

No, this is not a pity party. I don’t believe in self-pity, but I am tired, and haggard, and worn, and it’s getting so hard to stand against the current, when it would be so easy to just float along on the stream of indifference and apathy so many seem to be enjoying.

While I was still living in California, a friend of my grandfather’s had a daughter who fell in with the wrong crowd, and started traveling down the wrong path. Her parents prayed for her, warned her, begged her, pleaded with her, but to no avail.

Finally, they decided to throw down the gauntlet, and given the girl an ultimatum. They waited until after her new boyfriend gave her some fresh bruises and a swollen eye, and finally told her she had to choose between him, and them.

Without giving it a second thought, or a moment’s worth of hesitation, the girl grabbed her bag, and ran out of the house, into the arms of the man who less than a day before had beaten her into unconsciousness.

I share this story, because this is how far too many believers act nowadays. The wolves abuse them, and mistreat them, and fleece them, but when Jesus says they must deny themselves, pick up their crosses and follow Him, they run into the arms of the wolf who just got done exploiting them.

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.”

It’s the word of God! I didn’t make it up to put undue burden on the children of God; neither did some nefarious denomination in the hopes of getting people to live holy just because they thought it’d be a hoot to see it.

It’s the Book, it’s the word of God, it’s the Bible, and if we do not adhere to the words contained therein, why are we still calling ourselves Christians?

If it’s not one doctrine the children of God are chasing after it’s another, the latest and greatest of these apparently being universal reconciliation - meaning eventually everyone, including the devil will be saved - making Jesus, His blood, His death, and His resurrection utterly irrelevant in the great scheme of things.

Lest you misunderstand, this is not a doctrine the world is promoting, but people calling themselves Christians.

We must return to holiness. We must return to righteousness. We must obey the word of God and present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, because it is our reasonable service, the least that is expected of us, and if we desire to be welcomed into His kingdom, then we must do as the Book commands.

As a friend of mine is fond of saying, ‘no excuses, just obedience.’ It is what God desires, demands, and expects of all His children.

Alright, enough of sermonizing; Since I didn’t pop a blood vessel, or have an aneurism yet, Lord willing tomorrow we return to our discussion on prayers of petition. Maybe…

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 57

Prayers of Petition continued...

The second thing we ought to be asking God for in our prayers of petition is the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

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!”

Contrary to what some continue to assert even to this day -that the Holy Spirit is like a door prize for everyone who walks into a church and raises their hand- the word of God tells us He gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.

Having already discussed the power, presence, and purpose in a previous series, hopefully we have come to understand that when one receives the Holy Spirit, they know they’ve received the Holy Spirit.

There can be no ambiguity; there need be no guessing at whether one has the Holy Spirit or they don’t, because they will know if they do possess it.

I’ve been within earshot of conversations between preachers and laymen, asking about receiving the Holy Spirit, and after encouraging their sheep of the certainty that they received the Holy Spirit as soon as they raised a hand in a church service, most often the follow up question is, ‘but how do I know that I’ve received it?’

If you have to ask that question, you haven’t received it!

God gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask, and if you’ve never asked for God to fill you with the power of His Holy Spirit, if you’ve never asked God and petitioned Him to overflow you with the presence of the Comforter, it is high time you started to.

The Holy Spirit is a person. His presence in a life is evident, and true, and undeniable. Once He enters a heart, you will never again wonder whether or not He is there because you will know with certainty, having felt His touch and having known His presence.

Because certain individuals considered the sheep of God’s pasture to be less than intelligent, they took it upon themselves to oversimplify the gospel of Christ, to oversimplify what God does in a life, and often times altogether leave out any teaching on the power available to us as the children, and the beloved of God.

As such, the children of God are no longer encouraged to ask God for the Holy Spirit, they are encouraged to ask God for worthless, trivial things that rust and gather dust, and become altogether unappealing given enough time.

The children of God are no longer encouraged to press in, to seek out, to study and show themselves approved, instead they are encouraged to ‘honor the man o’ God with their offerings’, sit there mouth agape like baby birds waiting to be fed, and never question the extra biblical things he teaches from the pulpit.

Even when some awaken from their stupor, and with the last vestiges of their strength attempt to find succor elsewhere, they are told to return to the shepherd from whom they fled, and not abandon him in his time of trial and adversity.

First of all, being exposed as a whoremonger, or a pedophilic pervert, is neither a trial, nor an adversity. It is God exposing the sin in His own house, that the sin might be dealt with, and excluded from among the congregation.

When with the full knowledge of what has transpired we remain in a place where the whole head is rotten, and God has long removed His lampstand, we are in essence putting our hand in with evil, and assenting by omission.

I’m just sick and tired of hearing from seemingly intelligent people that the requirements for a bishop, an elder, an overseer or a shepherd, were contextually relevant to the historical timeframe in which the apostles lived, but no longer apply in our day and age.

This is doublespeak for ‘we can’t expect our leaders to be husbands of one wife, or men of character, or men full of the Holy Spirit, or men of wisdom anymore, because God only expected that of the primary church.’

I’ve got to vent to somebody, and it might as well be you!

We need to stop pretending we don’t know why the church is in the condition it’s in. We need to stop pretending that more programs, more sermons on Christians having more sex, more series on budgeting wisely, and clipping coupons will save the church, and restore it to a place of honor in God’s sight.

The one thing that will restore the household of faith, the one thing that will restore the church, is if we take the scalpel of the word of God, and remove every tumor, every cancer, every boil, every bleeding ulcer, and every putrefying sore calling itself a man of God from behind the pulpits of America.

Unless we return to the standard of the Gospel, and abide by it, things will not get better, the ship will not turn, and sin will only continue to grow and multiply within the house of God.

My grandfather was fond of an analogy he shared often, of a man who went to a fish market one day to buy some fish. Never having bought fresh fish before, the man picks up a nice looking trout, and begins to sniff the tail. The sales person gives the man smelling the trout tail a sideways glance, and finally says, ‘if you’re going to smell anything, smell the head. The fish always starts to rot from the head on down.’

Pray and petition God that those who handle the word, those who stand behind pulpits and deliver the message of the gospel, would be men full of the Holy Spirit, and power.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 56

Prayers of Petition continued...

The reality of this present life is that it ends. No matter who you are, no matter how well you take care of yourself, no matter how many vitamins you take, how much you jog, or how organic your diet is, one day, you will go back to the earth as surely as the sun rose this morning.

No, the purpose of this post is not to make you aware of your mortality, but rather to make you realize how important it is to petition God for forgiveness earnestly, and frequently.

If the first universal truism is that death comes to us all, the second universal truism is that not one of us knows the day and hour when we will pass from this life to the next. Our lives are in God’s hands, our time is on His spool of eternity, and when the thread is cut, we leave this life suddenly.

Revelation 14:5, “And in their mouth was found on guile, for they are without fault before the throne of God.”

Those who stood before the throne of God had two identical traits. The first trait was that no guile was found in their mouth, and the second was that they were without fault before the throne of God.

We are all imperfect; we all have flaws, and faults, and wrinkles and shortcomings, so those who stood before God’s throne weren’t without fault because they were perfect, they were without fault because they had learned the secret of praying petitions of forgiveness to God with consistency.

Do not put off your prayers for forgiveness until enough faults have amassed wherein it would take you fifteen hours to get through the entire list. Be consistent in asking God for forgiveness; be consistent in petitioning Him with prayers for forgiveness, because you never know when you will stand before His throne.

Don’t let the sun go down on your day without taking the time to ask Him to forgive you for those things you know you need forgiveness for, and if you make it a common practice, yes even a habit to ask God for forgiveness consistently, you too will stand before His throne without fault, because He forgives those who ask for Him for it.

When we know we are at fault, when we have fault in our hearts, it ought to be so unbearable, so uncomfortable, that asking for God’s forgiveness becomes a priority, superseding anything else we might have to do at that given moment.

I have said this before, but it bears repeating, we must not allow our hearts to grow hard, and our love to grow cold by discounting the urging of the Holy Spirit to pray, to repent, and to ask for forgiveness.

The word of God warns us that the love of many will grow cold, and in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the church at Ephesus is rebuked for having left their first love.

Revelation 2:4-5, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place – unless you repent.”

Two things need be pointed out here: first, it is the revelation of Jesus, not the revelation of John as so many pseudo-preachers like to claim, and second, the church at Ephesus did not lose their first love, they left their first love.

Love is not a set of keys. You can’t lose love. You can however distance yourself from its warmth, and you can consciously and actively leave it, knowing exactly what you are doing and the reasons why.

Yes, it is a pet peeve of mine, but I believe a justified one, because one too many individuals have come up to me after a service, and asked me to pray for them because they’ve lost their first love. You weren’t playing hide and seek, you didn’t let it off the leash to go for a run and it got away from you, you left your first love.

For some the intensity of first love is too much to handle. For others, the heat of the flames of first love is too all consuming. As such, they choose to leave their first love, they choose to be less zealous, less committed, less steadfast, devoted, loyal, and staunch.

Men do not lose their first love, they leave their first love!

The siren’s song of compromise is too sweet for some to ignore, and once they begin to compromise, the enemy finds platitudes and generalities by which they can justify the compromise they’ve allowed to enter their heart.

First love burns away compromise, first love burns away concessions, first love is a fire that consumes half-heartedness altogether, and this is why the enemy hates those who still possess their first love.

First love also stirs you to pray for forgiveness when you know you’ve brought offense to God, it stirs you to petition God for mercy and compassion when you know your conduct, your speech, or your actions were not what they ought to have been on any given day.

Although some would prefer I walk around in flowing white robes, with not a hair out of place, giving off an air of equal parts piety and superiority, I am just a man who sometimes forgets to shave, who often eats things he shouldn’t, who chews his nails until they bleed, and has the nasty habit of drinking milk straight out of the carton.

I am a flesh and blood human male, who was called to the great high calling of preaching the gospel of Christ, who strives to comport himself worthily before his Master, but who often has to bow the knee and petition God for forgiveness, for falling short of the mark.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 55

Prayers of Petition continued...

Now that we know we ought to pray prayers of petition with faith, persistence, and specificity, what specifically should we be petitioning God for?

Although needs vary in size, scope and nature from one individual to another, there are certain things we should be consistent in petitioning God for in our prayers. As I’ve said on previous occasions, it is wise and prudent to discern the difference between a ‘want’ and a ‘need’, and identify those things we truly need, separating them from the things we simply want.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul assured them, and by extension us, that God would supply all our need according to His riches in glory, but he never said anything about our wants.

Far too often, what we want and what we need in our lives are so far apart from each other, they’re not even on the same continent. As is often the case, we don’t want what we really need, and we don’t really need what we want.

It is only when we are forced to do without some fundamental need that we realize the importance and preeminence of needs as opposed to wants in our lives.

Yes, the human condition is that much of a paradox!

We rarely want what we need, and we rarely need what we want. In order for our prayers of petition to be effective, in order for them to reach the throne room of God and get answered, we must identify the needs in our lives, and focus our petitions toward God on those needs.

So what are some fundamental needs of life? What are some of the things we ought to be asking God for during our prayers of petition?

The first thing we ought to be asking God for in our prayers of petition is forgiveness.

Daniel 9:8-9, “O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.”

Forgiveness is a personal need for every one of us. When Jesus instructed His disciples on how the should pray the words ‘And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,’ were included in His instruction on how we ought to pray.

Yes, we must pray for forgiveness. Every day of our lives, we do something, think something, say something, or see something that we ought not to have done thought, said, or seen. As such, every day of our lives we must come before the heavenly Father with our prayers of petition, and ask for forgiveness.

When we ask for forgiveness, we know we are forgiven. The weight is lifted, the burden is removed, and we can walk in the assurance that comes about only when one has been cleansed by the power of the blood of Christ.

Contrary to popular belief, a prayer of petition for forgiveness isn’t just done once in our lives when we repent of our past, but such prayers must be part of our daily lives, because daily we fall short, and daily we err.

It takes but a moment’s worth of introspection, to realize that we are not perfect. Yes, we are saved, and sanctified, but we are still human. As such we still get flustered when the person ahead of us is driving fifteen miles under the speed limit, our temper still rises when the lady holding a cup of coffee in one hand and texting with the other bowls into us drenching us with hot liquid, and though it might have been a momentary lapse, we still feel the need to ask God for forgiveness.

Although the previous examples might have been extreme for some, there are still countless other things which occur throughout an average day, from arguing with a spouse, to raising our voices to our children, to backbiting and disparaging a brother or a sister in Christ, to getting distracted and not spending enough time with God on any given day. All these things and many more, are enough of a reason for us to fall to our knees, and as God to forgive us.

When we feel the need to petition God for forgiveness, it is a good indicator that we should in fact, petition God for forgiveness. The more we ignore that voice inside us insisting we ask God to forgive us, the softer it will get, until it becomes almost imperceptible.

We cannot allow our hearts to grow hard toward the urging of the Holy Spirit. We cannot allow ourselves to become insensitive, and ignore it when our spiritual man is admonishing us to ask God’s forgiveness for something we might have said, thought, or felt.

When we ask forgiveness from the One, who obtained our forgiveness through the shedding of His blood, we are certain to receive it, because He freely gives it to all who ask it of Him. When we omit prayers of petition for forgiveness from our prayer life, it is to our personal detriment, and disadvantage.

Do not let pride keep you from asking God for forgiveness, and bringing prayers of petition before Him. Although you might instinctively bristle and say ‘it’s not pride’ I assure you it is, because pride is the one thing that keeps us from seeking God’s forgiveness.

We acknowledge our imperfections, we acknowledge our shortcomings, we acknowledge our weaknesses, and as such, the only reason we would not be asking God for forgiveness, is if pride had wormed its way into our hearts, and attempted to prevent us from humbling ourselves.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 54

Prayers of Petition continued...

God already knows our needs, He already knows what it is we are lacking, but He desires that we ask of Him, and come before Him with prayers of petition. Parents know what their children need, yet they wait until their children ask and petition them before giving it to them.

God is able. He is not limited in His power, nor is He limited in His resources, and when we come before Him with a need, when we petition Him for something, we do so with full assurance.

Philippians 4:19, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

I’ve always found it worth noting that Paul personalized God when writing to those in the church of Philippi concerning His ability to supply our needs. Paul did not generalize, he did not say, ‘and God shall supply all your need’, he said, ‘my God shall supply all your need’.

Why is this relevant? It is relevant because it highlights the need for our relationship with God to be personal, and intimate. Paul was familiar enough with God, he knew God well enough, wherein He was no longer God in general terms, but his God, something intimate and personal.

In order to petition God with prayers of petition, we must first and foremost know God. We must know God in all of His wondrous attributes, we must know Him as Father, as King, as Lord, as Provider, as Healer, as Comforter, as Friend, as Protector, and as Master.

Just as you would never petition someone you don’t know personally, we must know God in order to pray prayers of petition to Him.

If you know God, don’t be afraid to ask! Many believers make the mistake of not asking, and not petitioning God for what they need, and begin to grow bitter in their hearts because God has not met the need for which they never petitioned God in the first place. Many of us have not, because we ask not!

Go before God, and petition Him. Go before God, and ask Him for what you need, whether in the area of physical healing, spiritual strength, finances, or restoration of a relationship, when we ask God for something pleasing to Him, He will give us exceedingly, beyond what we expected or anticipated.

Be specific in what you are asking God for, and make certain it is a need, rather than a want. When we go to a pharmacy, we go, knowing that we need a certain kind of medication. Nobody goes to a pharmacy to window shop, nobody goes for the ambiance. They go because they have a need, whether to fill a prescription, pick up some allergy medicine, or get some aspirin for their headache.

When we pray prayers of petition to God, we do so knowing what our need is long before we kneel before Him and approach Him in prayer.

When we learn how to pray, our prayers will bear fruit, we will see the results of our prayers, and rather than our prayer time being a cumbersome or burdensome task, it will be a joyous occasion to speak to God, knowing that He hears.

While teaching His disciples how to pray, Jesus also spoke a parable to them, concerning a man who had a friend, and went to him at midnight to borrow some bread. Although the entire parable deserves a deeper look, and Lord willing we will discuss it at a later date within the context of this series, I wanted to highlight the specificity with which this man made his request.

Luke 11:5-6, “And He said to them, ‘which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him.’”

The man went to his friend, and asked him for a specific favor. He did not ask for some bread, he did not ask his friend to give him whatever he could spare, he asked for three loaves. There was specificity in his request, and he went on to tell his friend why it was he needed the three loaves of bread. Another friend of his had come to him on his journey, and he had nothing to set before him. As such, he needed the three loaves of bread.

Make your case before God. Petition Him with your need, not in a general sense, but a specific one. If you need three loaves of bread, don’t ask Him for bread; ask Him for three loaves of bread. If you need God to heal your arthritis, don’t ask Him for general healing; ask Him to heal the arthritis that has been bothering your left shoulder, and right elbow. Be specific in your prayers of petition before God.

When you come before God in prayer, you have to know what you’re praying for. God is a God of order, and specificity. It’s never going to be hit or miss with God. We can’t come before Him with a laundry list, petitioning Him for everything under the sun hoping something sticks, hoping something gets His attention, and He will grant us one or two or five things on our list.

Whether in your prayer closet, or a public prayer meeting, when you petition God for something, even if it’s something seemingly impossible from men’s perspective, do so with the assurance that He is able and willing to supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Know what it is you’re praying for, petition God in faith and He will answer your prayer.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 53

Prayers of Petition continued...

Whenever we petition God, we do so acknowledging we have a need, acknowledging we can’t resolve the need on our own, and asking Him to intervene on our behalf.

When we pray prayers of petition, we know beforehand what it is we will be asking God for, what it is we will be asking Him to intervene in, or what it is we desire Him to bless us with.

It goes without saying that when we petition God for something, it will not be anything unworthy of Him or something that would bring offense to His righteous character. We are not petitioning a neighbor, a friend, or a spouse, we are petitioning the eternal creator of all that is, the One who breathed life into a lump of clay and called it Adam.

We have lost the requisite reverence expected of us in recent times, seeing God as less than what He is, and superimposing our own feelings as to what we think He ought to be upon His character. We have lost the fear of the Lord, we have lost reverence for Him, and now think Him to be nothing more than a kindly, gentle fellow, looking down from heaven, and scratching at his white beard.

If you’ve forgotten who God truly is, go back to His word, and rediscover Him. Go through the Bible and see what He has done, what He had spoken into being, what He had demanded of His people, and how He went about punishing disobedience and rebellion.

For many individuals the way they view God determines not only the level of their commitment to Him, but also how they approach Him, the reverence they show toward Him, and the obedience and worship they offer Him.

Yes, He loved the world insomuch that He sent His only Son, yes, He is merciful, longsuffering, kind, and gracious, but He is also God! He is just, and righteous, and holy, and omnipotent. We must have a complete picture of God, and all His attributes, rather than focus on the one attribute we really like in Him and discount all the rest.

Even when we petition other human beings, we come before them with respect and deference because we know we will be asking them for something shortly. How much more deference and respect ought we to show God when we come before Him with prayers of petition?

The word of God encourages us to ask, and to petition God. It counsels us to tell Him our worries, our concerns, to share our anxieties, our fears, and bring before Him every need we have and every area of our lives we might be lacking in.

Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Matthew 7:11, “If you then, being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

If anyone knew the Father, it was the Son Jesus Christ. He was after all with Him in the beginning, for in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. So if Jesus tells us that the Father who is in heaven gives good things, then we must believe Him at His word.

Now the Father who is in heaven doesn’t give good things to just anybody, nor does he give good things to everyone, but rather to a select group of individuals. The Father in heaven gives good things to those who ask Him!

God’s desire is to teach us dependence upon Him, to teach us to trust Him, and teach us to run to Him when we have a need. God doesn’t want to be our last resort. Even for those who don’t believe, often times when all else fails, they will utter a prayer, and make a petition. If God is consistently our last resort, if we only go to Him when we’ve fallen flat on our faces, failed miserably, and found no one who would hear our petition, then we are no different than an unbeliever.

When God is the first and only one we run to in our time of need however, when we bring our petitions before Him before we bring them to anyone else, and trust Him enough wherein we will not bring our petitions to anyone else, then by our actions, and willingness to go to Him first, we show our trust, and our dependence upon Him.

Jesus encouraged us to ask, and promised it would be given to us. He made it a point to continue in this vein, and make certain those who heard Him, and who would later read His words understood that we must initiate the dialogue in order for God to respond. Whether it’s asking, knocking, or seeking, they require action on our part, they require us to act first, and God will respond in kind.

Prayers of petition are always of a personal nature. When we pray prayers of petition, we are not asking God for something on behalf of someone else, since that would be a prayer of intercession. When we pray prayers of petition, we are coming before God for ourselves, with our own personal needs, and petitioning Him to work on our behalf. As such, prayers of petition are always more intimate, more personal, and more emotional.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 52

Prayers of Petition

Of all the prayers we can pray as believers, the general consensus is that prayers of petition are, by far, the most frequently employed. We learn the art of petitioning others from early childhood. As soon as we are old enough to string a few words together, we begin petitioning parents for toys, and candy, and chocolate, and though the object of our petition might change as we grow older, the act of petitioning itself is never far from us.

We ask, and are used to asking, whether it’s for someone to pass the sugar, tell us the time, give us a hand with a heavy item, loan us a few dollars, or get us a certain thing for our birthday. What we must realize however, is that there is a difference between petitioning a wife, a daughter, a husband, or a father, and petitioning God. While a relative, a friend, a spouse, or even a parent might pretend they didn’t hear our petition or our request, although they might simply feign interest in our plight, God will always hear our prayers and supplications.

Although He might not answer our prayers of petition the way we would like Him to, although the answer He sometimes gives us is ‘no’, God hears every prayer prayed, and sees every tear shed.

Philippians 6:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

If a recent report by some think tank or another is to be believed, anti-anxiety treatments are a billion dollar industry. There are herbal treatments, naturopathic treatments, alternative treatments, treatments involving crystals, and karma, and the expelling of negative energies. There are also the tried and true prescription medications which relieve your anxiety to the point of keeping you in a constant fog, leaving you drooling in your teacup, and staring at something afar off only you can see in your chemically induce haze.

Everywhere you turn, someone’s stressed out, freaking out, unable to take the pressure, getting ulcers from the anxiety they’re feeling, and being so high strung that a blaring car horn or a creaking door is enough to make them jump out of their skin.

The word of God gives us the cure for anxiety. It gives us the remedy for feeling stressed, and anxious and pressured. Not only is this cure guaranteed, it is also free, requiring an investment of your time and nothing more.

‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.’

No, this is not some newfangled therapy wherein you’ll feel better just for getting something off your chest, or for talking it out. The word of God promises that something will occur once we let our requests be made known to God by prayer and supplication. We are promised that once we come before God, letting our requests be made known to Him, His peace will guard our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.

If we are anxious about something, it only means we did not obey the word of God, and neglected to come before Him in prayer, letting our request be made known to Him. If we would have come before Him, if we would have followed the prescription, we would have received the peace of God, which would have guarded our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ, and as such would not have allowed anxiety to take root in us.

When we discount the word of God, and chase after the methodology of man, we are sure to pierce ourselves through with many sorrows. The best man can do is relieve the pressure of the symptoms, and even that is only temporary. What God does, is cure the disease itself, while overflowing us with ‘antibodies’ to keep the disease from returning.

Looking at me now, one would never guess I used to be an anxious fellow. If it would have been concern only for myself, or for my wife, I doubt I would have been as anxious, because I am able bodied, I can always find a job stocking shelves, or laying tile. It was not myself I was anxious about. My grandfather had just passed, we had just opened the orphanage, we had mouths to feed, and I saw no way by which we would be able to do this.

Bills were piling up, more children were arriving daily, and I was an anxious mess. Finally one evening before going to bed, I opened my Bible, and happened upon this passage in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Seeing as a little prayer never really hurt anybody, I got on my knees, and started making my requests known to God. Yes, He already knew of our struggles, He already knew of our needs, but the word tells us to make our requests known, and that’s what I did.

I don’t know how long I was on my knees for, or how long I prayed for, all I know is that it was a significant amount of time, and when I finally got off my knees, I felt as though a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

It has been fifteen years since I prayed that prayer, and I have never once been anxious since, because every time we have a need, I go before the Father, and make my requests known to Him. For fifteen years, the children in our care have never missed a meal, they’ve never gone to bed cold, and they’ve never gone without the basic necessities such as clothes.

Let your request be made known to God by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, and He will be faithful.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 51

Prayers of Intercession continued...

The fourth thing we can intercede and pray for on behalf of the shepherds and overseers of God’s house is integrity. Much shame, and scorn, and mockery has been heaped upon the household of faith throughout the years because those who ought to have been men of utmost integrity were found to be severely lacking in it.

Pray for the leaders, overseers, and shepherds of God’s house to be men of integrity, men of character, men of veracity and of reliability.

In recent years, rarely does a month go by without a new church scandal making the headlines, and a new leader being proven not to possess the requisite integrity that should be standard in every man of God.

Although it might be painful for a season, we must pray God thoroughly clean house, and expose the sin, and the corruption, and the hypocrisy of one and all, so what remains might be pure and blameless in His sight.

We have long known judgment begins in the house of God, and seeing as the dominoes are beginning to topple with greater and greater frequency, it is certain that God’s judgment is already at work in the midst of His people.

I’m sorry if I seem unsympathetic, but I’m fresh out of sympathy for anyone who knowingly and willfully lives a life of hypocrisy, and brings shame to the entire household of faith by their actions and conduct. Yes, they deserve to be shamed, they deserve to be exposed, and it’s not the devil attacking them as some continue to claim, it is God exposing them.

Be certain, while God is cleaning house, new servants are already being prepared, away from the limelight, away from the accolades, away from the life of leisure and excess many of these who are currently being exposed have enjoyed for so long.

Yes, God is preparing servants, who are men of integrity, who are men of character, who will not dilute, butcher, or interpret the word of God to suit their own greed, and covetousness, and whose desire is to serve God with all their heart and might.

Pray for these men, intercede on their behalf, so God would keep them close to His heart, and walking in His will, so they might be strong in resisting the temptations others have succumbed to, and tireless in their preaching of the word of truth, and the risen Christ.

The times are changing. This is as self-evident as the sun in the midday sky, and though the change itself will inevitably shake all that can be shaken, it is a good thing, a God appointed thing, and something that will cause the true Bride, the true children of God to shine bright and true.

For too long we have discounted the word of God, even when it came to issues of great import such as choosing deacons and bishops and elders. We thought the word of God too strict, we thought it too constrictive, and so decided to widen the narrow path of faith without bothering to ask God if He approved.

It is because we chose to ignore the Bible, and the directions and parameters it sets for those in leadership that there is no resemblance between our modern leaders, and those in leadership during biblical times. The men of those days were just as human as those of today, but they submitted to the authority of scripture, and did as God commanded in all things.

This is why they lived victorious lives, this is why they saw the power of God, this is why they witnessed miracles and this is why when they prayed, and preached, and sang the enemy shook from fright.

Acts 6:3, “Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.”

So what was this business over which the apostles would appoint these seven men? What could have possibly been so important as to require these men to be of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit, and full of wisdom?

Were they to be sent out as ambassadors of Christendom to the four corners of the globe? Were they to go before kings and princes and preach Christ?

Seven men were required to be of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom so they might be appointed over the task of serving food to widow women.

Acts 6:1, “Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.”

Do you get the feeling that standards have slipped over the centuries? Do you get the impression that men’s character was more thoroughly analyzed and evaluated than it is today?

These seven men were going to be what amounts to glorified waiters. Their duties would be to daily distribute food to the Hellenist widow women, or Greek speaking Jewish widows.

Even though most men desiring to serve God would scoff at such duties today, these men went through a rigorous inspection just to be able to serve food.

Their reputation was investigated, since others were asked about them, about their character, and about their integrity, their spiritual maturity was scrutinized, since they had to be full of the Holy Spirit, and their wisdom was likewise evaluated.

If these seven men had to go through all that just to be able to serve meals to widows, how much more scrutiny should one who is chosen to lead God’s people, and oversee their spiritual wellbeing be subjected to?

What we are seeing today is what you get when you lower the standard God set in place, and when you stop interceding on behalf of those who are called to lead.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Glitch In Blogger

Yes, I am still alive, still well, still writing. Thank you everyone for your concern.There was a glitch in the software, and it didn't post the teachings. Past teachings are now posted, we are up to date, and hopefully the software will do it's job. God bless everyone, and thank you all for your inquiries.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 50

Prayers of Intercession continued...

Acts 4:29-31, ‘“Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

The third thing we can intercede and pray for on behalf of the shepherds and overseers of God’s house is boldness. Contrary to popular belief, boldness is not a byproduct of your upbringing, it is not something you nurture in yourself from early youth, it is not something that comes from one’s own will and fortitude, but rather it comes from the Holy Spirit.

No, growing up on the mean streets won’t make you bold in speaking God’s word, being disciplined as a child will not increase your boldness, nor will having played with guns or knives in one’s youth.

The servants of God prayed for boldness in the Bible, because they knew where boldness came from. They knew that God gives boldness by way of the Holy Spirit, and as they were being persecuted and threatened, as they were being commanded to keep silent about Jesus and His having been raised from the dead, the faithful gathered together and prayed for this supernatural attribute they would need in order to preach the word of God effectively and fearlessly.

Intercede on behalf of the true shepherds, intercede on behalf of the true overseers, and pray God grant them boldness to preach His word, and His counsel.

When God gives us boldness, we can no longer be intimidated by threats, or fearful of the recriminations and retaliations leveled against us by the enemy and his minions.

We see the outcome of prayer, the end result of these individuals having gathered together in supplication to God, in that the place where they were assembled together was shaken, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

God answered their prayer. They prayed for boldness to speak the word of God, and God gave them the boldness they prayed for.

Once again we are witness to the humanity of God’s servants, some perhaps being timid, others being outright cowardly, but their desire to be pleasing in the sight of God compelled them to pray for that which they did not possess, it compelled them to pray for boldness, that they might go about fulfilling the calling to which they had been called.

If we know we are deficient in a certain area, whether it be boldness, ability to accurately articulate the message we desire to deliver, eloquence, presence, cadence, or any of a number of things that goes into speaking the word of God effectively, pray, ask God to cause you to overflow in the area you are lacking, give you an abundance of what you might be short on, and He will be faithful to do it for you, just as He did for those in the book of Acts.

It is the same God, with the same omnipotence, with the same promises, with the same love, and the same tender heart for His beloved. Why wouldn’t He do for us as He did for those of the past?

If you begin to feel as though your spiritual overseer just doesn’t have the boldness to say the things he ought to say in a straightforward manner, always hinting at things but never coming out and saying them boldly, then pray for God to give them boldness to speak His word directly, succinctly, and unambiguously.

Men of God lead busy lives. Whether one is a shepherd, a preacher, or in ministry, life is one long, arduous, and ongoing juggling act, moving from one project to another, being called upon to perform certain duties at any given time, and trying to carve out a few moments with their family with some semblance of regularity. Due to their schedule, many an overseer forgets to pray for themselves because more often than not midnight is well past before they get through all the prayer requests from those they serve, answer their correspondence, read their Bible, and kiss their spouses goodnight. As such, it is the duty of the sheep, and those they serve, to intercede on their behalf, and pray for them, and plead for them, and petition God for them.

Yes, I have a soft spot in my heart for ministers, preachers, evangelists, and overseers in general, because many of them go unappreciated, scorned, maligned, and ironized, until exhaustion sets in, and that which they ought to have been doing with gladness of heart, becomes a chore and a burden to them.

I realize the following may hurt for some, but it is nevertheless true, the sheep often times make shepherding a burdensome chore, rather than a joyous undertaking. Whether it’s sheep acting more like goats than the sheep they ought to be, or sheep making a hobby out of undercutting, undermining, challenging and denigrating the shepherd, these things weigh heavy on a leader’s heart, and they begin to leech him of his strength and desire to go about his calling.

Few things feel worse in this life, than seeing someone you know you did your best to help, and counsel, and lead to green pastures, stab you in the back, spit in your face, and pretend as though you don’t exist. I’ve been there. I speak from experience. Enough said.

Even Moses needed Aaron and Hur to hold up his hands when he grew tired. Be an Aaron, Be a Hur, be someone who will hold up the man of God when he is exhausted, rather than chuckle when he faints, and trample him underfoot. God will see, God will hear, and God will reward accordingly.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 49

Prayers of Intercession continued...

Now that we’ve established we are biblically mandated to intercede on behalf of those assigned to oversee our spiritual progress, and shepherd us in our spiritual walk, the question which arises is what ought we to be praying and interceding on their behalf for?

The first thing we must remember, is that every pastor, every shepherd, every overseer, is human. No matter how well known, no matter how seemingly gargantuan they might be spiritually, in the end, they are flesh and blood human beings like you, and me.

Think of your favorite biblical hero, the one individual that impresses you and humbles you with consistency every time you read of their exploits and their relationship with God. For some it might be Moses, for others Abraham, Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, David, perhaps even Solomon, or Paul, or Peter, or John the Baptizer. Every one of these giants of the faith, and others besides, were human. Not one of these men was supernatural in his nature, not one of them was an undercover angel, or a heavenly being, they were born, they lived, they ate, they laughed, they slept, they married, they wept, and they died. Human!

As such they were given to their moments of doubt, there were given to their moments of anguish, they were given to their moments of uncertainty, and you will never meet a man of God that has not gone through his own valleys from time to time. If anyone who’s been in ministry longer than it takes to microwave a bag of popcorn tells you they’ve never gone through spiritual deserts, they’re either trying to put on a brave front, or outright lying. It happens to us all, and shepherds and overseers are not exempt.

At one point Elijah desires to die, exhausted, depressed and fearful. John the Baptizer, sent word to Jesus to ask if He was the one they had been waiting for or if another was to come. Moses tried to beg off the responsibility of leading God’s people, and Peter denied Christ three times, as he was forewarned he would do.

Although all these men were mortal, human beings, although they each had they shortcomings, it is undeniable that God worked through them, doing miracles at their hands, speaking with authority through their lips, and using them as vessels of honor.

As we discussed some time ago, specificity is important when it comes to prayers of intercession. Seeing as specificity is an important part of prayers of intercession, what specific things can we pray and intercede for on behalf of the shepherds and overseers of God’s house?

Romans 15:30-32, “Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.”

The first thing we can intercede and pray for on behalf of the shepherds and overseers of God’s house is protection. Pray for the protection of those on the frontlines of the battle, because they are always in the crosshairs of the enemy. Just as God has His servants, the enemy has his own servants, those who do not believe, and they go to great lengths in order to silence, or sideline the servants of the cross of Christ.

Pray for the leaders, pray for the shepherds, pray for the overseers, that God would place a hedge of protection around them, and their families, and quench the fiery arrows of the enemy that are constantly being flung at them.

I’ve said it before, chances are good I’ll say it again, it is not an easy calling, and most often, it is a thankless calling that breeds animus both from those of the world, and those within the church whose desire is to make disciples of their own, and form their own little cliques.

Colossians 4:2-4, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”

The second thing we can intercede and pray for on behalf of the shepherds and overseers of God’s house is open doors to preach the gospel. Nothing compares to when God makes a way, or when He opens a door for the word.

When God opens a door, no man can close it. When God opens a door, one realizes it would have been impossible to open by earthly means, or with worldly methods.

God has His ways, and when the children of God intercede and pray that He open a door for the word, He hears their prayers, and answers them.

Even though Paul was in chains at the time of his plea, he had full faith that if the children of God prayed, and interceded, He would make a way, He would open a door for him to speak the mystery of Christ, and make it manifest.

Paul knew the power of prayer well enough, He knew the doors prayer could open, and though he was imprisoned and in chains, he believed that if the children of God prayed, God would make a way for him to preach the gospel.

Never undervalue, or underestimate the power of prayer for yourself, as well as for others. Stand on the promises of God, and know that when you pray He hears your prayers, and when you intercede on behalf of others, He moves on their behalf.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 48

Prayers of Intercession continued...

1 Thessalonians 2:7-12, “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted and comforted, and charged every one of you as a father does his own children, that you would have a walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”

These words were penned by the same man who over the course of centuries has been called unloving, uncaring, misogynistic, and mean by pseudo-theologians and various self-aggrandizing individuals calling themselves scholars.

I wanted to include this entire passage, because to me at least, it shows the compassion, gentleness, and love of Paul toward the household of faith, as he reminds the church at Thessalonica that not only did he and those who traveled with him impart the gospel of God to them, but also their own lives, because they had become dear to them.

Paul also reminds the church of the gentleness with which they treated them, as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. This is the true heart of a shepherd, an overseer, and one who has been called of God and appointed of the Holy Spirit to lead the people of God in all truth.

Just because Paul and those who traveled with him were gentle among the brethren at Thessalonica, it does not mean they did not preach the truth of God’s word to them. Being gentle, and omitting the truth are two very different things, which are unfortunately confused and interchanged nowadays to suit men’s sensibilities.

Being gentle, is not defined as telling the children of God there are no consequences, that they can live as they please and do as they desire, and Paul reminds the believers of Thessalonica that although he was gentle with them, he did exhort, comfort, and charge every one of them to have a walk worthy of God.

One can preach the whole counsel of God, one can preach the gospel of Christ, and still be gentle. One can preach the truth in gentleness, and remain in a spirit of gentleness while pleasing God who tests the heart.

Paul also reminds the brethren, that during their time together, both he, and those who were with him comported themselves devoutly, justly, and blamelessly among those who believed. Yes, overseers and shepherds are accountable before God not only to lead, and protect, and teach, but also to comport or behave themselves justly, devoutly, and blamelessly.

The ‘do as I say, not as I do’ mentality might work in certain circles, but it is unacceptable within the house of God. The word of God is clear on this topic, as well as many other topics which we choose to sidestep and circumvent, because they might cause hurt feelings, friction, or a negative review by the church finance board.

I realize full well I’ve spent more time discussing shepherds and their various responsibilities than I had intended, but it was for a good and noble reason. I want to show you the big picture of what being called of God, and appointed of the Holy Spirit to be a shepherd of God’s people entails, so that you would understand not only why overseers covet your prayers, but why they desperately need them.

It is by no means a light or easy calling, and the responsibility and accountability that comes along with being appointed as overseer over God’s people by the Holy Spirit is great indeed.

So what ought the attitude of the sheep to be toward those who are called of God to shepherd them? How ought the sheep to feel concerning those whom God has appointed as their overseers?

1 Timothy 5:17, “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.”

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.”

So writing once to the church at Thessalonica, and once to his spiritual son, Paul emphasizes the fact that we ought to recognize those who labor among us, and those who are over us in the Lord, and though they might admonish us, we must esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.

I realize full well that preacher sniping has become a favorite pastime of many people, and I’ll be the first admit that some who are teaching heretical doctrines, and outright falsehoods deserve to be exposed, and have their teachings uncovered. Some however, have taken to passing judgment on one and all who happen to be in ministry, allowing for personal opinion or preference concerning certain aspects which have nothing to do with biblical doctrine, to dictate whether they are deemed reprobate and beyond redemption.

Not liking someone’s haircut, whether they have a mustache, whether they wear a wedding band, or whether their necktie is too colorful, is not grounds for publicly denouncing them as the spawn of darkness, and warning every one of their malicious nature.

Recognize those who labor among you, esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake, and be at peace among yourselves. Good advice for any age.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 47

Prayers of Intercession continued...

The sheep of God’s pasture must also be protected from corrupt doctrine and corrupt teachers, who have been present since the beginning of the church, attempting to pervert the truth, and dilute the word of God.

I often envision pastors nowadays with a staff in one hand, and a sword in the other, because not only are they responsible for the spiritual wellbeing of the sheep, not only will they give account for that which they feed the people of God, they must also protect them from the wolves, the deceivers, and the soothsayers, who worm their way into the household of faith, then summarily wreak havoc, tearing apart in an instant, what took decades to build up.

Knowing the harm a false teacher can cause within a church, I have the utmost respect for pastors who nearly interrogate me before they let me stand behind their pulpit, asking what I believe, why I believe it, and what my stance is on certain key doctrinal issues. I do not begrudge such men, because I know that in their heart they are only looking out for those whom God has entrusted into their care, and even though some might come off as suspicious or skeptical of me, by the end of our conversations they know where I stand, and realizing that we are of the same spirit, allow me to speak to their flock.

In such instances it is better to be overly cautious, than not cautious enough, because the Bible warns us repeatedly of those who would tear the household of faith asunder.

2 Peter 2:1-3, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”

If we understand this scripture passage in its entirety, then identifying the false teachers among us, who secretly bring in destructive heresies, becomes an easy task. For me, the key to identifying who these false teachers are, other than the obvious red flag of denying the Lord who bought them, is their exploitation of God’s people by covetousness and deceptive words.

Covetousness is defined as a discontent with what we have and an intense desire for something else, something we believe will make us happy, or fulfill us in some way.

So another way of reading the aforementioned scripture passage, is ‘false teachers will exploit us, by stirring in us a desire for something we do not yet possess, and a discontentment with what God has already given us.’

These individuals have been around long enough, that by now you’ve surely heard such immortal pearls as ‘if you aren’t rich, you aren’t happy, and God wants you to be happy doesn’t He?’ or, ‘if you don’t believe money brings happiness, you haven’t had enough yet.’

The essence of what such messages are attempting to convey is that what God’s already given you isn’t enough, and not only should you desire for more, you should expect more because you are entitled to more.

The warnings of Peter have come to pass, and the false teachers have been bringing in destructive heresies for years on end. The tragedy isn’t that destructive heresies exist, because to some extent they’ve always existed. The tragedy is that more and more sheep are flocking to these destructive heresies, ignoring and discounting the word of God because the deceptive words of the deceivers are more palatable to the flesh.

We have redefined the role of shepherd, or overseer of God’s sheep to the point that they are expected to be more entertainer than shepherd, more farceur than one who is accountable before God for leading His sheep to green and wholesome pastures.

Jesus never played the entertainer, He never warmed to the role of farceur, and if we desire to be like Jesus we must be sober minded, teaching the people of God the ways of God, and not attempting to do something the world is far better at doing. If men desire to be entertained, there are other venues. If they desire to laugh, there are other places they can go, wherein they will be made to chuckle and chortle. The house of God ought not to be a place for entertainment; it ought to be a place of worship, where the children of God gather together for the purpose of praising His holy name, and being taught His word and statutes.

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

Paul makes a distinction here that many choose to overlook, because it is uncomfortable and it challenges their predisposition to be people pleasers. What Paul is saying in actuality, is that one can either be a pleaser of men, or a servant of Christ, but he cannot be both simultaneously. Each servant must choose whether they seek to please men, or be servants of Christ, since it is impossible to do both.

When we are servants of Christ, we are often called upon to deliver harsh truths that don’t go over so well in our pampered and overly sensitive society. As servants of Christ, it is inevitable that we will be called upon to bring offense to the flesh, and the desires of the flesh, because flesh will always be in diametrical opposition to the spiritual man.

The question remains, do we seek to please men, or be servants of Christ?

The answer to this question will inevitably determine what sort of overseers or shepherds we will be.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 46

Prayers of Intercession continued..

One thing we must understand about the office of shepherd, pastor or overseer of God’s people is that one does not appoint themselves to it, one must be appointed to it by the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t Paul that made the elders at Ephesus overseers and shepherds of God’s people; it was the Holy Spirit who appointed them.

Nowadays shepherding God’s people is more a career choice than it is a true calling. The job as it were, is not physically demanding, one need not slave in the heat of the sun as one would in roofing, or laying asphalt, and it has come to be known that if you give the people what they want, the pay isn’t half bad, and the retirement package is downright generous.

As such there are countless souls today, with pastoral degrees, ready to shepherd their own flock, who were never called to shepherd, whom the Holy Spirit never appointed as overseers, and who frankly have no business being behind a pulpit.

The first requirement of a shepherd is that he is appointed by the Holy Spirit. The second requirement is that they have love for the sheep, that they have love for the children of God, and not see them as something to be sheered. The tragedy arises when those who ought to be shepherds, act more like the wolves they’re supposed to be protecting the sheep from. This occurs when the individual in question is not called of God, or appointed of the Holy Spirit, but chooses the career of elder, or shepherd because of the fringe benefits associated with it.

Hirelings abide only while the going is good, while the accolades are plentiful, and there is no cost, sacrifice, or exertion involved in being an overseer. When times get hard, and there is a price to be paid for calling yourself a shepherd, or a man of God, these selfsame hirelings will abandon the sheep with lightning speed.

Pray for the true men of God, intercede on their behalf, bring prayers of intercession before the Father for their strength, their health, their wisdom, and their steadfastness, because true shepherds are rarer than you or I might like to believe.

I write these words not out of a desire to be divisive, not out of a desire to be controversial, but because they are true, and I have witnessed this within many a church firsthand while traveling throughout this nation for the better part of twenty five years. Yes, it has been that long. Yes, I’ve seen allot during my time, and this is why I must stand up for the true shepherds, and encourage the sheep to keep them in their prayers, and respect the authority that comes with being appointed of the Holy Spirit.

A true shepherd, a true overseer of God’s people will always acknowledge and keep at the forefront of his mind that the sheep belong to Christ. They are Christ’s sheep, not theirs, and as such they will have to answer to Christ for the pastures to which they lead His sheep, the waters they encourage them to drink from, and the protection they provide from the wolves and the deceivers.

True overseers, are accountable directly to God, and they know this. The knowledge that one is accountable to God for what they teach, how they oversee, how they use the resources God has made available, keeps one humble and diligent in being cautious concerning every aspect of ministry.

When you know that you’re accountable to God for how you execute the duties of ministry, you treat every aspect of it through the prism of it, belonging to God. As such, you are frugal with the resources you are given, you weigh the words that you speak, you make certain that your teaching is in harmony with the Bible, and you do your utmost to point the way to Christ, and admonish those who would hear to walk the straight and narrow path of faith.

True men of God don’t become shepherds in order to get famous, they don’t become pastors in order to garner a following, they don’t pursue ministry as a means of gain, they do it out of obedience to God, because God called, and they answered the call, and as such they go wherever the Shepherd sends them, doing whatever the Shepherd commands them to do.

You will not find vainglory in a true overseer of God’s people, you will not find personal aspirations, or five year plans, or dreams of hitting it big. The desire of true shepherds is singular, to be obedient to the Shepherd in all things, and protect His flock at all cost.

Hebrews 13:17, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable to you.”

This verse is not speaking about those who govern us, but those who rule over us, or lead us from a spiritual standpoint. How can I be certain of this? Because the writer of Hebrews goes on to tell us that those who are appointed to rule over us, watch out for our souls, as ones who must give account.

Last time I checked, political parties, and governing bodies neither watch out for our souls, nor do they give account to God for them. As such we know this passage speaks of those whom the Holy Spirit appoints as overseers, and it makes it quite clear that they must give account for the souls they are appointed to oversee.

Whether one who watches out for your soul does so with joy or grief, is largely dependent on the sheep, and whether or not they are submissive to the word of God, and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 45

Prayers of Intercession continued...

Since we’ve discussed Christ’s prayer of intercession on behalf of the church, we will continue in the vein of intercession, and discuss another form of it, namely intercession for the leaders, the elders, and those whom God has appointed as our spiritual overseers.

Whether one shepherds a church of fifty or five thousand, whether they are well known, have name recognition and their faces grace the covers of books, or no one has heard of them beyond their extended family, every man whom God calls to preach the gospel, requires much intercessory prayer.

Admittedly, nowadays we are more apt to judge, belittle, denigrate, nitpick, and disparage anyone in spiritual authority over us than we are to intercede on their behalf, because the very notion of anyone in spiritual authority over them, is anathema to a growing segment of believers.

We no longer warm to the idea of spiritual accountability, be it to an elder, a deacon, a pastor, a bishop, or God Himself, because it’s all about blazing our own trail, finding our own path, discovering our own spirituality, and dozens of other foolish mantra-like one liners, that are antithetical to the word of God.

No, this is not an endorsement or validation of organized religion. It is however an endorsement and validation of biblical principles, and pre-established biblical parameters when it comes to leadership, elders, deacons, and what amounts to the construct of the Body of Christ.

The truth is simple. Not only are those on the frontlines of the battle in need of your intercessory prayers, they covet your prayers more than you will ever know.

Even one such as Paul the Apostle of Christ, the man whom we know as the one who was taken up to the third heaven, asked for, and coveted the prayers and intercessions of the saints on his behalf.

Shortly after encouraging and admonishing the household of faith in Ephesus to put on the whole armor of God that they might stand against the darkness, Paul makes a plea for himself and for all the saints.

Ephesians 6:18-20, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints – and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

At the time of this writing Paul was in prison, as he called himself an ambassador in chains, and although he did his best to encourage, teach, and admonish the congregation at Ephesus, he likewise asked that they remember the saints, as well as him in their prayers before God.

Paul was a man in need of strength, and he was a man in need of boldness, for he knew that even in chains he must open his mouth boldly, and make known the mystery of the gospel to those who would hear.

It goes without saying that the church belongs to Christ. It is Jesus that builds His church. It is Jesus that redeemed the church with the price of His blood. Jesus is the head of the church, the one who establishes, who edifies, who grows, and who has authority over the church and leads it. The word of God tells us however, that Jesus delegates the responsibility of leadership to chosen vessels, which He appoints through the Holy Spirit.

Acts 20:28, “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

As he was about to depart Ephesus, Paul speaks to the Ephesian elders, and reminds them to take heed, or to be watchful both of themselves, and all the flock among which the Holy Spirit had made them overseers.

The Holy Spirit had chosen this group of men to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood, and Paul is warning them that after his departure, savage wolves would come in among them, not sparing the flock.

Paul was reaffirming the truth that as shepherds, as elders, as overseers of God’s people, it was their responsibility to protect the sheep from the wolves, to stand in the gap, and defend the innocent from the deception that would not spare them, if allowed to overtake them.

It is because the overseers, the shepherds of God’s people need to exert so much energy defending the sheep from the wolves that we need to hold them up in prayer, and intercede on their behalf as often as we are able.

It is hard, especially when rather than praying for you, those you are attempting to protect start throwing rocks at your back, because the wolf song is sweet to their ears, and they don’t yet realize what will become of them if the wolves are allowed to enter the camp.

Couple the wolves, with those from within the camp who rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves as Paul warned, and one can readily understand why so many true shepherds are haggard, and worn, and tired, and bloody, and ready to throw in the towel.

We expect so much from our spiritual overseers, yet we don’t take the time to intercede on their behalf even though we see they are wearing thin, stretched beyond their limits, trying to keep it all together, and still have some semblance of a family and a family life.

So, sticking up for all the true preachers and true pastors out there, the next time you feel like judging a sermon for not being fancy enough, eloquent enough, or hermeneutically in depth enough, rather than start a phone tree, and call everyone on the list scoring the soliloquy as though it were some Olympic event, get on your knees, and pray for the man, intercede on his behalf, and ask God to give him boldness to speak as he ought to speak.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 44

Prayers of Intercession continued...

So does this mean God desires us to live in squalor? Does this mean God desires us to be penniless, and broke? No, that is not what the aforementioned passage means, nor does it imply such things. There is nothing wrong with working hard, there is nothing wrong with earning our daily bread, there is nothing wrong in desiring a bigger bed, or a couch, or an nightstand, but when we make possessions the purpose and goal of our existence, when God becomes a means by which we gain the stuff our heart desires, then it is a sin, it is wrong, and it is something that will eventually pierce us through with many sorrows.

When we shift our focus from the things of the kingdom of God to the things of this earth, when we begin to desire material things more than spiritual ones, it is only a matter of time until sorrow becomes a constant companion, and we find ourselves straying from the faith.

What does your heart desire above all else? Does your heart desire intimacy with Christ, fellowship with God, the things of the kingdom, or does it desire excess, opulence, material possessions, and fleeting things? Only you can answer this question for yourself, and do so honestly. My prayer is that we pursue the things of God in lieu of the things of this world, because the things of God have eternal worth, while the world and everything in it is passing away.

We behold the world as it is, seemingly colder toward God and the things of God with each passing day, and I can’t help but think that we have a certain level of blame to shoulder for men’s unwillingness to come to the knowledge of truth as was once the case.

Two things are happening simultaneously in our day and age which ought to give us reason for pause: First, the God haters are becoming bolder and more vociferous in their hatred of God, and those who would take the time and hear of Jesus and His love, mercy and grace, are fewer and fewer with each passing day. The animus and hostility against Christ is more evident than ever before, but a large percentage of what we call the church today is either ignorant or indifferent as to what is happening all around them.

Yes, today’s church is to blame, at least in part, for the condition of the world around them, because it stopped being the light, it stopped being the salt, and started being a spiritualized version of the world instead.

We were not called to be different from those of the world only insofar as our church membership goes, we were called to be sanctified and set apart, holy, and wholly separated unto Him, that He might use us for His glory, His honor, and the furthering of His kingdom.

We have failed in this regard, because we began to desire the things of the world more than the things of God, and began reinterpreting the gospel, and fashioning our doctrines in order to suit our selfishness, greed, avarice, and hedonism.

Rather than intercede for those who are hurting, those who are lost, those in need of comfort and healing, we began pulling our wallets out during church services, and calling money down from heaven. We began demanding of God, something He never promised us, then grew bitter at Him when that which we demanded did not materialize.

The time has come wherein we no longer have the option of keeping our heads buried in the sand, wherein we no longer have the option of ignoring the pink elephant in the room, but we must confront the issue, and deal with it, painful and humbling as it might be to do so.

The hour is upon us wherein we must choose, once and for all, whom we will serve, acknowledge why we serve whom we serve, and also understand what serving entails. If we choose to serve God, then we must serve Him out of love, and a burning desire for more of Him, understanding that serving Him requires our whole hearts, our whole minds, and our whole beings.

Serving God is not a part time job, it is not a hobby, nor is it something to do when there’s nothing good on television, or when football season has ended. Serving God is a lifelong endeavor, one that requires and demands obedience, subservience, self-denial, self-renunciation, and sacrifice.

If we are unwilling to give all of ourselves into the service of God, then we will go into the earth with the unrealized expectation of seeing His power and presence in our lives, because He will not accept anything less than our all.

God is not a swap meet vendor, He doesn’t bargain, you can’t haggle with Him, and He doesn’t play the ‘offer, counteroffer’ game. He has made His expectations clear in His word, He has repeated His demands and commandments time and again, and He will not lower His standard for anyone, no matter who they are.

Psalm 37:3-6, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”

Psalm 37:9-11, “For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look diligently for his place, but it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 43

Prayers of Intercession continued...

James 5:19-20, “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”

Although some might think this scripture passage is out of left field, and it has nothing to do with intercession, it does in point of fact reveal to us another segment of individuals we ought to be interceding for, namely those who have wandered from the truth.

No, this is not a debate on whether an individual can be in truth then wander from it, because the debate has been settled by the word of God. ‘If anyone among you wanders from the truth’, is pretty self-explanatory to me. In order to wander from somewhere, or something, one must have foremost been in close proximity, or possession of that which they wandered from.

Biblically speaking, yes, we can wander from the truth, and we are seeing more and more individuals doing just that by receiving strange teachings, extra biblical doctrines, making up their own version of god, and outright worshiping idols and false deities, all the while believing themselves to be on the straight and narrow path of faith.

If we see someone wandering from the truth, if we see someone wandering from Christ, it is our duty to turn them back, knowing that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

Turning someone who has wandered from the truth back to the way of righteousness is a two pronged endeavor. First, there must be prayers of intercession brought before God on behalf of the individual in question so when they are approached their hearts might be sensitive and receptive to the truth, and second the truth spoken to them in love must be the word of God and not the ruminations or opinions of men.

When the heart is sensitive and receptive, the word of God takes root, and begins the work of restoration and renovation. Faith does come by hearing, but it does not come by hearing men’s words, but rather by hearing the word of God.

1 Timothy 6:10-12, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

I realize most of you have read this scripture passage at least a dozen times in your life, but it is worth revisiting because often times we don’t see the forest for the trees. Most of us stop with the first part of this passage, because it is a well-known and often repeated truism, that indeed, the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. The verse continues however, and says ‘for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.’

‘Well, but if they strayed from the faith, it means they were never really in the faith doesn’t it?’

That is not what the Bible says! For some the circular logic of this doctrinal Catch 22 suffices, but we must remain true to the word of God and not accept something because it is easier to stomach than the truth.

The Bible clearly says that some have strayed from the faith due to their greediness, and as such pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

This presupposes two very important things: First, those who strayed from the faith were once in the faith, and second, it is possible to stray from the faith, to be tempted away into lawlessness, if we do not flee these things and pursue righteousness godliness, faith, love patience, and gentleness.

Why does this matter? It matters because many believers today have adopted this indifferent, laissez-faire attitude, wherein they believe themselves incapable of being deceived, incapable of being tempted, and incapable of straying. As such, they do not pursue righteousness and godliness, they do not fight the good fight of faith that they might lay hold on eternal life, because they don’t believe such things are required of believers.

‘I raised my hand and said the prayer, even filled out a membership card and have my tithe taken out of my checking account automatically. That’s it, all done, don’t have to worry about it anymore, my name is scrawled in the Book of Life with permanent marker.’

Sounds great, but is that what the Bible says? Does the Bible ever hint at the fact that we can live as we once lived just as long as we raised a hand during a church service? Does the Bible ever hint that we can live as the world, act as the world, speak as the world and be as the world and still get a line pass into heaven?

What Paul is saying to Timothy is something we should all take to heart, because it is a serious issue. First, Paul informs Timothy that some have strayed from the faith due to love of money, and their own greediness, then he goes on to say that you, O man of God, you, O woman of God, ought not to be like those who have strayed, but flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and gentleness.

Do not be as those who have strayed, but fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life!

Intercede for those who have strayed from truth. Intercede for those who have come to believe that just because salvation is free, it means it’s cheap. Intercede for those who are at a crossroads in their walk, and after interceding for them, present them with the truth of God’s holy word.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 42

Prayers of Intercession continued...

Depending on how we perceive it, the sifting can be, and often is, a good thing for our spiritual walk. When we are sifted, we are essentially cleansed of impurities, of chaff, or everything that ought not to be mixed in with the wheat, so what remains might be pure.

Difficult as it might seem at the time, we must be thankful to God for the seasons of sifting we go through, knowing that we are being prepared for His granary. Only grain that has been threshed and sifted is put into a granary.

The sifting process, as well as the threshing process is intended to separate the kernel from the dross, the wheat from the chaff, and in our seasons of sifting and threshing this is the utmost thing we must remember.

No matter how difficult the sifting, no matter how uncomfortable or protracted the threshing, if we are wheat, we know with certainty that no evil will befall us. Jesus our intercessor prayed our faith would not fail, and we know the Father answers the Son’s prayers.

God knows both the length and intensity of sifting required of every individual. Sifting is not a one size fits all proposition, it is an individual experience custom tailored to our specific natures. God knows how much sifting I can withstand, and He will not allow me to endure beyond what He knows I am able to endure.

1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Although it may seem like it at the time, the trial, the sifting, and the threshing you are going through is not superhuman, rather it is common to man. Yes, I realize it’s easy to talk about the fiery furnace of trial and sifting, and quite another to be in it, go through it, and experience it for yourself, but I assure you I’ve had my fair share of sifting and threshing, and trials and hardships, and I can still attest to the veracity of Paul’s assertion, that no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man.

Within this same verse, we also see a promise which many tend to overlook, but which is priceless in its implication.

No matter the trial, temptation, sifting or threshing, the word of God promises us that He is faithful, and will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able. Not only will God not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able, He will also make a way of escape with every temptation, that we might bear it.

Jesus prayed. He interceded for His disciples repeatedly, fervently, and passionately. If we desire to be Christ like, then prayers of intercession on behalf of the brethren must be a continual practice in our spiritual lives.

Prayers of intercession highlight the interdependency of the Body of Christ, and show us how many members make up the whole. I do not pray for myself as often as I pray for others, because I know in my heart that others are interceding on my behalf as fervently and passionately as I am interceding on behalf of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

The knowledge that we are one Body, lifting one another up in prayer, and interceding on behalf of each other, eradicates the tendency for selfishness when it comes to our prayer lives. I don’t pray for myself as often, because I know others are praying for me, and as such I can use my time of prayer to pray for others whom I know are in need of prayer.

Hebrews 2:17-18, “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”

Jesus aids those who are tempted, not as one who has never experienced temptation, but as one who has Himself suffered and was tempted. Whatever the situation might be, if someone attempting to aid you has likewise gone through what you are going through, they are better able to understand, and help where you need it most.

Whether it’s an expectant mother asking someone who has already had children what it is she can expect, or someone who was once heavy giving weight loss advice to someone attempting to shed a few pounds, whenever an individual has gone through a similar experience, they are better able to assists, support, and aid us.

Jesus Himself endured temptation, and He overcame it, and as such He is able to aid those who are likewise tempted.

As a side note, if Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail, then logic would conclude it is possible for our faith to fail. Jesus would not have prayed an unnecessary prayer, nor would He have asked the Father for something needless.

Yes, if we stop guarding our hearts, if we stop being watchful, if we cease having prayer lives, faith can get shipwrecked, and it can even fail. Contrary to certain denominations, the Bible proves this out. As such, may we live lives of obedience, humility, prayer, and watchfulness, that when trials come, when the sifting commences we might stand and remain grounded in the truth that is Christ Jesus our Lord.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.