Thursday, May 31, 2012

Edging Toward The Finish Line

There’s always something exhilarating when you’re edging toward the finish line. Whether it’s getting close to home base after a long trip, hearing the captain come on the overhead speaker and tell you the plane is making its final descent, or getting ready to pack up and return to the arms of the one you love, the heart skips a beat, the palms start to sweat, and you get into a different frame of mind.

Seeing as in two weeks I will be taking flight once more and returning to Romania, I am currently in the aforementioned frame of mind. I’ve been at this long enough wherein I know I’ll need a couple days to pack, then double-check to make sure I included everything I will need in the suitcases, e-mail the family and make sure they didn’t leave anything off their often abundant must have lists, clean out the refrigerator, make sure all the bills are paid, then get ready for the trip itself.

Before I leave however, I have two more engagements, both in Wisconsin, and thankfully both close to home. The only people to ever really understand me (as far as the tour-de-force driving we do when we’re on tour is concerned) are long-haul, cross-country truck drivers, and whenever one happens to come to one of my meetings we end up sharing war stories, and deciding which truck stops have the best chicken wings, and which ones are mere pretenders to the throne.

After twenty-five years the traveling hasn’t gotten any easier, and I don’t reckon it will any time soon.

And so, without any further ado, this Sunday I will be speaking in Little Chute Wisconsin, a congregation called the Home Church, which isn’t really a home church.

Sunday June 3, 2012 10:00 AM
Home Church
1215 Buchanan Street
Little Chute, Wisconsin 54140

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 84

Answered Prayers continued...

I realize full well the flesh bristles whenever it hears the word 'choice', because when one implies choice, they inevitably imply accountability, and accountability nowadays is as popular and welcome as scurvy or cholera.

The flesh loves the notion of zero accountability. It loves the notion of having no responsibility before a sovereign God, and as such the doctrines and teachings which insist we have no say in the matter of our salvation, and that nothing is required of us as individuals, are becoming more popular than ever before.

It’s as though the word ‘if’ has been magically expunged from the pages of Scripture in the last decade, and conditionality is no longer a variable in man’s ultimate reconciliation with God the Father.

‘Well, frankly, it doesn’t matter what you do, or don’t do. If you’ve been preapproved, preordained, and prescribed in God’s book, then you will have no choice in the matter of your salvation. It will happen even if it be against your will. God will drag you into heaven kicking and screaming, and you will have absolutely no say in the matter.’

All well and good until we begin to run into those scriptures with which we must contend, which tell us that God so loved the world not just a handful of souls, that Jesus said ‘if’ anyone desires to come after Me, and that countless passages within scripture charge us to pursue holiness, righteousness, obedience, humility, and sanctification.

Just as we choose to follow after Christ, we choose to conform our prayers to the will of God.

Praying in conformity to the will of God goes beyond the words we speak. It goes to the heart of whether or not we truly accept the will of God for our lives as being perfect, and flawless.

When we pray God’s will be done in our lives, we are acknowledging our acceptance of His plan, His purpose, and His design for our journey here on earth, recognizing His way is the better way, and His plan is the better plan.

Human pride has a very difficult time with accepting the plan of God, and acknowledging the perfection thereof. Human pride always thinks itself wiser than God, more capable of making the right decisions, and more qualified to choose the path we follow.

There is an ongoing and constant battle in the hearts of men between acquiescing to the will of God, submitting to His authority, and acknowledging the superiority of His will over ours. To put it plainly, man likes to think himself the center of the universe, the apple of God’s eye, the pinnacle of wisdom, and the fount of knowledge. To humble oneself and acknowledge the preeminence, superiority, and supremacy of God goes against man’s fallen nature, and this is why many have a difficult time doing it.

God does what He desires, both in heaven and on earth, working all things in accordance with the counsel of His will. God doesn’t need our permission to do what He sees fit, but in order for our prayers to be heard, in order for our prayers to be answered, we must nevertheless pray in accordance to His will.

Psalm 135:6-7, “Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places. He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries.”

Sometimes I cringe when I hear certain individuals pray certain kinds of prayers. You know the prayers I’m referring to, ‘I speak it, I decree it, I command it’, with no qualifier at the end such as, ‘if it be Your will’, or, ‘let it be done according to Your will.’

Such prayers of entitled demand remind me of an altercation I saw once between a father and his son, who got it in his head that if he could just be stubborn and bullheaded enough, and scream his father into submission, he’d get what he was asking for.

The man in question was a war veteran, a hard man, who had been honorably discharged from the army, and subsequently became a sheepherder. There were stories of this man having taken on a pack of wolves with nothing more than his shepherd’s staff and the knife he used to slice bread, so when I happened to stop by his home and hear someone screaming from the barn I knew it couldn’t be him.

One thing I’ve learned about hard men over the years is that they don’t do much talking, they don’t raise their voices, they don’t try to browbeat you into submission…they just do what they must with brutal efficiency.

Since I’d shown up mid-conversation, I didn’t know what the argument was about, but as I walked around the house to the barn, the sheepherder’s teenage son was attempting to stare his father down, standing half a stride away glaring at him.

They didn’t notice me, as they just stood staring at each other, then the son began screaming again, ‘the best you could do was a be a sheepherder, that’s why I can’t afford a new bike and new shoes, I’m sick of this. As soon as I turn eighteen, I’m leaving.’

I didn’t see the swing; it was too quick…but the yelling boy flew back and landed on his backside before I had a chance to let out the breath I was holding in.

‘Who do you think you’re talking to boy? Get back to work before you don’t have a choice in the leaving’ the father said, then picked up a pitchfork and started stacking hay in the corner of the barn.

Sometimes I wonder if we forget who it is we’re talking to when we pray. I wonder if we forget that we are conversing with the Creator of all that is, the One who spoke the universe into being, and the giver and sustainer of life as we know it.

Know who it is you are praying to, and let this knowledge birth in you the requisite reverence one must possess when addressing the King of kings and Lord of lords.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 83

Answered Prayers continued...

It is of utmost importance that we pray according to the will of God, for only when we pray in accordance to His will, will we receive an answer to our prayers. In order to understand the paramount importance of prayer, we need look no further than Christ Jesus, who spent countless nights, and countless hours in prayer to the Father, though He was the Son of God.

Jesus likewise thought prayer so important, that He took the time to instruct His disciples on how to pray. Jesus never instructed His disciples on how to preach, teach, or fashion a sermon, but He did take the time to instruct them on how it was they were to pray.

Why is it we so often discount those things so obviously paramount in scripture, while accentuating those we know to be of lesser importance, or secondary issues?

Although prayer is something the disciples of Christ asked to be taught, although Jesus took the time to teach it, although every true man of God in the Bible is shown to have been a man of prayer, we are still reticent when it comes to desiring to know all there is to know concerning this precious gift. Yes, prayer is a gift. It is something God gives to His children exclusively, that they might communicate and commune with Him, that they might have fellowship with Him, and speak to Him without reservation.

True prayer always conforms itself to the will of God. I realize this may sound contradictory to what many are teaching concerning prayer nowadays, but it is nevertheless scriptural. If our prayers do not conform themselves to the will of God, then they are not prayed in accordance with the will of God.

Even Christ conformed His prayer to the will of God, when doing so meant His having to suffer, to drink the cup He would rather have had pass from Him.

Luke 22:41-42, “And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me, nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.’”

Christ was in Gethsemane, as He was accustomed, and He was there to pray. His prayer on this particular night was a prayer filled with agony, to the point that His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. The essence of His prayer to God was that if at all possible the cup would be removed from Him. The cup to which Christ was referring was His subsequent suffering, all that He would soon endure, including crucifixion and death, at the hands of the Pharisees and the Roman soldiers.

If Christ’s prayer would have ended with the words ‘remove this cup from Me’, then perhaps I could understand, if only partially, how some of today’s doctrines insist that we could demand of God, mandate of God, and outright command Him when we want something.

Christ continued His prayer beyond ‘remove this cup from Me’ however, concluding it with, ‘nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done.’

If it would have been up to Him, Christ would have preferred that the cup of suffering be removed from Him, yet He knew it is the Father’s will which is preeminent in all things, and it is His will that must be done, and not ours.

There are many thing for which we pray, many things which we desire, at the end of which we humble ourselves and say, nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done. This is what it means for our prayers to be conformed to the will of God, because His will is perfect for our lives, and He will consistently lead us to green pastures even though in the present we cannot see it.

Christ lived His life here on earth in perfect obedience to the Father, giving the Father’s will preeminence over His own.

John 5:30, “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”

John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

Christ humbled Himself, being obedient unto death, having come down from heaven not to do His own will but the will of He who had sent Him. Christ’s purpose was the will of the Father, and He was obedient to the point of death, remaining in the will of God in perpetuity.

We choose to do the will of God, and we likewise choose not to do the will of God. Obedience is a choice…one we make every day, regarding issues great and small alike.

We choose to give our will preeminence over the will of God, or we choose to humble ourselves, and give the will of God preeminence over our own wills. The choice remains ours in exclusivity, as individuals, for it is as individuals that we choose obedience, and not as a collective.

An individual, who knows and accepts the sovereignty of God in their life, is able to pray in conformity to the will of God. Only when we accept God’s sovereignty over us, only when we come to the knowledge of His sovereign nature, can we pray for His will to be done rather than our own and for His plan to come to pass rather than our desires.

When I know that for every trial there is a purpose, for every hardship an objective, for every lack a reason to trust, for every grief a reason to be comforted, for every joy a reason to be thankful, then I will pray as Jesus prayed, conforming all that I bring before God to His will.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 82

Answered Prayers continued...

John 15:5-7, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you.”

When we have the boldness to pray in the name of Jesus, it signifies and confirms that we have a vital relationship with Him. If Christ is the vine and we are the branches, it is Christ who is the sustainer of life. It is Christ who is vital to our existence, and not the other way around.

In our prayers, as well as our lives in general we often act as though God needs us more than we need Him. We come before Him with an air of entitlement and superiority, as though our mere presence ought to honor God to no end. He is the vine, we are the branches. It is the vine that sustains the branch. It is the vine that gives life to the branch, and once the branch is removed from the vine it withers, and is good for nothing more than being thrown into the fire and burned.

We must acknowledge our dependence upon Christ, and allow this knowledge to keep us humble and tethered to Him.

The only way by which we can ask what we desire and see it done for us is if we abide in Christ and if His words abide in us. It is common knowledge that the word ‘if’ denotes conditionality.

If I eat less and exercise more, I will lose weight. My weight loss is conditional upon my eating less and exercising more, and without doing these two things consistently, I will not lose the weight I desire to lose.

If we abide in Christ and His words abide in us then we can ask what we desire and it shall be done for us. If we do not abide in Him and His words do not abide in us, what we desire will not be done for us.

We have life in Christ. When we abide in Christ and His words abide in us, we no longer pray selfish prayers, we no longer desire worthless things, but we will pray for and desire the eternal things of the kingdom of God.

When we know the fullness of Christ, when we abide in Him, we realize how precious and priceless the things of the kingdom of God truly are, how indispensable the guidance, gifts, and unction of the Holy Spirit is, and we will desire them above the treasures of this earth.

When we pray for temporal things, when we pray for earthly things, all we are doing is displaying our spiritual immaturity, and our lack of understanding in regards to the fullness of Christ.

1 John 3:22, “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”

Because we keep His commandments, because we do those things that are pleasing in His sight, whatever we ask we receive from Him. Once more we see the conditionality placed upon us as followers of Christ to keep His commandments, and do what is pleasing in His sight.

The ‘I did all that is required of me to do when I raised my hand in church’ mentality just doesn’t hold up to the scrutiny of scripture. I’m sorry for having to come back to this point – and by now it seems like I’m beating a dead horse even to me – but this is a major issue that we must clarify if we desire to have our prayers answered when we pray in the name of Jesus.

There are countless scriptures that don’t just hint or intimate, but outright tell us we must live lives worthy of Christ, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight, yet a great majority of the church today seems to ignore and disregard them, because they revel in the duplicitous lives a libertine gospel affords them.

Being obedient to the word of God is not legalism – it is obedience.

We are quick to label any scripture that inconveniences us ‘legalistic’, because in our heart of hearts we do not desire to serve God, we do not desire to worship Him, but to use the privileges of being one of His children toward our own benefit.

If you think I was exaggerating in my previous statement, I would urge you to study the prosperity gospel, discover its roots, and you will see that if anything I was understating the issue, and not exaggerating it.

Whole mega churches and entire ministries are based solely on the foundation of hedonism, selfishness, greed, and entitlement, wherein God is there to serve us, to do as we command, to stand at attention each time we ring the bell, and give us everything we’ve ever wanted.

Strangely, those who have surrendered their hearts to this perverted doctrine never seem to pray and ask God for more power, for more of His presence, or for more of the Holy Spirit, but for cars and boats and homes and trinkets which are wholly worthless and valueless.

God has established conditions for when we enter the Holiest. He has established prerequisites to which we must submit, and He will not go back on His word just because this present generation disagrees with Him in their rebellion. Nor will He nullify His commandments because certain individuals find them inconvenient.

He is the vine, we are the branches, and it is incumbent upon us not to be cast out, where we will wither, be gathered up, and thrown into the fire. Without Him we can do nothing!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 81

Answered Prayers continued...

Everything in our Christian walk leads back to Jesus. All that we do, all that we are, all that we hope to be, is tethered in Christ. The name of the Lord is our refuge, our strength, our banner, and our standard.

When David went to confront Goliath, the difference between these two individuals went far beyond size. While Goliath came fully arrayed in battle armor, David came with nothing more than a few stones in a satchel, and a slingshot in his hand.

When Goliath sees this child standing before him, the word tells us Goliath disdained him. Goliath began to curse David by his gods, and swore to give his flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the fields.

1 Samuel 17:45-47, “Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head form you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild bests of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.’”

Consider, that a young and ruddy boy was saying these things to the man who had caused the armies of Israel to be ‘dreadfully afraid’. David knew he did not stand in his own strength, he knew that five stones and a slingshot were not going to fell Goliath – he knew that if victory was to be had it would be the Lord’s doing.

How do you present yourself before your enemy? Is it in your own strength, or is it in the strength of the Lord? Do you attempt to overcome using your own ingenuity, your own prowess, your own abilities, or do you trust in the arm of the One who does not save with sword and spear?

We are not overcomers over sin or over the enemy in and of our own strength. We do not overcome the darkness, with the light we produce, but with the light of Christ that resides within us – a light not of our own making but one which was freely given us.

Before it’s too late, I pray we learn dependency upon Christ, I pray we know Him, and trust Him, and serve Him, as He rightfully deserves.

Praying in the name of Jesus, is praying for those things by which the heavenly Father will be glorified. When we pray in the name of Jesus, we never pray for something that will not glorify the Father, or for something that will mock or degrade Him. Our prayers must be in accordance with the will and purpose of God, and for the glory and honor of His wondrous name.

John 14:13, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

Why will Jesus do whatever we ask in His name? So that the Father may be glorified in the Son! Once we understand this great mystery of the faith, once we grasp the reality that Jesus doesn’t answer our prayers just to make us feel better about ourselves, or to make our lives here on earth easier, but that the Father may be glorified, not only will we understand why certain prayers are answered, but also why certain ones are not.

We pray to God the Father, in the name of Jesus His Son, that God the Father might be glorified by that for which we are praying.

The instant we understand this truth, the instant we perceive why we pray, we begin to censor our prayers, and fashion them in such a way that whatever it is we are praying for, will bring glory to God.

Because the answer to our prayers in the name of Jesus must glorify God, we will never pray and petition God in the name of Christ for selfish things, for things that will elevate the flesh, or cause our hearts to be divided.

When we seek after human glory, when seek after the accolades, the applause and approval of men rather than the glory of God, we must search our hearts, discover the pride that has settled there, and yank it from its roots. Pride compels men to seek after their own glory rather than the glory of God. Pride compels men to take upon themselves the honor rightly due the heavenly Father, and the word tells us that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

When you pray, whatever it is you are praying for in the name of Jesus, also pray that it may glorify the Father. Such prayers are pleasing in the sight of God; they are as a symphony of praise to Him, and because we are faithful in our prayers, God will be faithful in His answers.

The saying is easy, the doing is hard. To consistently pray selfless prayers, to consistently pray that whatever the outcome, whatever answer we might receive, as long as it brings glory to the Father we will be at peace with it, is allot harder than it would seem at first glance.

Will what you are praying for bring glory to God if your prayer is answered? Will what you are petitioning God for in the name of Christ glorify the Father? These are questions we must ask, because they are of utmost importance, and once we discover the answer, either we alter our prayer, or continue to pray with greater fervor and boldness.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 80

Answered Prayers continued...

There is always an implied danger in using someone’s name and projecting a certain intimacy or knowledge of the individual with which you are not truly accustomed. There are even examples in the word of God, wherein men took it upon themselves to approach others on behalf of a third party, using their name, their clout, their reputation for their own nefarious purposes, and being punished severely for their dereliction.

There are two examples which spring to mind, one from the Old Testament, and one from the New Testament, both having to do with the consequences of assuming the use of an individual’s name or reputation without their approval or blessing. Since time is a commodity we all treasure, I will focus only on the example in the New Testament since it is by far the more entertaining of the two, and highlights the point I’m trying to make quite clearly.

Why is this relevant? It is relevant because we must understand, and vividly so the stark difference between speaking the name Jesus, and knowing the Person Jesus. Anyone can speak the name Jesus, but far too few of those who speak the name Jesus know the Person Jesus, and as such are able to walk in His authority.

During the time of the apostles, as God was working unusual miracles through them all, including by the hands of Paul, a group of itinerant Jewish exorcists, took it upon themselves to call on the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits.

No, I’m not making this up. This really happened, and it’s really in the Bible. I smiled when I read ‘itinerant Jewish exorcists’ for the first time some years ago, and my smile only broadened as Luke related the story of what happened with these exorcists who took it upon themselves to call on the name of the Lord, whom they did not know.

Acts 19:13-16, “Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘We adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.’ Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you? Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped upon them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”

‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ I’m thinking when the seven sons of Sceva heard that particular question they realized it wasn’t enough to attempt and adjure an evil spirit in the name of Jesus whom you know only as the One who Paul preaches.

These men did not know the Person of Jesus, they did not believe in the authority of Jesus, they did not believe in the divinity of Jesus. They saw that God worked miracles at the hands of Paul, and decided it couldn’t hurt if they tried casting out demons in the name of this Jesus Paul kept preaching about as well.

So what became of these seven brave souls who assumed to use the name of Jesus without really knowing Him? Because these men did not know Jesus, they had no authority. Because they had no authority, the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped upon them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

In modern parlance, the demonized man beat the stuffing of them, to the point that they ran out of the house bleeding and naked.

Don’t assume authority when you have no authority! Don’t presume to use the name of Jesus when you don’t really know Jesus, when you don’t really follow after Jesus, and when you don’t obey Jesus. It won’t end well, and chances are it will end as badly for you as it did for the sons of Sceva.

I can only imagine how these seven brothers psyched themselves up before they went into the house where the possessed man lived. I can only imagine how they talked themselves into believing that even if using the name ‘Jesus’ didn’t really work, the odds were in their favor, and if push came to shove, seven to one were unbeatable odds.

Know Jesus, serve Jesus, obey Jesus, and worship Jesus, so you might know your prayers will be answered when you pray in His name. It’s already too late to wonder if you really know Jesus when you’re locked in a house with one in whom is an evil spirit. It’s already too late to wonder if Jesus will answer your prayers when you really need Him, because you haven’t spoken in so long, and it’s been ages since you were last on your knees, in your prayer closet, pouring your heart out to God.

I find it odd that though the sons of Sceva did not know Jesus, they were quick to use His name hoping to adjure the evil spirit, yet those who claim to know Him somehow feel ashamed or put out for having to use His name or testify of Him.

Romans 15:17-19, “Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient – in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”

Here was a man in whom there was no shame of Christ or the cross of Christ. Paul gloried in Christ Jesus, and the things which pertained to God, for He knew where hope, peace, joy, salvation and reconciliation with God the Father come from.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 79

Answered Prayers continued...

How can I speak the name of Jesus and not have a walk worthy of Him? How can I pray in the name of Jesus, and not have Him as King of my life, and Lord of my heart? How can I dishonor the One who hung and died upon a cross for my sins by continuing in the selfsame sins for which He died, and from which He freed me?

2 Timothy 2:19, “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.’”

What is the first seal of the solid foundation of God? The Lord knows those who are His! It’s not the other way around, and this is something very few want to contend with. There is no ‘I think therefore I am’ in this scenario. Either God knows you as one of His own, or you are not one of His own.

We cannot do what is right in our own eyes, we cannot follow after our flesh, we cannot dishonor He who is eternal, we cannot trample the blood of His sacrifice, and still beat our chests proudly and say ‘we are of the Lord, we belong to Him!’.

The Lord knows those who are His, not because they say they are, not because they pretend to be, not because they belong to a certain denomination, but because their hearts have been transformed by the power of the word of God, because they have presented their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to Him, and because they have picked up their crosses and followed after Jesus.

The second seal of the solid foundation of God is that everyone who names the name of Christ departs from iniquity.

To depart is to deviate from a previous course of action, to leave, or to move away from a place into another direction. What is it we are to depart, deviate, or move away from as children of God? Iniquity! Sin - the practices and conduct of our old life, when we were ignorant of Christ, and lived for the flesh.

Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. Everyone means everyone. Not just the leadership, not just the deacons, not just the bishops or the pastors or the preachers, but everyone who names the name of Christ must depart from iniquity. It’s non-negotiable, there is no special dispensation, and you can’t ‘give’ your way out of this requirement.

Some individuals are incensed that God has not answered their prayers, they grow annoyed, irate, and often times furious with God for being silent, but never once do they look in the mirror of the word to see if they’ve departed from iniquity.

The Lord knows those who are His, and you will know you are the Lord’s if you have departed from iniquity. This constant attempt to straddle the fence, to have one foot in the world and one foot in the church must cease, and it must cease forthwith. Time has run out, the clock is striking midnight, and those found to be living lives of hypocrisy and duplicity, those found in a lukewarm state, will be spewed out of God’s mouth like so much phlegm.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, “Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The name of our Lord Jesus Christ must be glorified in us. When men behold us, when they see our conduct, when they see our character, when they see our devotion and our faithfulness, they must see the nature of Jesus in us, that His name might be glorified in us.

If rather than being glorified in us the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is denigrated because of us, because of our conduct and our character, how can we then have boldness and courage and assurance to go before the Father in His Son’s holy name?

Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

We tend to gloss over such scriptures. We tend to pretend as though such scriptures do not exist, or as though Jesus never spoke the words He spoke. It’s one thing to speak the name of Jesus, and even pray in the name of Jesus, it’s quite another to have a walk worthy of the name Jesus, to depart from iniquity, have the Lord be glorified in you, and you in Him.

We cannot continue to practice lawlessness believing we are walking in the will of God, and living with the expectation of being welcomed into His kingdom. We cannot discount the words of Jesus, and His disciples, we cannot discount the words of scripture, when they continually exhort us to repent, and depart from iniquity.

I realize you might be wondering what this has to do with having our prayers answered, and the short answer would be everything. Living in the will of God, in obedience to His word, having repented and departed from iniquity, assures us that when we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus, our prayers will be heard and answered.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Closer To Home

This past week we logged no less than 4,000 miles on our rental, and yes, I drove most of the way. Actually save for about twenty miles it was the whole way, but I wouldn’t want to diminish my copilot’s contribution. I don’t know how happy it will make the rental car company, but that’s what you get for offering unlimited mileage for $18 per day.

Today my brother Sergiu and I are on our way to Detroit to pick up a load of clothes and other items, and Lord willing we will be sending a container to Romania the first week of June.

Even after all these years God is still amazing, and I am still in awe of all He does.

Other than telling you where I’ll be speaking this coming Sunday, I also wanted to discuss something that’s been on my heart.

Seeing as it will be at least another six months until we finish out the series on prayer, (that’s as far as the outlines go and it’s still not quite finished) and seeing as many events of a prophetic nature are coming to pass on an almost daily basis, I’ve been seriously considering taking one day per week – as of now Friday seems as good as any – and dedicating it to current events, and things that I just need to get off my chest.

Just something I’ve been considering. Drop me a line, and tell me what you think.

We’ll even give it a quirky name like ‘The Friday Rant’, or the ‘Did That Really Just Happen Friday Roundup.’

As I wrote to a friend earlier this week, when I’m rested, I tend to type-ramble. Sorry for that.

Anyway, this Sunday, we are closer to home, in the beautiful town of Plainfield Wisconsin.

Sunday May 27, 2012 10:00 AM
New Life Assembly of God
612 East North Street
Plainfield Wisconsin 54966

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 78

Answered Prayers continued...

Through Christ we have access by one Spirit to the Father. Absent Christ, we do not have access to the Father. No matter how many men insist upon it, no matter how respected they might be, if Christ is not the cornerstone, if He is not the central theme and focus, if He is not preached as the sole means by which we have access to the Father, they are liars and the truth is not found in them.

The word of God is very clear on this issue of paramount importance. It leaves no room for interpretation, and it leaves no room for second guessing. If men take it upon themselves to discount the word of God and make up their own doctrine, if men take it upon themselves to call Christ a liar to His face, and insist that their way is the better way, then they will have to stand before the eternal God of all that is, one day in the not too distant future, and answer for the heresy they taught.

Ephesians 2:18, “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”

The ‘Him’ to which Paul is referring in His epistle to the Ephesians, is Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior, due to whom we are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of the household of God.

As Paul continues his letter, he likewise reminds the church at Ephesus that Jesus is the chief cornerstone in whom the whole building being joined together grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

There is no hope without Jesus. There is no salvation but in Him, and there is no means by which we might obtain access to the Father but by Christ.

Even though prayer is one of the greatest graces which God has bestowed upon man, in order for God to answer our prayers, we must pray in a biblical manner. As reviled as the notion that God is a God of order might be in the church today, it is nevertheless the truth, and God demands that when we pray we do so as His word dictates.

Yes, we have boldness and access to God and can come before Him with boldness and confidence through faith, but there are still certain elements we must incorporate in our lives of prayer, which God says are necessary in order for Him to not only hear our petitions, but answer them.

When we pray in the name of Jesus, it goes without saying that we must be in good standing with Him. If we have no relationship with Jesus, if we’ve never met Him on a personal and intimate level, if all we know is what we heard from others but never experienced Him for ourselves, then we cannot stand before Him with confidence, or boldness.

I cannot use the name Jesus, nor can I pray in the name of Jesus, if I am not in a fruitful and ongoing relationship with Him.

Many in our day and age presume to abuse the name of Christ, praying to the Father in His name, without really knowing Him. In order for Jesus to act as Mediator on our behalf, He must first and foremost know us. In order for Him to intercede and plead our cause, we must have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, and fruitful in every good work.

Colossians 1:9-11, “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”

Before the peanut gallery (which always seems to materialize whenever I mention the word ‘works’) starts bombarding me with e-mails calling me a heretic for preaching a works based salvation, all I did was quote the word of God which says clearly and explicitly, that yes, we must have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work.

‘Nope, nope, I reject that hypothesis! I was assured that all I had to do was raise my hand, and then I could sit on my couch, and twiddle my thumbs, and do absolutely nothing. A walk worthy of the Lord and being fruitful in every good work implies works, and I reject works based salvation. So, you’re a heretic!’

Jeremiah 4:22, “For My people are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.”

Few things in this world are as off-putting as one who claims the name of Jesus yet does not have a walk worthy of Him. Even the world reacts with justifiable hostility toward those who live like the world, yet purport to love Jesus.

We are not our own any longer, and as such must walk in obedience to our Master who commanded that we walk in righteousness and holiness, that we be sanctified, pleasing to Him, and fruitful in every good work.

In order to have access to the Father we must not only know Christ, but walk in obedience of Him, living lives worthy of His name, and increasing in the knowledge of Him.

Although the terminal indifference from which many suffer embraces the notion of ‘do nothing salvation’ and even revels in it, the word of God remains the word of God, and contrary to the opinions of men, we must strive, we must press in, we must fight the good fight of faith so we may one day lay hold of our crown.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 77

Answered Prayers continued...

The fourth and final attribute the word of God tells us is necessary in order to enter the Holiest, is to have our bodies washed with pure water. If the other three attributes were of a spiritual nature, it is only fitting to conclude that this fourth attribute is likewise of a spiritual nature.

It would be a somewhat pointless exercise to go into the land of the metaphysical and proceed to define the difference between the physical and spiritual, because I hope we all have a basic understanding of what separates the physical realm from the spiritual realm.

The author of Hebrews isn’t telling believers to go take a bath. He’s not saying they should shower more often, or bathe frequently. When we are told that we must have our bodies washed with pure water, we are in essence told we must allow the word of God to wash us clean, and keep us clean in all our ways.

Yes, in the Old Testament ritual bathing was a custom practiced by the ancient Jews, and something commanded of God for those who entered the tabernacle of meeting, or came near the altar of the Lord. We see examples of this throughout the Old Testament, especially in the book of Exodus.

Exodus 30:17-21, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘you shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it, for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it. When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the Lord, they shall wash with water, lest they die. So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die. And it shall be a statute forever to them – to him and his descendants throughout the generations.’”

Aaron and his sons were chosen and set apart for the priest’s office. As such, they bore the responsibility of standing before God in purity, in cleanliness, in righteousness and holiness. The washing of the hands and of the feet, was a symbolic representation of their inner hearts, and just as they had to wash themselves with water lest they die, we must likewise wash ourselves in the water of the word, lest we die.

‘But why do we have to be clean? Why must we have our bodies washed with pure water…it’s not like we’re priests or anything.’

1 Peter 2:9-10, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”

Not only are the children of God a holy nation, not only are they His own special people, not only were they called out of darkness into His marvelous light, they are also a royal priesthood. Because we are a royal priesthood and can enter the tabernacle of meeting, and can approach the altar of the Lord, we must do so, having washed our bodies with pure water just as the priests of old were commanded to do.

What they were commanded to do in the physical, we are now commanded to do in the spiritual. No, there shouldn’t be a bronze bowl of water by your bedside in which you wash your hands and feet each time you come before God in prayer, but you must always be washed clean by His holy word when you approach Him.

John 15:3, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

You are clean because of the word, and you remain clean as long as you remain in the word. If it’s freezing outside, you can only remain warm while you are indoors and near the fire. The same principle can be applied to our remaining clean, and being able to do so, only as long as we remain in the word of God.

The body must be cleansed and sanctified daily with the waters of life – the waters of the truth of God’s holy word. The word of God, the Bible, is the instruction manual that tells us how it is we can come to be temples of the Holy Spirit, living in His presence in perpetuity.

We can’t guess at something this important. We must read the word, know the word, and live the word of God, so we might come to that place of obedience and sanctification required of everyone who calls themselves a child of God.

We as God’s creation constitute the union and amalgamation of the spiritual and the physical. As such, we belong to both worlds equally, both the seen, and the unseen world. Both the material and the spiritual were recompensed by Christ, both were bought by His blood, and as such both must belong to God. The power of salvation must be as powerful a reality in the physical and for the physical as it is in the spiritual and for the spiritual.

If we draw near the altar of the Lord, if we enter the Holiest, then both the heart must be sprinkled from an evil conscience, and the body must be washed with pure water. Both the physical and the spiritual must be in harmony, submission, and obedience to the will and word of God.

The sprinkling of the heart from an evil conscience cannot be separated from the washing of our bodies with pure water, because they are as two sides of the same coin, or two branches of the same tree. As such we cannot have a clear conscience, while still allowing our bodies to do as they will, living in frivolity and the lust of the flesh. The body must be washed with pure water, just as the heart must be sprinkled from an evil conscience. Only in this way will we be able to enter the Holiest, and stand in His presence.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 76

Answered Prayers continued...

If possessing a true heart is the first step required in being able to come boldly before God’s throne and enter the Holiest, the second attribute of great import - one that is as much of a necessity as that of possessing a pure heart - is being in full assurance of faith.

Full assurance of faith springs forth from our hearts not because of who we are, or what we’ve accomplished, but because of who Jesus is, and what He accomplished.

If we attempt to approach God based on our own merits, accomplishments, works, or self-righteousness, we will never be able to do so with full assurance of faith, because if we are honest with ourselves, we will realize how often we’ve fallen short, and how worthless our works and deeds and accomplishments truly are in the sight of an eternal God.

Yes, I know some people have an inflated sense of self and see anything they do, from waking up in the morning, to giving a glass of water to a thirsty person as a priceless self-sacrifice which God could never repay in full, but by and large, I believe or at least hope, that we realize it is through the blood of Christ, and His blood alone, that we are washed clean and able to stand before God’s holy face.

The secret to being in full assurance of faith, is realizing, on a very fundamental level, the true worth of the blood of Christ and what His sacrifice did for us.

Full assurance of faith means more than theoretically approaching God, or reasonably understanding and perceiving something. It is to live spiritual realities deep within the heart, and it is likewise seeing these spiritual realities manifest in our everyday life. We cannot separate full assurance of faith from a sincere heart, as this assurance encompasses our understanding, our intuition, our desire, and our trust in the truth of what God has declared in His word. Faith goes beyond our feelings and our sentiments, it goes beyond our limited understanding, and sees a God who can do exceedingly beyond what we ask for or imagine as being possible. Full assurance of faith gives us the power to walk the path of the new life, seeing Christ our Great High Priest before us in perpetuity.

It is said, and rightly so, that life is in the blood. If we take this saying to its rightful conclusion, it would not be a stretch to conclude that the blood is worth as much as the life is, since both blood and life are inexorably connected and interdependent. Since we already know that in Christ was the life of God, the true worth of the blood of Christ, is as limitless and priceless as God Himself.

We can never minimize or diminish what Jesus did on Calvary’s tree for us all. We can never minimize or diminish the true worth of His blood, the true worth of His sacrifice, because it is His sacrifice and blood that enable us to walk in full assurance of faith, into the Holiest, and petition God for that which we need.

Jesus consecrated the new and living way for us, He sanctified it that we might have access to God the Father, and enter the Holiest with full assurance of faith, knowing the authority in which we stand.

When one has full assurance, they have unwavering confidence in something or someone. Knowing what Jesus did on our behalf, knowing the price He paid, knowing no one in heaven, on earth or below the earth could have paid the price but Him, we stand before God with unwavering confidence.

The third attribute the word tells us is necessary in order for us to enter the Holiest, is a clean conscience. This is what the passage in Hebrews is referring to when it says, ‘having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.’

One can only possess a clean conscience once the heart has been sprinkled with the blood of Christ. Once we’ve poured out our heart in repentance toward God, and confessed all that burdens us or weighs heavily upon us, we are forgiven, restored and renewed. One cannot have their heart sprinkled from an evil conscience, unless they’ve asked God for forgiveness, and repented of that which they knew needed to be acknowledged.

It always amazes me how some individuals attempt to put on airs, and pretend as though they need never come before God in repentance, they need never come before God in humility, that they are perpetually pristine in all their conduct, speech, and actions. God knows! He already knows what we must repent of, He already knows what we need to ask forgiveness for, He already knows the evil of which our hearts must be purged, and He’s waiting for us to come before Him and pour out our hearts. There is much to be said for humility, for humbling oneself and falling at the foot of the cross acknowledging our need for forgiveness and restoration.

Our refusal to acknowledge our need for forgiveness, our stubbornness in regards to repentance, is damaging to none other than ourselves. By our unwillingness to humble ourselves, by our unwillingness to submit to the word and authority of Scripture, we retard our own spiritual walk, and suffer setbacks, impediments, and delays.

Many a soul ought to be more spiritually mature than they are, many a soul ought to possess more faith and power than they do, but because they drag their feet concerning the elementary requirements of God, because they choose to heed those who would insist that no repentance, no trueness of heart, and no assurance of faith are required in order to enter the Holiest.

Absent these four attributes, absent these four requirements, the best we can hope for is deceiving ourselves into believing that we’ve entered the Holiest.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 75

Answered Prayers continued...

So what’s so important about these four attributes? Why must we possess all four in order to enter the Holiest? Won’t just a true heart suffice? Won’t just full assurance of faith due? Why must all four of these elements be present in us in order to come boldly before the throne, and enter the Holiest?

The first attribute the word of God speaks of is a true heart, or a pure heart. In other words, in order to enter the Holiest you must possess a sincere heart, a heart absent of guile, a heart absent of pretense, a heart absent of hidden or vested motives. The heart is the first thing to receive God, the ways of God, and the truth of God. It all begins with the heart.

The heart is the center, and nexus of human personality. As the heart is, so is the man. What the heart desires, what the heart chooses, what the heart loves, what the heart hates, shows us the reality of an individual as well as decides what he is, and what he will become.

If the heart is set upon noble endeavors, if it is set upon loving God and its fellow man, of doing good, and living rightly, then the individual in question will become that which the heart desires, and is set upon.

If the external appearance of an individual allows us to know their gender, their physical qualities, and their approximate age, the heart constitutes the true worth of the inner man. Because the heart defines the nature of a man, as well as the true worth of a man, it is the heart God seeks out, the heart that He weighs, and the heart that He desires to reside in. No one can truly seek God unless their heart sincerely seeks after Him with love, as the great treasure that He is.

The heart of man was created in such a way, that it can know, and love God. The great indictment God brings against His people is that their hearts have turned away from Him, and in their heart they have strayed, and started worshipping idols.

Ezekiel 6:9-10, “Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations where they are carried captive, because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols; they will loathe themselves for the evils which they committed in all their abominations. And they shall know that I am the Lord, and that I have not said in vain that I would bring this calamity upon them.”

No matter how many times I read this scripture, I am always astounded by God’s tenderness. No, not tenderness toward those who possessed adulterous hearts, who had departed from Him, and played the harlot after idols, but His tenderness – the tenderness of His personality.

God said He was crushed. He did not say He was disappointed, he did not say the idolatry of the people and the adultery of their heart wasn’t ‘their best’. He was crushed by their sin and their adulterous hearts.

I realize full well that in this particular generation, wherein everyone does what is right in their own eyes, and no delineation remains between sin and righteousness, between the holy and the profane, it would be difficult for some to grasp or understand how God’s heart could be crushed by the sin of His people.

Seeing as the meaning of certain words often escapes us because we are quick to redefine them whenever it suits us, the word ‘crushed’ means to press or squeeze with force or violence typically causing serious damage or injury.

What God went through seeing the idolatry and adultery of His peoples’ hearts was no small thing. It was not trivial, something to be discounted and overlooked. God’s heart was crushed!

God has not changed. He remains ever the same in His righteousness, in His holiness, in His love, in His mercy, in His grace, in His justice, but also in His tenderness. His heart is still crushed today as it was long ago, seeing the adulterous hearts of those who call themselves His own, and seeing them as they play the harlot with a plethora of idols all the while dismissing and snubbing Him.

God sees the heart, He knows the intent thereof, and judges the trueness thereof. We can say we serve God with our lips, we can sing and clap and jump about, but if He is not preeminent in our hearts, if He is not on the throne, and something else has replaced Him, we cannot expect to enter the Holiest.

Knowing the importance of the heart, knowing the role it plays in man’s spiritual condition, God warns us in His word, and repeatedly so how exceedingly wicked, treacherous, and traitorous the heart of man can be. Contrary to popular belief, following your heart isn’t always the best course of action; it isn’t always the path that will lead you to something greater. Most often following one’s heart, and not the unction and urging of the Holy Spirit, following one’s heart, and not the word of God, will lead you further away from Him, from His love, His peace and His grace.

Hebrews 3:14-15, “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’”

Men can, and do harden their hearts upon hearing the voice of God. Men can, and do reject God’s call, His love, and His grace, hardening their hearts against the mercy God is willing to show.

Before we can enter the Holiest, before we can pray with the expectancy of having our prayers answered, our hearts must be what God expects them to be. Our hearts must be true.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 74

Answered Prayers continued...

When we pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus, we do so with the full awareness of all that Jesus is. We pray in Jesus’ name, knowing that every knee should bow, of those in heaven, of those on earth, and of those under the earth before Him. We pray in Jesus’ name knowing that every tongue should confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. We pray in Jesus’ name knowing that He humbled Himself, and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

We pray in Jesus’ name, knowing the fullness of who Jesus is, receiving all that He is, and worshipping all that He is.

We do not go before God based on what we are as individuals, or what we’ve done as individuals. We do not come before God on the basis of our own merits, because we have no merits to speak of. By faith however, we come before God in the name of Jesus, praying in the name of Jesus, the selfsame Jesus who bought us with the price of His blood, who reconciled us unto the Father through His sacrifice, and who is even now our mediator, our great High Priest before God.

Hebrews 10:19-22, “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

We have the boldness to enter the Holiest because of Jesus, because of His blood, and the new and living way which He consecrated for us. There is nothing in the universe that could replace the blood of Jesus. If there were, God would have spared His Son, even if it would have meant the blood of all the bulls, and doves, and rams in the world.

Jesus paid the price, and consecrated the way for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, because there was no other way for this to occur.

This is largely the reason I get vociferously defensive when it comes to doctrines which aim to minimize the sacrifice of Jesus, or make it seem as though it wasn’t really necessary.

There was no other way for man to be reconciled unto God, than through the sacrifice and blood of Christ Jesus!

There is a depth to the aforementioned passage that we must explore in order to understand the fullness of what it is stating.

The first thing we must understand is that these three verses were intended for believers, exclusively. The author of Hebrews is writing to the brethren, encouraging them to have boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, and draw near to God with a true heart, and in full assurance of faith.

The tabernacle of meeting in the midst of Israel’s camp was divided into three areas. First, was the outer court, second, was the inner court, and third, was the holy of holies, or as the author of Hebrews refers to it, the Holiest.

It was only in the holy of holies, or the Holiest, where God’s presence would descend, and where only the high priest could enter once a year with the price of the blood sacrifices that had been brought.

In the New Covenant, where the true tabernacle of meeting resides, God calls us to enter into the Holiest, as the veil was rent by Christ Jesus, when He brought Himself as sacrifice for our sins. His blood opens the way for us - a new and living way, into the Holiest.

We cannot remain in the outer court or even in the inner court, but with boldness we must enter in, for that is where we have been called to fellowship with God.

It is the blood of Christ, and nothing else that opened this new and living way for us. It was not our accomplishments, our net worth, our social standing, or our lineage. There is nothing that we are in and of ourselves, with which we can stand before God and boast, or by which we can enter into the Holiest. Only through Christ and His shed blood can we enter in, and have true fellowship with Him who is eternal, God the Father, Creator of all.

We pray in Jesus’ name, because it is Jesus who opened the way through His obedience, His humility, His suffering, His death, and His resurrection.

Let us draw near! Let us not stand afar, let us not be fearful of drawing near due to burdens we might still be carrying, but having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.

Jesus is our High Priest. He is the High Priest over the house of God, and He paid the price that we might enter in.

In the olden days, during the time of the Old Covenant, only the high priest could enter in to the presence of God. In essence, the high priest of the time was the mediator between God and man. Now, we as believers, as children of God, as those saved and sanctified, can come before the throne of grace, without the mediation of men, but directly. We have been given entrance through the blood of Christ Jesus, and what was once allowed of one person, once per year, is now allowed of us all when we come before God with true hearts, with full assurance of faith, with hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and with bodies washed with pure water.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 73

Answered Prayers continued...

It is the promise of Jesus, that whatever we ask in faith, we will receive. As such, it is incumbent upon us to spend a little more time on the topic of faith, because faith and prayer are interconnected, intertwined, and interdependent.

Through faith we received salvation, through faith we are the children of God, through faith we have received the Holy Spirit, and trough faith we receive answers to our prayers. Seeing as faith is such an important aspect in our spiritual walk, the next obvious question is: what is faith?

Yes, we’ve discussed it in previous teachings, but one can never be too acquainted with the definition of faith, or be reminded of the need for faith often enough.

There are many lessons and foundational truths within the word of God which must be brought to our remembrance continuously throughout our journey here on earth. As it is well known by now, man is an exceedingly forgetful creature, and unless certain truths are brought to our remembrance constantly we have the tendency and predisposition to forget them, and allow them to be covered over with the passing of time.

Faith is believing God at His word, trusting in Him, and entrusting ourselves to Him, knowing that He will care for us, protect us, guide us, and answer our prayers when we come before Him.

Faith is a nonnegotiable component of prayer, something we must possess in order for our prayers to be answered, and not just heard.

Another way we can ensure that our prayers will be answered when we pray to God the Father is to pray them in the name of Jesus. There is power, there is authority, and there is supremacy in the name Jesus.

John 14:13-14, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father might be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Pray with faith, pray with expectancy, and pray in Jesus’ name. Although all these things are true and valid, what we must keep in mind is that praying in Jesus’ name is not a magic formula. It is not something we say at the beginning or at the end of a prayer as some sort of incantation.

In order to understand the power and authority we have when praying in the name of Jesus, we must understand what the name of Jesus means, beyond the words themselves.

If we pray in the name of Jesus, yet do not realize what it is we are actually doing, or what it truly means, we aren’t really praying in His name, but just repeating some words we heard in church.

We all know that a name expresses the nature, and character of an individual. When I speak someone’s name, in my mind’s eye, I see an image of the person I am talking about; I know them as individuals, specific and unique.

I see a different image when I speak the name Daniel, than when I speak the name Sergiu. Both are my brothers, but they are both individual and unique, and their nature and character is attached to, and is expressed in their name.

When we pray to God in the name of Jesus, we must know and see the person of Jesus, the identity of Him, the nature of Him, and the character of Him. When we pray in Jesus’ name it must be more than saying ‘Jesus’ aloud, it must be with the full knowledge of who He is, and what He can do.

If Jesus is not Lord of your life, if He is not King and Savior, if He is not your everything, the culmination of all you desire, then praying in His name will not have the desired effect. In order for our prayers in Jesus’ name to be effective, we must first and foremost know Jesus!

Philippians 2:5-10, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Paul was a man who knew Jesus, knew what Jesus had done, knew the sacrifice Jesus had made, knew the death He had suffered, and that God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.

Paul knew who Jesus was, and He knew the nature of Christ.

I find it strange and simultaneously off-putting that so many people purport to serve Jesus without ever really knowing Him. There are so many things attributed to Jesus which He never said, so many liberties we are told He encouraged which He never practiced, and so many avenues pursued which He rebuked, that one wonders how many people truly know Jesus in today’s day and age?

When will we learn, that encouraging, and pursuing things which Jesus never endorsed, and attributing certain practices He never practiced to Him is nothing less than fashioning our own version of Jesus which is by no means the real one?

When will we learn there is only one Christ, one Savior, one Jesus, and we must receive Him as He is, without attempting to remake Him in our own image?

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 72

Answered Prayers continued...

Trying to ‘help’ God with an issue after we’ve already prayed concerning said issue, is nothing new. The practice has been around since the time of the patriarchs, and one of the most memorable instances takes place shortly before Jacob and Esau are to be reunited.

Genesis 32:9-11, “Then Jacob said, ‘O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, ‘return to your country and to your kindred, and I will deal well with you’: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff and now I have become two companies. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children.”

So far so good! Jacob begins by acknowledging God as the God of His fathers, bringing to remembrance what God had commanded Him to do, humbling himself by telling God he is not worthy of the least of all the mercies which He had shown him, then asking for deliverance from the hand of his brother Esau.

For those who don’t know the history of these two brothers, it was a turbulent one. Through trickery and deceit Jacob took away the birthright rightly due Esau, and Esau vowed to kill Jacob as soon as the days of mourning for their father had passed.

Having no desire to confront his brother, and being encouraged by his mother to flee, Jacob fled to his uncle’s lands in Haran. After many years God spoke to Jacob again, and told him to return to his country and to his kindred, and now Jacob had to contend with Esau’s wrath.

Most assuredly Jacob remembered what Esau had sworn concerning him, likewise remembering what he had done to warrant such reaction.

If this is all that had occurred, then within the context of our teaching, it would not be of great interest. Jacob however, went one step further after praying his prayer, and attempted to ‘help’ God, in delivering him from the wrath of his brother Esau, by sending gifts ahead, in order to appease him.

Genesis 32:13-15, “So he lodged there that same night, and took what came to his hands as a present for Esau his brother: two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty milk camels with their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten foals.”

Jacob didn’t send a gift basket. He didn’t send some insignificant token, he sent over five hundred animals to Esau in the hopes of appeasing him, from goats to ewes, to camels, to rams, to cows, and bulls, and donkeys.

He did all this after praying that God would deliver him from the hand of his brother whom he feared.

Something wondrous happens when Jacob finally sees Esau again, and it has nothing to do with the livestock he sent ahead of him, or the gifts with which he attempted to shower his brother.

Genesis 33:4, “But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.”

It was God who changed the heart of Esau. It was God who softened his heart, and made it malleable. It was not the sheep, or goats, or colts or camels that took the murder from Esau’s heart and replaced it with love, it was the hand of God, working on Jacob’s behalf, answering his prayer and delivering him.

Genesis 33:8-9, “Then Esau said, ‘what do you mean by all this company which I met?’ and he said, ‘these are to find favor in the sight of my lord.’ But Esau said, ‘I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.’”

By Esau’s answer, we see that the livestock and the animals did nothing to sway him. We see it was God who answered Jacob’s prayer, softening the heart of his brother Esau, and not the animals he sent ahead, because Esau refused to accept them.

Trust in the promises of God and stand on His word. Do not be as Jacob, praying one minute, then attempting to resolve the issue yourself the next, because God just might keep out of it until you realize you can’t do it on your own - and that may take longer than you envision or care to wait. Often times, God’s love compels Him to teach us certain lessons which are not at all pleasant. Such lessons are for our own maturing, for our own growth, and for our own faith that we might come to that place in our walk wherein we live by faith, as the word of God says the just would eventually live.

Do not doubt when you come before God for faith will always bring an answer to our prayers, and in the end, this is what we all desire - that our prayers not only be heard, but also that they be answered by God.

There are many things we cannot do because we lack the faith. Likewise there are many prayers we pray that go unanswered because they were not prayed in faith. Faith in prayer produces expectancy, expectancy produces tenacity, and we come before God with our pleas and petitions not as ones who have no hope, but as ones who are certain of God’s intervention on our behalf.

Matthew 9:29, ‘Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘according to your faith let it be done to you.’”

Are you willing to enter into this convention with God? Are you willing to have your prayer be answered according to your faith? If not, why not?

Have faith to press in, have faith to petition God, have faith to stand in the gap, have faith to pray for the lost, have faith to plead the cause of the widow and the orphan, and when you do all things in faith, you will see the hand of God move as never before.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 71

Answered Prayers continued...

Lamentations 3:25-26, “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

We cannot grow impatient with God. Yes, sometimes we are tempted to do so, at other times even encouraged by men who have no understanding of God or His word, but we must always remember that the Lord is good to those who wait for Him.

Seek the Lord, hope in the Lord, and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Salvation will come! Your prayer will be answered because God is good, and compassionate, and merciful.

Often we equate God with man, and begin to grow despondent when He hasn’t answered a prayer the first hour, day, or week after we’ve prayed it. We begin to think that like ourselves, God is somehow forgetful, preoccupied, or unfocused.

He sees all things and He remembers all things. God remembers every prayer you’ve ever prayed, the passion and fervor you prayed it with, the length of your prayer, the cadence of your prayer, and even where you were when you prayed it. God’s memory is not like man’s memory, and if you prayed a prayer, be certain He remembers it, and at the appointed time He will answer it.

Job 35:14, “Although you say you do not see Him, yet justice is before Him, and you must wait for Him.”

Waiting on God is not an option - it is a necessity. Even though you might not see it in the natural, the justice of God is before you, and you must wait for Him. Some things are repeated often because they are true and the saying ‘God is never late’ is one such thing. To those of us waiting on the justice of God, to those of us waiting for a prayer to be answered, it always seems like a lifetime between when we petition God and when He answers us.

Although none of us can prove it, we can all sense that sometimes time seems to slow down and speed up depending on our situation. Go somewhere nice and warm where you don’t have to worry about anything for a few days, and the time seems to whizz by at lightning speed. Have a few days of spring cleaning on the roster however, and time seems to crawl by, each minute more excruciating than the last.

Time seems to slow for us when we are waiting on God to answer a prayer, but always remember: His justice is before you, and you must wait for Him.

Being the helpful folk that we are, every one of us has tried to ‘help’ God answer our prayers, or ‘aid’ Him in responding positively to our petitions.

I have been guilty of it just as I am certain most everyone else has, but it is a practice we must learn to do away with.

God doesn’t need my help in answering my prayer. He doesn’t need my assistance, He doesn’t need my guidance, He doesn’t need me to cheer Him on, and He doesn’t need me to make observations.

I must pray in faith, and wait on Him to answer my prayer. That’s it!

Yes, be persistent in your prayers. Yes, be sincere, and passionate, but don’t attempt to aid God in answering your prayer or strike out on your own thinking you know better than God.

As is often the case, when we pray for something then set about trying to fix the issue on our own, we end up inching deeper into the quicksand than we were when we petitioned God to save us. As the tried and true saying goes, ‘I don’t come to your place of employment and tell you how to do your job.’

Let God be God! He’s better at it than you will ever be. He knows what He must do, He knows when He must do it, and when we try to step in and do it on His behalf we’re just complicating the situation.

When you go to the doctor with an ache or a pain you tell him where it hurts, and let him go about his business, taking blood, taking your blood pressure, tapping different areas and asking if it hurts or if it’s tender. After the doctor is done with his examination, he comes up with a diagnosis, and prescribes the requisite treatment. (I’m supposing this is how it works, I haven’t been to a doctor since my mom last took me, and I was eight years old then. I had my tonsils taken out and I got free ice cream afterwards.)

There are certainly those who go to the doctor, whom with the aid of Google and a little free time have ‘self-diagnosed’ and are just looking for a confirmation, only to have their career as a diagnostician threatened by being told it isn’t really scurvy. (From what I hear, doctors love those kinds of people.)

You don’t go to a barbershop and start cutting your own hair; you don’t go to a doctor and start lancing your own boil; you don’t go to a mechanic and start fixing your own car; and you don’t go to God with your petitions then attempt to answer your own prayer.

Yes, I said it once already in today’s writing but it is imperative we allow it to sink deep in our hearts and take root there, so I’ll repeat myself: let God be God. Wait on the Lord, for He is good to those who wait for Him, and to the soul who seeks Him.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 70

Answered Prayers continued...

The faith which manifests itself by trusting God, and living with the expectancy of having our prayers answered, is often times tested. I realize full well that few want to hear it but the word of God tells us, and repeatedly so, that our faith will be tested and must be tested.

Sometimes we pray, we ask, and want to receive that which we ask for instantaneously. Although patience is a virtue, it is not a widespread one, and when we pray, if more than thirty seconds passes between the time we say ‘amen’ and the time God answers our prayer, we begin to grow impatient, irascible, and irritated.

Once, there was a little boy who watched his mother as she planted flower bulbs in her garden. He watched as she dug a hole in the earth, put the bulb in the hole she’d dug, and covered it with soil, patting it gently. The little boy was so intrigued by all he saw his mother doing that he finally went up to her and said, ‘I want to plant a flower too.’

The mother gave him a bulb all his own, and the little boy went off in a corner, dug a hole as he’d seen his mother doing, put the bulb inside, covered it with soil, and patted it exactly as she’d done. Satisfied with himself and the job he’d done, the little boy walked away.

The next morning while the mother was checking on her garden she saw the little boy digging in the dirt with a stick in the exact place he’d planted his bulb.

‘What are you doing?’ the mother asked.

‘My flower didn’t grow’ the boy said, ‘I wanted to make sure it was still there.’

Our prayers are like flower bulbs. We plant them, but we must have the patience to watch them bloom and grow. Often, we act like the little boy, constantly checking to see if the bulb we’ve planted is still there, because by our estimation the flower isn’t growing nearly fast enough.

Your duty is to plant the bulb - to pray the prayer; God’s area of expertise is making the bulb bloom into a flower at its given time - or answering your prayer exactly when it ought to have been answered.

If I trust Him, I bring my petition before Him and then I wait.

Psalm 37:5-7, “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. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.”

God is not hard of hearing. He doesn’t get distracted. He is not bothered by multi-tasking, so when you pray to Him, know that He has heard your prayer. Commit your way to the Lord. Tell Him what’s on your heart, bring your needs before His throne of mercy, cry out to Him for strength, for comfort, for healing, or whatever else you might need, then rest in Him and wait patiently for Him.

He will bring it to pass. He will answer your prayer, but in His time, in His way, and for His purpose. We cannot grow impatient with God or disillusioned because the answer we expected of Him is not the answer we received from Him.

We cannot be as Naaman who came to the prophet of God expecting to be greeted by him, fawned over, and treated as the dignitary he was. Because his answer did not come in the manner he’d expected, and rather than be greeted by Elisha, a servant was sent and he was told to dip in the Jordan seven times, save for his servant who intervened and begged Naaman to do as he’d been told, he would have missed out on his miracle.

We cannot discount an answered prayer simply because it does not come in the manner by which we envisioned it. God is not beholden to me - I am beholden to God. God is not obliged to answer my prayer the way I expect Him to, nor is He, truthfully speaking, obliged to answer my prayer at all.

In His goodness however, in His boundless mercy and grace He does answer prayers, He does answer petitions, and when He does, even if the answer might not be in the form we expected it, may we be grateful to Him for it.

Psalm 5:3, “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.”

No, waiting on the Lord is not a popular notion. It is not what many want to hear nowadays, but it is biblical, it is in the word, and we must acquiesce to the word of God in lieu of men’s opinions.

Rather than diligently study the word of God, most people today gravitate toward the individual with the better sales pitch. We have taken the mentality of the world and superimposed it upon the work and word of God, and the outcome is a tragic one indeed.

People today go church shopping, or shepherd shopping, like they do for anything else. Their only interest is who will give them the best deal, who will give them the steepest discount - not who will offer them the truth.

If you preach repentance and holiness unto God you’re already out of the running, because you’re asking too much. The guy down the street only asks for a tithe, and the one on the next block only asks for an offering.

‘Why would I give up my pet sins, and crucify my flesh, when I can get away with throwing a few bucks in an offering plate from time to time? Well, yes, I understand it’s in the Bible but the Bible is subjective isn’t it, I mean we all see what we want to see…don’t we?’

And so, waiting on the Lord has become as taboo as righteousness, holiness, repentance and sanctification. We make up our own brand of religion; we build our own god from fragments of the one true God’s word, and then expect Him to save us in the day of trouble.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 69

Answered Prayers continued...

In knowing the promises of God we can appropriate them, but we can only appropriate them if we believe them. We must solidify the promises of God in our hearts, and believe Him at His word. We know He is able. We know nothing is impossible for Him, and if He promised He would carry us through the storm, if He promised He would carry us through the fire, then He will do it, regardless of how improbable, or even impossible it might seem.

My God is able! This has been my go-to motto for the past twenty-five years, and He has not failed me yet.

I was doing a radio interview recently, and in talking about a God of power, and a God of miracles, the interviewer asked me to give at least one example of the miracle working power of God.

I could have gone back in time, to stories of my youth, wherein I had seen the power of God manifest in very unique and wonderful ways, but what God compelled me to do, is give the interviewer an example of a miracle that has been ongoing for the last fifteen years.

Fifteen years! Not fifteen days, or weeks or months, but fifteen years.

Our ministry opened the Hand of Help orphanage in 1997, and this year is our fifteen year anniversary. In all this time, the children in our care have never once gone to bed hungry, naked or cold. We don’t fundraise. We don’t give out hats and cups and t-shirts if people support the orphanage. I don’t promise anyone I’ll put their name on a plaque if they give a certain amount, and yet God still speaks to hearts, God still provides, and all the bills get paid, and all the kids get fed, and all the staff is compensated for their time.

So yes, I believe in a God of miracles. I know His promises, I believe His promises, and because I believe His promises I can appropriate His promises.

There is comfort and peace and joy in knowing the promises of God - because no matter what the trial, no matter what the circumstance might be - there is a promise in the Bible that will be as a balm for you.

Psalm 50:15, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

This is a promise of God, for whenever you find yourself in trouble. God promises He will deliver if we call upon Him, and once He has delivered us in our day of trouble, we will glorify Him.

Instead of going to the word of God, instead of seeing what God has to say concerning our day of trouble, we have the tendency to panic, to hyperventilate, to seek refuge of our own making, and cry out more in frustration and anger than in a spirit of prayerfulness.

The promise is there for every child of God! Call upon Him in the day of trouble and He will deliver you. God did not quantify His promise. He did not stipulate that He would deliver you if He had time, if He wasn’t busy doing something else, if He was awake, or if He wasn’t on vacation.

He simply said: ‘Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you!’

Psalm 91:15-16, “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”

Yet another promise of God left gathering dust, because believers are too busy doing other things.

Once again God promises that if we call upon Him, He will answer. If we call upon Him, He will be with us in trouble; He will deliver us, and honor us.

Keep in mind these are not the promises of man. These promises are not contingent on whether someone feels like keeping their word, or if they have time in their busy schedule, or if they remember having promised you something in the first place.

These promises were made by God, whose memory is not short, who is not constrained by circumstance, and who keeps His word and His promises from generation to generation and age to age.

The only reason we’re not seeing the promises of God being fulfilled and made manifest in our lives is because we have not done what was required of us to do. God tells us to call upon Him that He might deliver us in the day of trouble. As such, logic would dictate that if we were not delivered in our day of trouble, we didn’t do our part and call upon Him.

‘But brother Mike, you don’t know the trouble I’m in.’

No, I may not know the trouble you’re in, but God does, and once again, he does not quantify His promise based on the degree of your trouble’s difficulty. God never said that if you couldn’t be delivered from your trouble in ten minutes or less His promise was void. There are no stipulations to the promises of God save for those we find in His word.

Any man who attempts to add to what God has promised, and creates his own stipulations and qualifications, is a liar! No, God won’t keep His promise to you only if you support a certain individual’s ministry. No, God won’t keep His promise to you only if you make a vow of faith to one of the sleek and surgically enhanced televangelists staring back at you from your television set.

If you call upon Him, God will answer you! He will deliver you, honor you, satisfy you with long life, and show you His salvation.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Happy Mother's Day!

To all the mothers: a hearty, heartfelt, and happy mother’s day. Unappreciated as some mothers are the rest of the year, it is only fitting that you get one day wherein you are the one being pampered and treated.

The sweetest sounds to mortals given are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven.
William Goldsmith Brown

Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; a mother's secret hope outlives them all. Oliver Wendell Holmes

I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.
Abraham Lincoln

Tomorrow we continue our journey through the land of prayer, and see what the Lord would teach us.
Take it from someone who knows, life is short - appreciate your mother and show her you love her while you still have her with you.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

As Promised (dream received night of 5/2/2012)

There really is nothing more to say, this is how the dream will appear in the Hand of Help newsletter, and as promised I am posting it because it's already made its way onto the internet, and I didn't want to have to deal with the angry e-mails like the last time I failed to post a dream before everybody else had it posted. God bless.

Dear Brethren,

Since I heard through the grapevine that a friend’s church was taking a few days of fasting, (and since all of the Hand of Help staff go to this church, and I knew there would be very little risk of them calling and asking if I wanted to go to lunch if they were all fasting), I decided I would join in, and fast along with everyone else.

Maybe it’s just me, but I always feel odd trying to explain the fact that I’m fasting to someone who calls and invites me to lunch or dinner. On the one hand I feel like I’m bragging about something we ought not to publicly declare we are doing; on the other hand I feel like I’m making the individual feel bad about not fasting themselves.

I have always found fasting to be a great bringer of clarity, and given the times and the seasons that are upon us, who among us couldn’t use a little more clarity?

The first day of the fast, I had picked my brother Sergiu up from the airport in Chicago, brought him home, and gone to bed, when I had a dream.

I dreamt I was walking down a street, but to the left and the right of me everything was utterly destroyed. If not for the foundations sticking out of the earth, one would not have known anything had once stood there.

I have seen the aftermath of earthquakes while living in California in the eighties, I have likewise seen the aftermath of tornadoes live and in person, and this looked like neither of the two. The best way I can describe it, is that the entire street seemed to have been razed. From trees, to homes, to fences, everything had been flattened and annihilated.

The street curved to the left, and as I followed it turning the corner, I was surprised to see a house standing a couple hundred yards ahead of me on the right. There was nothing special about the house. A single story home, with a porch and a porch swing, once painted white by what I could gather, but having taken on a charred look.

I quickened my pace, as even in my dream this seemed odd and surreal, and as I approached the house I heard what could only have been prayer coming from inside.

This was no typical prayer. It was passionate, and fervent, and the only time I remember having heard prayer like this is when we would have prayer nights in our home in Romania during the Communist occupation.

This was anything but a restrained prayer gathering, and the voices coming from inside the house were praising God and giving glory to Him.

I stood just short of the front step, and listened to the prayers coming from within the house, until in my dream, I woke up.

As I awoke from my dream within a dream, the man I have grown accustomed to seeing was standing at the foot of my mattress.

‘Do you understand what you’ve just seen?’ he asked without prelude.

‘I believe I do’ I answered somewhat confidently.

The man gave me a look one might give to a slow-witted individual and said, ‘perhaps in part’, then reached out and touched my shoulder.

Suddenly I was back on the same street, and I realized this only because of the house with the porch swing, now a pristine white. It was the only thing that was the same as in my previous dream, because now there were trees, and homes, up and down the block. It looked and sounded like a typical neighborhood, but above the din of chirping birds and barking dogs, I could hear prayer coming from inside the home with the porch swing. It was the same kind of fervent, passionate prayer I had heard on the previous occasion.

I strained to hear what they were praying for, but I could only hear snippets from time to time.

As I made to climb the first of three steps, I was back in my bed, with the man standing patiently by my mattress.

‘Now you understand’, he said, ‘tell them not to fear, but to draw close to the Father in whom is shelter from the storm, and protection from destruction.’

I then woke up, disoriented, wondering for a while if this was yet another dream within a dream. Realizing that it was not, I knelt beside my mattress and started to pray.

I have not released a dream or a vision in two years, and if not for the specific instruction ‘tell them’ I would have been hesitant in releasing this dream as well.

As I explained in a recent radio interview, the reason why I have not released any visions or dreams is because many within the household of faith have become, for lack of a better term, prophecy junkies.

At every gathering, at every meetings, there is always the inevitable ‘what’s the Lord been showing you lately’, as though He hasn’t shown us enough, or as though His word is not clear enough.

I specifically asked permission of God to withhold what He was showing me for a season, and have single-mindedly focused on preaching Christ, and Him crucified wherever I was asked to preach, because our safety, our shelter, and our protection is in Christ Jesus our Lord, Savior, and King.

Our refuge, our shelter, our place of safety is not a geographical location; it is in the arms of Jesus, in the will of God, in fellowship and intimacy with Him.

If we are walking in the will of the Father, then we have nothing to fear. If we are being obedient to His word, His guidance, and His leading, then wherever He will guide us will be a safe place, and wherever He will lead us will be a place of shelter.

Our safety is found in obedience. If God has told you to go to a certain place, then do as He has commanded. If however God has not spoken, then be at peace where you are, for God is able to protect you in the midst of the storm.

It is time to draw closer to God than ever before, to come before Him in prayer, and fasting, in righteousness, and purity of heart. The day draws near when we will behold the miracle working power of our God firsthand, when we will see what our God can do, and glory in His omnipotence.

Psalm 18:25-30, “With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; with the pure You will show Yourself pure; and with the devious You will show yourself shrewd. For You will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks. For You will light my lamp; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”

Psalm 25:4-5, “Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.”

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.