Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 131

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Abraham continued...

As Abraham was growing advanced in his age, and he saw the possibility of having children dwindling with every breath he drew, he came before the Lord pouring out his heart, reminding Him that though God had blessed him, all he possessed would be left to Eliezer of Damascus, a man born in his house, but not of his blood.

Genesis 15:4-6, “And behold the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir. Then He brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And he believed in the Lord and He accounted it to him for righteousness.”

God speaks to Abraham, and tells him that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the heavens. Seeing as Abraham had no children at this moment in time, it might have seemed improbable, if not outright impossible for this to come to pass, yet Abraham believed in the Lord.

If God promises something, even if to human reason it might seem impossible, it will come to pass because God promised it. Abraham believed! He didn’t ask how, when, or if God was certain of this lofty promise…he just believed.

Far too often, when God promises us something, it seems we require further explanation. We want God to confirm His promise, thrice if possible, then go about telling us the steps by which He will fulfill said promise in our lives. We obsess over the details so much, we see the impossibility of it by filtering it through human reason, that at some point along the way we begin to doubt, and because we doubt it, the promise does not come to pass. When the promise of God doesn’t come to pass because we doubted, we shrug our shoulders and in the back of our minds think to ourselves, ‘I knew it couldn’t happen; I knew it was too much even for God to do.’

I work in a ministry toward which God made some truly wondrous promises. I was there when these promises were spoken through vessels with the gift of prophecy, and even in our darkest hour, when things seemed bleakest, I did not for one second doubt the veracity of the words our ministry had received.

Yes, in the natural these words seemed improbable, even impossible, but our God is not constrained by the natural. He is a supernatural God, and performs supernatural works, and so we cannot limit Him by attempting to put Him in a box of our own making.

Some of those promises have indeed come to pass, others we are still waiting on, but we never ceased to believe the Lord, because the word of the Lord is true, and He is able to do all things beyond what the human mind can imagine or conceive.

‘Abraham, count the stars.’

‘They are too many to count Lord.’

‘So shall your descendants be.’

And that was the end of the dialogue. Abraham believed, and God kept His promise. Why make things complicated when simple is so much simpler? Just believe God at His word. Don’t try to reason it out, don’t try to see the how of it in the physical…just believe.

Because Abraham believed, not only did God keep His promise toward him, the fact that he believed was also accounted to him for righteousness.

Abraham’s faith was such an inspiring thing, that Paul the Apostle of Christ reminds us of it in his epistle to the Romans as well.

Romans 4:20-21, “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.”

In two short verses Paul explains what it is to have faith, and uses Abraham as the example we must aspire toward. Having faith is being fully convinced that what God promised, He is able to perform.

Are you fully convinced that what God promised you He is able to perform? If the answer is yes, then give glory to God, and thank Him for His faithfulness and goodness.

Men of faith take God at His word. He promises, and they are fully convinced that He will keep His promise. No matter the circumstances, no matter the odds, no matter the impossibility of the situation, if God promised it, and you are a person of faith, you are convinced that He will carry out His promise.

If you are lacking in it, pray for an increase of faith, that you will do as Abraham did and be fully convinced of God’s ability to carry out His promise. He is faithful to give us faith when we ask it, for His desire is to see His beloved walk by faith and not by sight.

Abraham was in covenant with God, and God was in covenant with Abraham. A covenant is a clause in a contract that requires one party to do, or refrain from doing certain things.

A covenant, as is the case with any contract requires two parties, and both parties must adhere to the agreed upon terms. As long as Abraham upheld his side of the covenant, God upheld His side of the covenant as well.

Genesis 15:18, “On that same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying.”

We are, as Abraham was in covenant with God as well. The covenant we are in was signed and sealed by the blood of the Lamb of God, the Christ, the only begotten. It is a great and wondrous covenant indeed, and if we hope to have our prayers answered, we must uphold and adhere to our part of the covenant, not trampling underfoot the blood of Jesus.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea jr.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 130

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Abraham continued...

We are wrought with indecision because although the word of God, our conscience, and our instincts tell us one thing, men who’ve been attending seminaries for decades, have degrees in Hebrew and Greek, and shepherd congregations of thousands tells us otherwise.

The inner conflict arises when we give heed to anyone other than Christ, and the word of God, allowing contradictory viewpoints into our heart because we’ve been conditioned to hear all sides of the story before we make a decision.

The devil is a liar…that’s all the story I need to know. Knowing that our enemy is the great deceiver, and he’s been at this for millennia, it is logical to conclude that if you hear him out, if you give him the time, he will do his utmost to cause you to stray from truth. Sadly, in many cases he even succeeds in drawing individuals away from the love and grace of Christ, and this is evident in all the aberrant pseudo-Christian denominations still sprouting up like fungi after a summer rain.

In a hundred yard journey being off by one degree doesn’t really make much of a difference. In a ten thousand mile journey however, being off course by one degree can very well put you in another country, if not on another continent.

The point is that this journey we are on is not for a day or a week...it is a lifelong journey and any deviation from the path, even one as small as one degree can have dire consequences at the end of it.

The enemy isn’t trying to get believers to become atheists, he’s just trying to get them to believe Jesus can do, or does, less than He promises, thereby doubting the Christ Himself, and allowing uncertainty and unbelief to take root in the heart.

The enemy we face is by no means new at this, and he has made an art form of subtleness and finesse.

‘Hey, come on now, do you really believe Jesus turned water into wine, or walked on water? Don’t you think it made more sense if these things were symbolic representations of lessons He was attempting to teach?’

‘Hey, come on now, do you really think the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost and filled one hundred and twenty people with some sort of power? Don’t you think it made more sense if by the Holy Spirit Jesus really meant our conscience?’

And so, one thing leads to another, baby step follows baby step until we find ourselves in the wilderness, surrounded by wolves, having only an NIV Bible and a pack of Twizzlers for defense.

One of the worst things to happen to the household of faith within the last hundred years is that we came to believe we could let others fight our battles for us.

‘Why tire yourself out? Why spend countless nights in prayer, reading the word, praying for power, when for a small fee we will do the fighting for you?’

It seemed like such a great deal until those we hired to fight our battles took our money and ran, and since we’d gotten so comfortable just being static, and altogether rusty from not raising a sword in years, we decided it was more profitable to wave the white flag of surrender.

Since the beginning of time men of God understood, and inherently so, that no one can fight your battles for you, and if you are called to stand on the frontlines sending a surrogate just won’t cut it.

Another aspect of their relationship with God that all true servants understood, and understand to this day, is the need for obedience, whether the task set before us is great or small. God does not look at the size of the task He assigns us; His only concern is if it was carried out or not.

Some today, look upon their assigned tasks and refuse to do them because they deem them beneath their level of wisdom, understanding or notoriety. They refuse obedience because they feel as though God should have called them to something greater, not realizing that whatever God has called you to, wherever He has called you to, is where He needs you at that particular moment.

There are others still, who attempt general obedience whenever God tells them to do a certain, specific thing. They take it upon themselves to improve upon what God has commanded, as though He needed help, or they knew better than He.

Although a gilded chariot is more bombastic than a glass of water, to a man dying of thirst in the desert, it is the glass of water that he would prize above ten gilded chariots.

Do what God tells you to do, be aware of the details, and follow His instructions to the letter. He knows best…He always has, and He always will.

Not only did Abraham obey God, he also believed God. Doubt in its many forms is the bane of the Christian experience. We start to stand on faith, only to allow the enemy to sow seeds of doubt in our hearts, and if they are not quickly and permanently exterminated, they grow, and bloom, and choke off the faith we once had altogether.

Before you can bend the knee and petition God for anything, you must first determine whether or not you possess faith that your prayer will be answered. Prayer is an act of faith. Absent faith, prayer is just you and I talking to the ceiling.

If you lack faith, then first and foremost pray for faith, then once you know you have come into possession of it, petition God for other things. Faith is a crucial element of prayer, one that Abraham not only possessed, but demonstrated frequently.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 129

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Abraham continued...

Do we do as God commands? Do we obey the voice of the Lord? The key to Abraham’s effectiveness in prayer, as well as the level of intimacy he shared with God, is applied obedience. There is a difference between the theory of obedience, and the practice of obedience. Applied obedience is the theory turned to practice, and it is something we as believers must endeavor to remain in, in perpetuity.

We cannot be selective when it comes to obeying God. We cannot obey simply what we deem beneficial or profitable, or those things with a low level of difficulty. Obedience is a must even in difficult circumstances; it is a must even when God asks the difficult things of us, because we know the end result is for our good, our growth, and our maturing.

We have close to one hundred children in our orphanage, so I could only imagine how maddening it would be for the staff if the children only obeyed them fifty percent of the time. If you have children, perhaps you can relate and understand how God feels when we selectively obey Him, choosing to ignore Him in certain areas, or when it comes to doing certain things.

Nowadays everyone wants God to hear and answer their prayers, but simultaneously desire to be able to ignore certain times when God is speaking to them. Such a mindset does not a relationship make, and if there is no relationship between us and God, then we cannot hope to dialogue or fellowship with Him as we would desire.

Proverbs 1:24-25, “Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, because you disdain all my counsel, and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, when your terror comes like a storm, and your destruction comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.”

Disobedience is not inconsequential! Throughout the word of God we see the consequences of disobedience, and they are, without fail, always dire. We cannot refuse the call of God, disdain His counsel, reject His reproof, disregard His stretched out hand, and still expect Him to save us from calamity, and shield us from the terror when it comes like a storm.

There are countless souls walking about today thinking themselves sons and daughters of God, whom God has never known. Men and women, who at best are illegitimate children and at worst self-deceived individuals who expect God to bend to their will and not the other way around.

Such individuals never bothered to be still and hear the voice of the Lord, they never bothered to receive His correction and walk the paths of righteousness, yet they expect and feel entitled to God’s protection and sanctuary whenever distress and anguish come upon the world.

We cannot love what God abhors, receive what God rejects, embrace what God spews out, then still live with the expectation that when the time comes He will save us from the midst of destruction.

If we are of God, then we love what He loves, hate what He hates, embrace what He embraces, and obey what He commands. It’s that simple! It’s not complicated! Men however attempt to complicate the truth, and in the process water it down for fear that those who would receive the undiluted, unadulterated truth are too few to support their lavish lifestyles and propensity for the finer things in life.

Because they place their own wants, lusts, and comfort above the saving of men’s souls, they wholly disregard the words of Jesus, who spoke of the narrow path and the few who find it, and who spoke of the many called and the few who were chosen.

Proverbs 1:28-31, “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, they would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies.”

Obedience is a choice, as is the fear of the Lord. Depending on what we choose, we will either walk in the protection of almighty God, or eat the fruit of our own way. It is, and always has been an either/or proposition, and the word of God is clear on this matter, as it is clear on so many matters which seem to be an issue with some believers.

Yes, the day will come when men will call on God, and He will not answer, when they will seek Him diligently but not find Him. That day is fast approaching, and no man can stop it.

Love knowledge, receive the counsel of the Lord, esteem the reproof of God, and choose the fear of the Lord, that He may know you as His own, and keep you in the days of darkness.

We’ve been preaching butterflies and lollipops for so long, that when the Lord does reprove us, we bristle and conclude it couldn’t possibly be Him, because we were never told that God chastens His children.

Although man continues to try and redefine God, making Him in their image with each subsequent try, God remains the great I Am, and no amount of philosophical red herrings and no amount of feelings, will change who God is.

As individuals we choose obedience, we choose the fear of the Lord, we choose to receive the counsel of God, and for these things we will receive our just reward when that Day of Days is upon us.

Just remember, all those lovely people with the bright smile and the private jets that insistently tell you God has changed, will neither be able to, nor have any inclination toward lifting a finger in helping you when the day of terror comes like a storm.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 128

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Abraham continued...

Any relationship including our relationship with God must be of a reciprocal nature. If every morning upon waking, and every evening upon going to sleep my wife would greet me with an ‘I love you,’ and all I’d do is shrug my shoulders and roll my eyes, it would likely have been a short marriage indeed. Reciprocity is key in any relationship, wherein you return the love and affection you are shown in kind.

Abraham had a relationship with God. If we study the prayer of Abraham on behalf of the citizenry of Sodom and Gomorrah, we recognize it was more of a dialogue than anything else. It was a conversation between Abraham, and the God of the universe, He who spoke all things into being, and breathed life into the first man.

The very notion that we can stand before this great and mighty God, and speak to Him, have a relationship with Him, fellowship with Him, and commune with Him, is almost too much to wrap our heads around. And yet, God’s desire is to have a relationship with His creation, and whenever He finds those with open hearts, and humble spirits He is ever willing to speak to them as a father would to His own child.

Abraham was not reticent in approaching God, he was not fearful, he was not apprehensive, because he knew his God intimately. Abraham knew God personally, and the foundation of fellowship which had been cemented over the years, was now stronger than ever.

As any relationship or bond forms, Abraham’s relationship with God formed over time, and Abraham proved his faithfulness and obedience towards God.

Because he was such a looming figure, including being one of the patriarchs, we tend to gloss over Abraham’s obedience toward God, which he demonstrated dutifully whenever he was called upon to do so.

Genesis 12:1, “Now the Lord had said to Abram: Get out of your country, from your kindred and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.”

Genesis 12:4, “So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.”

There are a handful of instances in the Bible wherein the obedience of certain servants is highlighted as a testament to us all…this is one of those instances.

Abraham was seventy-five years old when God spoke to him, and commanded him to leave his country, everything he’d known, everything he was used to, and go to a land that God would subsequently show him at a later date.

No matter how much one might comb through the Bible to find Abraham complaining or asking more questions concerning this command, they won’t find it because it isn’t there.

God did not reveal His entire plan to Abraham, He simply told him to get out of his country, and go, and He would show him the place where he ought to settle in at a later date. Abraham didn’t have the entire plan, he didn’t see the entire picture, but he trusted God enough to know that He wouldn’t fail him, or abandon him halfway through his journey.

When we have formed a relationship with someone, we learn to trust them implicitly. We don’t ask questions we just do as they ask knowing that if they’re asking a certain thing of us there must be a good reason.

If the foundation of a solid relationship did not exist between Abraham and God, do you really think he would have picked up and left the only land he’d ever known at the age of seventy-five without asking any questions whatsoever?

Abraham knew God would not lead him astray. Abraham knew God had a plan and a purpose and that only by obeying the voice of God would he see the plan and purpose of God unfolding before his very eyes.

Most of us like to know where we’re going before we start any sort of journey. Even before we pack our bags, even before we make plans for the pets, even before we ask someone to water our plants or check in on the house, we have a destination in mind. Whether it’s a weeklong getaway, or a weekend trip into the mountains, we want to know where we’re going, where we’re going to be staying once we get there, and even what route we’re going to be taking to our destination.

Imagine how difficult it must have been for Abraham to start a journey having no clue of his final destination, knowing he would not be returning to his homeland ever again.

God didn’t send Abraham on vacation. He didn’t say ‘go, hang out for a couple weeks, see if you like it and if the weather meets with your approval, then we’ll talk.’

God told Abraham to get out of his country, away from his kindred, and out of his father’s house, and He would tell him his destination at a later date.

What Abraham did took trust and faith, two essential ingredients for a true and lasting relationship with God.

When we trust God, and have faith that He will lead us to green pastures, He will often require us to get out of our comfort zones. Many a time we do not see the fulfillment of God’s plan in our lives, because we did not obey a certain command along the way, or we dragged our feet awaiting further explanation, or firmer details.

If God says ‘go,’ then go…you will eventually receive further instructions when the time comes, but first you must carry out the initial order of actually going.

If we do not truly know God, we will never obey such life altering commands as leaving behind everything we’ve ever known and heading off to a strange land. This is why building and nurturing a relationship with Him is so vital and paramount.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Freeform Friday Week 8

If in any given equation there is one constant and one variable and the answer to the equation is different than the last time, we can readily conclude it is because the variable has changed. The constant never changes, and this is why it is a constant. The variable however changes, and this is why it is a variable.

In the age old question of ‘why aren’t we seeing the power of God as the primary church did?’ there is also a constant and a variable.

The constant in this particular equation is God. The word of God tells us He does not change. He is ever the same, yesterday, today, and forever, and in Him there is no shadow of turning. Now if God is the constant, and He remains perpetually the same, then the variable must be the other component of the equation, namely man.

All one must do is look to see the marked difference between generations past, and our current generation to understand why the power of God is so sporadic in our day and age. I submit it isn’t God’s hand that has grown short over the centuries. It’s not that God decided not to pour out His Holy Spirit or work signs and wonders within the congregations, or chose, on a whim, to leave us helpless and powerless. The reason we are not seeing the power of God as we ought is because men’s constitutions have changed, and not for the better.

It used to be, the saints of God prayed for boldness to stand firm, and not flinch in the face of the enemy. Nowadays, most believers are praying to be spared, or otherwise sheltered from anything resembling hardship or persecution.

It used to be men such as Paul looked upon their present suffering and considered it unworthy to be compared with the glory that would be revealed in him. Nowadays the very notion or hint of the possibility of suffering is enough to paralyze most believers in their tracks, never mind actual suffering for the cause of Christ.

It used to be Christians defended truth, and the word of God, and the sovereignty of Christ. It used to be Christians stood for something. Nowadays, they’re falling for everything, and defending anything and anyone except for the Christ who redeemed them and bought them with His blood.

It used to be we knew our place in the kingdom of God and the duty we had toward our King. Nowadays, we’re all little gods, with our own little fiefdoms, making up the rules as we go along, and expunging whatever tickles our fancy from the Scriptures without a second thought.

It used to be Jesus was the great prize, and the singular desire of the heart. Nowadays He’s just a means by which we attain what we really want…from fame, to fortune, to acclaim, to notoriety.

It used to be you could identify a Christian by their character. Nowadays, they only thing distinguishing us from the world are the fish stickers on our back bumpers.

It used to be men labored for the glory of God. Nowadays we strive for our own glory, doing all we can do to shift the spotlight from Jesus to ourselves.

It used to be righteousness, repentance, and holiness unto God, were elementary notions which even the babes in Christ understood. Nowadays we’ve done away with such things, replacing them with self-esteem and prosperity thinking.

It used to be men who wanted to know God went to His word and read it. Nowadays, we’re told the Book is unnecessary, antiquated and passé, and if you really want to know God, all you have to do is open your third eye.

It used to be men offered their all to God, and to the service of Him. Nowadays the first thing men ask is ‘what is God offering,’ and ‘is He willing to sweeten the deal any?’

What was is no more…the variable has changed, and thus the equation must give a different aggregate.

It is not God who has changed. Man has changed, and rather than own up to what we have become, rather than admit to the cowardice, indecisiveness, duplicity, hypocrisy, selfishness, covetousness, and lawlessness coursing through our veins, we are quick to shake our fists at God, and blame Him for not moving among mankind as He once did.

We can either focus on the suffering or the glory. But know this: you get to the glory by going through the suffering. Just a thought!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 127

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Abraham

Ever since I could remember, I’ve always thought of Abraham as the first intercessor. If we study the word of God with diligence, we realize Abraham was the first man to stand in the gap for a people, the first to intercede on behalf of not one but two cities which had forsaken all that was moral and decent, and had given themselves over to the lusts of their flesh.

It was not for the sake of the reprobate, and those who practiced their grievous sin unhindered that Abraham interceded; it was for the righteous within the city that he pleaded time and again.

God informed Abraham as to what was about to happen to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. As God often does, He forewarns and foreshadows that which He is soon to do, informing His beloved well ahead of time concerning what is to come. As we will soon see, the notion of God revealing future events is not something new, but has been around since the beginning of recorded history, when He revealed to Noah that He would punish the world and the sin therein by flood.

God does not hide what He is doing from His children. The only ones who ought to be ignorant of God’s plans are those who do not know God, and have no relationship with Him. Tragically however, more and more believers today are ignorant of what God has planned, because their rational mind refuses to believe that God still communicates with His children on such an intimate level.

The angels of the Lord had appeared to Abraham by the terebinth trees of Mamre, and they were three in number. Abraham treated them kindly, taking butter and milk and a calf which he prepared, and setting it before them, and they ate.

After telling Sarah she would have a child even though she had passed the age of child bearing, the men rose from there, looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on their way.

Genesis 18:17-19, “And the Lord said, ‘shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

What an honor it is for God to say, ‘I have known him’ of a man. God didn’t pick Abraham randomly, He didn’t just close his eyes and point to someone roaming about the earth, He knew Abraham, knew that he kept the way of the Lord, and that he did righteousness and justice.

God knew the character of Abraham, long before He communed with him, and sent His messengers to him.

Because God knew Abraham, He knew he could not keep His plans from him.

Genesis 18:20-21, “And the Lord said, ‘because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”

It’s almost as though God couldn’t quite believe what He was hearing concerning Sodom and Gomorrah. Although the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah was great, the Lord had decided to go down and see whether or not the citizenry of these two cities had done altogether according to the outcry against them, or if there had been some exaggeration along the way.

God classified the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah, and the sin they were accused of committing as very grievous. Since the word grievous means serious, dire, heinous or severe, we understand that these were no run-of-the-mill, ordinary, every-day shortcomings, but something horrid enough wherein it warranted the Lord’s personal investigation.

What many choose to gloss over is that there was indeed an outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah, so there were still those who saw their sin for what it was and cried out to God.

We are living times very similar to those of Abraham and Lot. Sin has once more peaked, and since God has not changed, without true repentance there is no other conclusion, there is no other possible outcome, than the fate visited upon Sodom and Gomorrah.

If God however is yet allowing for a time of grace, if He is still allowing for a season wherein men can still repent, our duty is still to pray that the hearts of the lost might be reached, that the righteous might be protected, and that the glory of God be made manifest even in His judgment.

When it comes to interceding on behalf of others, and praying for others, Abraham’s example is a shining one, not only due to the love he showed toward the righteous, but also due to his persistence, repeated petitions, and continued pleadings even at the risk of wearying God.

The first obvious lesson we can glean from this exchange between the Lord and Abraham, is the implied relationship and intimacy.

In order for God to hear our prayers and answer them, there must be a relationship and a fellowship with Him. Abraham was God’s friend, and God could not keep hidden what He was about to do because of this.

Before Abraham came before the Lord to plead for the lives of those in Sodom, he was an obedient servant of God who kept the way of the Lord, and did righteousness and justice. Try as one might to say that righteousness and keeping the way of the Lord have no bearing on whether or not He answers our prayers, the word of God says otherwise.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 126

Prayers of the Old Testament

Romans 15:4, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”

It would be a cumbersome thing to have to reinvent the wheel every morning upon waking. While the wise man builds upon the things built by those who came before him, a foolish man dismisses all that was, thinking himself the pinnacle of what is, and making no progress in what is to be.

The word of God was given to us that we might learn from the lessons left by those who came before us. Among the many lessons the men and women of God left for us, we discover the lessons derived from their prayer lives and even the very prayers they prayed to be plentiful, challenging, enlightening and educational.

Since all true men and women of God are individuals for whom prayer is a vital need, and the Bible is rife with men and women of God, it is no surprise that we find a multitude of prayers within the pages of Scripture.

Whether short prayers or long, whether for strength, protection, wisdom, boldness, victory, guidance, and a myriad of other things, the prayers those of the Old Testament prayed – prayers subsequently answered of God in amazing ways – are ours to peruse and study and learn from.

We are a blessed generation not because we are more technologically advanced than our predecessors, but because these technological advancements give us greater access to the word of God, and greater insights regarding every conceivable facet of the Scriptures.

Have you ever wondered why some prayers were included within the pages of scripture while others are forever forgotten by all but God? Have you ever wondered why less prominent individuals’ prayers are recounted in the Bible word for word, while men of great import and their pleas toward God are nowhere to be found?

If we believe God to be sovereign – and we do because His word tell us that He is – then we know that neither what was included or omitted from the pages of scripture was in any way accidental, but rather everything that’s in the word is there for a purpose…the purpose being our understanding.

We learn by reading the word of God, and God included everything He wanted us to know in His word because of this. So if the prayers of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Jabez, Hannah, Samuel, David, Solomon, Elijah, Ezra, or Nehemiah are included in the Bible, our duty is to discover why, and what it is we can learn from their prayers.

Why did these men and women of God pray? When did these men and women of God pray? How did these men and women of God pray? Where did these men and women of God pray? All these questions are relevant and important, because it sets a precedent, and we know that the God who changes not can move on our behalf just as He moved on their behalf.

What stirred the heart of God in these individuals’ prayers? What caused God to heed the cries and petitions of these individuals? Was it the words themselves, or was it something more? Was it just the attitude of the heart, the faith they possessed, or some as yet unquantifiable virtue that caused the sea to part, the sun to stand still, or fire to come down from heaven and consume an altar and the sacrifice upon it?

There is much ground to cover, many prayers to meditate upon and search out, because although I will include his prayer in this series, there is more to prayer than the prayer of Jabez, and prayer itself is a more complex issue than the handful of words Jabez uttered.

We are taught to pray by four distinct means. First, the Holy Spirit teaches us to pray, stirring in us the words we must speak, and giving us the unction to do so. Second, Christ Himself teaches us to pray, as He taught His disciples to pray, giving us an outline of the type of prayer received and accepted of God. Third, the Bible teaches us how to pray, giving us various examples. And fourth, the lives of those who came before us, and their petitions and supplications before God teach us how to pray, and this is why it is a worthwhile and profitable endeavor to acquaint ourselves with the prayers of the forefathers of the faith, those toward whom we look and behold as giants, even though they were average, ordinary human beings.

We model our prayer lives, learn what we ought to pray for, and how we ought to pray by looking to those who came before us as examples, and role models. We also learn how not to pray, and what not to pray for in certain cases, and because balance is a core principal of any endeavor, we will discuss this aspect of prayer and the afferent examples as well.

The beauty of God’s word is that within its pages we discover all we need in order to have a fruitful, vibrant, animated, and fulfilling spiritual life. God leaves nothing to chance, nor does He veil anything that ought to be revealed. Given enough time, patience, prayer, and dedication you will discover the answer to every important question within the Bible.

‘Whatever things were written before were written for our learning,’ so if we fail to learn, it is not God’s fault but our own for not having diligently sought out the Scriptures.

Since learning is a process, and not something that can take place instantaneously, our journey into the land of prayer, and all that it entails continues with the second part of what I hope will be a three part treatise on prayer.

In part one, we discovered what prayer was, and came to understand it. What follows for at least the next three months, is an in-depth look at the prayers prayed throughout the Old Testament, followed by another three months or so of an in-depth look at the prayers prayed throughout the New Testament.

Although it is a grace not to have to reinvent the wheel, it is still necessary to know what a wheel is, what it does, how it works, and why it works so well.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 125

Hindered Prayer continued...

Mark 11:25-26, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Hopefully, by now we’ve come to realize the words of Jesus are non-negotiable. Jesus didn’t make suggestions, and He didn’t offer up alternative ways of doing things. He spoke with the authority and presence of the only begotten Son of God, and when He spoke it was a command.

Jesus first tells us what we must do, and then goes on to tell us the consequences of not doing it as well.

If you have anything against anyone, in order for the Father in heaven to forgive your trespasses, you must forgive theirs. If we refuse, or otherwise fail to forgive, then Jesus is quick to point out that the Father in heaven will not forgive us our trespasses either.

Not only are we to be reconciled to a brother who has wronged us and strive to live peaceably with all men, we must forgive those who have wronged us, who have maligned us, who have deceived us and kicked us when we were down, if we hope to receive an answer to our prayers and have our trespasses forgiven in turn.

The forgiveness I speak of goes beyond speaking the words ‘I forgive you’ and requires true forgiveness, the kind that can only take place in one’s heart. If I were to sit here and tell you forgiving someone who has wronged you was easy, I would be lying to your face, and you would know it.

Let’s be honest…forgiving someone who has hurt us is never easy, but it is, nevertheless, necessary and mandatory if we hope have our prayers answered and our trespasses forgiven.

There are various areas in which we can lack love, which in turn hinder our prayers, and one area many overlook, is love within the family unit.

Did you know that when peace, love, and understanding are lacking in the family it hinders our prayers?

If a husband does not honor his wife, if a wife does not submit to the authority of her husband, if the man of the house does not take his rightful place as the head and covering of his family, these things can and do hinder our prayers.

1 Peter 3:7, “Likewise you husbands, dwell with them, with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”

Lack of harmony in the home, the absence of honor toward one’s wife, the absence of submission toward one’s husband, these things hinder our prayers.

We know prayer works. We know God hears it, we know God answers it, but we must also be aware of the hindrances which spring up, of the walls we erect with our own hands, that keep our prayers from reaching God, or that keep God from answering them.

If we take the time to come before God in prayer, if we take the time to beseech Him ardently and fervently, why not also take the time to examine our hearts first, to see if there is anything residing therein that could be a hindrance in the way of prayers.

Recently a friend of mine discovered he was allergic to kiwis by eating one and almost dying. His throat started to constrict, his face swelled up, and barely being able to breathe, I half carried him to my car, and drove him to the hospital. After they injected him with something or other, and the swelling around his face and throat began to go down, they did an allergy test on him, to see if he was allergic to anything else.

Since this did take place in Romania, there was no blood drawn, but rather they did a good old fashioned skin test on him using patches.

What this means is that they applied an extract of an allergen to a patch, then placed it on the skin of his forearm and waited for some sort of reaction.

By process of elimination they discovered that not only was he allergic to kiwi, he was likewise allergic to strawberries, and oranges.

So what’s the point of this quaint little story?

If you feel as though God isn’t answering your prayers, then start going through those things that hinder prayer, and by process of elimination see what it is that is keeping Him from answering. When you discover one thing, don’t stop and assume it was just the one thing, but go through the entire battery of hindrances to see if perhaps there wasn’t more than one thing keeping your prayers from reaching their desired destination.

As followers of Christ, and sons and daughters of God, it is our duty to pray, and do so without ceasing. It is likewise our duty to be aware of our hearts, of our thoughts, and keep them under submission, making certain that our prayers bring glory to God, and that nothing stands in the way of them.

Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

And with that very timely verse, we end the first part of our series. Tomorrow we begin part two, wherein we will begin discussing, and learning from the prayers of the Old Testament. As always, thank you for taking the time to read these posts, and I pray they edify you and build up your spiritual man.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 124

Hindered Prayer continued...

God remembers the times we consider the poor. He remembers the times we reach out to help those in need, and on that great day when we stand before His throne, He will remind us of those instances wherein He was hungry and we fed Him, He was naked and we clothed Him, He was thirsty and we gave Him drink, He was a stranger and we took Him in, He was sick and we visited Him.

He will likewise remind those who did not do these things of their failure to do them, telling them that inasmuch as they did not do it to one of the least of these, they did not do it unto Him.

God identifies with the poor. He identifies with the hurting. He identifies with those in need, and when we as His children and His ambassadors extend a hand of help, and allow God to feed, comfort, and help through us, He remembers it not for a day, a year, or a decade, but for all eternity.

There is nothing we will ever do, no matter how seemingly irrelevant to us or to others, that God will gloss over, or not see. A glass of water is just a glass of water in the end, but to a thirsty person, it is an answer to prayer, and a quenching of their thirst.

God sees beyond what we give, or the value of it, to how it was given, and how it was a blessing to others.

God is omniscient, meaning all knowing, so when you gave a glass of water to a thirsty soul, He saw it, when you fed a hungry person He saw it, and when you were a comfort to someone who was hurting He saw that too.

The principle of reciprocity was made abundantly clear by Christ Himself when He said, “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Whatever a man sows, a man will reap. Whatever a man gives, he will receive. If we sow love, and give compassion, if we sow generosity and give comfort, when we are in need, we will receive these things in turn.

As children of God, our compassion extends beyond the material into the spiritual. It is the love of God which compels us to preach Christ to the lost and the dying, it is the love of God which compels us to go to the highways and byways and invite all who would hear to the marriage feast. If we have not love enough to do our utmost in plucking another from the mire of death and destruction, then how can we say we have the love of Christ burning in our hearts?

Most often it is the issues of the heart that hinder our prayers, and cause them to receive no answer. Although we like to downplay the importance of the heart, it is nevertheless obvious within God’s word how important it is, and how watchfully we must guard it.

Matthew 5:23-24, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

If we consider the words of Jesus as we ought, we come to the realization that even if we didn’t initiate whatever animosity there might be between ourselves and a brother, even if they have something against us, our duty is to first go and be reconciled, then return and offer God our gift.

Even though we might be well intentioned and desirous to bring our gift to the altar, Jesus Himself said that if we know of something we need to set aright, repent of, or fix, then without first clearing up what is weighing on our conscience, bringing a gift to the altar is an exercise in futility.

Jesus didn’t say, ‘after you bring your gift, after you finish you prayer, when you have some time in your schedule, go and make peace with your brother,’ but first be reconciled to your brother, then come to bring your gift. The priority is evident in the words of Christ. First make peace, and then come bring your gift. First make certain your heart is clean before Him, that there is nothing hindering your prayer, then come before God with boldness and ask what you will of Him.

No matter how pretty the wrapping, no matter how priceless the content, our gift will not be received of God, if our hearts know of something that might hinder our prayers, and that something is not dealt with.

Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”

The word of God doesn’t say if it’s convenient, or if it’s in your best interest, but if it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. How much more ought we to live peaceably with our brothers and sisters in Christ, if the word tells us we ought to strive, and do our utmost to live peaceably with all men?

Far too often we strive against our brothers and sisters, rather than strive to live peaceably with them, only to see our prayers go unanswered, and the unity within the Body start to fray.

Jesus envisioned the church as one Body, with Him as the head, and a body cannot be divided against itself and still function optimally. This is why Jesus was consistent in encouraging unity and being at peace not only with our brothers and sisters in Christ, but with all men as much as depends on us.

Granted, some have taken this notion to extremes, wherein for the sake of living peaceably they compromise the truth, their principles, and their core moral values, but if we are seeking understanding and not excuses for cowardice, we will come to know the balance between living peaceably with all men, and standing for what is right even if it costs us our lives.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 123

Hindered Prayer continued...

When it comes to why God does something as well as why He doesn’t do something, such as answer certain prayers, it’s good to be thorough so that there are no misunderstandings, or feelings of bitterness.

Little foxes spoil the vines, and small issues can have big repercussions. This is why although our discussion concerning things that hinder our prayers might seem exhaustive to some, it is nevertheless necessary.

Lack of love, in all its many facets, hinders our prayers as readily as would pride, disobedience or rebellion. We can be lacking in love toward those in need, toward our fellow brothers in Christ, toward those who are lost and dying, but whatever area we are lacking love in, it can and often does hinder our prayers, and keeps them from being answered.

So what possible connection could there be between the needs of others, showing love toward them, and our own prayers being answered?

Proverbs 21:13, “Whoever shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.”

There are individuals all around us who cry for help, men and women who have fallen on hard times, those who through their own choices or events beyond their sphere of control, have no other options but to cry out. When we as children of God shut our ears to the cries of the poor, when we pretend we do not hear them or pretend we do not see them, when we ourselves cry out to God, we will not be heard either.

He who gives to the poor gives to himself. I realize the previous statement is paradoxical, but it is nevertheless true. When we see someone who is hungry, who is hurting, who is needy and we reach out to them, we are helping ourselves as much as we are helping that individual.

God is a great accountant, and not a glass of water, a crust of bread, or a suit of clothes given in His name will go unseen by Him.

I grew up in a giving family. Whether we had abundance, or we were in need, we always gave. Whether it was a meal, a blanket, or our time, from my grandfather, to my grandmother, to my father and my mother, they were fine examples of what it means to be selfless, and it is one of the many lessons that I am thankful for having been taught early on in life.

It’s easy to fall in to the ‘when I have such and such, or when I make this amount I’ll be able to give’ mentality. It’s not about the amount, or the item you give, it’s about having the tender heart, and allowing the love of Christ to move you to give.

We must be sensitive to the needs of others and the cries of others, because we in turn cry out to God and petition Him.

God has always had a special place in His heart for the poor, for the widow, and the orphan. Although He cares for them providentially, from time to time He stirs us, His servants, to be His hands and His feet…He stirs us to reach out and help the helpless.

Deuteronomy 15:7-8, “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand form your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.”

Deuteronomy 15:10, “You shall surely give him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand.”

Because your heart is tender, because you have love for the brethren therein, because the heart of Christ beats in your chest, and you are not grieved when you give to the needy, the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hands.

No, this isn’t about salvation, we don’t do works or give to the poor to get saved or stay saved, we give of ourselves because we are saved, and because we know that God will bless us when we do it.

Two clear paths are set before us, and it is up to us which path we choose. We either shut our ear to the cry of the poor, and as consequence our own cries will not be heard, or we give and are blessed of the Lord in all our works and in all to which we put our hand.

No man can fault God when God doesn’t hear his cries if he himself has ignored the cries of the poor. Nor can any man fault God for not blessing the work of his hands if he himself has shut his hand and hardened his heart toward the needy, because God settled the matter in His word already.

Psalm 41:1-3, “Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, and he will be blessed on earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed.”

There are no less than six promises made to those who consider the poor in these three verses alone. First, the Lord will deliver them in time of trouble. Second, the Lord will preserve them and keep them alive. Third, they will be blessed on earth. Fourth, they will not be delivered to the will of their enemies. Fifth, the Lord will strengthen them on their bed of illness. And sixth, they will be sustained of God on their sickbeds.

May we consider the poor, and thus receive the promises of God.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 122

Hindered Prayer continued...

Pride can also hinder prayer and does so more frequently than we would like to admit. God hates pride! Yes, hate is a strong word. It means to dislike intensely or passionately, or feel extreme aversion for…yet God, in His word, says that He hates pride.

Proverbs 8:13, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.”

‘But that can’t be true, because our Sunday school teacher said, God is love, and because He is love He can’t hate.’

The Book trumps the Sunday school teacher, and the book says that God hates!

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

There are seven things which are an abomination to God; seven things He has an intense and passionate aversion for, and a proud look, or pride, tops the list at number one. God has more of an aversion for pride, than He does for a lying tongue, or a false witness who speaks lies.

The proud man, He will not hear, for the proud man cannot humble himself. Pride is the antithesis of humility, and when we come before God with pride in our hearts, He perceives it as an abomination.

There is nothing that we can do in and of ourselves, there is nothing we can accomplish that would give us license to approach God in a prideful manner. If we boast, we boast in the Lord, and what He has done for us.

Pride is not reserved for the wealthy, those with good pedigree, the well-educated, or the beautiful. I have seen pride in simple, ordinary, unexceptional people just as I have seen pride in exceptional ones, and each time it has the same air and appearance.

Pride has a way of worming itself into the hearts of men, and making itself apparent at the most unusual and inappropriate of times. Pride makes people foolish, it makes people feel superior to others when they have no reason to, and it also makes men think themselves wiser than God. Not only does pride harden the heart, it puts man at enmity with God Himself.

Knowing the dangers of pride, often times I go to extremes in attempting to prevent pride from rearing its ugly head in my life. Even when someone honestly and sincerely complements me, I tend to react in such a way that it takes them aback. It’s not that I don’t appreciate a compliment once in a while, or that I’m not thankful for those who read what I write, and listen to what I preach, but knowing the weakness of flesh, and the propensity of the heart to seek after adulation, I do my utmost in making certain I don’t feed the id.

I’ve known honest, sincere brothers who got derailed because of pride. I’ve also known individuals with great potential, who grew prideful of it, and because pride pollutes everything it comes in contact with, these individuals never lived up to their potential because their heads got too big to fit through a doorway.

If I seem to bristle at compliments, or overreact in a seemingly negative fashion, I apologize, but I have to guard my heart, not only due to the knowledge I possess about the dangers of pride, but also due to having seen its effects firsthand in the lives of friends and fellow ministers.

Job 35:12-13, “There they cry out, but He does not answer, because of the pride of evil men. Surely God will not listen to empty talk, nor will the Almighty regard it.”

Not only does God say He will not answer when certain individuals cry out, in His goodness He even tells us why. Because of the pride of evil men, God will not answer when they cry out, nor will He listen to empty talk or regard it.

Pride is not having pressed suit, nor is humility walking around in rags. Pride is an issue of the heart, it is something that takes root deep inside us, and it can happen to anyone at any time if they are not watchful, and constantly seeking after humility.

I realize it would be much easier to identify the proud among us by what they wear, perhaps anyone wearing a white fedora, or a bowtie, but God alone knows the heart, and it is to God we will all have to answer one day for having allowed pride to fester therein.

The duty of every believer is to know the tactics of the enemy and the snares he employs so we might avoid them, and circumvent them when we see them before us. Pride is a tool of the enemy that has felled many a soul, because it feeds the flesh, and the flesh likes to be fed.

Yes, I would rather be perceived as cranky, bristly, and lacking in social skill and conventions than allow pride to nest in my heart.

One does not wait for a fire to engulf a structure before attempting to put it out. By then it’s already too late, the damage will have been done, and the only reason to put out the fire is so it doesn’t spread to other buildings. One puts out the fire the minute they see the spark, and the smoke and the flame. They do their utmost to contain it, and extinguish it before it can do harm, before it can grow and consume. It is the same with pride. Pride must be stamped out not after it had engulfed a heart, but at the first sight of the first ember.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Freeform Friday Week 7

I received the following comment a couple days ago, and for today’s Freeform Friday, I will be answering it in depth.

Chances are, some of you will not like what I have to say, so if you are easily offended, think getting to heaven is as easy as clicking like on Facebook, or that we will not see what the Bible clearly says we will see with our own eyes, please read no further as I have enough enemies to last me ten lifetimes already.

The following is the comment I received in its entirety. What follows is my response.

I don't mean to interrupt your series on prayer, but perhaps if you could be so kind, this might be addressed on Freeform Friday? I don't mean to interfere with what you had planned for that either, I just don't know any other efficient way to communicate with you. I have read that you petitioned the Lord to stop, for a season, communicating spiritual insights that were given to you...because of "prophecy junkies". I am asking if you might reconsider that, not for the sake of indulging prophecy junkies, but for the sake of guiding all the sincere sheep that are following you. Consider that the particular following you have is sheep who value truth and know you don't lie - if we wanted our ears tickled we would follow someone else. If we could all do it on our own, there would be no need for shepherds. There will always be wackos in this world, but please do not withhold from the sheep because of them. It is getting downright scary out there. This stuff going on in Syria ... escalating fighting in Damascus, Assad bringing out missiles with nerve gas, mustard gas, cyanide ... the prophecy of it becoming a heap of ruins could manifest at any moment. The judgments on America could begin at any time....or it could wait another 25 years. I have sensed turmoil in the spiritual world for months, but despite much prayer I don't know what that means, other than the continual battle between good and evil that has always gone on around us. For 99.999% of us, never ever has an angel appeared at the foot of our beds to tell us what we need to know, and probably never will. I know you did not want that job or that gift - you wanted to be an archaeologist - but since you do have that gift, you may not realize what it feels like to be a sheep and in the middle of a really terrifying world, without the insights that come to you so easily. Thank you.

I have read that you petitioned the Lord to stop, for a season, communicating spiritual insights that were given to you...because of "prophecy junkies". I am asking if you might reconsider that, not for the sake of indulging prophecy junkies, but for the sake of guiding all the sincere sheep that are following you. Consider that the particular following you have is sheep who value truth and know you don't lie - if we wanted our ears tickled we would follow someone else.

If I have ever, at any time, even in passing or tangentially intimated, insinuated, implied or suggested that anyone should follow me then I have failed in my purpose and duty toward God. Although I appreciate the vote of confidence in that I strive to preach the truth, if Christ is not ever present, if He is not glorified, if He is not what you are guided towards, and pointed to, then I am guilty of sin before my God, and you shouldn’t be listening to me anyway.

The duty of a shepherd is to lead the sheep to The Shepherd!

In this singular task I have strived, and agonized, and persisted even when it was unpopular, even when people mocked, even when I was belittled and derided for holding to something that was out of step with the rest of the Christian world.

If the sheep of God’s pasture hope to grow into what God expects them to be, we need to stop repeating the cycle of lifting up a certain individual, labeling them oracle or mouthpiece, and living vicariously through what God shows them, rather than press in, and pray, and seek the face of God, with tears and anguish until we are likewise shown that which God desires to reveal to all of His children.

I am least among my brethren, and carry my cross like anyone else called to be a servant of God. On a good day I don’t gnash my teeth in pain when getting out of bed. On a bad day I can’t get out of bed at all. So if you must put someone up on a pedestal, at least pick someone that can walk up there on their own two feet.

I have always detested the idol culture we’ve created, and on pain of death I refuse to be part of it. People on pedestals tend to make better targets anyway, so I’d rather just run my race, be faithful to my calling, do what God commands me to do, and remain as faceless as our modern culture will permit.

I did not ask God for permission to withhold certain dreams or visions because I wanted to seem mysterious, or cryptic, but because the knowledge of what is to come will do nothing to keep us if we are not fully in Christ.

The paramount question we must all ask ourselves, especially given the times that are upon us, is: ‘Are we dead yet?’

That’s it…that’s the million dollar question. If we are truly dead, then we have nothing to fear. If we are truly dead, when God tells us to go, we will not hesitate, our hearts will not be tethered to material things for which we will yearn and look back, we will simply go where He tells us to go.

If we could all do it on our own, there would be no need for shepherds. There will always be wackos in this world, but please do not withhold from the sheep because of them. It is getting downright scary out there. This stuff going on in Syria ... escalating fighting in Damascus, Assad bringing out missiles with nerve gas, mustard gas, cyanide ... the prophecy of it becoming a heap of ruins could manifest at any moment. The judgments on America could begin at any time....or it could wait another 25 years. I have sensed turmoil in the spiritual world for months, but despite much prayer I don't know what that means, other than the continual battle between good and evil that has always gone on around us.

Once again, we must define the role and duty of a shepherd. A shepherd’s duty is to guide you to green pastures and living waters. I have strived with every fiber of my being to do this consistently, and I will continue to do so until I breathe my last.

My hope and purpose is not to have a following, my hope and purpose is to mature those whom God brings across my path, to the point that they themselves become shepherds to others who will be drawn from the darkness into the light.

If we think it’s scary now, all we need to do is wait a couple weeks, and we will need to redefine scary all over again.

Syria will escalate, and the word of God will come to pass. God does not lie! God does not exaggerate! His word is truth, and so, yes, war in Syria is imminent.

As far as America is concerned, to a certain extent it is already under judgment, but rebellious hearts being what they are, it’s being blamed on global warming, climate change, cow flatulence, or anything else except what it truly is.

What the future holds is dark, and grim. There is much sorrow and mourning on the way not only for America but for the world as we know it, and the only way around it is through it. There is no blue pill, there is no magic bullet, there is no express shuttle, and the fact that the household of faith refuses to acknowledge this singular truth is largely the reason why many who fancy themselves believers today, will rebel against God in the coming months and years, shaking their fists at Him in anger and rage.

The resolve of the church is being whittled down on a daily basis, and what was once a mighty oak, is now a toothpick. What we once called sin, and vehemently so, is accepted practice even within the house of God. We are a polluted, corrupt, hedonistic generation whose hearts are given over to evil continually, just as it was in the days of Noah. The turmoil you sense in the spiritual world is the walls of the citadel being breached, the watchmen leaving their posts, and the enemy running roughshod through the house of God.

We must understand that shelter, safety, and protection can only be found in Christ. Yes, some try to do what they can with buying gold, silver, storing food and water, preparing for the worst possible outcome, but no matter how well prepared we are, it will still not suffice.

If God told you to prepare in the physical, then prepare in the physical. If however you are doing it because other people are doing it, then you run the risk of trusting in the preparations you’ve made, and ignoring the voice of God when He tells you to flee, because your rational human mind believes you have the best chance of riding out the storm where you are presently.

Just this morning I saw a news article talking about hundreds of teenagers storming a Wal-Mart in a criminal flash mob, and underneath there was a caption that read, ‘if they do this for fun, what will they do when they’re going hungry?’

If we’re going to get down to brass tacks, and assume that we can provide for our own safety, then we need to answer some difficult questions. ‘Are you willing to take a human life to protect some canned beans and wormy flour? If yes, then are you willing to take two, five, ten, how many is too many, and how soon before you’re overrun?’

Do you think for an instant that if your neighbors are going hungry and they know that Bob, or Mike, or Janice have been storing food and water they won’t kick down your door and take what they need?

This is why Christ is the only answer!

Psalm 91:7-11, ‘A thousand may fall to your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your habitation, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”

Not only do I believe that God can do what He promised in His word, I believe that He will. If I did not believe with all my heart that He is my refuge, and because I made Him my habitation no evil would befall me, I would be running for the hills, and finding a nice spot to dig a spider hole.

For 99.999% of us, never ever has an angel appeared at the foot of our beds to tell us what we need to know, and probably never will. I know you did not want that job or that gift - you wanted to be an archaeologist - but since you do have that gift, you may not realize what it feels like to be a sheep and in the middle of a really terrifying world, without the insights that come to you so easily. Thank you.

With the coming of the night, comes the dawning of the day!

This is why the times that are upon us ought not to be seen as frightening, but as exciting. The power of the living God will be all the more manifest in His beloved as the power of darkness continues to grow. As yet you might not see the messengers of the Lord, but the day is coming when you will. God will give His angels charge over you, you will be divinely directed, and divinely protected, if you have made Him your habitation.

Yes, I believe that the day is approaching when the supernatural for lack of a better word, will be common place among the saints.

Why do you think that for the better part of a year, now going on two, we’ve been discussing the power of the Holy Spirit, and prayer, the two elements necessary for a dynamic, intimate, and reciprocal relationship with God? Do you believe this was accidental? God is preparing His children for the days to come.

Steel yourselves, set your faces like flint, see only Jesus before you, for the days are coming when the enemy will attempt to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 121

Hindered Prayer continued...

Luke 12:15, “And He said to them, ‘take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’”

To look at some of the things being passed off as gospel today, one might tend to laugh copiously until they come to realize there are people, and by all accounts many, many people who actually believe the foolishness spewing out of the mouths of some of the more notorious pulpit pimps.

I’m still waiting for one of them to take that final step in attempting to outdo all the others, get a ‘greed is good’ tattoo on their forehead, and be done with it.

It astounds me how readily and flippantly we disregard and ignore the words of Jesus, teaching the diametrical opposite of what He taught and passing it off as Scripture. Jesus said that one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. What this means, is that if your identity, purpose, self-worth and self-esteem are tethered to your car, your home, your salary, your title, or your position, you are indeed a sad, sad soul who needs to rediscover their identity in Christ, and Him alone.

You are not what you own! You are not what you drive! You are not the thread count of your bed sheets, the value of your wristwatch, the name brand of your suit, or the famous label of your dress shoes. Your life does not consist in the abundance of the things you possess!

The insidious thing about coveting possessions is that we covet certain things hoping they will give us joy, peace, fulfillment or purpose in life. Very few individuals in the world covet possessions for possession’s sake. Most people covet as a bridge to what they desire, or hope to experience once the thing they coveted is theirs.

No one covets a million dollars just to have a million dollars; they covet it because of the perceived security they believe the million dollars will provide them.

No one covets a new car just to have a new car, but because of the perceived awe and respect others might show them as they are driving it.

What I find inexcusable and unacceptable is that supposed shepherds of God’s flock are telling the sheep they can have the peace, the joy, the fulfillment, the hope, the comfort and protection only God can give, if only they have enough possessions or possess a certain thing.

Because the sheep are told that possessions will give them what only the hand of God could, they prioritize their lives in such a way wherein they no longer have time to pray, they no longer have time to read the word of God, they no longer have time to fellowship, because the entirety of their existence revolves around accumulating possessions.

It is clear in such a case that the desire for possessions and the coveting of possessions has become the idol that has supplanted God in one’s heart.

Whether we admit it grudgingly or readily, it is known that idolatry is rampant within the house of God, and it is due to said idolatry that many a prayer goes unanswered.

Selfishness also hinders one’s prayers and keeps God from answering. Yes, you read that right, selfishness, or selfish prayers are off-putting to God, and He does not answer prayers prayed selfishly.

James 4:3, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

God knows why we pray the prayers we pray. He knows the intent of the heart; He knows the preeminent desire driving us to pray for a certain thing or another.

What motivates your prayers? Why do you pray the prayers you pray?

Do you pray for the edification and exhortation of the entire Body, or do you pray selfish prayers that focus exclusively on you?

These are questions that must be answered if we ever hope to get to the root of why God doesn’t answer certain prayers. Is it uncomfortable to be honest with ourselves, search our hearts and discover if our prayers are selfish in nature? Yes, of course it is, but it is also necessary, and so we must.

Some individuals would rather not have to deal with the inner workings of their hearts in an honest and unbiased manner, and so they find reasons and excuses as to why God isn’t answering a certain prayer that has nothing to do with the real reason why He isn’t answering it. We would rather deceive ourselves into believing God is impotent, or that His hand is short, than acknowledge and face up to the reality that our prayers are selfish and this is why He isn’t answering.

Even the best of us have prayed selfish prayers, and have seen them go unanswered. The wise ones among us however, take the time to meditate upon the prayer we’ve prayed, the reason why God hasn’t answered it, and make certain we do not repeat our previous mistake.

We all fall short. It is a Biblical tenet, so pretending we are perfect and that we’ve never prayed a selfish prayer, is not only childish and immature, it is also foolish.

Do we, in our prayers, desire to be servants and nothing more, or do we ask of God as the mother of Zebedee’s sons did, that we be glorified to the extent that we sit at the right and left hand of God in His kingdom?

One prayer God honors and answers…the other He ignores.

Desire to be a servant, desire to walk in obedience, and God will equip you, and mold you, and call you to greater and greater works. Pray unselfishly, and you will reap the rewards of the Kingdom.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 120

Hindered Prayer continued...

Besides being gatekeepers of our own heart, we are also the gardeners, and soil tillers of our hearts. Yes, I know, with all the honorary titles we have it’s a wonder we get anything done, but alas, being vigilant and keeping one’s heart pure in the sight of God is of paramount importance as well as a fulltime job.

Perhaps it’s because we’ve minimized the importance of keeping one’s heart free of iniquity that we take so little time in searching our hearts, and discovering if something has crept in, or been allowed in that ought not to be there. It all begins with the heart, and whether the heart is focused on God, and the kingdom of God, or on this earth and the things of this earth, it will be proven out by our actions, our desires, our conduct and our motivation.

Before we can ask of God, we must make certain we are living out the gospel, and doing the will of the Father. God knows us and receives us not because we are more righteous than our neighbor, not because we are more penitent than our spouse, but because He sees His Son in us, He recognizes that which is of Himself, and responds to it.

If Christ is not in us, if He is not preeminently exalted and singularly glorified in our heart, then we cannot hope to have the ear of God, or receive an answer to our prayers.

If iniquity still resides in our heart, then Christ cannot be present therein. Jesus will not share space with iniquity. He will not cohabitate or coexist with sin, even though those stickers on the back of cars seem to infer as much.

Jesus is not interested in coexisting with sin. He is not interested in cohabitating with iniquity. He desires your heart in its totality, and will accept nothing less. One thing is certain throughout the scriptures: God does not compromise!

If God did not compromise for the sake of His own people, for the sake of those who called on His name, what makes us think He will compromise for the sake of a generation who is doing everything in its power to do away with the very memory of Him?

On our own, in and of ourselves, it is impossible to have a clear conscience. It is impossible to possess a heart absent iniquity, but with Christ and through Christ, all things are possible for it is He through His blood that purges our conscience, and cleanses our hearts.

Hebrews 9:13-14, “For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

That which is dead must be purged from us, that Christ may live through us. We serve a living God; therefore we must be living servants, having done away with dead works, dead desires, and dead thoughts.

The third thing to hinder our prayers, as well as our prayers being answered is idolatry.

‘Alright, you lost me. I get disobedience being a hindrance; I even get the iniquity of the heart being a hindrance, but idolatry? Who practices idolatry anymore?’

Granted, we don’t have idols of stone, and steel and those carved in wood anymore, but countless believers practice idolatry nevertheless. What we fail to realize, is that anything that establishes itself upon the throne of the heart, can readily become an idol.

Ezekiel 14:3, “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?”

The idols were not in some temple, they were not on some high hill…they were in the hearts of men. I submit to you, that men are as much idol worshippers today as they ever were, if not more so. From idolizing musicians, to sports figures, to politicians, to actors, to spending countless hours and untold amounts of money pursuing certain hobbies, all these things are idols of the heart, which God looks upon with distaste.

‘Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?’

God asks Ezekiel this question rhetorically, because He already knows the answer to His question. If God did not let Himself be inquired of by those who had set up idols in their hearts, and He changes not, can we not then conclude that if we have likewise set up idols in our hearts He will show us the same unresponsiveness?

Make no mistake; anything that takes the place of God in our hearts and lives is an idol.

Colossians 3:5-7, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you also once walked when you lived in them.”

In one fell swoop the word of God identifies every proponent of the prosperity gospel as an idolater. It is right there in the word of God, and you can even look it up for yourself if you’d like. Covetousness is idolatry, and what the prosperity gospel preaches is essentially covetousness, meaning to have a strong or inordinate desire to possess or obtain some supposed good.

Don’t tell me there are no idolaters in our day and age… by how the Bible defines an idolater, the church today is full of them.

Not only will God not allow Himself to be inquired of by those who have set up idols in their hearts, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience because of these things.

Once, we also walked and lived in such things, for we were in the darkness groping for the light, but now that we have been sanctified and reconciled, we must make certain that our members which are on the earth have been put to death, that He who was and is, and is to come might shine through us all the more.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 119

Hindered Prayer continued...

Not only is disobedience detrimental to the person practicing it, it is likewise detrimental to all those around him. Disobedience is not a victimless crime. It is not something that affects only the individual in question.

Because one man disobeyed the command of God, and touched the unclean things, and took for himself that which was supposed to be destroyed, God stopped giving victory to the entire nation of Israel. Achan’s eyes saw, his heart desired, and he took that which God commanded His people not to touch, thinking he wasn’t harming anyone by his disobedience. Little did Achan know that the people of God would no longer glory in victory on the battlefield until his sin was exposed and he was thoroughly punished for his disobedience.

God would not even listen to Joshua’s prayers, until the sin was removed from the camp, and until the disobedience was dealt with. Yes, God had chosen Joshua. Yes, God had equipped Joshua. Yes, God loved Joshua, but this did not mean that Joshua got to sidestep, circumvent, or ignore God’s order, even inadvertently.

God holds those He loves, chooses, and equips to as high a standard as anyone else. Having been chosen for a duty, having been equipped for a task, does not mitigate our responsibilities in the sight of God, nor does it allow us to approach God frivolously and without reverence.

Another hindrance and obstacle in our prayer life are the sins of the heart. Such sins are extremely dangerous in the life of a believer, because they are invisible to the naked eye, and only you and God know they are there.

We keep away from the visible sins, what we consider the big sins, but many of us allow sins of the heart to fester unchallenged and unopposed. Another term the word of God uses for the sins of the heart is the iniquity of the heart.

Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”

Once again, we have a short, seemingly innocuous verse, which packs a punch. If I know that there is iniquity in my heart, if I behold it, and see it, and do not repent of it and pluck it from the soil, then the Lord will not hear me.

If I know that there is something in my heart that is not in accordance with the word of God. If I know I am holding onto bitterness, malice, jealousy, envy, hatred, or any of a hundred different iniquities of the heart, then the Lord will not hear me. No matter how much I cry out, no matter how many tears I might shed, if I do not repent of the iniquity of my heart when I regard it, or see it there, if I do not turn away from it, then the Lord will not hear.

No one knows what you’re thinking, no one knows what’s in your heart, but God does! God knows when our thoughts are impure; He knows when our hearts are given to some form of iniquity or another. We might be able to hide the iniquity of our hearts from men, but never from God, and as a warning siren that something must be repented of, that something must be done away with, that something must be turned away from, God stops hearing us, and as consequence He stops answering our prayers.

Proverbs 3:29-30, “Do not devise evil against your neighbor, for he dwells by you for safety’s sake. Do not strive with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm.”

Although some of us might be quick to say these verses could never apply to us, if we are honest with ourselves, we will soon realize that they are more applicable to our daily lives than we would like to admit.

When the person two cars up is going ten miles below the speed limit, and we start to get flustered, honking and swerving and clutching our steering wheel, we are striving against someone without cause, because they have done us no harm.

Perhaps the unintended consequence of their speed was our irritation being fueled, but as far as directly doing us harm, that individual is likely not even aware of our existence, never mind intent on harming us in any way.

That was just one example, but if we pick a given day and think thorough it objectively, we come to realize that there are many instances for which we must repent, because we have strived when there was no cause to strive, and devised evil when there was no cause to do so.

Zechariah 7:10, “Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother.”

Evil thoughts, and evil plans against our brothers and sisters in Christ, impede our prayers, hinder our prayers, and keep God from hearing them.

So the next time thoughts spring up in your heart, whether concerning the pastor’s sermon being too long, or the special music not being very special, remember the consequences of allowing such thoughts to take root in your heart.

Because the heart is deceitful above all things, there is a natural inclination towards iniquity almost hardwired into its makeup. It is far easier for an individual to surrender to iniquity, than to walk in holiness. We’re always striving to do what’s right, but doing what’s wrong or unbecoming seems to come quite easily. Ever since the fall of Adam, man’s predisposition has been toward evil rather than good, but as gatekeepers of our hearts, as those who can choose what we allow to pass through the gates and make our hearts home, we can chase away the iniquity that comes knocking incessantly and repeatedly.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Final Tally!

After eliminating duplicate votes by my own staff nonetheless, (for shame Jim, for shame!), adding the e-mailed votes to the final tally, and counting my vote, my wife’s vote, and my brother’s vote as a single vote each, the winner, by a nose, is the Origami Dove cover.

I want to thank Lamb Creek, who did an amazing job, and yes, I am planning on hopefully purchasing the other two covers for future writing projects…in fact I have a couple books in mind that would fit those covers perfectly.

As someone put it, cover 1 is understated, and I’ve always been partial to understated myself. Thank you, to everyone who took the time to vote. Once again, I appreciate you taking the time to read this blog, to comment from time to time, and to keep me in your prayers.

Tomorrow we return to our ongoing study on prayer.

1 Kings 19:11-12, “Then He said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a small still voice.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, July 13, 2012

I Need Your Help!

First off, no, I'm not going to ask you for money. I do however, need your help and input on a certain matter, which will become apparent once you read the rest of this post.

Strangely enough, if God hadn’t taken me to the woodshed over not posting often enough, chances are we’d still be doing the series on the Holy Spirit…merrily drudging along at one or two posts per week. As such, those of you who read this blog are partly responsible for the completion of this tome, and its subsequent release in book form.

Since you had a hand in the completion of this book, albeit inadvertently, and since I respect the intelligence and taste of my readers, I would ask that you help choose what will become the book cover for my upcoming book The Holy Spirit: Power, Presence and Purpose.

What follow are three potential covers, and I would greatly appreciate you sending in a reply with either One, Two, or Three depending on which cover you prefer.

At the risk of sounding sappy and overly sentimental, you are my friends, and this book could not have come about without your prayers, encouragements and input.

I will leave this post up over the weekend, tally all the votes on Monday, and report back with which of the three will be the cover.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 118

Hindered Prayer continued...

Zechariah 7:11-13, “But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord of hosts. Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

God is not speaking about the godless in this passage. It not the godless who refused to heed and stopped their ears. God was speaking about His own people, those who were called the people of God, and it was they who made their hearts like flint and refused to hear the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit.

It is during the end of these three verses that we see the true measure of God’s disdain for disobedience and rebellion. He beholds His own people, sees that they would not obey Him, and declared that just as He had proclaimed and they would not hear, so they would call out to Him and He would not listen.

Because they chose rebellion, because they chose disobedience, because they chose to shrug their shoulders and stop their ears, God would return their actions in kind, and would not listen to their pleas.

God reciprocates obedience by listening and hearing our prayers. When we choose disobedience rather than obedience, He calls it rebellion, and because we are in rebellion, He will not listen.

Proverbs 28:9, “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination.”

When we choose to disregard what God has sent us by His Spirit, when we choose to do away with the word of God, when we choose to turn away our ear from hearing the law of God, then though we might pray, our prayers will be an abomination in the sight of He who is thrice holy.

Just consider the gravity of this passage: even one’s prayers become an abomination to God if they are in disobedience and rebellion of His will.

So much for the touchy-feely, mealy-mouthed, cotton-candy, feel-good notion that we can come before God any which way, disrespect Him at will, trample upon the blood of His Son, and as long as we say a halfhearted prayer, He’s fine with our rebellion and dismissal of Him.

We have come to the point of having absolutely no qualms about stripping God of His sovereignty, taking our fate in our own hands, and entering the land of the absurd both in thought and action alike. I fear it is far past hubris, and we’ve come to that point of thinking ourselves little gods just like the retired generation of televangelists kept insisting. Little did they know how well their message would resonate, because even the godless think themselves to be little gods nowadays.

Disobedience breeds rebellion, and rebellion breeds all kinds of aberrant practices and thoughts.

As wise children we ought to evaluate our obedience from time to time, and see whether or not we are wholly obedient to the heavenly Father. The consequences of disobedience are just too great for us to trifle with it.

‘Well, technically it wasn’t disobedience, but it was really, really close.’

We tend to be as little children, playing games, thinking God will smile just as ruefully as our grandparents did when they told us not to touch the electrical socket, and we would inch closer and closer to it without really touching it.

I once tried playing the same game with my mother, who told me not to come near the stove as she was cooking and not to touch the pots she was cooking with. Being a child, and thinking as a child, I tried playing the ‘how close can I get without really touching it’ game, only to have my mother rap me across the knuckles with a wooden spoon well before I was anywhere close to the flame, or the pots.

God does not play games. He makes no allowances for sin, nor will He overlook iniquity. Disobedience breeds both sin and iniquity in the heart of man, while simultaneously fueling his pride, and darkening his heart, wherein he will no longer seek repentance, or come to the foot of the cross in humility.

Revelation 21:8, “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Revelation 21:27, “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”

Yes, I realize full well there are certain verses we would rather not be in the word of God, certain scriptures that don’t make us feel all warm and fuzzy but that highlight the truth of the narrowness of the way, and brings to remembrance the fewness of those who find it.

We have no choice but to adhere to the word of God, no choice but to obey the word of God, and no choice but to preach the word of God. Personal opinions cannot and should not enter into the equation, and uttering the words ‘I think’ whenever discussing scripture is the poison arrow that will eventually kill off obedience altogether.

Don’t rationalize, offer up opinions or personal feelings to God, just do what He commands you to do.

Too many today attempt to rationalize scripture rather than obey it, justify rebellion rather than submit to God, and camouflage cowardice with the cloak of tolerance. Be a doer of the word, and not a hearer only, for only in doing will you receive the crown of life, only in running your race will you cross the finish line and fall into the arms of Christ.

James 1:21-22, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.