Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Call to Arms Part 2

Battle presupposes many things, but certain ones are essential. Among the essentials of any conflict are armies, arms, tactics, strategy, and the knowledge of one’s enemies. If any of these essentials is missing, one’s loss of the battle is ensured even before the first blow is struck. Without having the right soldiers, the right arms, the right strategy and a fundamental understanding of one’s enemy, one is inhibited and stunted in their ability to fight the fight in such a manner that their victory is certain.

Brutal and coldhearted as it may seem, one need only give a passing glance to the current church to realize that though we might call ourselves an army, we are weaponless, absent of strategy, ignorant of tactics, and woefully unaware of our enemy, what he can do, and the lengths he will go to in any conflict.

A soldier’s ignorance of his weapons on the battlefield will almost always ensure his demise. If he stands face to face against his enemy and does not know how to wield his sword, raise his shield, or have a passing knowledge of all the weapons in his arsenal, that moment of hesitation, the fumbling with one’s scabbard, the overreach of one’s sword, the wrong placement of one’s shield, and the enemy will strike the mortal blow.

By the same token, a soldier who does not know the tactics of his enemy, or know how to defend against them is at a serious disadvantage on the battlefield. We are warned, and forthrightly so in God’s word not to be ignorant of the devil’s devices. The reason this warning is found within the pages of scripture is because once we are aware of the devil’s devices, we will naturally begin to take steps to protect ourselves against them, and guard our hearts against their influences.

Your weakness, whatever that might be, is the device the enemy most often employs to try to derail you and vanquish you spiritually. Knowing the fact that the enemy employs your weakness against you, and knowing yourself well enough to know your own weakness, you are especially sensitive to any situation or circumstance in which this weakness can be exploited.

If alcohol is your weakness, then perhaps bars are not the best place for you to hang out. If lust is your weakness, then perhaps watching movies with innuendo and gratuitous nudity in them is not the best way to pass your time. You know your weakness, guard against it and one of the enemy’s greatest weapons against you will have been neutralized.

As Paul so poetically puts it, we ought to be aware of the devil’s devices lest he get an advantage, or outwit us. Paul understood the battle and what it meant. He knew that it was not a battle for something as fleeting as statehood or nationality, but for one’s eternal soul and where it would spend eternity. Throughout the New Testament we are warned to be on guard, to be alert, to watch, to be aware, to prepare, to put on our armor, because the ramifications of this war we wage are greater than the ramifications of any physical war.

Not only are we repeatedly warned to prepare for battle, there are passages within God’s Word which describe it, informing us that in the unseen realm, the whole of the universe is at war.

Revelation 12:7-8, “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon’ and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.”

Revelation 13:7, “And it was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.”

From what we read in God’s Word there are three distinct groupings in this ongoing war. First, there is the army of heaven, the heavenly host, or the army of the Lord, second, there the armies of darkness which include the devil, his angels, principalities, and powers, and third there is mankind, which is itself divided into two camps, the saints, the righteous, and the godless or unrighteous.

Throughout this study, one which thus far is proving to be somewhat ambitious, we will determine what the role of the saints is in this war, what the weapons of our warfare are, and how it is we can take the fight to the enemy, actually go on the offensive, and take back the ground we’ve lost over time.

As I see it, every believer must choose one of two options: they can either learn the weapons in their arsenal, and what it is to do battle, and to do spiritual warfare, or they can be fodder like so many clueless souls walking about vanquished, beaten, and imprisoned while ignorant of the fact they were at war to begin with.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Call to Arms Part 1

Men wage war for various reasons at various times. While some are compelled by patriotism or religious beliefs, others still are driven by ambition or lust for power. Whatever the underlying reason for war, it is powerful enough to cause an individual to risk their life for it.

In any battle, in any war, the possible loss of one’s life is implied. There has never been a war waged without casualties, and every individual who enlists does so with the full knowledge that it may very well mean their life.

Physical war is bloody, brutal, and taxing in every way possible. What believers seem to have forgotten over the years is that spiritual warfare is just as brutal, just as taxing, and just as ruthless as any war in the physical. Spiritual warfare also carries greater far reaching consequences than war in the natural does, because the consequences of spiritual warfare are eternal in their scope.

Wherever I happen to be on any given Sunday it seems I hear more about the victory party after the war, than I do about the war itself anymore. Preachers don’t like to preach on spiritual warfare, parishioners don’t like to hear about spiritual warfare, and so we focus on the hereafter, on that moment beyond time when the last sword has been swung and the last blow has been struck, utterly failing to prepare or even make the individual aware of the war they are currently embroiled in.

If you call yourself a son or daughter of God, then you are at war. Since the fact that you are already at war is a foregone reality and you have no say in the matter, would it not be wise and prudent to learn all you can about your enemy and about the weapons you have at your disposal?

Would it not be wisdom itself to learn how we can defend ourselves, and even go on the offensive against an enemy who has already made it perfectly clear that he will take no prisoners?

Even though the spectator stands are overflowing and the warriors on the field of battle are decreasing in number at an alarming rate, we who remain cannot give up the fight. We cannot lay down our arms, we cannot take off our armor, we cannot surrender to the enemy, for if we do we will be counted among the rebellious and disobedient, those who ought to have known what it is to stand, to fight, and to overcome an enemy who fears our General, and who has given us the privilege and right to walk in His authority.

Revelation 12:10-11, “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

We read these words and somehow they sound hollow to our ears. We read these words and do not see ourselves in the role of those who did not love their lives to the death, those who overcame the devil by the blood of the Lamb and the power of their testimony. We always think it is referring to another, to someone else, to a different group of believers, a different generation, or a different continent perhaps.

We cannot fail to see the simple profundity of these verses. The only means by which this group of overcomers was identified is that they were brethren, and they knew the weapons of their warfare, they knew the power of the blood of the Lamb, and they, to the last, forfeited their lives for the great high calling of being a follower of Jesus.

If battle finds us unprepared, if the enemy finds us defenseless, if we find ourselves standing on the battlefield with no weapons of either defense or offense, know that our ill preparedness was not God’s fault but our own. We have been warned and repeatedly so to prepare, to put on our armor, to know how to wield the power granted to us by  the blood of the Lamb, and if we have failed to do these things, or believed that they somehow did not pertain to us, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Ephesians 6:10-13, “Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The State of Affairs

By the time I turned sixteen I had catapulted past three hundred and fifty pounds. It is not something I am proud of, nor is it something I am ashamed of, it’s just the way it was. Somewhere deep within myself, where the rational part of man’s intellect spends its waking hours, I knew I was getting bigger with each passing season, but for the longest time I was not ready to confront it, face it, and most difficult of all, acknowledge my own culpability in the matter.

At first I tried blaming my mother, accusing her of shrinking my clothes, then the mirror for being warped, and this went on for a while until finally I had the epiphany of all epiphanies on flight to Canada wherein I thought I was having a heart attack.

Sometimes we come to our senses of our own volition, we come to our senses willingly and without being prodded or influenced, and other times we have to be smacked across the face and awoken from our slumber. Whether willfully or by force, eventually we all have to come to terms with the reality in which we are living, and either choose to continue ignoring it, or do something about it.

Eventually I had to come to terms with the fact that I’d gotten too big. I knew it wasn’t my mother shrinking my clothes, or some insidious secret society exchanging my clothes for smaller sizes while I was at school, it was me. I was eating too much, not getting enough exercise, and if I continued down the road I was on I’d be another statistic, and nothing more. I had to acknowledge to myself, and come to terms with the reality that I was too heavy, and I needed to do something about it. That was just the first step.

Coming to terms with something is only half of the equation. It is simultaneously the hardest and easiest step one will have to go through in order to change their predicament, whatever that predicament might happen to be.

Upon coming to terms with the fact that I’d gotten too big, I then had to take the next step and decide to do something about it. I joined a gym, started eating less food that came out of boxes and more food that came from trees, or from the earth, and I dropped one hundred pounds in about five months.

Although I am by no means thin, I never plan on becoming a male model or wearing skinny jeans, so I don’t have to be. I am, however, much smaller than I used to be, and this would not have happened if first, I had not admitted I had a problem, and second, if I had not taken steps to remedying the problem I was confronted with.

The worst issues to acknowledge are the ones we are guilty of perpetrating upon ourselves. There is always that inference when it comes to such issues, that we are to blame for where we are due to the choices we made in getting there. Most individuals would rather just ignore the problem than be confronted with their own culpability in any given matter, especially if the matter in question is something as disastrous as the situation we currently find ourselves in as a nation.

Although I haven’t had my laptop during these handful of days, I have been doing allot of reading. It seems everyone is beginning to see we have a serious and immediate problem, but too few are willing to take the next step and actually do something to remedy it.

As long as we are unwilling to change anything, as long as we are unwilling to make any sacrifices, then nothing will change. We can wish it, hope it, think about it, talk about it, sing about it, but until we actively go about doing what is necessary to remedy a thing, that thing will always remain the same.

To continue discussing the current state of affairs would be tantamount to beating a dead horse, and so, my next post will be the beginning of a brand new, multi part teaching entitled ‘A Call to Arms’.

The sad reality is that even now, with all that’s been happening, with all the signs we are seeing, with all the steps we’ve taken as a nation toward the outright persecution of the saints, too few by far are willing to hear, listen, or receive the truth.

As yet we are still clinging to the childish notions of positive attitudes and inspirational affirmations, believing that wishful thinking and the embracing of depravity will deter the enemy from his ultimate goal.
How childish we have become in our thinking, and how harmless we believe our enemy to be.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Back To Posting Soon

Since I am currently getting my laptop fixed I will keep from posting anything substantial until it is done. As quiet as the atmosphere in the Hand of Help office is, it is still not quite quiet enough to facilitate my way of writing. I did make it back to the States safe and sound, and I thank you all for your prayers. Hopefully we will resume postings on Monday.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

On the Road...Again

It’s been one of those weeks. From our bed breaking, to my Wi-Fi going out on my laptop, to a dozen other little things, the week has gone by, I’ve hardly gotten anything done, and now with minutes to spare I have to pack a bag, hug my wife, and go away again.

It’s getting harder every time I have to tear myself away. Perhaps it is old age, perhaps it’s the fact that my affections only seem to grow and deepen for my wife with time, but it’s just getting near to impossible to say goodbye anymore.

Regardless, here I am, all but packed, dressed, and ready to make the six hour drive to the airport, get on a plane and make my way back stateside.

I’ve gotten some of your comments, and some of your e-mails which have been dutifully forwarded to me by our office, and I thank you for your encouraging words. I’m not depressed, or down, just sad. We knew getting into this fight that the victories would be few and far in between, because Jesus Himself forewarned us of these last days and how the hearts of men would be given over to idols and feigned forms of worship rather than the spirit and truth God demands of those whose desire is true worship.

I always knew it would be a struggle, never expected anything less than a brutal, ongoing, exhaustive fight, but I guess I kind of thought those calling themselves brothers and sisters in Christ would have your back, stand by our side, and fight the good fight as the Word instructs them to do.

We are disjointed, divided mess, trying to shove our own personal interpretation of some irrelevant ceremony down each other’s throats, and when we disagree about even the smallest most minute of tangential dogma, we brand each other heretics, and apostates.

For ones who claim to know the Christ intimately, we are far too easily swayed, far too easily convinced to not only deny Him, but betray Him before the servants of darkness who squeal and squawk with delight at our duplicity and absence of conviction.

It is not the world that is the cause of my sadness, it is the church. It is the professing Christian of today whose spirituality is as deep as a thimble, yet who purports to know all things pertaining to godliness, claiming new revelation never before understood by those who came before.

This was supposed to be a short post letting you know I’ll be on the road the next few days, and it turned into something else entirely. So be it.

Thank you all for your encouragements and your prayers.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Unintended Criminal

When fools and madmen criminalize rational thought, then every sane man becomes a criminal by default. Perhaps it was indifference or even outright apathy, but whatever caused the deafening silence to perpetuate itself in this nation, and rational people to go along just to get along, has done a masterful job thus far.

Even in the delusional faux utopia many convinced themselves they were living in, there were a handful of voices warning of the consequences of our silence, but they were quickly muzzled, marginalized, or branded some sort of extremist hater who refuses to come into the glorious light of progress and innovation, content with clinging to God and guns alike, believing they will somehow slow the tide.

Those who ought to have stood with the trumpeters of truth and trumpeted the truth themselves, instead found reasons and means by which to distance themselves, and make themselves seem more embracing and tolerant of the sin being warned against, not wanting to be mistaken for an ally or friend of someone who would dare speak such divisive words as repentance or holiness.

I realize that to the casual Christian, my words might sound bitter, but I assure you I am not. There’s no energy for bitterness anymore, I fear, just a sadness that blooms ever wider like a bloodstain from a gunshot wound.

We did our best. We tried our hardest. We preached until our throats were raw, and warned until we were speaking to empty pews, and left wives and sons and daughters behind for the sake of the Gospel and in the hopes of awakening a slumbering nation, and all we have to show for it are achy joints, bad backs, and a gnawing question in the back of our minds if any of it was really worth it.

Not only was love mistaken for intolerance and truth mistaken for divisiveness by most, soon, it seems, those still clinging to truth will be branded criminals because they refuse to put on the muzzle.

Even now I’m still getting the ‘what if’ e-mails from well-meaning individuals who just don’t want to see how hard the hearts of most have become, and how unwilling to repent they are.

In their quest to sin guilt free, even a most beautiful truth such as grace has been perverted and bastardized by supposed Christians to mean that because of it, because of grace, we can do as we will, when we will, with no consequence or repercussion.

We keep bulldozing the path and making it ever wider, without a thought to what God has to say, without an ounce of remorse or introspection, because we love our sin more than we love Him and that is the defining characteristic of the modern day church.

There it is, simple and clean. We love sin more than we love God, and we make concessions for our sins to the detriment of God’s holy Word time and again, because the self is our idol, and the pleasing of the self is of paramount importance.

If only a heart broken and stripped of pride can truly understand what God counts as important and necessary, then before we can place a single foot on the right path, God must break us asunder and strip us of our pride and hedonism. If this does not occur, then He has left us to the desire of our own hearts, and this above all ought to be ample reason to humble ourselves into the dust of the earth and heap ash upon ourselves.

The church isn’t ready for what is coming, not by a longshot, and when being a follower of Christ becomes a criminal act, far fewer individuals will claim to be followers of Christ. At least then we will know the true believer from the pretend.

Whether in this life, or the life beyond, those who have perpetrated the chaos we are seeing from within the church itself will be held to account, for nothing done in open or in secret goes unseen, and the God we serve is a meticulous record keeper.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Obvious Lies Part 5

The fifth obvious lie believers tell themselves, one which has been proven a fallacy due to anecdotal evidence, is that the most damaging attacks against the church come from without and not from within.

Somehow we manage to comfort ourselves with this lie even though all evidence points to the contrary, because if we were to acknowledge the fact that the most damaging attacks against the household of faith originate from within, we would likewise have to accept the premise that the devil has placed his minions within the church to carry out their nefarious plans, and the discernment that ought to be a staple of any fellowship was nowhere in sight in regards to these individuals.

What’s worse, is that even after such men are proven, beyond doubt to have been living in sin willfully and habitually, they continue to have their defenders, who call them ‘men of God’ and attempt to justify their sin. There is no call for repentance, there is no call for removal from authority within the Body, there is just a shrug of the shoulder, a roll of the eyes, and an unspoken agreement that as long as the crowds come and the tithe is collected, we will overlook even the most heinous of sins, and heretical of teachings.

Because men have become stars rather than Disciples of Christ, there is no longer any accountability either to Christ, or to His Body. They do as they please, being a law unto themselves, and whatever sins they commit and damage they perpetrate upon the household of faith, they find a way to justify it, most often blaming the devil rather than their own weakness and inattentiveness.

The sad reality is that we accept this lie and do so with great regularity. We tell ourselves this lie continuously because to accept the truth would mean to look at our own selves and realize we did not use all the tools at our disposal to prevent the catastrophes being perpetrated upon the church by men claiming to be spiritual leaders, pastors, evangelists, and other high profile, big name entities.

To acknowledge the truth would mean to acknowledge our own culpability in the matter, and accept responsibility for our indifference and apathy.

When Jesus commanded us to ‘watch ye therefore’ we always assumed it was for someone else, someone with more responsibility or a more established reputation within the church, and so we passed the baton of being careful regarding those we would let teach us and guide us to others, who in turn passed it on to someone else.

We’ve come to believe that as long as the individual has a diploma, then they are called and equipped to teach the truth of God’s word, and guide people into a closer more intimate relationship with Christ. When even to our own ears what they are teaching seems anathema, we tell ourselves they must nevertheless know what they’re talking about because they have a diploma, and we don’t.

If there is one mistake we made as the church, it was underestimating the devil’s patience and willingness to take his time and put all the pieces in place before the final assault. Even though he knew his time was short, even though he knew the clock was running out, he also knew that the most damage would be done to the household of faith from within its walls rather than from an external source.

He knew this, of course, from prior experience, because each time the church was persecuted, beaten down, trodden underfoot and thought to be extinct, it rose again, stronger, more vibrant, more powerful, and more committed than ever before.

Much like the coal which external pressure turns into a diamond, the church seems to thrive under pressure from without.

Knowing this and seeing his plans come to naught time and again, the enemy switched up his tactics, focusing on attacks from within, attacks meticulously planned and ruthlessly executed, to weaken the resolve of the Body, and to bring shame to the name of Christ.

With each pastor exposed and publicly shamed for being less than the man he presented himself as being, with each evangelist having to apologize on national television for his behavior, with each worship leader caught doing untoward things with individuals who trusted them, the light grows that much dimmer, and those who have not as yet laid down their arms grow more weary still.

No possible good can come of lying to ourselves, especially when in the same breath we demonize those who still have the audacity to call sin, sin, and who insist upon the truth of Scripture.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.