Monday, January 12, 2015

Fervent Love Part 5

While she was alive my mother was known as the generous lady. If you had a problem, a pressing need, some issue you couldn’t see yourself out of on your own, it was common knowledge that you went to ‘the lady with the orphanage’ and if there was any way that she could help you, she would.

Even when there was no money to give out, there was always a sympathetic ear, a hug, a shared cry, and for many these gestures of heartfelt empathy were enough, because they realized someone actually did care, someone actually did take an interest.

We garner reputations by the way we live our lives both within the household of faith and without. Are you known as the guy with the face tattoo and eye piercings, or the guy who spends much of his free time reading to the elderly in the retirement home? Are you known as the lady who screamed at the bag boy for bagging your groceries in paper instead of plastic bags, or as the lady who makes Christmas boxes throughout the year for the poor kids in the community?

Our actions define us more than our words ever will. I can tell everyone within earshot that I am generous and magnanimous, that I give of myself, of my time, and of my resources, or I can do these things consistently without bothering to see if anyone is noticing, and eventually you will be known for it, because men notice.

Men likewise notice when we call ourselves believers, Christians, followers of Christ, and soldiers of the cross, yet equal them in their thirst for debauchery and lawlessness.

It is the same within the household of faith.

If you are always the one comforting the bruised and broken, if you are always the one reaching out a hand to help those who have stumbled, the body will take note, and you will be identified as one who has fervent love for the brethren, and as one who realizes that when one member suffers, the whole body suffers.

Likewise, if you are always the one beating a brother when he’s down, if you’re always the one trying to trip everyone else up just to get a few paces ahead of the crowd, it will be noted, and you will likewise be labeled as what you rightly are.

Are you a defender of the Gospel, or are you a cowardly lemming trying to keep from being seen and singled out? Your actions will determine how you are perceived, not the words you speak about yourself.

I am a man of words, but I also realize the futility of words, especially when it comes to the titles we afford ourselves and the accolades we shower upon ourselves. There’s a reason public relations firms make so much money, and it’s not because they tell the truth about their clients.

It is because those who hire such companies have no substantial accomplishments, and are not known for anything they’ve done in life, that they must resort to fanciful reinterpretations of their endeavors, and downright lies to make them seem more than they are.
An individual whose accomplishments are evident need not brag or boast about themselves, nor do they need to publicize what they do. They will be known organically, by their very nature, because eventually who you are, what you are, will be made clear to one and all, whether to your glory or to your shame.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fervent Love Part 4

This idea of a compromising god, this idea of a god which is, at the drop of a hat, more than eager to make any concession we deem necessary, is a god fashioned by compromised men, for compromised men, and has no resemblance or similarity to the one true God, the God of the Bible.

No matter whom we think ourselves to be, no matter the pedigree we boast of and hold in high esteem, no matter the works we have worked, no matter the sermons we have preached, no matter the accolades we’ve received, God will not compromise for our sake.

The thought that God makes concessions, or that He will acquiesce to our whining and complaining is utter folly. Stories told by immature children to other immature children.

Within the framework of such discussions, many are quick to point to David as the go to, although, oddly enough, no one ever seems to point to Uzzah. If we do our due diligence we soon discover that God made no compromises with David, and that He dealt with him justly, but all many seem to remember is that he got away with the whole Bathsheba debacle, even though he really didn’t.

What’s more, you’re not David, and neither am I, and while he was under law, we are under grace, the blood that was spilled on our behalf far more precious than that of goats, lambs, and oxen.

Many a soul have cherry picked their way out of the presence of God, into the deepest of darkness, because rather than submit to the authority of He who was, and is, and is to come, they tried to find loopholes and excuses for their pet sins and vices. Enamored with ourselves as we might be, God doesn’t play favorites, nor does He believe, as many of us tend to do sometimes, that we are indispensable, essential, and necessary to the Kingdom, and as such God will have no choice but to turn a blind eye, swallow bitterly at the lawlessness we practice, but in the end do nothing concerning the matter because He needs us so.

I’ve heard enough people say they were integral to the plan of God, then turned out not to be so integral after all, that I’ve come to realize, each man, to the last is expendable, and as soon as they remove themselves from beneath the covering and the authority of God, as soon as they cease to walk in obedience and humility, God will find another way of bringing His plan to fulfillment.

The thought that we are somehow more special than our fellow man, more special than those we sit next to in church on Sunday, or more special than those we come in contact with on a daily basis, is oddly comforting to some folks. Never once does it cross their minds however, that the person sitting next to them in church is having the exact same thoughts about themselves, thinking themselves somehow special, and preferred in some way or fashion of God.

How we can gloss over the written Word wherein we are told that there is no partiality with God is a mystery I have yet to solve, but just because we think ourselves a certain thing, it does not mean God is beholden to share the selfsame thoughts.

Oddly enough, it is God who likewise says His thoughts are not as our thoughts, but He must have been talking about something else, not about how special we are, because let’s face it, how couldn’t God think that we’re special?

Seriously though, if we put as much effort into seeking after humility as we do thinking we are somehow superior to others, many of us would be much further along in regards to our spiritual maturity than we are at present.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Life's Profound Lessons

One cannot plan for life’s profound lessons. There is no way of marking the date on our calendar, of foreseeing when and how and via what circumstance or event our eyes will be opened to a new, as yet undiscovered reality, but throughout our existence, throughout our journey here on earth, we learn, and grow, and mature, and come to understand deeper truths concerning our walk, as well as our relationship with God.

I had just such an experience recently, one I shared with my wife, and which came via our baby girl. Oftentimes it is in the strangest of circumstances that we learn the most profound of truths, and this instance was no exception.

As a friend of mine once said to me, you cannot truly know the love God has for mankind until you become a parent. You cannot truly know the intensity, fervor, and completeness with which God loves until you hold your own child in your arms, look into its eyes, and know that you would gladly lay down your life for theirs, you will work night and day to make sure they have a roof over their heads, and you will do your utmost to be a good example throughout your life so that your child can in turn climb far greater peaks than ever you dreamed.

Recently we’ve been incorporating foods other than mother’s milk in Victoria’s diet, and that led to an unforeseen issue. To put it mildly, she was constipated for a few days, and after day two both her mother and I began to be concerned. When day three rolled around and still nothing in the diaper, we started making plans to go buy suppositories, feed her some prunes, and other things first time parents the world over tend to do.

It was near the tail end of day three that we heard a couple grunts, and the all familiar sound that signaled she had crossed the Rubicon and at long last had a bowel movement.

Both my wife and I were grinning ear to ear, happy and jubilant, until finally I looked at my wife and said, ‘you do realize we’re excited about poop.’

We were over the moon because our child had done something normal, biologically ordinary, something common and routine, something all children the world over do.

She didn’t start doodling algebraic equations with her fingers, she didn’t start playing the piano, she didn’t recite a poem, or even say any specific word…she pooped, and we were elated.

We often think that we have to accomplish some magnificent deed in order for God to be elated. We often think that unless we can add our name to the list of mighty men and women of valor in the Kingdom, then God simply shrugs his shoulders, lifts the velvet rope, and waves us on through to heaven, without really knowing who we are.

God is our heavenly Father, and as a father He gets excited over the little things His children accomplish. God is on our side. He is joyful when we begin to understand the callings to which we have been called, and to walk in them, even though it is a natural function, and something every child of God ought to be doing anyway.

When you really think about it, Job had not done anything extraordinary. He had not called fire down from heaven, he had not put armies to flight, he was simply a blameless and upright man, yet God boasted of him. Granted, there was none like him on earth, but still, as far as accomplishing something goes, Job was just living his life in accordance to the will and precepts of God.

God notices the little things. He is ever engaged in our existence, and even boasts of us when we endeavor to be more like His Son Jesus.
This is the lesson I learned as I stood over my daughter, changing her diaper, and smiling at my wife from ear to ear.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Hardest Part

Sometimes waiting is the hardest part. Man, up until the advent of the social safety net, was wired to try and do his utmost to solve the problems in his path, and overcome the obstacles he was faced with. The math was simple. If you didn’t work you didn’t eat, if you didn’t eat you starved, if you starved you died.

For many it’s not the case so much anymore. Since they know that even if they don’t try there will be a fallback, some entity they can go to for aid, some governmental agency that will step in and help allowing them to bypass hard work, there are many souls who are content with floating through life taking what they can get.

Not wanting to start an entirely new conversation on this topic, I will make the following clarifications forthwith:

I am not referring to those who cannot fend for themselves due to illness or other issues. I am not referring to those who have fallen on hard times and need a little help for a little while until they get back on their feet. I am not referring to those who simply can’t find a job in this economy. I am referring to those who are able bodied, sound of mind, could get work if they wanted, but just choose to take the freebies instead.

This article is not about social ills, or economic unsustainability, however, it is about the mindset of many believers today, who insist, and vehemently so that there’s got to be something they can do in the physical, some way they can prepare, some ethereal three step manner by which they can hedge their bets and be just a bit better off than their neighbor when the hammer drops and the music stops.

I get countless e-mails asking if I think it’s a good idea for people to buy gold, silver, build shelters, store food, stock up on guns and ammunition, and a dozen other things that are reasonable and logical on the surface, but become dangerous crutches when we tend to lean on them rather than the mighty hand of God to carry us through.

Crutches don’t always hold. Sometimes they break, sometimes they slip, and if we were resting the entire weight of our being on that crutch, when it snaps, we will likely tumble as well.

I realize some of you want concrete answers. Some are even very insistent upon it, but telling you what I believe will work for me in the physical and encouraging you to do likewise would be presumptuous and foolhardy of me.

If in your heart you feel led to store up some food, than do so. If in your heart you feel led to purchase precious metals, than do so. Whatever it is that you choose to do however, always keep in mind that these are just precautions that in the end might not aid you in the least.

You may have to flee and leave the food behind; a loaf of bread might be worth more than all the gold you’ve been able to accumulate. There are countless scenarios that can and will play out that we cannot possibly conceive of at this moment in time.

I realize how powerful a need it is for some of us to do something, anything knowing what is coming. I have six month baby girl and a wife to care for. I’ve got skin in the game. I know what you’re going through, but in the end I know that try as I might, in and of myself I can do very little to keep them safe.

Hence the reason I continue to stress the only thing that will truly matter in the days to come, and that is a true, profound, deeply rooted, sincere, and intimate relationship with God.

Once that is established, then and only then will we know that waiting on the Lord is not wasting time, it is not cowardice, it is not refusal to see the world before us as it is, but it is doing what we were commanded to do in His Word.

If you know that you are His, if you know yourself to be redeemed, sanctified, born again, and walking in righteousness, then hard as it might be in the beginning, wait on the Lord, and He will renew your strength. Wait on Him, for He is never late, and He can do in an instant, in a breath, in the blink of an eye, what we could not manage in an entire lifetime, or ten lifetimes for that matter.
I have seen the goodness of the Lord up-close. I have seen His ability to provide, to shelter, to protect, and to comfort far too many times to ever doubt Him, or attempt to minimize what He can do. He is able. He will keep His word. In the year to come, take heart in the knowledge that He is on the throne now and forevermore.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.