Thursday, September 21, 2023


 If your convictions are determined by what the world finds acceptable, popular, or noteworthy, you have no convictions to speak of but rather a duplicitous sense of self-preservation that keeps you silent when you should speak up. Turning your head and pretending not to see the horrors unfolding in real time does not make them go away or alter their reality.

This isn’t the Matrix; we can’t pretend there is no spoon, and the church cannot remain insulated from the consequences of its silence. The pendulum has swung to such an extent that we’ve gone from wondering why the church isn’t saying anything to hoping it shuts up. The silence was better. At least we knew who the cowards were and steered clear of them. Nowadays, you have pastors pledging fealty to drag queens from pulpits, and the lemmings in the pews follow along, repeating the lunacy as though it were a perfectly normal occurrence. They’ve gone from neutral observers to picking a side, and it’s not the side of righteousness, light, or truth.

If you have no clue what I’m talking about, look it up; it’s on the interwebs. It’s nigh to unbelievable, but it's real, and it’s happening, and fake shepherds are leading ignorant flocks to the gates of perdition and waving them through, insisting it’s really heaven in disguise.

You no longer have to wonder at what the Bible meant by individuals calling good evil and evil good. You are seeing it happen, and there’s no denying it. When culture dictates doctrine, what you have is no longer a church but some hideous monstrosity sown together with faux love and excessive tolerance.

Remember back in the olden days when everyone was screeching about coexisting and allowing for different viewpoints? Remember when certain individuals who will remain unnamed warned that once they got enough power, that would no longer be the case?

To the devil, tolerance is a one-way, dead-end street. He cannot abide the light. He cannot abide the truth, and he cannot abide righteousness, but endlessly drones on about the children of God needing to be tolerant, accepting, and validating of every perversion under the sun.

To those falling all over themselves wanting to be seen as allies, know that to be an ally of darkness is to be an enemy of the light. To be an ally of sin is to be an enemy of righteousness. To be an ally of the devil is to be an enemy of God. You’ve gone from neutrality to being an enemy of the cross while insisting that you are still an ambassador of God’s kingdom.

It’s not an issue of never having known the truth but rather rejecting it while knowing full well that it was the truth you were rejecting.

Hebrews 10:26-30, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?”

It used to be we had to take much of what the Bible said about the last days on faith. We believed it because it was the Word of God, but we had difficulty seeing how some of the things it said could play out. From a great falling away to children betraying parents, wives betraying husbands and vice versa, to those of the household of faith calling good evil, to global control to such an extent that you will neither be able to buy nor sell unless you submit to a mark, these were all things we knew would come, but could not fathom the mechanisms by which they would arrive.

Now, the how of it is clear. What seemed fanciful and impossible two decades ago is being implemented and rolled out. What we thought could never happen in the church is happening because His Word is true, and He knows the end from the beginning. We knew it would be so; we just couldn’t wrap our minds around how it would come about.

I’ve been accused of being unloving because I refuse to spend time trying to convince those who have trampled the Son of God underfoot that they did something wrong. They already know. Reminding them of this will do nothing to change their trajectory because they’ve already chosen their master knowingly, willingly, and voluntarily.

The ones we must strive to pull out of the fire are those ignorant of the truth, not those who have willfully returned to the darkness after having received the knowledge of the light. There is a distinction there that we must be aware of lest we tilt at windmills for the rest of our days with no fruit to show for it.

But that’s impossible; you can’t fall away, fat man. Says who? The Bible says you can; people are doing it every day, and rather than try to twist myself into a pretzel and eliminate rational thought just to make a round peg fit into a square hole, I think I’ll just believe the Word and acknowledge the existence of backsliders.

Yes, there are evil men in pulpits today. Yes, there are enemies of the cross pretending to be servants of Christ. Yes, deceivers are pretending to be what they are not in order to ensnare the gullible and unsuspecting in their traps. We knew it would be thus. We have been warned. Whether we heed the warning or pretend that everything is all right and we’re about to course correct is another matter entirely.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2023


 I’ve held on for as long as I could. I was halfway hoping this past weekend would make it a non-issue since the buzz about being raptured was at a fever pitch again. I even waited an extra day just to make sure it wasn’t an issue of time zones, but I woke up this morning and had to admit that it wasn’t Sunday anywhere anymore, so we’d likely be here for a bit longer.

I went and told my neighbor he couldn’t have my lawn mower after all and started paying off some past-due bills I was hoping I wouldn’t have to pay because, you know. It’s not like I would have left a forwarding address, and Heaven’s a big place, so I don’t know how likely it was that they’d find me.

Could you imagine, though? You’re sitting down for a conversation with Paul, or Timothy, Jeremiah, or Daniel, and suddenly, a phone rings. When you answer, you hear, “I’m calling about your past due bill for the George Foreman grill you committed to purchasing for six easy payments of $19.99, plus shipping and handling.”

I know what you’re thinking: phones in heaven? If a modern-day prophetess – and I use the term as loosely as humanly possible - is insisting that we’ll have pet dinosaurs in the great beyond, why not phones? Is it really that much of a stretch from pet dinosaurs to mobile phones in heaven? Just a thought, but I digress.

I’ve said all that to say this: I need your help!

I’ve been alternating between the Book of Job and the Epistle of James for my morning reading, and there is much to be plumbed from both books. With the Epistle of James, there would be a continuity of sorts from the Epistle of Jude since they were siblings and half-brothers of Jesus. With the book of Job, there would be a fountain of wisdom on suffering well and would serve to dispel many myths getting passed around as gospel truth today.

I’m at a crossroads, and I can’t decide. As such, this is my ask. Leave a comment with one word, either James or Job. I’ll tally them, and then we will pursue the book that gets the most votes. It would be too complicated to alternate between the two in real-time, but once the first is done, we will jump into the second. Until one of the two books is the clear winner, I will post standalone musings, whatever they might be. Either way, it promises to be an eye-opening journey, just from the handful of notes I’ve jotted down the past few mornings.  

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Monday, September 18, 2023


 You can run away from the fight or toward it. One is inherent; the other is training. You can run away from danger or jump headfirst into its maw, knowing that it’s having stood that was the test of your bravery, not whether you vanquished your enemy or whether he bruised you. Then, after a handful of battles are under your belt and you’ve fought your fair share of enemies, you realize the victory was never yours. You were just the servant the Master used to push back the darkness and advance the light.

Running toward danger is not inherent in us. It is a learned reaction, something we do after many repetitions because it takes training to go against your sense of self-preservation and ignore your baser instinct for comfort, safety, and warmth.

Many years ago, I went to work at Walmart for three months. I wanted the worst possible job at the worst possible hours because I wanted to cement my conviction that I never wanted to work for anyone for the rest of my life. I ended up working the third shirt, stocking shelves for ten hours straight and six days per week, and even that was something I needed a couple of weeks of training for. You take the item out of the box and put it on the shelf. It was pretty self-explanatory, but for two weeks, I had to answer surveys and watch videos about distance, proximity, expectations, and other such mind-numbing things.

Apparently, spiritual warfare is the one thing in the world you don’t have to train for anymore. You sign up for a course, pay your fee, and get your diploma certifying you to be a demon slayer extraordinaire even though you haven’t the slightest clue what it is or how it’s done. If you run across a demon, you just wave the diploma in their face. I hear it’s the diplomas printed on an old dot matrix HP that really scares them, not the power and authority of God.

Unscrupulous profiteers are telling people they have abilities they don’t and send them out to confront the enemy. Imaginary power against a real foe never ends well. That should have been the lesson we ought to have learned from the sons of Sceva, but then again, they didn’t have the degree.

We can’t butcher what Jesus said to suit our ideology. Yes, Jesus said we would heal the sick and cast out demons, but before that, He informed His disciples that they would be given the authority to do so. They weren’t being sent out on their own; authority had been given to them to do these works. Their authority did not come from a diploma or a course but from Jesus Himself.

Luke 10:18-20, “And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”’

No man can train you to do these things; Jesus must give you authority. Your training does not consist of sitting in a workshop listening to some bored gray-bearded individual drone on about theoretical authority. Actual spiritual training, the kind that is practically applied, the kind that makes the devil quake, is done on your knees, in His presence, building yourself up in the faith, learning to hear His voice, and walking in His authority.

Just as you can’t rush getting your doctorate in medicine, you can’t rush being ready to do battle against the darkness. There’s no fast pass, no skipping the queue, no cutting in line. You have to put in the time. You have to grow, mature, receive knowledge, have wisdom, and understand that it’s not you; it’s His authority in you that makes the darkness flee.

I’m concerned for folks who’ve been saved less than a month talking about tearing down strongholds and casting out devils. That’s like taking an anatomy class in Junior High and walking around telling everyone you’re a heart surgeon. It’s all well and good until someone talks you into cracking a chest open, and you have no clue what you’re doing. Not only will you likely have blood on your hands, but someone who trusted you to save their life will lose it to your hubris.

I keep thinking back to the sons of Sceva and how long they likely pumped each other up and worked themselves into a lather before they went to cast out a devil just because they’d heard someone somewhere had done it.

Either you’re walking in His authority, or you aren’t. There’s no in-between, and there’s no middle ground. You don’t hope you are or think you are; you must know that you are because finding out that you aren’t once you’re face to face with the enemy will not end well.

Individuals who feel the need to tell others how powerful they are, how anointed they are, how used of God they are, and how effective and world-changing they are usually aren’t. Those with actual power, those with true anointing, and those whom God uses are humble and self-aware enough to acknowledge it’s God’s doing and not their own. They won’t seek confrontation but won’t back down from a fight, either. They have a duty to perform, and they perform it. No bells, no whistles, no exaggerated mannerisms to draw the eye, no inflated sense of purpose or ego. It’s not a magic show; stop acting like it is.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Sunday, September 17, 2023


 The biggest challenge to total control of any populace is in the implementation phase. Once you have control, it’s easy to maintain it, especially if those you seek to control have no way of resisting. As is the case with anything, if you have a monopoly, have done away with any competition, and are the sole purveyor of whatever the masses demand, you can set your price, set your rules, and ration to your heart’s content.

It’s hard to make three hundred million plus people come to heel when they can go to a dozen different places to get what you’re threatening to withhold from them. When you’re the only one, and no one can get what you’ve got except through you because you’re the only one who’s got it, it’s a whole new ballgame with new rules.

The first eureka moment the communists of old had was the idea that the more centralized something is, the easier it is to control. Decentralization is the enemy of control, and if a society is decentralized enough, controlling it is nearly impossible.

We saw this recently when the governor of New Mexico woke up one morning and decided to ignore the Constitution and the Second Amendment and create new laws for everyone on a whim. Sheriffs throughout her state put the kibosh on her proclamations by refusing to enforce her unconstitutional edicts. She jumped the gun. She was too excited at the prospect of playing queen and began to decree before control was acquired.

It’s hard to effectively control when you have too many brains trying to think. Not that they’re good at it, but dumb people will offer an opinion far quicker than a smart one because the smart one takes the time to think things through and consider consequences before letting something they can’t take back spill out of their face. The fewer individuals in the command and control structure, the better for them. Ideally, if you have one geriatric diaper wearer who doesn’t know who or where he is half the time to rule them all, that’s all you need, or at least a puppet to do your bidding while you pull strings in shadows. That is when control becomes achievable.

 Their second eureka moment was that to make the people compliant, you had to eliminate every source of hope they could run to. They couldn’t have people getting ideas. They couldn’t have people hope for something more than waiting to die and dreaming their children’s children may glimpse better days. The reason the old communist regimes detested religion was because it provided hope. The reason they hated Christianity worst of all was because it offered hope not in this life only but also in the life to come. If your hope is anchored in eternity, then there isn’t much the godless can do to rob you of your peace.  

It wasn’t an issue of principle or dogma. Christianity impeded their control, so it needed to be eliminated. You could be a drunkard, a wife beater, a liar, a cheater, or even a politician, but being a Christian was unacceptable. Being a Christian meant you had morals and principles. It meant that you had character and enough dignity that you wouldn’t sell out your neighbor for a half loaf of bread or a sack of flour. They were a constant reminder to everyone around them that you could be better, decent, moral, upright, and joyful even in a gray, grim place such as a Communist-run nation.

The third thing they realized was self-evident, so no lightbulb moment was necessary. It was also the hardest to implement, especially with people living in the villages or the rural areas. The third thing was scarcity. They had to have scarcity, whether real or contrived, so the people depended on the system, the government, and the selfless public servants in middle and upper management. It’s been long enough, and we’ve seen enough of what our fellow man is capable of to intuit that the whole notion of public service is a fanciful lie, for the most part.

If you lived in the city, it was easy for them to tighten the screws to the point that the stores looked like they’d been ransacked by a mob of starving savages. Empty shelves, empty glassed-in refrigerators, empty counters, empty everything except for the lady in the white smock and the paper hat behind the counter because even though she had nothing to sell and there was nothing to buy, she still had to show up for work.

It reached the point that government officials were going through the villages, counting how many chickens farmers had in their coops and how many heads of cattle they had grazing in the fields. It had to come to the point that the average citizen could not survive without the government because only then could the government unleash the tyranny it had always planned on unleashing.

Yesterday, I read that the mayor of Chicago wants to open city-owned grocery stores now. I had to chuckle. They’re not even trying to hide it anymore. Why am I telling you all this? Because once you see it, you can’t unsee it. I was only nine when I left Communist-run Romania, but I’ve read as much as any historian on what they did to bring about the consolidation of power and the subjugation of tens of millions of people. That less motivated and intelligent people are trying to do the same in America is troubling because it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this will end badly for all concerned.   

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Where To?

 There’s a difference between being where you want to be and where God told you to be. That’s the thought I woke up with ringing in my mind, and throughout my morning ritual of making coffee, cracking my Bible open, reading for some while, then sitting down and writing until the girls woke up, I kept returning to it. Where you want to be is easy. Where He wants you to be is often hard and, at other times, seemingly downright impossible.

Yes, I am well aware that some go where they are told to go joyfully and without complaint, but it’s usually the people who insist that God sent them to Fiji to do missions, or Hawaii, or the Bahamas. When you ask them why they’re only posting pictures of themselves with umbrella drinks the whole time, they rebuke you, insisting that they were just whetting their whistle before all the ministering, binding, loosing, and decreeing.

They would have likely won the island for Jesus had it not been for the dreaded sunstroke. It was a demonic attack, to be sure. The enemy lulled them to sleep on the beach, and they had to spend the rest of their ministry time rubbing aloe on their blistering skin. We’ll get them next time, though. The soil is fertile, and another couple of weeks of feeling the sand between their toes is just what the doctor ordered before all the seed sowing can commence.

I’m not saying island nations with picturesque white sand beaches don’t need missionaries, but so do countries like Pakistan, India, China, and Nigeria, not to mention America. You don’t even need a passport or to learn Swahili to be a missionary to America, and not the pretty parts either, but the ones where the smell is a little ripe, and the people have hurt etched on their faces as though they were wearing death masks. I don’t see a line forming for any of those nations.

Where God tells you to be will always challenge your flesh. It will always stretch you and force you to step out in faith. Those who insist otherwise might just have been in Tarshis all this time, thinking they were in Nineveh doing the hard work, so far removed from the voice of God that they assumed wherever they ended up is where they were meant to be, so might as well get to it, and get a suntan for Jesus.

God will usually send you where you are not wanted but where you are sorely needed. For the most part, the people you are to speak to and warn will not welcome you with parades, aplomb, or a horn section. You will be ignored until they can’t ignore you anymore, then they’ll attempt to silence you, and if you’re stubborn enough to say what God told you to speak despite their threats, then they’ll get physical.

Do you think Jonah would have been hesitant if he thought they’d take him out to the Golden Corral and pat him on the back after delivering a message whose central theme was their imminent destruction?

The people of Nineveh were the extremely rare exception and not the rule. People usually don’t heed warnings, they usually don’t repent in sackcloth and ash, and the messenger isn’t left to go on his merry way after telling a city it will be no more.

Jonah panicked because he considered the people’s reaction and placed fear for his own safety above God’s instructions. Don’t let fear of what could be keep you from walking in obedience. Even if it turns out your worst fears were true and those to whom you are called to speak reject the message and persecute the messenger, your obedience didn’t go unnoticed, and one day soon, the Master and His reward will appear in the clouds.

We don’t do what’s comfortable, we don’t do what’s easy, we don’t do what’s convenient, popular, or socially acceptable; we do what we are commanded to do, what we have to do.

I never was, nor ever wanted to be, a morning person either, but nowadays, if I’m still in bed by 4, I feel spoiled. Like it’s my birthday, and I got to sleep in. It wasn’t always this way. There’s a reason my bedroom had blackout curtains. It’s not something I set out to do or planned on; it just happened because it was necessary, and I could not think of any other chunk of time to carve out to do what needs doing.

Does my flesh like it? Absolutely not. I like to sleep as much as the next guy, and if I get five hours per night with everything I need to do on a given day, it’s an asterisk in the win column, and I count myself fortunate.

When God calls you to a work and tells you to go and do, preach, and warn, there’s never a caveat that it will be easy or that you won’t have any roadblocks along the way. It’s because of who told you to go that you overcome the fear and the doubt, you banish the uncertainty trying to worm its way into your heart, and you do what God told you to do.

Or, you don’t. That’s the thing. Sometimes, men hear the voice of God give clear instructions, and when the cabby asks where to, they say they want to go in the opposite direction from where God instructed them to go.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Friday, September 15, 2023


 If you’ve ever thrown a pebble into a still body of water, whether a pond, a lake, or a bucket, you know the effect one small stone has on the whole. The pebble itself will sink to the bottom, but the damage done to the stillness of the water continues to expand outward, creating bigger and bigger concentric circles. It takes a long time for the water to calm itself anew and for the peace and stillness to return.

Many pebbles were cast into the stillness of the contemporary church’s mind that, though released decades ago, continue to ripple and disturb the peace and tranquility. They shatter the stillness and bring about torrents of confusion and endless, fruitless debates about the most tertiary issues.

Those who cast the stones are long forgotten or barely remembered by those who would make idols out of men, but the negative effect of their teachings continue to reverberate and echo, bringing disorder and division on topics that ought to be straightforward enough if we would go to the Word, read it, and believe it.

Because the initial idea was weighed down with implications, and because people received it as gospel truth, they will deny the words of Jesus and the Word of God because of that initial declaration they latched onto decades ago.

Even though the Bible says all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution, because of the prosperity doctrine that has so been embraced by today’s church, Christians, especially in the West, reject the idea so thoroughly that they look down and mock those who are being persecuted and martyred for their faith.

Any pebble that disrupts the peace and stillness of the Word of God in your life must be looked upon with a critical eye, and its source must be traced back to its origin.

You can read the frustration in Paul’s exhortation when he was writing to the Galatians because even though they’d started on the right path, and their progress had been promising, some errant doctrine had seeped its way in and robbed the church of its peace.

Galatians 5:7-9, “You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”

Those are Paul’s words. He uses the past tense when referring to the Galatians running their race, lamenting that they had run well, but something had hindered them from obeying the truth. We’ve opened up enough cans of worms recently, so we don’t have to rush to open this one, but Paul is warning the Galatians that it doesn’t take a lot to ruin the whole. A little leaven over time, and eventually, the whole lump is leavened. The heart is not compartmentalized. It is a whole, and whatever you allow in it will affect the entirety thereof.

It’s easier to focus on the wrong thing when the wrong thing does not challenge us or threaten our status quo. We make fanciful excuses, insisting that we’re eating the meat and spitting out the bones, but Paul insists that it’s more than likely you’ll miss a bone and choke on it at some point.

You’ve been persuaded, but by whom and to what end? Those are the hard questions, and the answers may be harder still, but we have no choice but to ask them of ourselves. We have no choice but to confront the things we’d rather not because the danger they pose grows and multiplies. It is compounded and exponential. It’s not just one little thing; it’s one little thing that dominoes and cascades into bigger things until the confusion is so profound that anyone with a smooth tongue, white teeth, and an expensive suit can convince you of anything.

Disturbed men with a messiah complex don’t come right out and introduce themselves as messiah the first time they meet someone. It’s a slow process, one small lie after another, then the lies get bigger and more unbelievable until a nearsighted buffoon who played guitar badly talked a bunch of people into believing he was the Messiah. Not for nothing, but the coke-bottle glasses should have been their first clue that perhaps he wasn’t who he claimed to be.

True followers of Jesus will never attempt to replace Jesus with themselves. They will not claim to be on equal footing with Him or strip Him of glory that they might clothe themselves in it. We glorify Him, we worship Him, we follow Him, and we obey Him. Anyone who attempts to insert themselves into the position Jesus holds in your life should be rejected wholesale, without concession or compromise.

Jesus warned time and again not to make it about other men but about Him and His sovereignty and supremacy, but that would mean obedience and humility, and we’re not so good at either nowadays.

If you’ve ever played chess, you know all the pieces must be in the right place, on their designated square, for the game to begin. You can’t just place the pieces anywhere on the board and start moving them around; they have to be in the correct starting position to make it a valid game.

All the pieces are in the right place, and the game is set to begin. You’ll have peons making the preliminary moves, but as the game progresses, you’ll have rooks and bishops, knights, queens, and kings plot, plan, and execute attacks because their purpose is to win and to win, you must be vanquished.

I’m waiting for someone to ask me what advice I’d give to a believer, but they never do. It’s usually about end-time prophecy and the heralds of the last days. However, if they were to ask, my advice would be to understand the times you’re in and live accordingly.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

The Wall

 I was mulling over running a marathon, and then I remembered they invented cars. Even if I didn’t have a car, I don’t think I’d be in such a hurry to get somewhere that I’d run twenty-six miles. If I were really in a pinch, maybe I’d bike, but running all that way just to say I did it seems like very little by way of return on investment, even if I managed to survive the whole thing.

But what if something’s chasing you? I’ll stand my ground and fight it off. If I can’t fight it off, chances are I didn’t stand a chance of outrunning it, and why die sweaty and tired?

That said, I’ve known a few people who had enough free time on their hands that they not only prepared for running a marathon but actually followed through and did it. Even though I could have made better time on a bike or in a car, not wanting to take anything away from their achievement, I congratulated them heartily, made some crack about their feet being glad it was over, and asked if the much-ballyhooed wall was a real thing. Even though my survey pool is relatively small, and the conclusions are anecdotal, it seems that the wall is real, and everyone running a marathon experiences it at some point.

If you’re not an avid runner or don’t participate in marathons for fun, the wall is the moment sometime before the end of the race when you are thoroughly exhausted; every reserve you had is gone, and it becomes more of a mental game than anything else. It is said most people experience it sometime during the twenty-mile mark, and that is the moment where you either push through and commit to endure to the end, to finish the race that you might receive your prize, or you give up, walk away, and try to remember how many people you’ve told about your plans, and how you’ll spin your failure into something more noble than that you just gave up.

Those curious about the science of the wall in any endurance sport, whether running, cycling or swimming, have concluded that the depletion of glycogen stores in your liver and muscles brings about that feeling of exhaustion and impending collapse.

Spiritually speaking, when your faith and focus become depleted, you begin to feel that weariness deep in your soul where every day seems like an eternity, and every hurdle you would have readily leaped over seems like an insurmountable obstacle.

It’s hard enough finishing a marathon when you have an accurate count of how many miles you’ve run and how many miles are left. It becomes a psychological millstone around your neck when, every five hundred yards, someone holds up a sign informing you there are only five hundred yards left even though you have miles to go. 

You start to do the math in your head, and you realize that what was supposed to be five hundred more yards has been a solid three miles, and the end is nowhere in sight. That’s when the doubt starts creeping in. That’s when you start asking yourself if it’s ever going to be over, how many more people holding up signs will see along your route, and whether or not you have it in you to finish.

You start noticing those who have quit, and you begin to envy those who’ve either slowed to a crawl or fallen by the wayside altogether. At some point, you start to consider that at least you won’t be alone in having abandoned the race; at least you’ll have company as you throw in the towel and give up.

It is then that the idea of crossing the finish line, receiving your prize, standing in the winner’s circle, and claiming what is yours is no longer paramount. It is no longer the singular goal you pursue with all that you are but something that would have been nice had it not been so tiresome.

You’ll know the finish line when you see it. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s there when it isn’t, and don’t place your hope in the people holding up the signs insisting that we only have five hundred yards to go.

Do I wish they were right for once? Most assuredly, I do, but I’m not going to anchor my hope in their signs only to grow disillusioned time and again. I’m running my race to finish. I don’t know about placing or getting a medal, but I’m going to finish it. I’m going to cross the finish line and stand among those who did likewise, who kept running even when others were giving up, and who kept pushing when every cramped muscle was screaming they should quit.

There is one piece of advice given to athletes to avoid hitting the wall I believe is fitting for believers as well, and that is to eat and drink more than you think you need. If you believe an hour of prayer per day is all you need, make it two. If you believe reading one chapter of your Bible per day is all you need, make it five. Build up your reserves. Fill yourself with the Word. Fill your life with prayer so that when others get winded, sore, tired, and forlorn, you will have the wherewithal to persevere.

From everything I’ve read in the Bible, God doesn’t give out participation trophies or also-ran ribbons. You actually have to finish the race to get your prize.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

The Unknown

 It’s easy to overlook the pressures and burdens the primary church carried upon its shoulders. At the time Jude was writing his letter to the faithful, the church was in its infancy, being persecuted, tortured, and martyred, and that handful of men who were the tip of the spear for spreading the good news of Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, set the tone for what would follow. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, the way they went about ministry would become the blueprint for those desiring to follow in the footsteps of Christ.

I’ll give a new book two chapters to grip me and compel me to follow through with the rest of it. Time is a commodity in my world, and if something doesn’t stir within me after the first two chapters, there’s always a list of things waiting to be done on the other side of my reading time. It’s not me being pretentious or snobbish; it’s me realizing that either the writer isn’t up to par or the premise of the story is lacking to such an extent that if I don’t stop after two chapters, I’d eventually stop after ten, and I would have wasted a few hours hoping it gets better.

Beginnings matter. A handful of souls began to preach a risen Christ with no guarantee of a salary, a pension, or that their blood wouldn’t wet the dust of the town they were in by the end of the day. They had no blueprint. There were no books on growing a fellowship or on rules for running successful multi-campus church services. They were flying blind, uncertain of what tomorrow would bring, but fully trusting that the God they served was already preparing the way.

I don’t call it blind faith because it’s not blind. I call it trust because just as my daughters show me more trust every day because I’ve never betrayed it, the children of God trust Him more because He’s never betrayed their trust, either. There’s a difference between trusting God, who has never failed or fallen short, and trusting men who break our trust more often than not for no other reason than because they can.

I often look back on the lives of those who came before, who began laying the foundation of the faith and the Way, and I can’t help but be stunned at how tenuous it all was. Other than an abiding faith in Christ, there was no profit in these people continuing to spread the gospel once persecution became the norm. If all they were there for was profit or popularity, the first time a Christian was fed to lions in the coliseum or dipped in pitch and lit ablaze would have been the last time anyone identified as a believer. Do you think those who would rather call themselves life coaches than pastors will still be in the public eye once persecution begins in this country?

People are always looking for evidence, from the shroud of Turin to the spear of Longinus, but the greatest evidence by far is that a non-violent, decentralized faith, perpetuated by a group of simple, everyday people, survived the full brunt of the Roman Empire’s wrath, and even thrived in the midst of it.

Yes, other religions have survived the centuries, but none were targeted for extermination by the greatest empire the world had seen to date. This reality is what gives me hope and peace. If the faith survived during a time when martyrdom was a foregone conclusion for many who followed Christ, the faith will survive whatever pressure diplomats, politicians, and governments bring to bear.

The only unknown is whether this present generation has the same resolute determination to remain faithful to the end as those who came before them. Will this generation stand? Will this generation defend the truth even if it means losing their livelihoods or lives?

When Jude admonished us to contend earnestly for the faith, it was not during a time of peace, love, and understanding. It was during a time of persecution, privation, and hardship. We do not contend for the faith only when it’s convenient, easy, or we are certain there will be no repercussions.

We do so in the face of hardship, especially then, because the more the enemy attempts to silence the children of God, the more boldness the children of God must show. We do not shrink back from those walking in darkness. We press forward, knowing that we walk in the light, and the light chases away the darkness.

Those who will evermore be remembered for being the first to walk the narrow path did not have the luxury of countless tomes written about every verse in the Bible; they didn’t even have the luxury of having a Bible. They had faith in God, the promises of Christ, and each other to carry them through some of the darkest, bleakest times in the church’s history.

Their goal and purpose was to remain true to the words of Jesus and faithful unto God. They didn’t map out their growth or have a five-year plan that included reaching the nations of the world because, nowadays, every ministry wants some sort of global outreach. They fled the tyranny and oppression of the Roman empire, and everywhere they went, they preached a risen Christ.

Recently, I had someone trying to sell me something I didn’t need and couldn’t afford ask me where I saw myself in ten years. I think his angle had something to do with appreciation, but since I didn’t want to waste his time or mine, I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Either doing what I’m doing now or with Jesus.”

That ended his pitch and our conversation.

Do the work. Be present. Make time for God. Pick up your cross every day, and follow after Him. Everything else comes into focus on your way to your destination. It may be unknown to you, but it’s not unknown to Him. 

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Monday, September 11, 2023


 It’s always jarring when something happens for the first time. Not so much to us as individuals, like the first time you got to drive a car or ride a bike without training wheels, but globally. Even though there’s a first time for everything, it’s not always a positive experience. Even after decades, we remember the first time a nuclear bomb was used, the first terrorist attack to fail, the first attack to succeed, the first time an airplane went missing, and countless other firsts that we remember.

I don’t peruse the news much anymore. There isn’t anything there that interests me because what passes for news really isn’t. It’s more akin to the propaganda of the old Communist regimes, and since I’ve never been a fan, I’d rather avoid it.

But how do you know it’s propaganda? If you’ve lived in it, you remember the flavor, how it’s presented, what it tastes like, and know what it is. But as a rule of thumb, if what you’re reading is trying to steer you in a certain direction, building a narrative and pointing you toward it, insisting this is the only acceptable way to interpret the facts, it’s propaganda.

If the headline reads ‘Man Shot On His Way to Work,’ that’s reporting the news. It’s an event that took place. If, however, the article reads, ‘Lack of Gun Control Claims Another Life,’ it’s propaganda. If you know what to look for, you can train yourself to spot it from the title alone. You don’t have to read six hundred words by someone whose pronouns are they/them to figure out their reporting is slanted and that they have an agenda.

“But everyone has an agenda; what’s the difference between yours and theirs?”

The biggest difference is that they deny having one. They insist they are pure as the driven snow, and they’re just reporting the facts, ma’am. I’ve never shied away from telling you I’m on team Jesus. I don’t try to slyly push you toward a narrative; I point the way and say, “There’s Jesus, I love Him, He loves you, and you can know Him.”

What you choose to do with the information I impart is solely up to you. I can’t sneak you into heaven; I don’t have a special password or hand signal, nor do I know a side door I can sneak you through. Jesus said the only way to the Father is through Him; two thousand years later, no one has made a cogent argument as to why Jesus was mistaken. Oprah doesn’t count. That she lets words spill out of her mouth about different paths does not make for a cogent argument.

Hot on the heels of the biggest difference, the second difference between me and them is that I don’t lie to you. I tell you of my agenda up front, and I tell you the truth besides. Propagandists don’t do either. Not only do they insist there is no hidden motive, but that everything they tell you is factually accurate. They tell lies with a straight face and repeat them often because they believe excessive repetition will make a lie the truth. No, men can’t get pregnant, guns don’t kill people, and abortion is murder. See how easy that was? One sentence, and you can alienate pretty much everyone except your dog and your grandma if she is still alive.

Even though I no longer consume the news as heartily as I used to, I did see a headline the other day that is contextually fitting regarding the things Jesus said we would see as the end nears. For the first time on record, storms have reached top-tier category-five strength in every tropical ocean basin in the same year.

We’re also seeing earthquakes in various places, some of which haven’t had active fault lines in many a year. Although it’s easy to blame cow flatulence on all these things, it’s not as simple as all that. If anything will bring about the end of the world, it won’t be cow flatulence, eating meat, or hair spray.

At the root of trying to find someone or something to blame for what we’ve been seeing is man’s unwillingness to acknowledge God’s sovereignty and foreknowledge about how this will all end.

If they can blame the cows or the 80’s rockers, greasers, and bouffants for the cataclysmic events taking place, then they won’t have to contend with the reality that the Word of God saw all of this coming, and this is just the start. If these were birth pains, the contractions would be so far apart you wouldn’t even pack a bag yet. You’d still have time to get dinner in the oven, do a load of laundry, and dust the blinds. It’s a nesting thing.

We are going to be witness to a lot of firsts in the coming months because the closer one gets to the end, the closer apart the contractions. They will also get more painful the closer we get, and the length of time they last will increase. This is why I keep repeating frequency and intensity when it comes to what we’ve coined natural disasters because it’s a natural progression. There is nothing man can do to stop it, but because coming to terms with it will mean we are not the masters of our destinies, we’ll keep trying.

God didn’t forewarn us of what the last days would look like to scare us or make us fearful. On the contrary, He warned us that we might know the true measure of His omnipotence and omniscience. If God knows the future, He knows how best to hide you under the shadow of His wing. If God knows the future, He knows how to best keep you. Walk in obedience, and though a thousand fall to your side and ten thousand at your right hand, it will not come near you. God’s promises to His children are not hyperbolic or exaggerated for effect. They are a factual representation of what will be. If you trust Him, you have nothing to fear. If you walk in His ways, you will rejoice in His providence.

Psalm 91:7-8, “A thousand may fall at 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.”

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Saturday, September 9, 2023

How It Ends

 It ends as it began, with God on the throne. That in itself should suffice as far as encouragement is concerned. Whether bedraggled, unmotivated, discouraged, bruised, beaten, wounded, or hurting, God is still on the throne, never stepped off, and has you in the palms of His hands.

The journey is what the journey is. It may be taxing and challenging at times, but that’s because we overthink it. We do the opposite of what we are commanded to do, and rather than try to please our commanding officer, we entangle ourselves in civilian affairs, putting down the sword and shield for a spot on a panel about inclusivity and inclusion: similar words, different meanings. It's sort of like equity and equality, but I digress. I thought I’d gotten away from it, but old habits die hard, and I digress with the best of them.

We are given to know the how, yet not the when, but for some of us, that’s not good enough. When we ask for a date, and He doesn’t answer, we take it upon ourselves to read His thoughts, and that never ends well. It doesn’t matter how many times men have said this is the day, only to see it come and go with nothing more than the usual real-time collapse of culture, morals, and decency taking place, we still fall for it every time as though it were some pavlovian response. You ring a bell, and your poodle comes running for its meal. You set a date, and ordinarily level-headed folk start prematurely celebrating.

As I’ve said on occasion, if one of these people would have the strength of their convictions and sell everything they own and give it to the poor a week before, then at least I’d believe that they believe what they’re saying.

“Jesus is coming next week, but just in case He doesn’t, I’m still going to make my mortgage payment.”

If that’s the case, you’ve just confirmed that you don’t really believe what you’re saying; you’re just putting out false hope, and the laughter and jubilation will turn to tears and resentment the moment the clock strikes midnight, and they’re still here.

Matthew 24:36-39, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of man be.”

Notwithstanding the undeniable truth that Jesus said of that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven but the Father only, what was Noah doing while everyone else was eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage. Jesus refers to the godless as being ignorant, not Noah. He was busy doing what God had commanded Him to do, which in his case was building an ark.

He wasn’t concerned with the timing. He cemented His relationship with God, heard His voice, obeyed God's commands, and did as he was told without complaint or excessive queries about how long he had to finish the project.

Noah obeyed. He didn’t second guess God, revise the blueprint for the ark, ask why it needed to be so big, or why it needed to be built in the first place since he’d never seen rain fall from the sky before. God commanded, and Noah obeyed. He didn’t know how long it would take, how much time he had, or wonder if the ark would be ready on time. By faith, he moved with godly fear and prepared the ark.

Hebrews 11:7, “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”

Once Noah was divinely warned of things not yet seen, he did two things. First, he moved with godly fear, and second, he followed through and prepared the ark for the saving of his household.

There wasn’t any back and forth, no request for further information, and he didn’t ask to know the timeline; he moved with godly fear and did what God told him to do. But that’s not exciting enough nowadays. If you put out a video titled “Why You Should Repent” and another “Why Jesus Is Coming Tomorrow,” which would get more clicks and views? Even though without having repented, knowing the timing of His return is useless, they’ll still click on the video about Jesus returning tomorrow by a crushing majority.

1 Peter 1:13-16, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.’”

Are we moving with godly fear and doing what God commanded us to do, or are we squandering the time we’ve been given with fanciful tales of when something will occur that Jesus said we could never know?

Jesus promised He would return, and He keeps His word. Rather than focus on when He will return, we ought to be asking if He will find us doing what He commanded us to do when He does.

It’s easier to have endless debates about the day and hour than it is to strive for holiness, being obedient children, being sober, and girding up the loins of our minds, but something being easy doesn’t make it right, and sooner or later we will be called to account for the time we’ve been given. What did you do with your time and talents? You should have an answer since when Jesus returns, He will want to know.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Friday, September 8, 2023

Soldier On

 I was never in the military. I could say it’s because I have flat feet, but in all fairness, the idea of spending months on end in a desert somewhere trying to fend off sunstroke and stomach bugs while being shot at by men whose idea of romance is not beating their wives before dinner but after, didn’t appeal to me.

Yes, I’m generalizing. Yes, I’m stereotyping. Then again, I said nothing about goats, so you have to give me a little credit for my self-restraint. The point isn’t the medieval mindset the West is trying to win over with fried chicken and rainbow flags. The point is that if you enlist, get through basic training, and come out the other side whole, then your expectations won’t be for umbrella drinks and fancy dinners. You signed on to serve and obey your commanding officer's orders, watch your platoon’s back, defend the homeland, go where you’re told to go, and do what you’re told to do.

The best you can hope for is that you don’t get deployed somewhere where everyone hates you and wishes you dead. Christians don’t have that luxury. Our deployment is guaranteed to be somewhere we are hated and targeted because as long as we are here, we are behind enemy lines, and the devil knows we’re on his turf.

Maybe it’s because our mommas told us we were special that we think we deserve to be treated with kid gloves and make sure that every itch, rash, hangnail, or blister is lovingly tended to, bandaged, and for our inconvenience and distress we are given leave for at least a year. Neither you nor I were conscripted or drafted; we volunteered. Christ asked who would follow, you said I, and so did I, and from that point forward, your life was no longer your own. You no longer belonged to yourself. You no longer belonged to the world. You belonged to Him and promised to faithfully obey for the rest of your days.

If you wanted easy, you should have gone to a spa and gotten their exfoliating package with the cucumber mask. You signed on to be a soldier, so soldier on. This isn’t tough love; it’s just the way it is. You thought today was tough? Get ready for tomorrow; it’ll be a bruiser. The day after doesn’t look so hot either, but no matter how bad it gets, you have a predetermined exfil date that your General has marked on His calendar, and when that day arrives, come what may, your General will be true to His word, and your work will be done.

You don’t have to line up every morning to inquire when your discharge papers are due to arrive. You’re done when the fight is done, and hopefully, you’ve built enough trust in your General that you keep fighting, pushing, preaching, and praying until He calls you.

This isn’t a picnic; this is war, and if you haven’t come to terms with that reality, then what follows will cause you many a sleepless night. Today’s church whines more than the French, and that’s saying something. When can we be done? When He says you’re done. When can we leave? When He decides it.

I love you. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t, but how many times do you need to get deflated and have your hopes dashed on the rocks of reality before you start listening to Jesus and believing His words over the words of people who cry out “Look, He is here, Look He is there” every other month?

2 Timothy 2:3, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

There it is, in the Book, full stop!

But you don’t understand. Life’s hard; I’m tired, my feet hurt, and nobody listens. Welcome to the club, soldier; you’re not alone. You’re not the only one whose soul is vexed, but quitting is not an option. If you desire to be a good soldier, you must endure.

If you lack strength, pray for strength, and He will give you strength. If you lack boldness, pray for boldness, and He will give you boldness. If you lack faith, pray for faith, and He will give you faith. But we don’t pray for these things. All we pray for is that He take us away. As the eighties ballad so aptly put it, we don’t want to fight no more, and we’re looking for any opportunity to call a truce with the devil in order to get our way.

Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

But Lord, you don’t understand; there are giants in the land. And? He promised He would be with you wherever you go. He will stand beside you no matter who you will have to face. Be strong and of good courage. Be neither afraid nor dismayed because God has never lost a fight.

If need be, while we’re busy whining, the stones will cry out in our stead. Perhaps that’s what it will take for us to be shamed into action. Maybe that’s what it will take for the soldiers of the cross to actually do some soldiering and not live off the stories, testimonies, and victories of those who have already gone to their reward.

It’s when the children of God are silent that the devil can spread his lies. It’s when the children of God stop fighting that the enemy can gain a foothold. It is not our duty to stare at our navels, waiting for the end. Our duty is to fight the good fight, keep the faith, and finish our race. Everybody wants a crown, but nobody wants to do anything for it. Sorry, not sorry, that’s just not Biblical!

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Who You Serve

 Because the flesh desires to usurp God in prominence and authority, men constantly attempt to whittle Him down to their size. They know they can’t compete; there will always be the delineating factor of Creator and creation, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try. They attack His omnipotence, His omniscience, His inerrancy, and His supremacy, whether directly or indirectly, by their words and actions.

Everything the world does has the singular goal of diminishing God. Even the latest craze of people claiming to be born in the wrong body, to the wrong gender, with the wrong plumbing is rooted in the idea that a sovereign, inerrant God made a mistake with Billy because Billy believes he should be Betty.

It’s man’s way of convincing himself that God is fallible. Why would man go to such great lengths to make God fallible in their minds? Because if He is fallible about something as basic as one’s gender, then maybe, just maybe, all that stuff about eternal judgment can be ignored. Perhaps it is a bedtime story to scare the youngsters into brushing their teeth and saying their evening prayers.

Even those claiming to be of the household of faith need to be reminded about the God they serve, who He is, what He has done, what He can do, and what He will do. If God has declared a thing, then no matter how improbable to human intellect, it’s as good as done because there is nothing He cannot do. He spoke the universe into being, created man from the dust of the earth, and knew the end from the beginning without breaking a sweat.

That anyone would think their feelings or opinions take precedence over the word and will of God only goes to show man's hubris. You mean to tell me you can’t hold down a job for more than two weeks, but you can dictate terms to the Creator of all things? You live in a van down by the river subsisting on baked beans and Spam, but you have the temerity to declare that God was wrong and you are right, and one of these days, God will see it your way?

At the end of his short letter, Jude pens both an exhortation and a reminder of who the God we serve is. It is beautiful and poetic and ought to have the effect of lifting your head from the dust of the earth, standing up straight, and reminding yourself that you are His son, you are His daughter, you are counted among those He loved so much that He sent Jesus to die the death of the cross that you might be reconciled unto Him. Before you get a swelled head, God loved the world, not just a handful therein, so let’s not jump to declaring and speaking into existence quite yet.

We cling to memories we should let sink to the bottom of the sea of forgetfulness, but we allow time to dull the reality of who God is in our hearts and minds. We remember every insult, cross word, and offense to our person since we were in diapers but readily forget all the great things God has done for us. The shortest route to bitterness for any heart is to forget the goodness of the Lord and concentrate on the injustice and corruption of the world.  You can’t blame God for what the godless do. Free will is sometimes a fanged beast with poisoned talons, and consequences are an absolute that none can skirt around. We fail to see what the Lord has done but anxiously speculate on what He will do, and peace can never have a place in such a soul.

Jude 24-25, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”

Of all the things Jude could have ended his letter with, he chose to end it with a profound humility that reveals his understanding of man’s frail nature and his need to lean on God. He could have gone through the various attributes of God, but he chose to focus on the fact that He is able to keep us from stumbling and present us faultless before the presence of His glory.

Even as Christ’s younger brother and one who was committed to the way of truth, Jude understood that the continued presence of God in one’s life keeps one's foot from slipping, one's eye from wandering, and one's focus from shifting.

If you desire to remain in Him, God will keep you from stumbling. If His will for your life is your preeminent priority, He will finish the good work He has begun in you. Does this mean that men can’t fall away? Does this mean that once you wave a hand at a crusade, you’re grandfathered in no matter what? The answer is self-evident, given the epidemic of mega church pastors renouncing their faith in Christ and feeling the need to shout their renunciation from the rooftops.

Some men choose rebellion. Some men choose to run back into the arms of the world because they love it more than they love God. These are not the ones Jude is referring to. Jude is referring to those who walk humbly with their Lord and whose love for Him is consuming and consistent. They are the ones whom God keeps from stumbling as they navigate the snares and traps of the enemy.

No matter how strong you may think yourself to be, you would be felled without God's grace, mercy, presence, power, and aid in your life. Eventually, one of the fiery arrows would get through. Eventually, your foot would slip without Him keeping you from it. For all that He is and all that He does, for His love, mercy, correction, holiness, and grace, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.

Jeremiah 9:23-24, “Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord.”

With love in CHrist,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2023


 For the longest time, there was a moisturizer company whose tagline was ‘Love the skin you’re in.’ It was a good tagline. It is succinct, punchy, and memorable enough that it occasionally shows up on crossword puzzles as a clue. Notable as the tagline may have been, it was never meant to be deemed as instruction for the people of God, but for some, it has become their refrain.

While the ungodly are encouraging the masses to love the skin they’re in, Jude instructs us to hate even the garment defiled by the flesh. As I’ve said often enough, when individuals and the Bible take contrarian positions, I will believe the Bible every time, without fail, no matter who the individuals happen to be.

Perhaps it’s because we’ve downplayed the danger sin poses for decades that even those who warm a pew every week are reticent to part ways with it. If no one tells you that a cobra will kill you with one bite, you may be tempted to treat it as a pet. What’s worse, if they insist that it’s harmless and inoffensive and everyone they know handles the serpents without any adverse effects, you may be tempted to try your hand at it, too. You have never touched a snake before, and everyone says it feels different. What could be the harm? Everyone else brags about being amateur snake handlers, and they’re still around. Live a little; you deserve it.

Unlike those who care not a whit for your spiritual well-being, Jude contextualizes the danger sin poses and insists that not only aren’t you supposed to love the skin you’re in if you haven’t been born again, but have such an aversion to sin itself that you hate the garments defiled by it.

The other day, it was brisk here in Wisconsin. We’d had some scorchers for a few days, then one morning, the temperatures dipped into the fifties. Since my girls will use any opportunity to eat something sweet, they concluded it was the perfect weather to make a fire, toast some marshmallows, and make s’mores.

I suggested watermelon since I wouldn’t have to make a fire for that, but as is usually the case where I’m outnumbered three to one, my idea got the axe. I dutifully went to the local supermarket and grabbed some marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate. I made a fire, and the girls had their fill of s’mores. Then, once the fire died down, my youngest sniffed herself and said, “I stink. I smell like smoke. I’m going to go take a shower and change.”

There are a couple of lessons worth remembering from that seemingly innocuous event. First, you must be honest enough with yourself to acknowledge when you stink. If you can smell yourself, be sure others can smell you, too. Second, once you recognize that you stink, it must be off-putting enough that you’re willing to do something about it. It’s not sufficient to say, “I’m a sinner.” You must hate the sin you’re in enough to want to make a change, repent, turn away from it, and never revisit it again. Third, once you’ve washed and made yourself clean, don’t put on the stinky clothes again. New birth, new life, new garments.

Some people try to put on new garments before they’ve washed themselves clean, and that doesn’t work. Others stink to high heaven but pretend as though they don’t, and that doesn’t work either. Others still don’t mind their reek and insist that no one around them should mind it either. Rather, they should be deemed brave for being so filthy that the dirt is caked on in layers.

The individuals Jude is referring to, when he instructs us to save some with fear, pulling them out of the fire, are those who’ve been the way they are for so long they are unaware of their wretchedness. Some people have been filthy and stinky for so long that they are unaware of the odor they emanate. It is toward ones such as these that we must show compassion and offer them the soap, the water, and the clean garments. Whether they follow through and wash themselves clean is not on you. You can’t force someone into the bath, but you can point them to it and lovingly say, “You stink.”

It would be mean and unloving to state the obvious and go about your day without offering the individuals the means and opportunity to remedy their situation. It’s not unloving, however, to make someone aware of their sin and then provide them a way they can be free of it. Even in our hyper-sensitive age, where everyone is offended by everything, that should be deemed appropriate. The reason it’s not is because the enemy wants those in darkness to remain blind to the darkness they are in. He wants those in the fire to go on believing that it will never burn them, and when supposed Bible scholars strengthen the hand of the wicked by echoing this sentiment, they must be called out on it.

No matter how syrupy a voice, inoffensive a demeanor, or how big the smile is, they’re still telling people headed to hell that they aren’t and demonizing anyone who would say otherwise.

One surefire indicator that someone isn’t preaching the whole counsel of God is that they are popular with those in darkness. We’ve all woken up in the middle of the night and turned on a light. What was your first reaction? I know what mine always is. I cringe and shut my eyes because the sudden light offends my sensibilities. I have to wait until my eyes adjust to the brightness before I’m comfortable in the light, and it happens every time.

Why do those who live in darkness not cringe away from some who claim to be bearers of light? That’s a question worth pondering. It will tell you all you need to know about the current state of the church.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

The Spectrum

 Not everything in life is equally dangerous. Objectively speaking, jumping on a trampoline and jumping off a three-story building carry differing degrees of danger, although getting hurt on the trampoline is not out of the question. If you don’t believe me and have a few minutes to kill, go to YouTube and search for trampoline accidents.

How it’s okay for male castrations due to a trampoline mishap to still be available for viewing, but anyone even diplomatically discussing the varied forms of mental illness or the drawbacks of being a human pincushion gets censored and canceled is beyond me, but it is what it is. The point is you may get hurt on the trampoline, but you are almost guaranteed to get hurt jumping off a building. One is far likelier to occur than the other.

When we inverse how dangerous something or someone might be and assign a low danger quotient to something that will kill us and a high one to something that may leave a bruise but not a mortal wound, we are courting disaster.

A false prophet is more dangerous than any politician, ever. Sin is more dangerous for your well-being than any neighborhood. Between guarding your heart against corruption or a politician’s guile, guard it against corruption every time. It’s good to guard your heart against both, but some people can’t multi-task. If the Bible tells us to guard our hearts against sin, but we’re guarding it against everything else except for sin, when it ensnares us and keeps us from moving forward, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

The Word of God identifies the spectrum of danger, from most dangerous to least dangerous, and sin, whether hidden and not repented of or open and celebrated, gets the top spot without fail. Before we empty our closets of mixed fabrics, we must empty our hearts of sin. Before we denounce anyone not prolific in Hebrew as a heretic, we must confront our own rebellion. To prioritize the one while failing to do the other will lead to a self-righteous legalism that will reek of sanctimony and duplicity.

That’s just one example, but people choose countless pet doctrines as the hill they’re willing to die on when the Word of God never insists they should be our journey's primary focus.

Some are so ardent about it that they would readily break fellowship with other believers over tertiary issues like wearing a wedding band or shorts in the summer. You’re only allowed as much liberty as they decide, and if you step out of line, then Ichabod it is.

What God calls sin is sin, and there’s no debating it. If God does not call it sin, but your personal preference or conviction deems it so, it does not mean that it becomes general doctrine for everyone else just because you declare it.

After the revolution, one of the big debates in the Romanian church was whether or not musical instruments were proper during service. I know, silly argument, but there were church splits over this, and brothers stopped speaking to brothers because of it.

The reason for the schism was that up until the revolution, the faithful met in secret, and none would dare use instruments during worship for fear of being found out. Most of the songs were sung acapella, with one individual giving the right key with a harmonica, a pitch pipe, or a tuning fork.

After the revolution, when Christians were free to worship freely, some insisted that the status quo was good enough, while others yearned for the sweet, sweet sound of an accordion to accompany their worship.

The debate became problematic when one side went beyond calling it a personal preference and insisting that it’s what the Bible commanded. Both sides then began to cherry-pick verses to support their position, and rather than focus on worshipping God in spirit and truth, they started to point fingers at one another, insisting that they were in rebellion.

All believers have a common enemy, which is the reality the devil would prefer us to forget. While sin is crippling and deadly, a guitar, a piano, or even dare I say, a tambourine in the church isn’t, and that’s another truth the devil would rather we gloss over.

The children of God will need each other like never before. It is the preeminent reason the enemy is sowing division whenever and wherever he can. Unlike man, the devil learns from his mistakes, and he remembers quite clearly that the primary church survived and thrived because they were united in a singular purpose. They were not concerned about who got the credit, who got famous, who was popular, or who could start a spin-off ministry, but that Christ be glorified in all things.

By the time they have to wage war against the darkness, most believers are so exhausted from waging war with each other that they can’t even put up a fight. We’re so keen on barring the entrance for fellow believers that the enemy’s minions creep in unaware and proceed to dismantle the body from within. All the godless have to do is pretend to agree with the individual peccadillos, and since that, and not Biblical truth, has become the metric for whether or not someone is walking in righteousness, it’s easy to fool others that they are of the household of faith.

The moment the Bible was no longer the standard for those professing to be believers, it became a free-for-all with those who could tell the most comforting lies coming out ahead in visibility, prominence, following, church size, and accolades.

Deceivers continue to deceive because a vast majority want to be deceived. They don’t want the truth that will inevitably compel them to leave worldliness behind but the lie that will allow them to sup at the devil’s table whenever they are so inclined.

Guard your heart before you guard another’s. It’s the same principle they use on airplanes, where in case of emergency, you put on your mask first, then assist the person next to you if they need aid. The best way to guard your heart is to identify what poses the most danger and avoid it at all costs.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.