Tuesday, January 31, 2023


 A few years back, it was all the rage. People would show up to airports, backpacks in tow, and buy a ticket on the first available flight, no matter where it went. Some people got lucky and ended up in Hawaii, others not so much and ended up in Poughkeepsie. It was supposed to be exciting on some level. It offered a sense of adventure to people who, for the most part, spent five days a week in a cubicle, listening to elevator music and wondering where their life went awry.

The sense of adventure and adrenaline rush at the thought of going to Poughkeepsie notwithstanding, I like to know where I’m going and how to get there. Especially now, with children in tow, it’s hard to wing it. I can’t just stuff everyone in the car, spin a bottle, and start driving in the direction the bottle stops. Even a day trip takes planning and calculation, from how long we can be on the highway before the are-we-there-yet choir starts belting their tune to whether or not we can make it back home before nightfall.

Between someone with a map, a compass, and a destination in mind and someone who keeps driving because they saw a sign for Wall Drug and it sounded interesting, chances are the guy with the plan will get more done on a given day. Yes, I know, everyone’s got a GPS, but I’m old school, at least when imagining my rugged self. Who am I kidding? I’d get lost two towns over if I didn’t have that silly voice on my phone telling me where to turn. Nevertheless, the point is still valid.

The notion that God put us here to fend for ourselves, find our own way, get lost, and find the path only to get lost again would be bleak if it were true. Perhaps that’s why so many people meander about doing a spiritual version of walking in a circle for forty years because they don’t believe in God’s active presence in their lives. If His presence is not active and personal, there can be no direction; therefore, on your own you go, lugging your burdens, hoping the next step doesn’t put you off balance and cause you to stumble into the ditch.

One of God’s most encouraging and inspiring promises is that He will give those who trust Him guidance and direction. You will never be lost as long as you walk with God. In this land of confusion, that’s a promise worth clinging to. He will never lead you astray. In this world of deception, that’s a lifeline to cling to. The footsteps of those who trust in the Lord are sure and unafraid. They walk knowing that He directs their path, and wherever He leads is best.

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Another way of putting this passage, and one that will surely raise the ire of some, is to stop trusting your feelings, defer to Him in all things, and start trusting the Lord, and He will tell you where you need to go. Once He tells you where you need to go, go! Don’t dawdle, and don’t wait for better weather, He is directing your path, and the path isn’t going to walk itself.

 That’s the thing, though. If we’d stop putting so much stock in our feelings and cease following men’s direction rather than God’s, the places we would go and the things we would see would be beyond anything we could imagine.

To illustrate how absurd the notion that feelings matter when it comes to spiritual issues is, imagine you had two planes waiting for you. They were identical in make, model, and year equally fueled up and ready to go. They sat on a tarmac side by side, the only difference between them being the pilots. One pilot has sworn to use his instruments to take off and land at a given destination, and the other has promised to go by his gut, his feelings, and his instincts. Which plane would you board? Which pilot would you feel safer with?

We’d all get on the plane with the pilot that promised to use his instruments. The problem is, once we get on that plane, we’d try to convince him that his instruments are wrong and our feelings are right because we’re living our truth, and if he won’t turn around and go where we tell him without a hint of protest, he’s just a hateful bigot.

Lord, lead us to heaven but take us the way we’ve marked it down on our map. Take us the way we want to go; let us take our time, see the sites, snap some selfies, and maybe even get off the path for a few nights to do something different. You’re Lord, but we’re in control. You’re Lord, but you must do what we tell you. Otherwise, we’ll find a different guide. One who will tell us what we want to hear and, for the right price, lead us wherever we tell him we want to go.

For most of us, it’s easy to trust in the Lord. If we’ve walked with Him for any time, we know He is trustworthy. Many have difficulty with the second part, the part about not leaning on their own understanding.

Instruments don’t lie; your feelings do. Instruments don’t lie, but your intuition sometimes does. When the two conflict, when your understanding and the guidance of the Lord differ, do not lean on your own understanding lest you crash into the side of a mountain.

There are various instruments God employs to guide and direct you. Your job is to be aware of them, focused on them, and brush aside all other distractions.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Monday, January 30, 2023


 Power, as all things that come from the hand of God, is given for a purpose. The purpose is never you. The purpose is not your ego, self-esteem, or self-worth, nor is it some sort of validation that you are better than your fellow laborers. If God gives you power, it is so that you can carry out the high calling of furthering His Kingdom. It’s not to boast; it’s not to profit; it’s not to draw men to you; it’s to point men to Him.

Men build kingdoms for themselves while telling everyone within earshot it’s for God because to admit that they’ve been fleecing the sheep for the better part of fifty years might put some of them off of giving to the next building project. Even with all the lip service, nepotism, double-dealing, exposed sin, extramarital affairs, and hypocrisy, we find a way of justifying what we deem our spiritual betters. He’s so charismatic, polished, well-spoken, well-dressed, articulate, eloquent, and entertaining. Whom are we going to replace him with?

All those are traits the world likewise uses to judge those around them. It ought not to be so with the church. When it comes to the people of God, the only question we should ask is, do they have power from on high? It doesn’t matter how charismatic or articulate, eloquent or polished someone is; if there is no power behind their words, they will not serve to transform lives; they will just develop a fan base. Like any comedian, writer, singer, or actor, if the fan base is big enough, they can live like rock stars, and the pursuit becomes the size of the fan base and the inherent perks rather than the glory of God.

Paul tried to warn us that it was dangerous to fanboy over people, saying I am of Paul or I am of Apollos because if you’re not of Jesus, you’re not about anything eternal, permanent, or lasting. As with everything else we don’t like in the Bible, we just stopped reading those passages and meditating on them, and now you have tribes within tribes defending the words of men over the words of Jesus and wondering where the power is.

True men of God do their best not to stand out at every turn. They do their best not to take credit for what God is doing. They understand that they are just a vessel reflecting the light of Christ, and the power undergirding the messages they deliver is what pierces the hearts of men and not the words themselves.

I use my grandfather as an example a lot because I traveled with him for a decade and was his translator. It’s not to say he’s the only humble man I ever met, but he’s the one I knew best among the humble men I’ve met. He was never a man to use big words or deliver complicated sermons, but because the power of God endued him and because he spoke with the authority of the One who sent Him, you’d have people breaking down and repenting mid-sermon.

He never attended seminary, never got his doctorate, never owned a bespoke suit from Saville row, and spoke simply, yet there was power, and that made all the difference.

I don’t remember the sermons I preach. I know that sounds strange, but it is nevertheless true. I’ll have someone come up to me after a service and say that some point I made or something I said really touched their hearts, and I stand there blank-faced because I don’t know what they’re referencing. This is not a boast. On the contrary, whenever something like that happens, it reinforces the reality that if God speaks to someone through one of my sermons, whatever part of it affects them to the core of their heart did not originate from me. It doesn’t have to be revelation or prophecy, just the truth of Scripture plainly spoken, but if the power of God is present, it will cut men to the heart.

Stop taking credit for what God is doing through you lest one of these days He lets you stand on your own so you may discover your impotence. I am dependent on the power source, which is the Holy Spirit. So are you. Without Him, we can do nothing, but we sure do try. Usually, it’s things He would disapprove of, by means He would condemn, but if we all just waited until we were endued with power from on high, it may take too long and not fit neatly into our five-year plan.

We’re busy people in a fast-paced world, and we must keep churning, burning, chugging, and plodding along to reach our goals and achieve our vision. Head down, blinders on, gaze fixed upon some arbitrary number; we let nothing stand in the way of achieving our objective. By golly, we have ambitions, and nothing will deter us, no matter what and whom we must sacrifice along the way.

 Have you stopped to ask if your plans are His plans? Have you stopped to wonder if your vision is His vision? We’re so busy doing that we can’t stop even when we see that what we’re doing is counter-productive. If your ambitions are your own, everything will be a struggle. It would be far easier pushing a boulder up a hill than achieving something God never intended for you to achieve.

The power from on high is a promise of God, one worth waiting for and one worth desiring. It is a force multiplier. It makes difficult tasks easy to carry out. It is also necessary for the children of God if we hope to make headway.

Accept no substitutes. If you find yourself growing restless, waiting on the power from on high, just remember that men have tried to do without it and failed every time. Wait until you receive what Jesus promised, and you will accomplish more for the kingdom in a week than you would have in a year.

We got through the gift of power without once using the word dunamis; now that’s a feat.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Sunday, January 29, 2023


 Whether hunger or thirst, they both fall under the umbrella of desire. When you are hungry, you desire to be filled. When you are thirsty, you desire your thirst to be satiated. There is godly desire, and there is earthly desire. The world’s version of desire is encapsulated in the oft-overused trope that the heart wants what the heart wants. The problem with that is that the heart of man is exceedingly wicked, so what the heart wants likely isn’t the best for the individual in whose chest it beats.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of broken homes and upended families because they pursued what the heart wanted without consideration for the crater they would leave in their wake. The thing about the heart is that unless it’s regenerated, everything it wants is selfish and hedonistic. Even when shrouded in altruism, once you peel back the layers, you see the true intentions underneath. We must stop lying to ourselves that most people are good and have good intentions because they are not. They just haven’t worked up the courage to follow their heart into the inky corners, so for now, they seem like decent folk. If history teaches us anything, it’s that given enough pressure and the wrong kind of influence, man is capable of being the worst kind of animal.

There is a domino effect of sorts, an interconnectedness when it comes to desire. When you receive what you desire, what flows out of you is that which you received. If what flows out of you is not life, then what was poured into you wasn’t life either.

John 7:37-38 “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “if anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

In order for rivers of living water to flow out of your heart, you must first thirst, then drink. What you must drink is what Jesus offers, not some concoction you came up with spur of the moment because you just threw some ingredients in a blender and hoped for the best. That’s what modern-day Christianity has become in the Western world; people throwing things into a blender, with a heaping portion of grace, so it all liquefies, and there you have a new theological variant made to suit the palate of those not interested in a relationship with God, just in the fire insurance.

It’s lucrative. It really is; you don’t need good ingredients, most people don’t even know what’s in the thing, but they know it’s cheap and filling and alleviates their fear of self-sacrifice and their dread of the day of judgment.

It’s not that people don’t know what they’re being offered is less than ideal. They just don’t care. If you’re paying six bucks for a pizza, you’re not expecting farm-to-table hand-spun mozzarella on a bed of fresh basil, with some cold pressed olive oil drizzle on top. It was six bucks. If you don’t get sick from it, it’s a win, and next week when you get a hankering, you’ll go back again. It beats paying thirty bucks for the pretentious one because you only have so many kidneys you can sell.

The sad part is that Jesus is offering the best there is, the best you’ll ever come across, living water straight from the source, and scores of people prefer the brown tap water everyone tells you not to drink unless you want to have an unpleasant couple of days. If you thirst, you can go to Him and drink, and not only will your thirst be satiated, rivers of living water will flow from your heart. Jesus didn’t say come and pay; He said come and drink.

Do you mean Jesus expects me to come to Him? Why can’t He come to me, cup in hand, and hold it to my lips? Because He will not do for you what you can do for yourself. God’s not looking to infantilize you. He is looking to grow and mature you to the point that life flows out of you, giving succor to others.

He can’t force you to drink, either. You have to want to drink and do so voluntarily. If you’re thirsty, go to Him, drink your fill, and know what it is to be satiated for the first time in your life. If He forced you to drink, that would be assault. You’d likely try to spit it out, and the experience would be less than pleasant.

But what about leaving the ninety-nine for the one? That one got lost. He didn’t intentionally go to the wolves showing its hindquarters trying to seduce them. He didn’t act like a free agent seeing who made the better offer before committing. Intentionality matters. It always has. If your intention is to follow humbly after Christ, even when you stumble, He will pick you up. If your intention is to have the best of both worlds and only pay Him lip service, then you were never on the path to begin with. But hey, whatever it takes to skirt accountability and personal responsibility.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Saturday, January 28, 2023


 We are given new life when we are born again. It is a wondrous thing. We are brought from death to life, from darkness to light, and from ignorance to understanding. In His goodness, God also promised us a power that we might defend the truth, stand for the light, and not shrink when the ignorant attempt to shout us down.

What Jesus did for His disciples, breathing on them and telling them to receive the Holy Spirit, and what happened in the upper room where the power of the Holy Spirit was poured upon them is not the same thing, no matter how some might like to conflate the two. Read the chronology. If they’d received everything they needed in order to carry out their ministries, why command them to wait until they received the power from on high? In one instance, they were given the newness of life; in another, they were given the power to carry out the callings to which they had been called.

If you desire power, you must have new life. If you do not possess new life, no matter how much you may desire power, you will be like Simon the sorcerer who wanted power without repentance. One is contingent upon the other. Without new life, you have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right with God.

It may sound mean-spirited, exclusionary, and elitist, but only if you are so set against repentance that you’re willing to demonize someone who is pointing you to scripture. But Joel of Osteen fame said all I needed to do was raise my Bible in the air and wave it like I just don’t care! What’s this repentance stuff?

Every day, more people realize they have to choose whom they will believe, whether folks like Joel or the Bible. If, perchance, you wanted the fullness of God’s promises active in your life, if you wanted the presence, power, and authority of the Holy Spirit indwelling in you, then it really isn’t much of a choice. Do what God commanded and receive what He promised. Do as Joel suggests, and keep waving that Bible you never read around until you start a twister. I’m not going to argue with you. It’s not as though I can convince you either way. Them’s the rules we all play by, no exemptions. If someone tells you the rules are different, they’re likely playing a different game.

The promise of power via the Holy Spirit is not reserved for some denomination or men and women of a certain pedigree. It cannot be purchased with gold or silver. Nor is it a reward for sending in the biggest love offering you could. It is not reserved for the offspring of clergy or some priestly line. It is, however, reserved for those who obey Him. That is their exclusive gift.

Acts 5:32, And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

That prerequisite alone disqualifies a good chunk of the contemporary church. If ever the words ‘I feel’ spilled out of your mouth as a retort to what the Word of God says, and you have not repented of it, you are not counted among those who obey Him. If ever what you allow of yourself or conclude others can practice falls outside the guardrails of scripture, and you have not repented of it, you are not counted among those who obey Him.

To cut off at the pass, anyone who would have the temerity to ask what obedience is, obedience is doing what the Book says you should do.  It doesn’t take a scholar to make sense of that one, does it? But we’re living in an age where some ask what a woman is, so asking what obedience is doesn’t seem that far-fetched. If the Bible says it, you do it!

Even if it’s uncomfortable for your flesh, even if you have to deprive yourself, even if no one else around you is doing it, do what the Bible says. The higher you press, the fewer companions you will have on your journey. It is the nature of both obedience and sanctification.

Obedience isn’t rocket science. It’s not complicated, and it’s not mysterious; it just can’t be theoretical. If you’re hungry, you don’t sit around pondering the implications of a sandwich, dewy-eyed about how many hands it took to pick the lettuce, knead the dough, raise the turkey, carve the meat, jar the pickles, transport the ingredients to your supermarket, and finally assemble the meal before you; you eat it. The same goes for obedience. You just do it.

If obedience is burdensome to you, chances are the flesh still needs a few nails driven through it. You may have pinned it to the cross, but it’s always trying to wriggle free. That’s just the nature of flesh.

When we obey, as when we fast, we should not go about moping, downcast, and despondent as though His burden wasn’t light. He said it was. Your flesh might not think so, but then again, your flesh shouldn’t have a vote, nor should it determine your countenance.

Obedience is the first virtue required to receive power from on high. Without it, we’re just fooling ourselves, thinking we have something we don’t. And as an aside, even though it’s painfully apparent, the power comes from on high. Bob, Jill, Frank or Candace can’t give it to you. They can’t teach it to you. It originates from God, comes from God, and is distributed by God. If we are not in compliance with the prerequisites, rather than tell anyone who would hear that God just doesn’t do that anymore, perhaps try obedience and see what happens.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Friday, January 27, 2023


 There are undeniable differences between what the Holy Spirit is tasked with regarding those of the world and those who belong to God. There is no broad brush, no one size fits all narrative, and we can see that within the pages of Scripture.

Neither God, Christ, nor the Holy Spirit will treat those of the world in like manner as those of the household of faith. When it comes to the world, the Holy Spirit’s job is to convict it of sin, righteousness, and judgment. When it comes to the children of God, the Holy Spirit sanctifies the believer, renews the believer, leads, fills, comforts, gives gifts, and produces fruit in the believer.

Why do you think the battle to convince the children of God that the Holy Spirit is irrelevant is so heated? Why do you think the battle to convince you that the Holy Spirit is nothing more than an unused appendage within the triune God is so fierce?

When you eliminate the person of the Holy Spirit from the life of a believer and when you convince them that He no longer does what He did and what Christ promised He would do, you are stunting their spiritual growth, and come the trials, come the fire, come the testing, they will wilt and wither.

The enemy knows what he is doing and is meticulous in carrying out his plans. We have an entire generation of believers who consistently focus more on the things of this earth than the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. They’ve talked themselves into believing that worldly success equates to the blessing of God in their lives, unwilling to acknowledge that as long as they’re not pressing in and desiring more of God, the devil is more than happy to give them baubles and trinkets.

The one thing the devil is trying to keep you from is what you should be pursuing most. The things the devil is offering you liberally are what you should be staying away from. He’s not your friend. But when our minds have shifted from seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness to the things of this earth and its enticements, we no longer see the devil as the enemy of our souls but as someone who’s just misunderstood and not such a bad guy after all.

The power from on high comes via the Helper or the Holy Spirit. If you eliminate the Holy Spirit and the presence thereof, you’ve eliminated the power which you, as a child of God, were promised by Christ.

If you were never endued with power, you will flinch on the day of battle. If you were never endued with power, even if you have the boldness to face the enemy, you will be doing so in your own strength. It’s one thing to have life; it’s another to have power. When you are born, you have life. What you don’t have is power. You have life, but you have no power to defend yourself, wage war, stand, fight, and overcome.

Some believers remain in that state of infancy for far too long, dependent on others for their succor, and when those they become dependent upon have no desire to see them grow, mature, and go off on their own, they feed them just enough to keep them alive and nothing more.

There is a difference between being alive and having power. Technically, a person in a coma or someone on a ventilator is alive, but they don’t have any power to animate them. Don’t be a spiritual vegetable. Desire the power of God because it is a promise He made to those who would avail themselves of it. If you do not have power, it’s not because God’s hand is short or because He rescinded His offer.

Christ’s first command to His disciples after His resurrection wasn’t to go, and do, tear down, bind up, or declare; it was to wait. He tells them all the things they would be doing, then says, “but terry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

When you put the cart before the horse, you won’t be getting anywhere fast. When you try to do for the kingdom without first having the power to do it, you’ll just be spinning your wheels, growing frustrated, and, somewhere along the way, blaming God for not succeeding in your endeavor.

The disciples waited until they were endued with power from on high, then twelve men turned the world upside down, not because of how capable they were, how convincing, or how eloquent, but because they had power. You can’t have power without life, but you can have life without power. Take a minute; that’s a deep one.

Sadly, that is the state of much of today’s contemporary church. Yes, there are signs of life, but as far as power goes, there is none to be had. What becomes of a church without power? What becomes of a congregation without the presence of the Holy Spirit?

These are questions worth pondering because the night is coming when no man can work. Some will realize it far too late that they could have had what Jesus promised if only they’d asked. They will realize they could have walked in victory rather than defeat, overcome rather than surrendered, and walked in His strength and not their own. For now, the enemy is running out the clock hoping the church doesn’t stir from its slumber. He is doing all he can to ensure that we have no power to speak of when the battle is upon us, and if we are found powerless, all we are is prey.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Task Specific

 Whether a business or an army, ten people or a thousand, without a chain of command and delegation of responsibility, it would all go to ruin. It wouldn’t be a slow decline that can be measured over the years; it would be quick, sudden, and violent, like bringing down a building with a few pounds of dynamite.  

A chain of command maintains order and discipline, prerequisites to any endeavor requiring more than a handful of people to go smoothly. There are rules that must be followed, orders that must be carried out, tasks that must be accomplished, and responsibilities one must take upon themselves in exchange for requisite compensation. In the old parlance, if you want money, you have to earn it by the sweat of your brow, and more often than not, it won’t be pleasant or likable.

If you love what you do and can still make a decent living at it, you are blessed. My wife loves what she does. To her, it’s not work, and so she can sit and lay out an entire floor, draw lines, put in measurements, and do tedious stuff that would drive me up a wall without once complaining. I can leave home, come back three hours later, and find her in the same spot, doing the same thing as if no time had passed.

When you apply for a job, you fill out an application, itemize your skills, then go on to the interview part, where your potential boss asks if you can carry out specific duties and responsibilities the job may require. For the most part, excluding coding, accounting, or anything requiring a four-year degree, the tasks are mundane and repetitive.

Long ago, just to cement the idea that I never wanted to work for anyone ever again, I applied for a job as a third-shift shelf stocker at Walmart. Wouldn’t you know it, I got hired. I could have likely gotten a better job, but I wanted the worst I could get, which fit the bill within driving distance. I worked there for three months, five days a week, ten hours a night until I knew that I would crawl over broken glass while on fire before I worked for anyone dumber than me ever again. Let’s just say the night manager would never have been mistaken for a genius.

I did the job well enough; it wasn’t rocket science. The first night one of the other third shifters told me I was moving too quickly, something I’d never personally been accused of before, and I should slow down because I was getting paid by the hour, not by the shelf. I thanked him for his advice but still kept my own pace because even though it was only $7.25 per hour, I’d committed to doing the best job I could, and I wasn’t going to break my word just to pacify the lazy.

I did the tasks I was assigned to the best of my ability, and at the end of every week, I got a check that seemed incongruous with the ten hours per night I’d put in Sunday through Thursday.

When it comes to the lives of men, there are certain things the Father is responsible for, others that the Son is responsible for, and others still that the Holy Spirit is responsible for. Once you begin to understand the interworking of God in your life, you come to realize that there is a division of labor among the three, and each work interdependently toward the same goal. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will never be at odds. They are in perpetual harmony, complimentary of one another.


Although readily dismissed in the modern-day church, the Holy Spirit is responsible for carrying out what many assume falls under the purview of the Father. I get that if you leave your Bible in the plastic wrapping, it keeps fresh longer. Still, perhaps just for their own edification, some should read it before going off, regurgitating what they heard someone else say, insisting that the Holy Spirit no longer has any responsibilities or influence in today’s world.

That was for back then, brother, the Holy Spirit’s back in heaven, and here we are stuck on earth with no power, no authority, nothing but the stories of yesteryear to keep the fire alive.

John 16:7-11, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see me no more; of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged.”

The allocation of duties is evident in these four verses. Jesus said He would send the Helper once He went away, then the Helper would convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. As long as the world is convicted of sin, meaning there is still repentance, and men reject the darkness for the light, then the Holy Spirit is still present and active.

It’s not your job to convince someone of their sinfulness. Your job is to speak the truth and be a light. The Holy Spirit convicts the world. It is He who convinces someone of their error and sin. I’ve known believers who grow angry with themselves because they can’t make headway with an individual. No matter how much they try to show them the error of their ways, they are stone, and nothing gets through. That’s because they were trying to do what they were never tasked with doing.

You plant the seed. You speak the truth and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. When He convicts those of the world of sin, it breaks them, humbles them, and brings them to the foot of the cross, where they find remission of sins through repentance.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2023


 What Jesus was telling His disciples wasn’t new or groundbreaking. He was repeating the words of the prophet Joel, but He first had to open their understanding so that they might comprehend the Scriptures.  These were the same men who walked with Him, who had been there to witness miracles and hear Him preaching. Men who now saw Him raised from the dead yet still needing their understanding opened.

Imagine Him trying to do that today, with everyone believing they know everything about everything already. Imagine how many self-important, self-anointed men of God would try to correct the Son of God, insisting that they saw it differently. 

When we no longer acknowledge our need for understanding, we close up our hearts to what the Scriptures say. I’ve thought about this, and I don’t think it’s an involuntary response. Most people insist they no longer need their understanding opened because they fear the Word will contradict their preconceived narrative. What if, perchance, what I believed to be true turns out not to be so because the Bible contradicts it?

Does God expect me to not only admit I was wrong but actually humble myself to the point of allowing Him to lead? Surely not! I’ve walked this road for decades. I’ve told everyone I know that we wouldn’t have to resist the mark, suffer persecution, or endure to the end. Am I now expected to go and tell people I was wrong? Yeah, kind of; that’s what grownups do.

Instead of humbling ourselves, however, instead of allowing God to open our understanding, we go on the offensive, thinking that if we can discredit the messenger, it will nullify the message. We get savage about it too. It’s personal. You’re attacking my long-held beliefs about one thing or another, and because I don’t want to accept that I might have been wrong, you must be destroyed. We’d have ourselves a good old-fashioned rumble if Christians were half as committed to pushing back on the enemy as they are about stomping on other believers.

If you’ve been in any type of ministry long enough, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s interesting to watch how quickly the claws come out because, depending on the speed of it, you can determine how insecure the individual is regarding their position and how uncertain they are about their proclamations. If they choose to attack before a debate is had, then you know.

There is a world of difference between being open-minded - one of those umbrella terms that people like to use when it comes to anything spiritual - and having your understanding opened. When one has their understanding opened, it is within the confines of scripture and regarding scripture.

When someone insists you should be open-minded, it’s usually about a guy with face tattoos that’s trying to teach you how to open your third eye so you can see yourself floating above yourself while tapping into your inner self.

Jesus opened the understanding of His disciples that they might comprehend the Scriptures, not that they might chase after flights of fancy and phantasmagorical extra-biblical practices that smell heavily of mysticism and sorcery.

Some of the workshops being offered to the biblically illiterate under the guise of spirituality are outright dangerous and can lead to places so dark you’ll wish you were blind. Since when was the spiritualized version of guided astral projections Biblical? Do the people that sign up for these things even know what they’re opening themselves up to?

But we need power, brother. We have to do something. Well, you can do what Jesus said you should do in order to be endued with power from on high. We can start there instead of pushing counterfeit spirituality on the unsuspecting because you’re losing market share to the devil worshippers and witch covens.

People want the power of God, but they want it their way, on their terms, and God doesn’t play those kinds of silly games. Empty the vessel, clean the vessel, and He will fill the vessel. That’s it. Saved you the few hundred bucks you’d have paid for a seminar on opening your spiritual eye and the spiritual toll it would have taken on you had the people teaching it been knowledgeable enough to deliver what they promised.

That’s the silver lining in all this: for the most part, the people trying to sell you courses on astral projections and third eyes have no clue what they’re talking about. They’re just grifters who saw the potential profit of this sort of con, and they target the gullible and easily swayed.

The gifting of power is never horizontal. It is always vertical. I cannot teach you how to prophesy, dream dreams, have visions, heal, speak in tongues, or interpret tongues. Those gifts, that power, comes from on high.

Anyone who intimates that they can teach you what only God can give you should be avoided. You don’t need to feel around the edges to see how deep the crazy goes; just walk away. It is better by far to humble yourself, get alone with God, and wait to be endued with power from Him than to walk around looking to wrestle devils because some guy who smelled of curry and stale sweat said he’d given it to you for the low, low price of $499.99. By the time you figure out you got nothing in return for your money, it will be too late, and you’ll be lucky to get away with a good beating and a story to tell others.

If your enemy had no power, then there would be no need for power from on high. Because your enemy is formidable and he roams as a lion seeking whom he may devour, God endues His own with power, that they might resist the enemy and be victorious in battle.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2023


 You counterfeit something when you can’t get yourself a real one and hope to pass off what you counterfeited as genuine to someone less intelligent than you. You figure there’s so little of the real floating around that if you put on a good enough show, your audience won’t even question the authenticity of your machinations.

Sure, you have to one-up the other guy, so if he’s throwing his sport coat at people, you punch them in the stomach, but you can’t make an omelet without eggs, and eggs are getting pricy. I’m still waiting for a guy to show up in a white robe with sandals, then start throwing his sandals at people. It may be something—a new twist to an old story and all that. I’m sure some intrepid healer of the multitudes - although no one’s been healed yet - will think of it sooner or later.

Fake it ‘till you make it is good in theory, but it presupposes an end to your faking it, as well as you having made it. When it comes to spiritual matters, if you start off faking it, you’ll continue to fake it until you’re back in the mud pushing up daisies because making it requires effort, sincerity, humility, and repentance, and that’s just too constricting for someone of your vision. Prophets to the nations don’t have time to walk humbly with their Lord.

People whom God spirits away to heaven because He needs their advice are exempt from having to pursue holiness and righteousness. I realize that none of what I just wrote is anywhere in the Bible, but that’s because you have the pauper’s Bible. They have the extra special princely Bible. Either you get angry at these people, or you mock them openly. I try not to get angry anymore. It makes my food taste funny.

The problem with faking it is that the devil isn’t. At the most inopportune time, in the most heinous of ways, the devil will expose you, and the fall will be Hindenburg-level traumatic. Don’t get me wrong, those who use the word of God and the power of God as a means of gain, those who practice usury and mercilessly fleece the sheep of God’s pasture deserve to be exposed and shamed. The problem is that there is always collateral damage when they go down. They never go down alone. Lives are shipwrecked, faith is shaken, people grow disillusioned, and the church gets another black eye.

The not-so-nice me, the me that’s been in ministry since the age of twelve and has seen the good, the bad, and the heretical, tries to withhold empathy for those who get caught in the blast radius of these charlatans because they should have known better, yes, even would have known better if they’d bothered to read their Bibles and believe it rather than fairy tales. To a certain extent, that’s true. That’s the reality of the situation. Because they did not familiarize themselves with the truth, they fell for a lie and now suffer the consequences.

But then I get to thinking about how elaborate the grift is, how they use each other to confirm their heresy, sort of like professors getting their papers peer-reviewed. You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. You come on my program and convince the little old ladies that watch me that it’s a good idea to sign over the titles to their homes so we can build the new billion-dollar prophecy center, and I’ll come on your program and do likewise. Surely two men of God couldn’t be wrong, I mean, out of the mouth of two or three. Granted, one’s a woman that has been married more times than I have fingers on one hand, but that was her journey and her truth, and four out of her five husbands didn’t see the mantle of prophetess to the nations that was on her life.

They don’t preach repentance because there’s no profit to be made from it. Repentance cuts them out of the deal. You don’t need a bishop, pastor, deaconess, or prophetess for repentance. You just need a closet, a sincere heart, and lots of Kleenex. If they started preaching repentance, they would no longer be indispensable and that they could not have.

They’ve made themselves defacto priests of evangelicalism, gatekeepers of the holy of holies, and you can’t get in to talk to God except through them. If you want God to listen, send in the biggest gift you can. If it’s big enough, we’ll usher you to the front of the line and put in a good word.

Jesus didn’t send His disciples out to start schools, teach people how to prophesy, have workshops on taking love offerings, or do a dozen other things the modern-day church seems to be pushing.

He sent them to preach repentance and remission of sins in His name to all the nations. The orders haven’t changed, but evidently, the servants have.

And before we get into the whole what about the school of the prophets in the Old Testament argument, I’m all for it if you hold to the standard of the Old Testament in everything else, from keeping the law to putting to death anyone who prophesies falsely, or attempts to lead astray through prophecy. Them’s the stakes! Still wanna play?

Even though Jesus never said to teach them to prophesy, but did say to preach repentance and remission of sins in His name, do a prophecy conference, and one on repentance, and see how many show up to one and how few show up to the other.

We started the conversation about the promise of power. We’ll get to it in due season. For now, there’s still more to unpack, and it’s worthwhile that we do. Who knows? We may yet learn something revelatory.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Monday, January 23, 2023


 Since the dawn of time, men have craved power. There are workshops, books, and endless hours of video and audio, all revolving around this ephemeral attribute men desire to wield. It is said that the lowly dream of wealth, while the wealthy dream of power. It is intoxicating for all who attain it, and if we are referring to earthly power, it is also corrosive and destructive. As the old adage goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and we’ve seen the truth of it play out time and again.

Give a small person an iota of power, and they’ll make everyone’s life miserable. If you’ve ever tried to drop anyone off at an airport and run across a meter maid, you know exactly what I’m talking about. She doesn’t care if you’re not parked, if the car’s still running, if the blinkers are on, or if your elderly passenger is trying to get out of the car! She’s got her ticket book, and by golly, she will use it, no matter how rationally and calmly you try to explain that it would have been a health hazard to try and convince your passenger to drop, tuck, and roll out of a moving vehicle.

“You can’t park here.”

“I’m not parked. The voice on the speaker says that the curbside is for drop off and pick up only, and I’m doing the former, hence the suitcases and the old person trying to climb out.”

“I don’t care what it says, you have thirty seconds to be on your way, or I’m going to write you up.”

That’s just from a minuscule amount of fleeting authority. No empathy, no understanding, no humanity, just the opportunity to assert herself and take out her frustrations on perfect strangers who are just trying to go about their day.

If you can’t relate to that example, just think back to a couple of years ago when mothers were getting arrested on playgrounds for the high crime of letting their kids swing on the monkey bars. Remember that? I do. Even when I start to forget, I force myself to remember because remembering the past is important. Not remembering the past is the surest way to have no future. Telling yourself it can never happen again or that it won’t be worse next time is a recipe for disaster.

When you boil it down to the essentials, there are only two kinds of power. I know, a guy wrote a book about there being forty-eight of them, but those were laws of power, not types of power. Details matter.

As I was saying, there are two types of power: there is vested power, where one earthly authority vests an individual with power, then there is the power that comes from on high. Even the prince of the power of the air was vested his power, but that’s another topic for another time. We were promised one, not the other, but even if you had a choice in the matter, you should prefer the power from on high.

Vested power, earthly power is limited, fleeting, inadequate, and is readily denounced, overturned, or resisted. The power from on high is altogether different. It is the power Jesus promised His disciples, a power that carries on to this day, for we are not powerless, fearful, skittish servants. We are ambassadors of Christ, bearers of light in a dark world, endued with power for on high.

Luke 24:45-49, “And He opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

As my wife is fond of saying, five seconds after we arrive somewhere, let us unpack, shall we?

We’ll get to the power in due course, but there are a handful of nuggets in these four verses that I would be remiss if I didn’t flesh out. Coincidentally, the things that stand out to me are in direct contrast to the ethos of the modern-day church. Could it be that we are not seeing the power from on high because we are not doing as Christ commanded us to do?

Yes, I know, correlation does not causation make - you’ll hear that a lot in the coming months about certain things happening in the world – but if we do not possess something Christ promised us, the question of why must be asked and answered satisfactorily.

Did God rescind His promise? Did Jesus change His mind, or does the fault lay elsewhere?

Jesus said three things were necessary; His word, not mine. Necessary is the opposite of optional. For something to be necessary, it is essential and required to be done. First, it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day. If neither of those things had occurred, or if only one had, then Jesus would have been proven a fraud and a liar.

By the time Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, He had already suffered and risen from the dead on the third day. Even Thomas had been pacified, and his doubts abated. At this point, Jesus was giving His disciples final instructions as to what their duty would be from this point going forward.

The second necessary thing was repentance to be preached in His name to all the nations, and the third was that remission of sins would likewise be preached in His name to all the nations. Jesus never said to preach repentance or remission of sins. He said to preach repentance and remission of sins. It wasn’t either or. It wasn’t a choose-your-adventure game; the two were necessary to be preached in tandem because one could not occur without the other.

Repentance? What’s that? Glad you asked. Yes, it’s fallen out of favor in the modern-day church, and correlation not being causation notwithstanding, I believe it is largely the reason we have a shriveled, powerless, spineless church prancing about doing its best to delay coming to terms with the reality that they do not possess the power from on high Jesus promised.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Friday, January 20, 2023


 At some point, I’m assuming I’ll start getting letters in the mail about my High School reunion. I’m not certain as to how many years have to pass from the point you graduated for reunions to start taking place, but I’m not looking forward to the invites, nor am I planning on flying halfway around the country to catch up with people I didn’t like very much in the first place.

It was High School. They were awkward, I was awkward, we had different hobbies, and we didn’t hang out much. Who knows. If we’re still around and not glowing in the dark, I may attend my fiftieth just to see who all is still alive. At some point, there will be one individual left, they’ll show up, put on a party hat, pull the string on a confetti popper, be wheeled back to the old folks’ home, and that will be that. It likely won’t be me. I like food that tastes good too much, and I refuse to lower myself to eating kale even if it promises to extend my life by years. They’d likely be diaper-wearing years, so you know, you can’t take every promise people make at face value.

You can, however, take every promise God makes at face value because He’s neither trying to pull a fast one nor is He trying to sell you kale. He promised redemption, and the shedding of Christ’s blood facilitated it. He died that you might live, and that’s nothing to be trifled with or taken lightly.

Redemption also presupposes gratitude, which in its own right presupposes a reunion. Because of all that He has done, one day, we will stand before Him and thank Him in person and face to face. That is the goal. That is the prize. That is what the heart longs for. To be with Him, in His presence, and fall at His feet and thank Him for the gift of redemption.

Everything else pales in comparison to this singular desire. Everything else is dross when compared to eternity in His presence.

John 16:22, “Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”

Jesus sat His disciples down, preparing them for what was to come. “A little while, and you will not see Me,” He said to them, “and again a little while, and you will see Me.” They didn’t understand what Jesus meant by this. They were scared and confused and still hoping that He might find a way for a bloodless redemption. Jesus knew there was no other way. He’d known since there was silence in heaven until He stepped up and said, “I will go.”

It was no easy thing to keep the promise of redemption. It was, objectively speaking, the most difficult promise to keep because it implied His having to suffer, His having to die, but gloriously His also rising from the dead.

If this kind of love does not animate you, if this kind of love does not propel you, if this kind of love doesn’t spurn you into action, nothing will. He went to prepare a place for you after facilitating your ability to enter in.

He’s been waiting for you, and for me, and for everyone throughout the millennia who have received the priceless gift of salvation. He has promised to return, and He will keep that promise just as readily as He kept the promise of redemption. Are we eagerly waiting for His return, or is the longing for Him no longer stirring in our chests?

Have we been wise and prudent, or have we been seduced and distracted by the voice of another who makes promises he cannot keep in the hopes that you will be caught unaware and unprepared?

These are questions we must contend with lest we grow indifferent and apathetic. Am I eagerly awaiting Christ’s return, or am I just twiddling my thumbs, passing the time, void of passion and hunger?

You know the difference. No one has to give you bullet points about the difference between eagerly awaiting and just trying to run out the clock. You know. It’s the difference between a wife running to the end of the driveway to jump in her husband’s arms after deployment and one who just waves when he walks through the door, halfheartedly, not bothering to break away from her soap opera.

Is He your everything? Is He your all in all? He deserves to be. There’s no doubt about that. He has redeemed you with His loving kindness, and He deserves to be not one of many but the only.

Do you find your joy, comfort, peace, and purpose in Him? Is He sufficient? Because He should be.

Throughout the years, I’ve found that if I lack intimacy with God, it’s a me problem and not a Him problem. God is never out of reach. He is not hard of hearing or distracted, He is waiting for me to approach Him, and when I press in, there is always more of Him to discover, a deeper love, a deeper joy, and a deeper understanding of all that He is.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Thursday, January 19, 2023

No Substitutions

 I always thought that restaurants that insist on no substitutions when it comes to their main dishes were being pretentious and overly restrictive. Granted, I’m one of those guys that asks for A1 sauce with his steak, so what do I know? Believe me; it’s been a bone of contention in our house for the longest time because my wife is a purist, and slathering A1 onto a steak for her is like telling a King James-only person that you read the New King James.

Anything you say after that point is, well, pointless because all they heard is New King James, and they’re mentally trying to figure out which circle of Dante’s hell you will inhabit evermore. As far as that whole debate goes, the entire Bible has been translated into 724 languages, so narcissism and self-importance aside, if only King James only people went to heaven, heaven would be a pretty empty place, but I digress.

Have some taken it too far? Most assuredly. But anyone with an objective view can see there is a world of difference between the New King James Bible and the gender-neutral Bible. It’s usually people with full bellies and warm hearths that have the luxury of nitpicking everything and going off on rabbit trails so far removed from the core message of the gospel that they start foaming at the mouth about black holes and interstellar travel. Ask someone who is risking being hung, stoned, or decapitated for receiving Christ about translations, and they will look at you as though you lost the plot at some point.

Persecution makes everything simple. The risk of having one’s life taken for following after Christ strips everything down to its essential components, removing all the tertiary, non-salvific bits until there is only a redeemer, the redeemed, and the price paid for their redemption. It’s funny how that works; the more comfortable the church is in any given generation, the more likely it is to be lukewarm, indifferent, disinterested, and focused on irrelevancies they grow so passionate about they become the hill they’re willing to die on rather than the truth of the Gospel. I’ve known individuals who broke fellowship with other believers because they disagreed on things like flat earth or aliens or whether or not the Antichrist is some hockey player in Hungary. So much for brothers in arms and soldiers of the cross. How did we get here? Oh, yeah, no substitutions.

Having had a chance to converse with people in the food industry on and off, I found out it wasn’t about pretension as much as it was the fluidity in the kitchen and their ability to get orders out as soon as possible. Also, when you start to substitute one thing for another in a dish, the intended flavor profile, mouth feel, and texture variants are no longer the ones being plated.

Psalm 49:6-9, “Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches, none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him – for the redemption of their souls is costly, and it shall cease forever – that he should continue to live eternally, and not see the Pit.”

I get it. Theological juggernauts like Oprah insist that there are substitutions a plenty, but the Word of God says that none can be had. Even those rich enough to boast of their wealth aren’t rich enough to redeem their brother or give God a ransom for him. We’re not talking about lightweights here; we’re talking about people who boast in the multitude of their riches, yet they can do nothing to redeem their souls or the souls of their loved ones.

One redeemer, one price, no substitutions. I don’t care who said what. I don’t care how they try to twist it. The Word of God is absolute and immovable. It will not change for a man or for an entire generation of men, and those who deluded themselves into believing otherwise will be confronted with the reality of their delusion when they stand before the great seat of judgment on that day of days.

Allergic to repentance? Can’t help you. Holiness intolerance? I’m sorry, this may not be the place for you. We must stop telling people that the blood of Christ was worth so little that they can wash themselves clean, then go right back to doing cannonballs in the pig pen. We need to stop telling people that God is so desperate for them that He’ll bend the rules, look the other way, and no longer insist on the standard that has been in place for two thousand years.

Anyone artificially lowering God’s standard isn’t out to help you; they’re out to make merchandise of you. They don’t want what’s best for your eternal soul; they want what’s best for their pocketbook. I can sit here and list a thousand reasons why you shouldn’t listen to hucksters who lie to your face, then reach out their hand in the universal gimme sign. For the most part, the response I’ll get back is either, ‘but I like what he says, he doesn’t hurt my feelings, he puts me at ease, or my spirit bore witness to the message.’

False shepherds will pander to you until you’re all out of wool or you free dive over the precipice. True shepherds will correct you even at the risk of hurting your feelings because their purpose isn’t being liked by you; it’s leading you to the green pastures of God’s truth.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

What For?

 If God’s purpose for redeeming me wasn’t to remove me from the shackles that bound me, and if His purpose for redeeming me wasn’t to take me out of the prison I was in, then why go through all the trouble? It would be a cruel thing indeed to take someone from their dungeon of despair, bring them to the front door, let them see the bright sun and the chirping birds, let them breathe the fresh air of freedom, then return them to the dungeon.

It’s worse than your big sister teasing you with the last piece of chocolate. Worse even than the Nigerian prince you thought would sweep you off your feet and take you to his palace far away, turning out to be a pimple-faced kid in an internet café. In those instances, you were not bound, waiting for an inevitable end until someone showed up with the key and a receipt making you free. Whether you’d gotten the piece of chocolate or the Nigerian prince turned out to be real would not have affected your eternity; whether someone paid the price to redeem your soul from destruction does.

Make it make sense! To those who insist that you can continue to pursue all the things that had you bound before meeting Christ after you’ve met Him, make it make sense. To be redeemed is to be purchased. It is to belong to a new Master, as opposed to the master you belonged to up until then. How can we continue to flirt with the enemy of our souls, refuse to follow after the One who redeemed us, and still sing it is well, it is well?

I’m sure the devil loves to have it so, and all he had to do was move you to another wing of the prison. A painted dungeon is still a dungeon, and sparkly shackles are still shackles. That men would delude themselves into believing they are free simply because they acknowledged the existence of a redeemer but did not avail themselves of redemption is disheartening.

Men choose bondage over freedom. They choose to be a slave over being a servant. That’s the reality of it, and it’s heart-wrenching. Freedom is yours if you will have it, cries the Son of God. Men hear the words; they acknowledge His voice, then proceed to convince themselves that bondage isn’t that bad and that the weight of their sin is not crushing them into the dirt.

1 Peter 1:17-19, “And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

But I don’t like that passage. Quote another one. Maybe something about prosperity or the wealth of the wicked being stored up for the righteous. What’s this talk about fear and conducting ourselves in such a manner throughout the time of our stay here?

Certain words automatically trigger people. I hate using the word trigger, I do, but in this case, I’ll make an exception. Anytime you broach the subject of having the fear of the Lord or quote a passage such as the one I just did, usually, with some finger wagging and head shaking, I am told that perfect love casts out fear, and I don’t know what I’m talking about.

As with everything else, there are nuances when the word fear is used in the Bible. There is the fear that many associate with the term, also known as terror, horror, or dread, then there is the fear Peter is referring to, which is something else altogether.

You know not to touch a live wire not because you are terrified of it but because you have a healthy respect for what it can do and avoid it knowing this. Peter is highlighting two undeniable truths. First, you were redeemed by something far more precious than gold or silver, and second, you were redeemed from something.

Another held the marker on your soul. You were ensnared, imprisoned, a slave, and Jesus set you free. Remember what you were freed from and be on constant guard for anyone or anything that would attempt to return you to that place of hopelessness and emptiness.

You know that the devil will try. Sooner or later, he will attempt to entice you with the thing that had you shackled because it is your weakness, and he knows it. Be wary, be vigilant, be on guard, and resist the enemy at every turn. The devil isn’t trying to seduce you out of the goodness of his heart, nor is he trying to tempt you because he feels empathy for the fact that you’ve been doing without whatever it is that was keeping you in bondage. The devil is trying to beguile you because his singular desire is to separate you from freedom and return you to the cage you formerly occupied.

If you have no desire to return to the shackles, if you have no desire to return to the dungeon, if you have no desire to return to the bondage, then conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear, knowing that you were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2023


 There are three crucial components to redemption: a willing redeemer, something or someone that is redeemed, and a price, which not only is the redeemer willing to pay but is capable of paying. I know plenty of people who daydream of doing good in the world but don’t have the means. Good intentions are great and all, but if you don’t have the wherewithal to carry out what you intend, it remains in the realm of fantasy.

Not only was God willing to pay the price for your redemption, but He also had the means. He’s not going to back out of the deal, or say He needs a few days, or be sad to inform you that His credit provider decided against giving Him the loan. Every fear men have regarding God not being able to carry out His promise of redemption is unfounded. Either that, or it’s a defense mechanism and a way to procrastinate and put off true repentance and brokenness of heart.

You’d be surprised at the lengths to which men will go to put off that make-or-break moment in their lives. Their flesh is pulling them one way, their spiritual man another, and one must win the tug of war at some point. Even though they have concluded that they are slaves rather than the masters of their sin, even though they concluded they are in need of a redeemer, the flesh does what the flesh does and whispers, “tomorrow.”

Imagine the power a sin or a vice exerts over an individual when they look in the mirror, are wholly disgusted with themselves, abhor what they’ve become, and within the hour, they go back to doing what disgusted them in the first place, only to repeat the cycle anew.

Tomorrow is one of the most dangerous words in the English vocabulary. More often than not, tomorrow turns into next week, then next month, and given enough tomorrows, you find yourself breathing your last, hoping for one more tomorrow to make everything right.

If the devil can get someone to delay repentance once, chances are he can do it twice, then a third time. Then it becomes a pattern that the devil can exploit. All the while, the addiction, the perversion, the sin bores itself deeper into the heart. It is far easier to pluck a weed from the earth than it is a tree, and the enemy of your soul knows this.

Everybody serves somebody. That’s as succinct a way as I can put it. The tragedy is that some men won’t acknowledge their bondage; they will not acknowledge their slavery and revel in their chains as though they were free.

John 8:31-36, “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free?’” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.’”

What did you serve once upon a time? What were you a slave of? Was it anger, fear, greed, lust, drink, drugs, hate, or ignorance? You may have thought, as the Jews of Christ’s day did, that you were solid, that you’d never been in bondage to anyone until you were redeemed, made free indeed, then realized how much of a slave you were.

You can’t describe light to the man who’s always been in darkness. You can’t describe the truth to those who’ve always lived a lie. They have to experience it firsthand; they have to feel the sun on their face and see the light thereof; they have to hear the truth and be struck by its beauty.

Why do you think it’s so difficult for someone who’s been saved to explain it to someone who hasn’t? Why do you think they look at you as though you just went off your meds or throw you into the same basket as those who claim to have been probed by aliens or gotten a piggyback right from Big Foot?

You were estranged and alienated. You did not know the depth of God’s love nor the price that was paid for you. You were lost, wandering, empty, rudderless, and purposeless, then He found you. Nobody’s ever at their best when God finds them. We’re not a diamond tiara in a shop window with a hefty price tag; we’re more like a broken toy, covered with grime, sitting on a blanket in an out-of-the-way parking lot.

That’s where the gratitude ought to stem from. Self-awareness is key when processing how far we’ve come from where we were and that it was all due to His love and grace. He first loved us. He paid the price for our redemption, and we’ve become His twice over.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Monday, January 16, 2023

For You

 As the story goes, back in the day, when things were going from bad to worse in Austria, a father saw the writing on the wall and began making plans to move his son away. His wife had died in childbirth, and his son was the only family he had left. The man was a wood carver by trade, and for his eighth birthday, he carved a beautiful wooden horse for his son, with wooden wheels and a string with which he could pull the toy beside him. Once the toy was finished, he also caved his initials on the horse’s underbelly, small but noticeable, so his son would know it had been his handiwork.

He was trying to sell his business when the whispers began that they were rounding people up in Germany and other parts of the continent. One night, unable to wait any longer, the man took his son and their belongings and left in the middle of the night. In their haste, the boy didn’t notice that his wooden horse was missing until they were already on the train on their way to France. The boy never knew whether it had fallen out of his bag or he’d forgotten it at home; the toy was gone.

Thirty years later, the boy, now a successful architect in Paris, returned to Austria for the first time since he’d left. He walked the streets of his old neighborhood, found the building he and his father once shared, sat in a café, and drank coffee, and as he walked through the city, he happened upon a small market where vendors brought their wares to sell. There were silver spoons and fancy plates, smoking pipes and brass doorknobs, art in gilded frames, and military uniforms. Then on a blanket on the ground, amidst trinkets and baubles, he saw a wooden horse. It was dirty, packed with grime, missing one ear, and cracked wheels, but that horse looked far too familiar to him.

The young man asked to see it, running his fingers across the wood, holding the toy gently, then turned it over and inspected the underbelly with all the focus he could muster. It was faded, almost invisible, but the initials were there, and as he ran his finger over them, he could feel the indentations.

“How much do you want for this,” he asked in broken German.

The old woman looked at the toy in his hand and said, “5 groschens,” the equivalent of five cents.

The young man pulled his billfold out of his coat pocket and began counting his money.

“Four hundred eighty-seven shilling,” the young man said, “it’s all I have. Will you take it?”

The old woman looked puzzled, then said, “That’s too much. I couldn’t take your money; it’s not worth that.”

“It is to me,” the young man answered, wiping tears from his eyes and handing the woman the stack of bills.

God chose to pay the price for your redemption without haggling, quibbling or asking for a better deal. He paid more for you than you thought you were worth on your best day, even though, for most of us, our best days are so far in the rearview that there’s nothing to see. He didn’t wait until you went on sale or were in the clearance bin. He so desired for you to be reconciled to Him that He watched as His only begotten Son wore a crown of thorns, was flogged, hung on a cross, bled, and died, without intervening.

For His part, Jesus endured the pain, the humiliation, and the alienation, all the while knowing that more than twelve legions of angels were no more than a prayer away. They did all that for you because there was no other way.

Overinflated egos being what they are, I’m sure there are individuals about who think God got a deal. He didn’t. I know I can only speak for myself, but God didn’t get a deal when He redeemed me. Nevertheless, He did it, and for this, I will be forever grateful.

I keep coming back to this because it’s such a powerful truth that far too many seem to overlook. You were only worth what He paid for you to God. Nobody knows how long that boy’s wooden horse lay on that blanket, week after week, month after month. Thousands upon thousands of people may have passed it by, and none were willing to spend five cents for it. They saw no value in it; they saw no worth. Then the young man comes along and offers everything he has because, to him, it is priceless. It wasn’t priceless because it was so exquisite; it was priceless because of who made it and the connection the young man had with it. Its value was derived from something other than the material it was made of or its execution and detail.

Isaiah 59:2, “But your iniquities have separated you from God; And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear.”

There could be no reconciliation without redemption, nor could there be salvation without redemption; for you to be redeemed, a price needed to be paid.

I’ve been accused of being overly passionate when it comes to men honoring God by the way they live, and if I have been, this is the reason for it. You were redeemed by the blood of God’s Son. How dare anyone trifle with such a precious gift? How dare anyone take it for granted or feel as though they were entitled to redemption?  

If I know I was purchased with a price, and the price I was purchased with far exceeded what I am worth, how could I not love and serve my Master? It cost God more than some of you choose to realize to redeem you from destruction.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.