Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Doers II

 It is within your ability to do what the Word of God instructs you to do. God will not ask the impossible of you. He does not require us to lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, knowing we could never manage to do so, wanting to see us try and fail. He is not a cruel God. He is a good Father. If God requires something of me, then I know it is within my ability to carry out His command. It may not be pleasant, easy, or otherwise painless, especially to the flesh, but it is doable as long as you desire to obey.

It’s not supposed to be painless anyway. If you think it is, revisit Abraham and Isaac and their journey to Moriah. That’s the lie, though, isn’t it? You must strive for and pursue everything else in life except for eternity. Eternity will be thrust, nay, forced upon you, and God will be so filled with gratitude that you accepted His offer to save you that He will bow and scrape to stay in your good graces for the rest of your life!

Either I’m switching to decaf or putting together a book titled All the Lies the Church Believes! I haven’t decided yet. I will let you know when I do.

Once more, we are confronted with our heart's true desire versus what we declare with our lips. People sing lies every Sunday because their actions are contrary to what they sing all the other days of the week. They go and sit in a pew and hear the word being preached, but once they leave, they take no action to follow through and do as instructed.

More often than not, the emphasis is not placed on being a doer of the word because it’s likely to cause friction. Even when the shepherd shepherds and emphasis is placed on our faith being more than just warming a pew for an hour every other Sunday, the sheep seem to have selective hearing and only receive the thing about blessings being pressed down and shaken together.

James 1:22-25, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

Being a hearer only and not a doer of the word is not an alternative or a secondary option. It’s self-deception. Oprah is not being open-minded when she insists there are multiple paths to the same destination; she is a deceived individual who is attempting to deceive others into embracing her deception.

But what if you don’t yet know the whole Word? Be a doer of the Word you know, and with each new revelation of the Word in your life, be a doer of that as well. Everybody wants to bind and loose and dispatch angels to foreign lands, but nobody wants to lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness. That’s too banal. It doesn’t get anyone excited.

We dance around singing about having the enemy under our feet when we haven’t removed him from our hearts, then wonder why there is no power and no authority in today’s church. Nobody wants to hear about what it takes to walk in authority or have the devil know your name. All they want to hear is how they’re queens and kings and priests, oh my, while refusing to be doers of the word because that’s not how they roll.

Being a doer of the word implies no longer being a doer of everything else that stands in opposition to the word, and as long as we can find someone who will tell us we can have the best of both worlds, what’s the point of denying ourselves?

Tell me how to be victorious! Well, you have to put on your armor and learn how to fight first. Forget that; just tell me how to win. By learning how to fight. There must be another way, an easier way, a less taxing way. There isn’t! So either you learn how to fight, stand, and strive to the utmost in standing, having done all and leaving everything on the field of battle, or you will never know the taste of victory in your life.

It’s war! If you think about it in anything less than those terms, you will not take it seriously enough. You’re not going to put up much of a fight when the devil’s trying to kill you and you’re trying to flirt with him.

If you are a hearer of the word and not a doer thereof and believe you have attained, you are deceiving yourself. It may sound harsh, but it’s better that you know now while you can do something about it than when you stand before the throne of judgment. There will be those fully assured in themselves that they will be welcomed into the kingdom with open arms, only to be told to depart from before His presence because He never knew them. We don’t like to talk about that too much, and when we do, it’s always meant for someone else. I’m sure those told to depart also thought it was about someone else.

We approach God with the mindset of daily being refined, not as ones who have achieved perfection and have nothing left to whittle away or remove. We are not perfect but are perfected daily by being doers of the word and not hearers only.

The situation becomes problematic when we look in the mirror and see something that isn’t there. Bodybuilders call it muscle dysmorphia when they see themselves as small and puny, no matter how big they get. Christians have yet to coin a name for it, but inverse spiritual dysmorphia is likely a good jumping-off point wherein we look in the mirror and see ourselves mightier than we are, thereby concluding that we have no further need of refinement or being a doer of the word.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2023


 And this is where the hair-pulling, denial, and acrimony start. It’s an odd thing to witness supposed believers tear their clothes and fall to the earth on their faces whenever anyone mentions righteousness, holiness, or, dare I say, being a doer of the Word and not a hearer only. At the same time, the same folks who would burn you at the stake for daring to quote the Bible feel oddly at ease, cheering on the most debased and hedonistic of perversions, waving miniature flags as lost souls thrust and gyrate in front of underage children.

If something doesn’t walk like a duck or quack like a duck, can it still call itself a duck? If we reject righteousness while embracing filthiness, light while embracing darkness, and truth while embracing the lie, can we still call ourselves sons and daughters of the Most High God?

How dare anyone have the temerity to insist on personal accountability? Haven’t you read Joseph Prince’s tomes on the easy way to heaven? You don’t even need to repent of anything anymore. The bus is pulling into the station, and all you have to do is want to get on. Free rides for everybody! Are you saying some lowly carpenter knew better than Joseph Prince? Yep, that’s what I’m saying.

James 1:21, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

Say it ain’t so! You’re one of those works salvation people, aren’t you? I just quoted the Bible, ma’am. Well, I don’t receive it. It doesn’t bear witness with my spirit, and I’m never reading anything you write ever again. And that’s your prerogative, to be sure, but it’s in the Book, in black and white, and clear enough for anyone to understand what it means. Empty vessels are cleaned and then filled. Full vessels are set aside until they are emptied.  

The onus of laying aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness is on you, as is receiving the implanted word of God with meekness. Knowing that the word is able to save your soul, you receive it with meekness. Knowing that God will not share your heart with wickedness, filthiness, or sin, you lay those things aside, preferring Him over the pleasure of sin.

That God will transform the heart and give you a new mind is a given since it is a promise He made, but it is predicated on your willingness to unburden yourself of wickedness and receiving the implanted word which is able to save your soul.

If you refuse to lay aside all filthiness, not just some, or the filthiness you don’t dip your toe into often enough that you’ll miss it once it’s gone, you cannot live with the expectation of being remade, born again, matured, and perfected.

There is a reason the devil is pushing tolerance of sin in the church with such ferocity, and it’s not because he loves you, and he just wants to see you happy and fulfilled. The devil knows that the continued presence of wickedness in someone’s heart impedes the work of the Holy Spirit and keeps the individual from true transformation.

If he can convince people still in bondage, still shackled to their sin and vice, that they are free, they will never struggle to be free indeed. If you can convince someone that they’ve entered through the narrow gate with no more effort than touching their television screen, why would they need to strive any longer?

I realize there are certain passages some would rather not have been included within the canon of Scripture, but they were, and we must contend with them. We cannot ignore them or pretend they don’t exist because what they imply is uncomfortable to the flesh. We can’t ignore entire books of the Bible because a given denomination did a half-hearted job in trying to convince the masses that they don’t matter.

Somewhere along the way, the household of faith has gone from the mindset of doing whatever it takes to remain faithful and true to the Word and will of God to not being willing to do anything at all save for throwing a few coins in the offering plate when it’s being passed around. Because those in charge only care about the coin, they’re more than willing to allow the sheep to live under the delusion that all is well with their souls as long as they keep ponying up while they are spiritually crippled at best and having never encountered Jesus at worst.

If I close my eyes, I can sense the frustration James is exhibiting, and I share it. Although the vernacular of the time might not lend itself to coming out and saying stop playing games and grow up already, that’s what James meant when he insisted that we lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness.

Pick a side and stick to it. You can’t swim in the sewer and the streams of living water simultaneously. It must be one or the other, and it’s a choice you must make because the onus is on you to break with sin. Will God give you the strength to follow through and keep yourself pure once you’ve laid these things aside? Most assuredly. God, however, cannot force righteousness upon you. You must choose to receive the implanted word with meekness, knowing that it can save your soul.

When we receive the implanted word, we must do so with meekness. We receive the word not from a position of arrogance wherein we believe our feelings trump the words of the Bible or that the Word of God is inferior to our feelings, but from one of meekness wherein we defer to the word and submit to its authority.

The genuine desire of one’s heart will be revealed in what they devote their time, energy, and resources to. If you desire to save your soul and produce the righteousness of God, then you will be a doer of the word and not a hearer only. You will actively strive to lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, receiving the implanted word of God with meekness and thankfulness, knowing that it can save your soul.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Monday, November 27, 2023


 We do everything we do with a purpose; at least, we should. There ought to be intentionality behind everything we do because life is short, finite, and over before most people get a chance to figure out what it’s all about.

Usually, life lessons are hard learned, and by the time you figure out you can’t take any of it with you, you’ve spent the better part of your life amassing, hoarding, and sacrificing things that matter for things that don’t. I’ve had enough conversations with enough people to pick up on the pattern, and it’s a sad and depressing one.

The same goes for people who think they don’t need God until they discover they can’t live without Him. That’s the crux of it. When you have your moment of epiphany and realization, it’s not that you realize you need God but that you can’t live without His presence in your life. If His presence is anything less than an existential need, then you will not fully submit to His authority or obey His commands without question.

Jesus isn’t just a good alternative to buying a pet or someone nice to have around when things go sideways; He is everything, and those who have, throughout history, laid down their lives in service of Him understood this. It’s also the reason He would prefer that men be either hot or cold rather than the lukewarm amalgam this present generation is intent on remaining. We could go into the whole notion of lukewarm or tepid environments being a breeding ground for viruses or diseases, but the reality is that if you are lukewarm, you are not dependable, and you will falter and flail during those moments when you need to stand firm and be bold.

We’ve all heard that a friend in need is a friend indeed, but the same goes for a servant who must be faithful to be deemed worthy. What much of today’s church is comprised of are opportunists, not servants. They heard there was a great offer on fire insurance, and since they’ve always been bargain hunters and the sweaty guy behind the pulpit told them it doesn’t cost them anything, they decided to sign up. Apropos of nothing, the Jesus they’re supposed to be serving and representing said there was a cost, and we should count it, but I’m sure they can explain that away too.

Rounding out the trifecta of needful qualities in the face of trials is being slow to wrath. Not only should we be swift to hear and slow to speak, but we must also be slow to wrath because the wrath of man is counterproductive to the imperative of growing in righteousness. It’s what James is trying to convey in so many words. As he puts it, we should be slow to wrath because the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Everything we do produces something, whether for our good or to our detriment. That time you spend in prayer and reading the Word is not wasted; it produces the desire to know more of God in your heart and matures your understanding of His will in your life. Conversely, those ten hours binge-watching a television show about the Saxon raids on Roman Britain did nothing to grow your spiritual man, even though you learned what a berserker was.

Perhaps we are so ready to squander it because we don’t view time as a finite resource. I’m not saying you should not partake of any sort of entertainment. I’m not your momma or your daddy, so I’m not about to scold you. Still, I would encourage you to be intentional with your time and understand that everything produces something in your life, and you must be mature enough to know what you are producing.

If I’m sitting on my couch popping ring dings like they were tic-tac, expecting to get in shape, it will never happen, though I might wish it with every fiber of my being. The action I’m undertaking is incongruent with the desired result. If I want to grow in God but spend all my time pursuing everything other than Him, I’m never going to grow in God.

If you want to produce the righteousness of God, being quick to wrath is not the way because the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

There is a difference between wrath and anger, and the two are not interchangeable. While the Bible tells us to be angry but not sin, it also says we should be slow to wrath. While anger is a telltale sign that something is wrong and can serve as a motivator to address the source of our frustration, wrath is anchored in the desire for vengeance, revenge, or harm toward others.

James does not say we should never experience wrath, but rather that we should be slow to wrath. Yes, distinctions matter because some have taken to assuming that once we come to Jesus, we’re all supposed to be placid placebos, allowing everyone to walk all over us and thanking them for using us as their doormat. It’s gotten so pervasive in certain circles that showing no emotion and being akin to an automaton is now a mark of whether one is saved or not.

People glom onto all sorts of inane tertiary issues and make them the central tenet of their belief structure, but if the central tenet isn’t Christ and Him crucified, whatever it is they hope will buoy them in the days to come won’t.

That said, tempting as it might be to give in to wrath, we must be aware that the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God, and so it is a far better thing to forego wrath altogether that the righteousness of God might be produced in us.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Sunday, November 26, 2023


 Is it just me, or is this generation reading the counsel presented in the Word of God and doing the inverse? It’s not so much that they choose not to obey what the Word says. They go out of their way to do the opposite of what it counsels, as though disobedience wasn’t bad enough.

If the Word says turn right, this generation turns left. If the Word says submit, this generation rebels. If the Word says obey, this generation defies. Then, because it was raised to believe that it was always right and it was not within its ability to be wrong, this generation shakes its fist at God in anger when the consequences of its actions begin to manifest.

No matter what the circumstances, it’s never their fault that they are in the situation they are in. It’s always someone else; it’s always because of what someone else did or said, or implied, and when you point out that it was their choices that led them to where they are, they get angry and accuse you of being in league with those whom they blame for destroying their life.

If you point out that it was their choice to think so little of themselves that they’ve lost count of how many men used them, they’ll be quick to label you a misogynist. If you point out that it was their choice to take their wife for granted and not cherish her as the Bible says, they’ll be quick to label you a male feminist. You can’t win either way as long as you speak the truth, especially as long as there is a chorus agreeing with them that it’s everyone’s fault but their own. Do you think truth has fallen in the street because so many receive it?

James’s counsel is simple, practical, direct, and priceless. It is wisdom for the ages and applies to every generation, no matter how wise that generation sees itself in its own eyes.

James 1:19-20, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

If we would just take these two verses to heart, follow through, and do what they say, there would be far less schism within the household of faith than there is. There would be far fewer hurt feelings, angry brethren, and divisions because we would allot the appropriate amount of time to processing what we heard, in that we are slow to speak, and given enough time, we realize we do not need to speak at all.

Rather than being swift to hear and slow to speak, we are slow to hear and swift to speak, and that creates more headaches than anything else. Everyone has an opinion and wants to be the first to verbalize it. The stubborn among us keep repeating their lunacy until it becomes part of the narrative and is forced upon the populace as normal and true when all evidence points to the contrary. Sorry, Bob, you can’t get pregnant just because you call yourself Barbara. That’s not the way it works.

A man is presumed wise until he opens his mouth to speak. Once he does, it’s either confirmed that they possess wisdom or proven to be a fool. Either way, the matter is settled.

There is no better advice than to listen, keep quiet, and not fly off the handle, especially during trials. Generally speaking, these may be good qualities to have, but they are invaluable when you’re going through a trial.

James doesn’t tell us to nurture and mature these qualities because they’re easy to procure and easier still to grow. He’s telling us to obtain them because difficult as they might be to have, they are necessary for our spiritual walk, growth, and maturing.

It’s hard to listen to anyone about anything when you’re going through a trial. Even the most sincere encouragement seems halfhearted and contrived, and rather than listen for God’s direction amid the storm, we’d rather run to and fro trying to find a way out of it. It’s counterintuitive to keep walking through the fire at the same pace as you were before the fire started, but it will take far longer to find your way out if you try to do it on your own than if you trust in God’s instruction.

Being slow to speak also has its benefits because, more often than not, we like to bloviate about things we do not fully understand, comprehend, or grasp. This is especially true when voicing our opinion about something a brother or a sister is going through without fully understanding the context or the situation as it is and not as it’s being presented to us by one side or the other. It’s no accident that the notion of there being three sides to every story, yours, mine, and the truth, has become commonplace. There is more truth in it than we would like to admit, and everyone tries to present themselves in the best possible light.

More often than not, by a wide margin, it is better to be slow to speak rather than to be swift to do so. Words spoken in haste aren’t always the wisest words that you could come up with, nor will they be the most edifying or encouraging. We’ve all been there. We’ve all said something we’d rather not have in the heat of the moment. We’ve all spoken in haste and lived to regret it, but hopefully, we learned from our mistake, and the next time we were given the choice to remain silent or speak in haste, we chose the former rather than the latter.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Saturday, November 25, 2023


 My daughters took up music recently. One gravitated toward the violin, the other toward the cello. Needless to say, sounds are coming out of our house that, were they loud enough to hear, would compel someone to call the police. They’re just starting, and while I’m praying for hearing loss, there are noise-canceling headsets that I can put on when it gets too rough.

The honor of hearing the melodious sound of wounded cats required an investment on my part because the music teacher was quick to tell me that the children needed instruments of their own at home to practice. Forty bucks a month later, we have a cello and a violin taking up space in the living room until such a time as I return them to the music store whole and unmolested.

My investment in the instruments was not predicated upon what they could presently do but on what I hope they practice and work toward being able to do at some time in the future. God invests in us not for who we are when we encounter Him but for who He knows we can become in Him. When we remain in the same sin, vice, mindset, and spiritual desert after we have encountered Christ, as before encountering Him, all we’ve done is squander the gift of grace that was offered us freely and without remuneration. God did not invest in me because I deserved it. He did not bestow grace and salvation upon me because I was entitled to it. He did so that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

James 1:18, “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”

God brought us forth by the word of truth that we might be, not because we were. He covered the upfront cost of something we could never hope to purchase in the first place, not so we might remain as we were but that we might become what He desired us to be.

Telling people that God wants them to be rich, successful, attractive, and irresistible isn’t just unbiblical; it’s harmful, damaging, and destructive. The world can be all those things, but God wants you to be something the world can never be because you are His, and He made an investment in you. God wants you to be pure, holy, and righteous because these are all virtues the world cannot possess, nor can any man purchase them with silver or gold.

What would have been the point of Jesus dying on the cross if God’s expectation only extended to you being as the world, doing as the world, thinking as the world, and living as the world? Jesus could have been spared the pain, and you and I could have remained just as we were if God’s singular purpose was to give you stuff, make you influential, or bless you with Instagram followers.

Yes, I heard a modern-day self-titled prophetess claim that the Lord had blessed her with five thousand Instagram followers. If I had Instagram, I’d tell her that silly girls in Alabama selling pictures of their feet online have a million. If that’s the metric of blessing, or of being in the will of God, then might I submit that the prophetess in question fell short.

Any time someone insists that something is God’s will for your life, the first question you must ask is if you would be able to acquire said blessings on your own, given a bit of diligence and elbow grease. If the answer is yes, then they are lying because what God gives to His children cannot be obtained by any means other than being one of His children and from no other than His almighty hand.

God bought you with a price, and He bought you for a purpose. The purpose was to do His will and not follow after your own. The purpose was to surrender to Him and forfeit this life for the life eternal, not hopscotch between the light and the darkness as though it were some game.

Rather than insist that God doesn’t do what He promised He would do in His own Word, perhaps we should look in a mirror and assess whether or not we are where we need to be in order to receive what He promised He would give us. I understand it’s easier to shrug our shoulders and say God doesn’t do that anymore. It assuages any sort of personal responsibility on our part, but is it true and factual?

If everything God promised we would receive is available, yet by our duplicity, lukewarmness, and halfhearted commitment, we never attained them, at whose feet should we lay the blame? Is it God’s fault or our own?

But God should have made it clear! He did! He made it crystal clear in His Word. What about booming voices out of the sky, though? What about an angel appearing and telling me what I should do? If you’re not willing to obey the Bible and humbly follow after Christ, you would have found an excuse for not doing so even if a voice boomed from the heavens or an angel appeared in your kitchen.

You were brought forth by the word of truth not so you could be your own but so you could be His. Wholly, fully, and completely His. Not just for a season or a day, not only when the road gets tough and you need someone to lean on, but in perpetuity, for as long as you have breath.

It is a wondrous journey, and at the end, when you hear ‘well done,’ you’ll realize that your journey has barely begun.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Friday, November 24, 2023


 Consensus states that something is only worth as much as someone else is willing to pay for it. If I’m trying to get a hundred bucks for a half-eaten Twinkie, even if in the right light the leftover half looks like Elvis, chances are no one is going to shell out that kind of money. If, however, I’m trying to sell a car for a dollar, people will be lining up around the block.

Some things have inherent value, like an ounce of gold or a bar of silver, at least for now, while legal tender is still something people are willing to trade for their time and energy. You can’t eat gold or silver, but in most instances, you can get a decent meal in exchange. This is viable only insofar as food is plentiful, available, and readily obtained. However, once people start running low and it becomes harder to find, exchanging it for gold becomes less and less appealing.

Between a quarter of a kab of dove’s dung costing upwards of five pieces of silver or that there was a market for dove’s dung, I don’t know which is more eye-opening, but famine has a way of making you less picky about the things you eat or what you’re willing to call food.

In case you think that the dove dung merchants were price gouging, a quarter of a kab is close to half a quart, so five pieces of silver is still reasonable, even if bordering on excessive. Why they didn’t eat the doves that were producing the dung is a puzzle I’ve yet to solve, but maybe they decided they’d rather have the long-term supply of dung than the one-time meal. That said, what were the doves eating? If you have no clue what I’m going on about, you should read your Bible more.

The point is that the same people who were shelling out five pieces of silver for a half quart of dove dung likely scraped it off the bottom of their sandals when times were good and food was plentiful. It never crossed their minds that the stuff they were trying to clean off their soles would someday be deemed the best thing they’d ever eaten.

By the by, hunger does that to you. It makes average meals seem like feasts and bland-tasting ordinary things as though a renowned chef crafted them. If my girls happen to miss lunch for whatever reason, come dinnertime, those butter noodles with parmesan cheese they roll their eyes at under normal circumstances seem like a delicacy. Cut up a hot dog and mix it in, and you’re a shoo-in for dad of the year.

The difference in how you perceive something as being good, good for you, or not, is often just a matter of time. Time will shift your perception and allow you to see more clearly what you once saw, only in shadows.

When James tells us that every good and perfect gift is from above, it isn’t you or I who determine what good and perfect are; it is God. God defines what is good. God defines what is perfect. It may be difficult for us to see some things in our lives as good or perfect, but we trust that God sees beyond the horizon and knows that they are. We do not have the luxury of future time; we cannot see beyond today, or beyond the next handful of minutes for that matter, but we know He does, and this is why we are not dismayed, swayed, or easily shaken.

I may not see the good in a situation I am going through presently, but I know that one day, I will look back on it and see the plan of God, why what happened had to happen, and even the manner in which it occurred.

As temporal creatures here for a breath, it’s hard to wrap our minds around something taking a decade or two to work itself out, but God is eternal, and He sees your end from the beginning with all the major and minor turning points along the way.

God is not constrained by my five-year plan. He doesn’t have to do anything He doesn’t want to do, nor does He have to do what He wants to do within the timeframe I insist He does it in. Whether I see something as good or perfect does not take away from the reality that it is because every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.

It’s not just that we want what we want; we want it the way we want it, and any variation from our expectation is perceived as God having fallen short. It’s because we’ve forgotten who He is and who we are in relation to Him that we have the temerity to shake our finger at Him and make demands.

We think we know better, so we are unwilling to acknowledge that being left to the desire of our heart or being given everything we’ve ever wanted is the worst possible outcome for us. We like to think we have it all figured out and that we wouldn’t crater our lives until there was nothing left but a sack full of regrets and more emotional scars than there is soul. The truth is painful to acknowledge, but it is nevertheless the truth: save for the light of Christ in our lives, we’re all one trip into the fields away from braining our sibling with a rock just because we think they got the better genes.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Wednesday, November 22, 2023


 Looks can be deceiving. At no time in the history of mankind has this been more true. It’s come to the point that trusting your own eyes is a dangerous prospect, and folks who seemed the pinnacle of substantive moral fiber turn out to be less than, trying to justify their newfound position by using such trite drivel as insisting their position has evolved or they grew into this new way of thinking. More often than not, there was a check with a few zeros that swayed their viewpoint, but it seems more noble to say you grew and evolved than to say you sold yourself for a few bucks and a new car.

Before temptation has a chance to bloom into desire, and desire has an opportunity to conceive and birth forth sin, the temptation itself can seem like a lifeline to many. By definition, man is tempted when he is drawn away by his desires and enticed, and very rarely have I come across individuals whose desire is pain, sadness, or emotional damage. Desire presupposes some sort of pleasure, and man is tempted when he does not realize that their desire is fatal if allowed to metamorphose and produce sin. It is the only natural progression of desire, resulting in sin every time. The butterfly cannot become a caterpillar. The caterpillar always becomes the butterfly.

Temptation is quick to hide the consequences of giving in to one’s desires and highlights the momentary pleasure it may offer. If every man who crawled into a bottle or some strange woman’s bed considered the final iteration of what their sin would produce before they did it, there would be far fewer broken homes, broken lives, and broken people.

James is trying to open the eyes of those who might read his letter to the reality that hell is not a party destination, and the temporary fun that sin might proffer isn’t worth the lifetime of regret and repercussions it carries. Five minutes of pleasure on the front end for a lifetime’s worth of pain on the back end isn’t worth it, but just like taking out payday loans for 300% interest, people still do it every day.

If it’s sin, don’t let it in. If you put lipstick on a platypus, it’s still a platypus. How do you know it’s a sin? The Bible has a pretty detailed list of what constitutes sin, but a good rule of thumb is to consider whether whatever is trying to entice you will bring you closer or draw you further away from God and your relationship with Him. That is presuming the desire of your heart is a deeper, more profound relationship with God, and not just paying Him lip service, hoping it’s enough to get the fire insurance everyone’s so quick to promise.

Other than their personal opinion, which has no Biblical basis or foundation, what can they produce as a guarantee of the aforementioned fire insurance? You should know the answer to that one already, but in case you don’t, nothing! There is no guarantee they can produce because there is none to be had.

In their unending quest to find an easier path to heaven, countless souls have been duped into believing that there is one. There are no alternatives, no switchbacks, no rabbit trails, no overgrown ruts as yet undiscovered, and no bypasses. The way is singular, and it is Christ, and anyone not pointing you to Him is not only doing you a disservice, but they have no love for your soul and are indifferent as to where you will spend eternity.

John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”

Jesus said this. Not some guy with overlarge gums trying to convince you to have a recurring offering on your credit card every two weeks. I may come off as sounding frustrated, and that’s because I am. The reason is that even though the old guard of sheep fleecers and money grubbers are dying off or becoming so incontinent they can’t be on camera long enough to make an emotional plea for your money, there is an up-and-coming generation that’s picking up where the other guys left off. 

While the other guys skirted the issue of what sin is and what sin isn’t, the new generation is insisting that nothing is a sin except for you not making an offering to their ministry because you’re impeding the work of the Kingdom by failing to add a zero.

We’re getting close to the finish line, but we’re being told we don’t need to bother crossing it. Temptation is being hurled at us like Molotov cocktails at a mafia wake, but we’re being told we shouldn’t resist it.

I’m sounding like a broken record even to myself, but some things need repeating so often that they become ingrained. The Word of God is the plumb line. The word of God is the final authority. The Word of God is preeminent, and if man contradicts the Word, no matter who the man is, man is in the wrong and the Word in the right.

Your feelings don’t matter. The way you think it should be doesn’t matter. Whether or not you perceive it as fair doesn’t matter, and how a denomination interprets a specific text is irrelevant; the only thing of import is that Jesus is the way, and you walk therein because no man goes to the Father but by Him.

James 1:16-18, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Tuesday, November 21, 2023


 It is said by people in think tanks with over-inflated egos and a disturbing penchant for tweed that the East will come to rule the West, given enough of a time horizon. The reason for this conclusion is that while the West is myopic in its future outlook, planning no more than a handful of years ahead, the East has a hundred-year trajectory of where it wants to be, then slowly and diligently works its way toward it. I can find no fault in the reasoning except for one thing. They did not factor in the unpredictability of generational variation when it comes to being willing to toe the line, shut up, do what they’re told, and work themselves to the bone.

It takes a mighty heavy fist to control a nation multi-generationally, and one misstep, one slight decrease in pressure, and you have yourself an uprising that will upturn the best-laid plans and permanently do away with those attempting to carry them out.

We don’t like to wait for anything, ever. If the kid working the register at the drive-through asks you to pull ahead because they need to deep fry the fake chicken for your sandwich, even if all told it would take less than five minutes, we get frisky and feel put out. I’m sure they’d be willing to give it to you frozen, with the already spray-painted grill marks, but then you might crack a tooth.

We want the crown of life without enduring temptation or being approved, and that can only happen in the fantasy world American televangelists have invented for their followers. In the real world, there is a progression wherein one thing begets another, and none of the steps can be skipped or bypassed. You can’t receive the crown of life without being approved, you can’t be approved without enduring temptation, and you can’t endure temptation unless you’re striving to live according to the way of righteousness.

The devil has no reason to tempt those who are already his. He is not trying to draw them away from the light because they are already in the darkness. He is not trying to draw them away from the truth because they are already living the lie. It’s those whose eyes have been opened, whose hearts have been pierced, and whose will has been supplanted with God’s will that the enemy wars against and attempts to entice from the narrow path. What’s worse is that temptation likes to leave the impression that it’s God doing the tempting.

More often than not, you get a better sense of a situation by looking at it in hindsight. When you’re in the midst of it, when you’re just trying to keep your head above water and are focused on your next breath and nothing else, it’s hard to piece together the intricacies of the tug and pull of temptation amid a trial and how they differ.

I can see the exact moment when, amid a trial, I was offered a means of shortening it, bypassing it, or nullifying it, but by doing so, I would have to betray my principles or do something I knew was against God’s will and purpose for my life. All it would have taken was just a bit of drawing outside the lines, not even outright deception but a slight omission, and I’d be home free, without so much as a bruise to show for my experience.

You must purpose in your heart to remain faithful before those moments arise because it is that predetermination in your heart that you will stand or fall with your principles and morals intact that will make the choice easy. If you are situationally principled or have situational morality, every time a temptation is offered up for you to bypass the trial you are in, you will take it and justify it to yourself, not realizing what you missed out on in the long run.

Faithfulness is faithfulness, whether in the little things or the big ones, but you’re never going to be faithful in the big things if you aren’t faithful in the little ones. If you’re unwilling to lose a friendship, an opportunity, a promotion, or a job for the sake of Christ, how will you be willing to lay down your life if called to do so?

Braggadocio is not a superpower. People who talk much and do very little are not to be mimicked, nor are they something to aspire to. Likewise, people who beat their chest telling everyone they can how brave they are usually aren’t, and their cowardice is on full display at the worst possible moment.

Sure, the Bible says not to let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, but then how would we get all the likes for giving a homeless guy a half-used bottle of mouthwash? I run a ministry, and we have to let people know what we do with their money, but for every picture we put in the newsletter, there are a hundred kindnesses you never hear about. When all the Instagram saints do is roll down their window and give someone a half-eaten hot dog, then spend a week talking about it, it’s just irksome.

I’ve been told I don’t know how to market myself, but no one’s bothered to ask if I want to. I’m not dense. I’m sure I could figure it out. I’d even hand out whole hot dogs if it came to it, but to what end? What I do as unto God is as unto God, and He knows everything, down to the glass of water you gave someone on a hot day. It’s not my job to keep a record or tell others how virtuous and noble a human being I am. My job is to do the work. God keeps track of the hours.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Monday, November 20, 2023


 What should have taken some eleven days of brisk walking turned into forty years of marching in a circle all because whether or not the people should obey God was put up for a vote, and the overwhelming majority said no. They forgot the one inviolable rule: God is not interested in alternate views, differing opinions, or my thoughts on how He could better run the cosmos. Man’s job is not to outvote God. Man’s duty is to obey Him.

It’s not just this generation that is so self-diluted as to think they can dictate terms to God. It’s not just this generation that reeks of self-importance to the point of believing that their feelings trump the will of God or the guidelines He set forth in His Word. People have always thought more of themselves than they ought and given themselves greater importance than they had any right to.

Do you know who I am doesn’t play so well with God because He does, and He’s not impressed. The same goes for insisting that your taxes pay His salary, or in this case, your tithes pay His wages. What great virtues humility and obedience, and how rarely witnessed among God’s children.   

The promised land was before them, a river’s width away, and they decided as a collective that this is where their God’s power ceased, this is where He would fail, and this is where He would fall short.

If you’ve ever wondered how long it might take to be given another opportunity to enter your Canaan once you’ve squandered the first, it took the children of Israel forty years. Make of that what you will, but the takeaway from their experience should be to do what God tells you when He tells you and don’t delay in your obedience.

Since we’re on the topic, contrary to some who insist that Canaan is heaven, it isn’t because although Moses was not allowed to enter Canaan, nobody turned him away from the gates of paradise. Even the people claiming there are pet dinosaurs in heaven haven’t proffered that we had to defeat giants to enter in. Canaan is Canaan, heaven is heaven, and the two are not the same thing, nor are they interchangeable. Yes, I know, it is easier just to repeat something you heard once than dig a bit deeper and take the time to rightly divide the Word.

Canaan is that place in your walk where you see what everything has led up to. It’s that place of victory and maturity where the hand of God and His presence are ever present in your life, and you are living the victorious life you once only dreamt of.

Of all the children of Israel who began the journey out of Egypt, only two made it to Canaan. Joshua and Caleb, the two men who forty years earlier had insisted that the land was theirs for the taking. Imagine all the victories, growth, progress, and maturing you could have had had you simply obeyed and done what God told you the first time. Imagine where the children of Israel would have been had they crossed the river and taken the land forty years prior.

It’s difficult to quantify what we lose out on when we are reticent, hesitant, or unwilling to obey the voice of God and do as He commands at the moment. What did that delay cost? What did that hesitancy tally up to? We can guess at it and draw logical conclusions, but it is near to impossible to quantify with any degree of certainty.

For the longest time, the church has been giving the people what they wanted instead of what they needed. There are surveys and questionnaires asking what you would like to see more of in church, what you would like to hear more of, what topics the pastor should tackle, and which ones he should stay away from, and the sheep are flattered and more than willing to give their two cents and then some.

It’s all well and good until the people you’ve been supplying with what they wanted realize that it’s nowhere close to what they needed. Because they didn’t get what they needed, they’re spiritually stunted, powerless in the face of evil, and focused on things contrary to what the Word of God insists we should focus on.

Then, the same individuals you catered to, fawned over and bent over backward to keep happy, will turn on you and lay the blame for their immaturity squarely at your feet. No one will own up to their complicity or their part in the catastrophe that is the modern-day church. No one will acknowledge that it was their pressure on the shepherds to present the gospel in the least challenging, least offensive way possible that created the society of the clanging cymbal we’re living through. That would require humility and self-awareness. That would require owning up to our actions and taking responsibility for our hand in the mockery Christendom has become.

No one is blameless in all this. Not the shepherds, not the sheep, no one. Moses fell short in that he decided to put it up for a vote as to whether the people should obey God or not. The people failed because they chose rebellion over obedience. Both suffered the consequences of their actions to one degree or another, and though millennia have passed, the consequences remain the same.

If we’ve learned anything from this moment in Israel’s history, I hope it’s that you don’t do the work of God based on polling data, and if the people and the will of God conflict, it’s always the people that are in the wrong.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Saturday, November 18, 2023

What Was

 If they’d bothered to consider all they’d been through, the children of Israel would have realized that the giants they were to contend with were no bigger than any of the obstacles and hurdles they’d overcome thus far. Is it more challenging to fell a giant, or to part a sea? Is it more difficult to fell a giant or to protect a people from the plagues all those around them were suffering through? Is it more difficult to fell a giant or feed an entire people with manna from heaven?

Of all the miracles God performed on behalf of Israel, objectively speaking, defeating some giants would be the least of them. Remembering all the obstacles God was instrumental in helping you overcome will put the obstacle currently before you into perspective. Never forget what He has done for you, what He has done in your life, and the transformation that has taken place because it will put your current foe in the right light. He’s not bigger than those that came before, and he will fall just as easily.

With every enemy that presents itself before you, you have the choice to stand and fight or turn and flee. The more times you stand your ground and see the victory of the Lord, the easier it gets because your faith is ever-increasing during these confrontations. Even then, with victories upon victories under your belt, giving heed to the murmurs of the crowd or believing that just because they are the majority, those telling you to flee are in the right can be detrimental and return you to the bondage from which you were freed.

The enemy doesn’t much care how he gets you back to Egypt as long as he does. Whether through fear, trickery, deception, or temptation, his job is done as long as you’re back in the shackles. It’s a lot like people who sell timeshare. It doesn’t matter how they get you to sign on the dotted line; once you’ve signed, you owe. Sometimes, the debt is generational, meaning that once you’ve gone to the great beyond, your kids are on the hook for the fees and dues. Seeing that money siphoned from your account every month makes the free two-night stay seem like not such a good deal after all.

Back in the day, it used to be free portable televisions with the rabbit ear antennas. Some people made a sport of sitting through the two hours and being strong enough to say no every time. Others weren’t so strong, and they came home with a new expense, a piece of plastic they never used, and a justification for why it was too good a deal to pass up. I’m old enough to remember. I used to hear the neighbors argue about it from time to time.

The enemy’s constant struggle is to bring you back to where you started so you never reach your destination. We’ve all known our fair share of professional backsliders who always manage to go so far and no further, being knocked back to the start and having to begin the journey anew. They may not see what’s beyond the next bend in the road, but I assure you the enemy knows just as readily as God does.

Once you’ve reached Canaan, it’s hard for anyone to convince you that Egypt is the better destination. Once you’ve seen the promises of God firsthand, for yourself, with your own eyes, it’s hard for others to convince you that bondage was better or more preferable. This is why the enemy’s most brutal attacks occur before you reach the land of promise. That’s not to say he still doesn’t try, but it seems not to be with nearly as much enthusiasm. He’s still hoping to catch you off guard. He’s still looking for that moment when you are not being watchful, but he knows he’ll have a much harder time once you’ve made it to the place God has prepared for you and where God expects you to be.

If you are walking in His way, God will be a constant guide and a constant shield, a present help who does not flinch in the face of the enemy or who is overwhelmed by its size or might. It’s when we veer off the path that we go from place to place, looking for direction, unsure of which way we should go or who we should heed. There are plenty of lurkers about just waiting to give their two cents, to tell you of the shortcut they found or the trail they’ve blazed all on their own, and you should give heed to none of these. The path is the path. There is only one. There are no alternatives, substitutes, or variations.

Why are we so quick to embrace secondhand interpretations of the source material when the source material is available to one and all? Why are we so quick to try and find alternatives to the way when the Word of God says this is the way; walk in it? Only the source material comes with the guarantee that if you walk in the way of the Lord, you will reach the promised land.

If we find ourselves adrift, lost, and wandering about, it’s not because God led us there; we chose to reject His counsel, ignore His direction, and go our own way. God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. Nobody gets lost following God's path, but plenty of people get lost following their own. No one is ever overcome by the world if they are walking in obedience to God’s will, but countless are by thinking they know better than God.

With love in Christ, 

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Friday, November 17, 2023


 How you interpret what you see usually determines how you react to it. The same goes for what you hear and what you allow to take root in your heart. Because for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, you have to ensure that what you are seeing is what you are seeing and not something you think you’re seeing. Optical illusions exist, and sometimes we are taken in by the illusion rather than the underlying reality of the thing.

This past summer, after a seven-year hiatus, we went back to the home country for a bit. The youngest had never been and the oldest was too young to remember much of it. As we were driving from the airport, we pulled into a gas station, and as we made to get out and stretch our legs, we were met with the sight of a woman swatting at a little boy no older than eight with such fervor as to make us all want to step in and do something.

It’s no secret that Romanian parents are quick to use the backhand when a switch or a belt isn’t within reach. It’s a cultural thing; at least, that’s the excuse, but this was something other than a spanking. This woman looked unhinged, flailing her arms at this little boy who was cringing in fear.

Before we could step in or say anything, the woman stopped, clutched her chest, and said, “It’s gone.” She turned to see us staring at her, and with an embarrassed grin, she said, “My son is highly allergic to bee stings. I realize what that looked like, but I was just trying to shoo away a wasp.”

Three adults and two children stepped out of the car, and we all saw the same thing and interpreted it in the same fashion, and all five of us were wrong. Sometimes, what you see isn’t what’s really there, and it takes a moment of clarity to understand it for what it is. Are you seeing what you’re supposed to be seeing? Are you seeing what’s really there or what you want to see?

To see trials for what they are and temptation for what it is, we must analyze any given situation through His eyes and not our own. We must allow for the very real probability, dare I say near certainty, that the way God sees a situation is very different than how we perceive it. We must develop trust in our heavenly Father to the point that we will not kick against the goads or draw back when we should be moving forward.

Numbers 14:1-4, “So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”’

The children of Israel looked upon Canaan, and all they saw were the giants in the land. Long forgotten were the promises of God and all the things God had done on their behalf; they wanted to return to the bondage they had been freed from because of how they saw their current predicament.

Before we judge the children of Israel too harshly, how is their reaction any different than that of the modern-day church, where the people elect leaders who will return them to Egypt rather than the land of promise?

To this day, the masses are ready to stone those who would insist that they must walk in accordance with God’s will and not rebel against Him; only nowadays, they’re doing so from the safety of their basements by clicking on keyboards and patting themselves on the back for every witty barb or turn of phrase.

It took the glory of the Lord appearing to keep the children of Israel from stoning Joshua and Caleb because, except for Joshua, Caleb, Moses, and Aaron, everyone saw the situation as being so hopeless that they concluded going back to Egypt was the best course of action.

Going back to Egypt is never the answer. Returning to bondage and doing so voluntarily is never the best course of action just because some giants are standing in the way of your Canaan. When God promised you Canaan, He knew about the giants and promised it to you nonetheless. He was not ignorant of their presence; He was not ignorant of their size; He was not ignorant of the obstacle they would pose or the energy required to defeat them. He took all these things into account when He made His promises to His children, and the only thing we need to do in order to enter in is not rebel against the Lord and not fear the people of the land.

People still try to stone the messengers, thinking it will nullify the message. Although they no longer fear the people of the land, they are enamored by them, hungering for their approval and wanting to be like them while maintaining the status of a child of God.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be of the world and of God. You can’t be of the light and of darkness. You can't be of obedience and of rebellion. You cannot enter Canaan without defeating the giants. These terms are absolute and non-negotiable. Anyone who tells you differently is lying to your face; eventually, their vested interest and why they’ve chosen the lie will come to light. It always does.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Thursday, November 16, 2023


 When you forget what God has done, you will begin to doubt what He can do. Once you allow doubt to take root in your heart, how you approach everything in life changes because hesitation becomes your constant companion, and you’ll spend more of your life standing at a crossroads than actually walking the walk.

Israel had seen the hand and power of God. They had witnessed God parting the sea; they had all been guided by the pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day. It’s not as though they had not experienced God’s might, power, or ability to do what He said He would. Yet, here they were at the end of a journey, with the promise so close to hand they could see it with the naked eye, and when they were told there were hurdles to overcome, it’s as though collective amnesia took over, and everyone began to grumble.

It’s as though they suddenly forgot what God had done on their behalf, and now they quaked with fear at the prospect of staring down an enemy God had already promised them victory over.

The people knew the importance of remembering what the Lord had done on their behalf. Joshua even instituted stones of remembrance as visual cues to stir the mind to contemplate past victories and moments where God did the seemingly impossible, like crossing the Jordan as if on dry land.

That’s the funny thing about the human mind, though. We forget ten thousand kindnesses but remember one slight for the rest of our lives. We forget ten thousand answered prayers but will forever mark the day when we asked for something God did not see fit to grant us and return to it repeatedly as though it were proof that He doesn’t love us quite as much as He professes.

Sometimes, the proof of God’s love is that He said no. Sometimes, the evidence of Him treating you as a son or daughter is that He disciplined you when needed rather than leaving you to the desires of your heart.

As I’ve mentioned in passing before, we grew up poor. It’s not as though I’m rich by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m far better off than my parents were when I was nine, which is the current age of my eldest daughter. I find myself wanting to give her everything she wants, everything I never had because my parents couldn’t afford it, then I catch myself and realize that by doing so, I would be causing irreparable, lifelong harm in that I wasn’t teaching her one of the fundamental life lessons which is you have to work for what you want; you have to earn it, and not expect it.

Whoever would be close enough to hear the interaction between my daughter and me in the store, her asking if she could have something and me saying no and that she should put it back, would think me to be a plausible candidate for worst dad of the year. How could you say no to a face like that, after all?

What they weren’t privy to was the conversation we had before coming to the store, where we established the rules and determined she could pick one thing she needed rather than five things she wanted.

Remember what the Lord has done so you might trust Him to do what He promised He would. It is also a mark of wisdom to look back on the things you asked for that He didn’t grant you and realize that although at the moment it didn’t seem like the best possible course for your life, in hindsight, it turns out that it was.

God knows what He’s doing. He knows it better than you think you do, and for some, that’s a truth that’s hard to stomach. You either trust Him to mold you into what He desires you to be or resist Him at every turn because you think you were meant to be something different. He’s the architect, the potter, the builder, and the planter. He knows His design, He knows what He wants the final product to look like, He knows what it will take to reinforce your foundation, and He knows the kind of fruit He wants you to produce.

If we spent more time obeying and less time resisting God, we’d be much further along in our spiritual maturity than we are.

Forgetfulness is a choice we make that the enemy is more than happy to amplify and exploit because he knows that the more we fail to remember the things God has done in our lives, the more likely we will be to doubt that He will carry out and finish the good work He has started and promised to see through.

Some people quit so close to the finish line that a step or two is all it would have taken for them to make it across. Whether it’s because they failed to remember how far they came or they failed to see the finish line ribbon, I do not know, but there is a danger in both forgetting what the Lord has done and failing to keep our eyes on the prize.

But it shouldn’t be this hard! It shouldn’t be this much work! Who said? Show me one person who isn’t exhausted after running a marathon. Show me one individual who runs a race to win it and is not spent by the time they finish. Show me a soldier who goes to battle and returns precisely as he left.

You’ve been lied to about this faith of ours. You’ve been lied to, and more than we might like to admit, believed the lie, and it shows. It’s not about puffy clouds and chubby cherubs. It’s not about the adulation of the godless and the veneration of the simple-minded. It’s not about quick and easy, have it your way, in and out in five minutes or less. It’s about working out our salvation with fear and trembling, a lifelong journey of daily picking up our crosses and following after Him. That’s why Jesus insisted that you count the cost.  

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023


 A few years back, getting a Bible verse written on a grain of rice was all the rage. I don’t know how you could check for it or tell if they spelled it right unless you had a microscope, but people were clamoring over each other for those rice grains. When looking at it with the naked eye, you’d think it was just a grain that somehow escaped the fate of all the others and missed the rice cooker, but no, this one had a verse on it.

I’m a big-picture guy as much as anyone else, but sometimes we have to dig a bit deeper than just touching our television screens to understand the finite nuances of certain truths contained within the Word.

While temptation is an invitation to sin, testing is your invitation to make a choice. You choose to trust God, remain faithful, and press ever onward, or you choose to give in, throw your hands up in frustration, and quit.

Some might not understand the nuanced differences between the two, but in the end, we were not created to understand God; we were created to obey Him. Depending on their age, you can explain why a child shouldn’t stick a fork in the electrical socket until you’re blue in the face; they’ll still try to do it because impulse control isn’t all that developed in toddlers, and their capacity to understand danger isn’t at all refined. When a baby tries to pet a lion, it’s not being brave and fearless; it’s being ignorant of the danger the lion poses.

Because its parents know how dangerous a lion is, they keep their children away. Even so, some stubborn ones keep trying to stick their hands through the bars when the parents aren’t looking, and if they’re fortunate, all they’ll get is a good fright. If they’re not so fortunate, you hope they can learn to write with their left hand.

The problem, one that must be remedied sooner rather than later, is that many so-called spiritual fathers and mothers aren’t keeping their spiritual children away from the lions but feeding them to the lions. Because of their spiritual infancy, the aforementioned spiritual children don’t know any better until it’s too late. It’s only when they’re in the cage being sniffed at by a hungry lion that they realize being given license by your pastor to do something the Bible tells you shouldn’t be done doesn’t make it okay in the sight of God.

I don’t doubt that some of them even think they’re being magnanimous or that they’re protecting you when they insist that the testing of your faith isn’t a natural occurrence in the believer's life, and you should do everything in your power to avoid it.

If you want to enter your Caanan, you must defeat your giants. I know it’s scary, and you wouldn’t be the first to balk at the idea, but if God promised you a Canaan, know that He will be with you until it is yours. He never promised it would be easy or that you wouldn’t have to fight for it. He did promise that your fighting would not be in vain and your faithfulness would be amply rewarded.

At God’s behest, Israel even sent scouts to ensure that what He had promised them was truly there. God didn’t say he was considering giving them the land or thinking about it. He didn’t say it was one of many areas He was looking at or insist that He was still haggling over the price.

Numbers 13:1, “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.”

This was a done deal. God had made up His mind about which land He would give to the children of Israel, and Canaan was it. The scouts returned carrying one cluster of grapes between two men and confirming that it was indeed a land flowing with milk and honey, but there was one problem: There were giants in the land.

Only two of the men who were sent to spy out the land saw the situation as an opportunity for God to prove Himself. Caleb and Joshua stood on the promise of God, refusing to allow the things they saw in the physical to sway them from the faith they possessed in their hearts.

While everyone else was skittish and working the odds, Caleb chomped at the bit, saying let us go up at once and take possession of what God promised us. There was no hesitancy, no fear, and no consideration for how big the giants were because Caleb knew how big his God was.

I’d rather have one Caleb fighting by my side than three dozen skittish men who jump at the first sound of battle. While everyone else was wondering what if they lost, Caleb and Joshua insisted that they couldn’t lose.

The subtle shift in how you view a situation can determine your victory and defeat. If the ever-present thought in your mind is what if you lose, then you will hesitate, you will flinch, you will draw back when you need to press forward. If, however, you have determined that you can’t lose because God said you wouldn’t, then no matter how fierce the opposition, no matter how many enemies stand in your way, no matter how hopeless the situation might seem in the moment, you will persevere because you know victory is assured.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Monday, November 13, 2023


 Man is never tempted into doing good, nor is he ever tempted into making the right choices. You’ll never hear someone say they were tempted to eat a kale salad but resisted the temptation and went ahead and ate a cinnamon roll instead. Not that I’m endorsing kale or insinuating it’s healthy, but it’s likely better for you than a cinnamon roll. As far as temptation is concerned, it is always toward evil. The whole design of temptation is to draw you away from good toward evil. Away from the spiritual and to the flesh.

In knowing the originator of temptation, we can rightly conclude that though it may seem pleasing and pleasant, something to consider and perhaps give into, at its core, it is intent on your destruction. It takes wisdom to see beyond the momentary pleasure of a thing to the ultimate end of it.

James 1:13-15, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

Temptation is an invitation to sin. While God tests our faith, He does not tempt us because God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. It’s not as though evil takes a holiday whenever we are tested. It’s not as though the devil is empathetic, and understands you’ve got enough on your plate being tried and all, so he’ll just wait until you’re in a better spot to tempt you.

It’s in the midst of your testing and your trial that the enemy finds an opportune time to attack, and the best mode of attack is always the desires of the individual in question. Men conflate testing and temptation because they usually happen within close proximity of each other and in the same window of time. Just because they’re both happening to you simultaneously does not mean they are coming from the same source.

God allows trials and testing. It may not be popular with the modern-day church, but it is Biblical. Temptation originates from the devil, and he usually piggybacks on your desires in his attempt to draw you away from the truth.

We try to explain this phenomenon with our human reason by insisting that bad things always come in pairs, we’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, we’re wondering what’s next, and a myriad of other oft-repeated aphorisms that they’ve become cliché.

The enemy is sneaky when it comes to the timing of temptation because when you’re going through a trial and a temptation presents itself, the obvious connection is that giving in to the temptation is a respite from your trial. He is actively attempting to keep you from producing patience by proffering an invitation to do something that, in the least, will set you back spiritually, if not shipwreck you altogether.

Your duty is to discern which is which, distinguish between a trial and a temptation, embrace the one, and reject the other.

I understand it’s an easy thing to say and a far harder one to do when amid a trial or a temptation, but if you can remind yourself that one will serve to make you stronger and the other will likely kill you, you will find the time to analyze the situation and determine what it is and from whence it came.

What James was able to accomplish within the span of two verses is reverse engineer sin and trace it back to its genesis and its inception. He also dispels the myth that the devil made anyone do anything. It begins with desire, and that desire begins in the heart of man. If your desire is the kingdom of God and His righteousness, the enemy has nothing to tempt you with. It would be counterproductive to his goals to try and get you to be holier, more faithful, more devoted, and more committed.

It’s why the Bible speaks on man's heart, insisting that it is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Desire begins in the heart, and if the desire is impure, the enemy will find a way of facilitating an invitation for you to surrender to it, that it may conceive and birth forth sin.

You excise the thing before it becomes a thing. You rebuke it and remove it from your heart, replacing it with the quest for righteousness before it’s given the chance to conceive because once it conceives, it will birth sin, and when it is fully grown, sin will bring forth death.

That thing you thought was cute and harmless, just something to pass the time, a distraction, a break from monotony, once fully grown, will rip you to shreds and not feel any kind of way about it. We’ve all heard the stories, the mournful, incredulous questions of how he or she could do this or that, how they could have sunk so low or gone so far, and in the end, the Bible has the answer. You may think you can control your sin, but it’s just an illusion. Unless you repent of it wholly, unless you remove the desire for your heart, your sin will grow and mature, and when fully grown, it will kill you.

There’s no such thing as a functioning alcoholic, a part-time harlot, a recreational pornography watcher, or an occasional adulterer. These are all sins that, when fully grown, will bring forth death. Those who treat sin lightly aren’t just playing with fire; they’re playing with a plague so lethal that it kills every host it inhabits without fail or exception. A one hundred percent mortality rate is nothing to scoff at or take lightly.  

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.