Sunday, December 31, 2023


 If you are purposeful and intentional in your faith, works will be a natural byproduct of that faith. To be purposeful, intentional, and deliberate, one must come to faith of their own free will, fully aware of what they are submitting and surrendering to. If there’s never a surrender, if we never humble ourselves and submit to the authority of Scripture, then we’re fooling ourselves, believing fanciful tales with no Biblical foundation. Somebody had to say it, and everyone else seems to be busy doing something else.

Acts 3:19-21, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”

The Christian life is not some auxiliary pursuit in our lives; it is the center, the core, the principal focus of our existence. Once we surrender and humble ourselves, our lives are forfeit and the only thing that matters preeminently is the will of God for our lives.

Accepting Jesus into our hearts, as has become the popular way of saying it, isn’t something we do just to check it off a list never to be revisited until we’re on our deathbed being reassured by family that we are going to heaven because of that one time we raised a hand in church.

Salvation is transformative. You cannot remain as you were once the indwelling of Christ in your heart occurs. It’s not me saying it; it’s the Bible, and we should maybe get back to reading it once in a while rather than believing newly tattooed octogenarians just because they said otherwise.

Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Why don’t we ever quote those words from Paul? Is it perhaps because they imply that the least we should be doing as believers is to break ties with sin and present ourselves as holy and acceptable to God? Is it perhaps because Paul explicitly says it’s the least God expects of us? Holiness isn’t for elite Christians, nor is it exclusive to pastors or evangelists; it’s the reasonable service of every believer.

That’s works! No, it’s truth. If the faith you claim to possess has not been transformative, if your mind has not been renewed, and you haven’t rejected conformity with the world, then you have not come to the knowledge of Christ, nor do you possess a salvific faith.

This is one of those issues we need to stop beating around the bush about and calling as it is. There are people who feel no need to pursue righteousness, have a relationship with Christ, grow their faith, or obey God’s commands because they were told all it took was the sinner’s prayer and the wave of a hand.

Perhaps if we’d told those people the truth, some of them might have sought discipleship, some of them might have sought holiness, and some of them might have sought a maturing of their faith and a transforming of who they were.

Just because it sounds good on a pledge drive card to say 20,000 souls came to Jesus in one afternoon, it doesn’t make what such individuals do noble or biblical. You’re telling me you’re racking up four times the Book of Acts numbers, and they all stuck the landing?

They raised their hand, didn’t they? And where is that in the Bible as a sign of true and abiding faith? Where is that in the Bible as a sign that the individual isn’t only saved, but all his future sins are expunged as a signing bonus, so go forth and revel?

But we’re not saying it’s a license to sin. Have you told them it isn’t? Why is there such an overwhelming emphasis placed on the future sins part, if the whole go and sin no more aspect of this faith of ours, was inferred?

We can gaslight, wag the dog, and play games with each other. We can call people who point to the uncomfortable bits of Scripture legalists and work salvationists, but the Word is the Word, and it is the plumb line by which all who name the name of Christ will be judged.

Simple and easy mean two different things, and we must stop conflating them. The way is simple, but it isn’t easy. It’s not me saying that; it’s Jesus. What did He know, though, am I right? Maybe He was a legalist, too. A supposed pastor in Manhattan just called him a xenophobic racist, so what’s a little legalism?

Sorry, not sorry, this is not the faith once delivered to the saints; it’s an amalgam of feel-good, easy-going, no accountability, no responsibility, no sacrifice nonsense that’s being peddled and passed off as gospel truth because it’s easier to swallow by the masses, and you can draw more bees with money than with holiness any day.  

On a more somber note, is anyone seriously going to sit there and insist that this is the generation that’s going to usher in the greatest revival in the history of the church? God may use the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, but not the heretical ones.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Friday, December 29, 2023

Common Thread

 When one ponders Abraham's faithfulness, friendship with God, and unquestioning obedience, they usually don’t jump to Rahab the harlot and consider her actions in the same breath. Here, you have two people who couldn’t have been any further apart, yet a common thread connects them.

Abraham was the first Hebrew patriarch, one of four, and a man called a friend of God whose faith was such that he was willing to sacrifice anything for Him. To this day, Abraham is revered by no less than three monotheistic religions, Christianity chief among them. He was also the father of Isaac, who in turn was the father of Jacob, whose four wives sired twelve sons who would come to be known as the twelve sons of Israel, or as we know them today, the twelve tribes of Israel.

Rahab was a wholly unknown, unremarkable woman of ill repute who lived in Jericho and earned a few extra shekels by providing lodging for strangers, yet they are both remembered in the same breath and raised up as an example of what to do when called upon to act.

James 2:25-26, “Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

In reading the story of Rahab, one can readily gloss over why she was justified by works since many conclude that it was because she hid the two messengers. Although that may have played a part, it went deeper than that.

The woman either lied or obfuscated a handful of times, misdirecting the king’s men and sending them on a wild goose chase while the spies hid on her roof. Neither the lies nor the actions themselves justified Rahab because she could have done what she did for various reasons other than pure intentions. What justified her were her own words explaining why she had chosen to protect the spies rather than serve them up to the king’s men.

Joshua 2:8-11, “Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Shon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.”

Rahab had only heard of the God of Israel and the exploits of His people, yet she came to believe that their God is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath. This woman had believed from before the two spies showed up at her door, and she acted on her faith once she had the opportunity to do so. Now, as she went up to them on the roof, she made a profession of faith in the God of Israel, declaring He is God in heaven and on earth.

She acted on her faith and risked everything to help perfect strangers because of the God they served. She could just as easily have failed in hiding the spies and would likely have lost her life for harboring the sworn enemies of Jericho, but in the moment, she chose to protect and hide them.

What saved Rahab’s life was believing that the God of Israel is God in heaven and on earth, but her faith was made manifest in that she protected the two spies from the king and his men. Had she surrendered them, had she pointed to the roof and whispered, “They are there,” though she may have believed all she’d heard about the God of Israel, neither her life nor the life of her family would have been saved.

It’s one thing to believe. It’s another to act on those beliefs. If you believe you cannot remain passive or indifferent to the will of God in your life. You cannot read His word and then summarily ignore the instructions therein. You cannot possess full faith and confidence that you have been forgiven, understand what it took to wash you clean, and then go back to rolling in the mud as though Jesus hadn’t bled and died on the cross to accomplish your reconciliation.

No, you could never do it on your own. That’s why Jesus had to come, that’s why Jesus had to suffer, and that’s why Jesus had to die. It was all so His blood would wash our filthiness and make us clean, but once clean, we have a duty and a responsibility to avoid the things that would make us dirty anew. We have a duty and a commitment to walk humbly with our Lord, ever thankful for what He has done, vigilant in our walk that we might not trample the Son of God underfoot, count the blood of the covenant by which we were sanctified a common thing, and insult the Spirit of grace.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Thursday, December 28, 2023


 No one expects a new believer to reach full maturity of faith within a few days after repenting and humbling themselves at the foot of the cross. There is an expectation, however, that today, their faith is stronger and more mature than yesterday, and tomorrow, it will be more substantive and nuanced than today. There is a natural ascendancy to faith, the pinnacle of which will bring you to the place of Abraham’s position, wherein nothing God asked of him was too much, but without question or delay, he obeyed fully.

I could bluster and bloviate and say I’m right there with him, but there’s no point in pretending or projecting a level of faith that I have not as yet attained. I love God with all my heart. I have devoted my life to whatever work He calls me to do, but I do have to admit my reluctance in saying I am certain I would act as Abraham did if the same was asked of me.

In any case, it would be easier for me than it was for him because at least I have the Word to fall back on and the understanding attained in hindsight that God will intervene and make a way, even if it’s at the last possible moment. Abraham had no one to look back on and cling to the hope that an angel would step in and spare his son Isaac.

It’s easy to beat our chest and say we are monoliths of the faith when no great sacrifice has been required of us. That the day has not come does not mean it won’t come, and only once we’ve followed through and done as God commanded when it costs us something dear can we rightly claim to be the men we thought we were before the sifting.

Abraham didn’t brag about being a man of faith; he didn’t make shirts, hats, ball caps, and socks proclaiming his staggering faithfulness; he proved it without saying a word. He proved it by obeying God and being willing to go all the way in his obedience.

We hear about the heroes of old who remained faithful to the end, who bled and hurt and lost and died for the cause of Christ without denying Him. We rarely hear about those who didn’t remain faithful, but I guarantee you there were many more who weren’t than those who were.

Although I have no way of verifying what took place two thousand years ago, I know what happened during the communist reign in my country and how few remained faithful to Christ without trying to carve out some comfort for their flesh in the process. There’s a reason the church went underground and betrayal of confidence was so commonplace. In order to betray someone’s trust, you must first possess it, and supposed brothers and sisters sold out fellow believers for as little as a few extra food rations. Part of me would understand. You had to do what you had to do but for an extra kilo of flour? Is that all brotherhood is worth: two pounds of bleached flour in a plastic bag?

If you’re expecting anything different to happen once persecution starts in the West, you’re fooling yourself. Perhaps not for flour, as most people wouldn’t know what to do with it anyway, but maybe internet access, or a bank account, or being able to remain a person and not be wholly erased with the stroke of a few keys, perhaps?

Total control means just that, and when darkness has it, it will not use it to oppress its own followers but those who oppose it. Evil uses the power it amasses to beat down the children of God. The children of God use the tenuous power they get once in a blue moon to make more allowances for evil. Many would betray Jesus Himself if it meant the world would applaud them as tolerant and non-judgmental. If we haven’t learned that little tidbit from all the lessons recent history has taught us, we’re further behind than I had hoped.

Not to belabor the point since I’ve already iterated my position, but how do you think the average Christian will react to having to contend with taking a mark to be able to go to the local Piggly Wiggly when their expectations were to be caught up before any sign of these things manifested?

It’s an honest question. It’s not meant to be sardonic or sarcastic; it’s something we must contend with if we believe the Word of God over the words of men and realize that all the Bible, including the parts we don’t like so much, was written for the children of God as a warning of what is to come.

If the Bible told us to watch for these things, prepare for these things, and anticipate these things, but we chose to disregard the Bible because some guy in his mom’s basement with a magic marker and a whiteboard figured out that the Bible was lying, and all the warnings were just wasted ink, who’s to blame for the fallout? It certainly isn’t God.

The Bible was there for all God’s children to read, believe, and adhere to. What the Bible says these last days will look like isn’t vague or confusing. It’s not lacking in either detail or nuance. It’s all there in black and white, but it doesn’t say the things we’d like it to say. It doesn’t present a path to our destination that is carefree and absent of obstacles or hardships. We become so obsessed with the journey that we lose sight of the destination and that the journey will have been worthwhile once we get to where we’re going.

In order to get through the dark days, the dry days, those days where you’re not just shattered, but the shattered pieces are broken anew, your faith must grow and mature to the point that you are unshaken in your confidence that no matter how small the broken pieces become, He will put you back together, make you whole, and use you as He wills.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The Journey II

 Are you saying true men of God are rare because the level of commitment and sacrifice required to walk in that authority is lacking? You’ve got to get with the times, my guy. That may have been the way back before the interwebs and pink-haired ladies telling you there were pet dinosaurs a plenty in heaven, but now we’ve entered a new era where sacrifice, faithfulness, and obedience are as anathema a word as holiness. It’s a free-for-all. You fake it until you make it, you say more and more insane things to get an audience, and whether it’s true or not doesn’t really matter as long as it’s entertaining and doesn’t stray into the land of the Biblical too often.

If the current crop of most popular evangelists, pastors, teachers, or, dare I say, self-proclaimed prophets are anything to go by, the only thing you should steer clear of if you want to make it in the God biz is Biblical accuracy. There just isn’t a big enough audience for that. Who’s going to make the mortgage payments on your McMansion or the car payments on your Bentley?  

All you have to do is declare that you are a prophet of the Lord or the oracle of the almighty. You simply speak into existence that which is not. Remember the adage: if you repeat something often enough with enough intensity, eventually, people come to believe it.

You sound like a wet blanket, there, buckaroo. Why not let people experiment with the prophetic? Because this isn’t Asian fusion night at the junior college, where you try to blend flavors and come up with an edible dish. Either you’re called, or you’re not. You may desire to prophesy, but it doesn’t mean God will grant you that desire. If He doesn’t, trying to manufacture it all on your own is a recipe for the greatest disaster of your life.

If you want to get a snapshot of what happens to those who go without being sent and those who speak without being spoken to, riffle through Jeremiah and Ezekiel a spell, maybe even Lamentations and Isaiah. Just as a refresher. Perhaps even as a reminder of who the God we serve is, not who this modern era presents Him as.

What about your sons and daughters prophesying and your old men dreaming dreams? You’re just trying to quench the spirit! It doesn’t say all your daughters, sons, old men, and maidservants will dream dreams, have visions, or prophesy. Compared to the age of prophets, where there would be one or two per generation, yes, the number has increased, and the percentages have grown somewhat, but that particular prophecy in Joel was fulfilled in the Book of Acts, and even Peter pointed to it identifying it as such.

Contrary to the cessationist wing of Christendom, I don’t believe that prophecy, the prophetic, or the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased with the passing of that generation. The devil would not be counterfeiting them with abandon if they were no longer available in their authentic form.  Biblically speaking, you’d have to make a lot of inferences and twist more than a handful of Scriptures to conclude that God decided to snatch away what He gifted the church for no other reason than some individual or another decided it was so.

It’s not a new thing, either. Since the days of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, there were people trying to paint God into a corner by saying something He didn’t say, expecting Him to bend to their will. Someone speaking something in His name without Him saying it does not minimize or weaken God if He does not bring it to pass. It just exposes the individual as a false prophet. The problem is that what the false prophets are saying is so attractive that we overlook their falsehoods time and again because they’re telling us what we want to hear.

Acts 2:38-39, “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

If you have to leave out chunks of a particular scripture to buoy your argument, you’re not rightly dividing the word. If the gift of the Holy Spirit was reserved for just one generation, why did Peter mention their children, and who are all who are afar off that he was referring to if it was supposed to be a flash in the pan that dissipated as soon as it materialized?

God did not lower His standards to allow for sons and daughters to prophesy and the old men to dream dreams. He foresaw the advent of the Holy Spirit, the pouring out thereof, the gifts being distributed among a healthy body of believers, and the fact there would be a few billion more people roaming about during the last days. God was not operating with limited understanding or limited knowledge of what the world would be like today, a hundred years ago, or two thousand years ago.

He knew precisely what would be, how it would be, why it would be, and when it would be. You can’t catch God off guard. You can’t surprise Him or find Him on the back foot. This is why when He tells us how things will be before the return of Jesus, we should take it to heart and understand that the world will only get worse from here. The hearts of evil men will wax more evil, the rage of the godless will become more unhinged, and those who are sitting on the fence will have to choose to either belong to God or be of the world. You can’t have both; you can’t be both, and if you choose to belong to Him, you will possess the sort of faith that will bring about and generate good works.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

The Journey

 It takes some kind of faith to believe that your descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the heavens when you have yet to sire one heir with your wife. That sort of faith is not instantaneous; it cannot come about overnight; it is something that is built up over time, something that grows naturally and organically as you journey through life with God as your guide and companion.

The promise God made to Abraham was not some generic thing that could be interpreted in one of a hundred ways; it was specific: one will come from your own body that will be your heir!

There’s no way of interpreting that any other way than that Abraham would sire a son who would be his heir, and then God went on to tell him that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars.

All evidence was pointing to the contrary. Abraham was getting on in age; it hadn’t happened in years and years, yet here he was, believing the words God spoke to him, standing on the promises of God, and not allowing himself to be swayed.

Genesis 15:6, “And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.”

Our journey of faith begins with the possible, crosses into probable, and from there into the land of the improbable, to the outright impossible. Each iteration requires our faith to stretch, grow, and mature so that the things we believed God for when we started our walk with Him seem paltry in hindsight.

Sarah was 90 when she gave birth to Isaac. She was 90 when God fulfilled his promise to Abraham, and we can safely say Abraham’s faith had made the trek all the way from believing the highly improbable to the outright impossible by the time Isaac was born.

The reason James highlights Abraham’s obedience as the pinnacle of works is that he understood how much he loved his son Isaac. Everything his lineage would ever be was wrapped up in the one son he had, the son he was willing to lay on an altar as a sacrifice because God required it.

Because of all the lived experiences he’d had with God up until that point, Abraham also knew that God would find a way to keep His promise and make his descendants as numerous as the stars. Even if he had to bring Isaac back from the beyond, Abraham knew God could, and God would because he’d seen the impossible take place in his life already and was fully assured that God does not lie.

Abraham knew God would make a way. He didn’t know how or when, but he knew that He would. That is the level of faith required of those who choose to walk in obedience, who choose to walk by faith and not by sight, because what you see and what He sees are two wholly different things.

There are a hundred reasons why our perception might be off, or why we may be seeing something in a way we shouldn’t, from sun glare to reflections to not enough light, but God always sees with perfect vision, and knowing this, we trust that He will lead us in the way we must go.

Abraham had every intention of being obedient to the end, though it would have crushed him. There were no limits or limitations to his obedience. He’d placed Isaac on the altar and raised the knife in the air. Only then the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven.

Genesis 22:12, “And He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.’”

It’s that now part that’s scary when you think about it. It wasn’t when he packed up to go to the land of Moriah, or when he climbed the mountain, or when he set up the altar, or when he laid out the wood or laid Isaac upon it. His hand was stretched out, and the knife was lifted high in the air before the Angel said, now I know that you fear God.

Everybody wants to be God’s friend, but few are willing to pay the price. Everybody wants to have the sort of intimate relationship with God that Abraham did, but few are willing to put God first in all things, all the time, without reservation or exception.

What does it take to be used by God? Everything.

Too many of us are still holding something back, whether our reputation, our influence, or our vision of what we think our calling should be. There’s still something, and we know what it is, and it’s that thing that God will require you to place on the altar in order to have the level of intimacy Abraham had. 

God asked for Isaac of Abraham because there was nothing more precious to him in this world than his son. God could have asked for a hundred head of cattle, and Abraham wouldn’t have batted an eye, but I am sure beyond doubt that the thought of sacrificing Isaac tore him into pieces, yet there he was, ready to carry out God’s instructions.

Before you ask God for more, count the cost and determine whether or not you’re willing to pay it in full because it will be required of you sooner or later.

I think that’s why some people in ministry get bitter and walk away altogether. They asked before finding out what they asked for would cost, and when they found out, they weren’t willing to pay it.

I’m well aware that this flies in the face of modern teaching wherein you practically have to duck out of the way of God’s gifts, but in my defense, I’ve known a handful of men who were genuinely used of God and to the last, they were asked to sacrifice something that wasn’t easy to part with, but they did so because God asked, and they loved God supremely above all else.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Doing VI

 Faith generates works. It’s a simple concept to wrap our minds around, but somehow difficult to come to terms with for some. It’s also what James asserts when he says show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

There are works that honor God, and there are works that do not. Faith generates works that honor God. You know which is which by whether or not it honors God or honors man, whether it shines the spotlight on His kingdom or our own. Many claim to serve and honor God when their singular purpose is to elevate and glorify themselves. It’s all about their ministry, their calling, their purpose, their vision, and their mission, and rarely, if ever, about Him.

If a man boasts of himself, in himself, drawing attention to his deeds, insisting that he is the gateway to truth, that man is to be avoided at all cost because what he is creating is adoration for the creation rather than the Creator.

There is a difference between striving to build something and striving to serve someone. When striving to build something, you’re always looking out for your own interests, positioning yourself for the greatest return on your investment, whether that investment is time or resources.

When striving to serve someone, your singular focus is on your Master’s best interest and whether what you are doing is honoring Him and building His kingdom. It’s why those of the primary church were so successful in spreading the gospel throughout the world. They weren’t looking to build the ministry or brand of an individual; they were looking to bring glory and honor to God. It didn’t matter to them what people thought of them, how many signed up for their newsletter, how wide of an audience they had, or what their social media engagement was like. They did the work. They preached the gospel. They walked in authority rightly theirs as servants of God rather than self-serving imitators of something they heard about via third-hand retellings.

They were not interested in accolades or praises. Their singular desire was to be useful to the God who had redeemed them, and if that meant dying martyrs’ deaths, they did so joyfully and unabashedly. If God hasn’t changed, and we know He hasn’t because He changes not, then it’s the quality of servant that has diminished over the centuries. Today’s servants see servanthood as stepping stones to something greater rather than their lifelong duty, and it shows in their reticence to speak the hard truth for fear of offending those who might otherwise help finance their dreams.

The easier you make it, the more of an audience you will have. Eventually, it becomes so easy that it borders on the absurd, wherein even if you want nothing to do with God, He’ll put you in a chokehold until you pass out, then drag you to heaven against your will.  

James 2:19-20, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe - and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?”

Even though demons believe and even tremble, their works do not honor God. It’s a heady thing to realize that demons understand, perceive, and believe the reality of God more than most people walking the earth today. They tremble because they understand God's righteousness, for they know that their judgment is near.

If you believe that Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life and have come to the conclusion that salvation is obtained through Christ alone, yet your life has not changed, you have not been transformed, and you pursue the selfsame destructive passions you did before you came to know of Christ, then your faith is dead. I say know of Him because if there is no change, transformation, repentance, or turning, you do not know Him but simply know of Him. Intellectual acknowledgment does not true, abiding, and transforming faith make. If it were so, then the demons that believe would have a shot at redemption.

In case anyone thought to accuse him of speaking out of turn, James backs his claims with biblically historical precedent and proof. It’s not as though what he is saying is new and never before uttered; it’s something that those to whom he was writing could look back on and verify for themselves in the historical and religious text of their day.

James 2:21-24, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”

When we look at the example James puts forth, we realize that the works he speaks of is unquestioning, unflinching, complete, and total obedience to the will of God in your life, without drawing back, obfuscating, or attempting to change His mind. God spoke, and Abraham obeyed. Anyone who doesn’t think that Abraham loved Isaac and that’s why he was willing to offer him up has never been a parent. Abraham loved Isaac, as any father would love his son, but he loved God more. That’s a lesson worth pondering for each and every one of us.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Doing V

 I learned to read people while traveling with my grandfather and serving as his interpreter. I did it for ten years. By reading people, I don’t mean their palms, coffee grounds, tea leaves, or chicken bones, but rather their expressions. To this day, I can spot a fake smile from a mile away, even if every attempt at authenticity is made. It’s not hard if you know what to look for, and after enough uncomfortable squirms, eye rolls, wrinkled brows, pouts, and turns of the head, you know precisely how a crowd is reacting to what you’re saying, even if they’re not being vocal about it.

You could see the postures change in an instant whenever talk of impending judgment or America not being the bastion of righteousness they thought it to be came around. It was like flicking an open wound. One night, the pastor of a local church in rural Indiana took us to dinner after the service, and in our conversation, he asked my grandfather a question that I remember to this day: how can you say what you need to say to a church body that doesn’t want to hear it?

My grandfather’s answer was simple and folksy, as was his nature: “I treat every sermon as though it were my last because one day it will be,” he said. It’s an interesting mindset, to be sure. Whether it’s a sermon, a day, an interaction, or a goodbye with a loved one, if you treated it as though it was your last, you’d likely act very differently than you would otherwise.

Oftentimes, we take life for granted when we have no right to. We assume that we will have a thousand more days in which we can watch a sunset, hold a hand, kiss a cheek, speak a bold truth, do a good work, write that poem, tell someone they are loved, or enjoy the simple pleasure of a gas station grilled cheese sandwich. Nobody really wants their last meal to be a kale salad with balsamic reduction and a leafy sprout garnish, but for some, it is.

We put off the important things, thinking we’ll get to them someday, and more often than not, we never do. Not so much the gas station grilled cheese, but the other things. The meaningful things. The things we leave behind when we are gone, like the echo of a memory that we were once here.

Men have built palaces and temples to themselves, only to be erased by time. They tried their hand at immortality only to fail miserably, and one out of a hundred men who thought they would be remembered and memorialized for time immemorial are still mentioned once in a great while.

What is never forgotten, what cannot be overlooked, is anything you do in Jesus’ name, from feeding someone who is hungry to being a shoulder to cry on or someone simply willing to take time and spend time with another who has no one left in this world. Let them tell you their story. Read them a book. Hold their hand. Be the sort of man or woman God created you to be, not the hollowed-out husk of selfishness, greed, and hedonism this culture wants you to be.

For just a second, consider which would be more fulfilling: fighting with strangers on the internet over the shape of the earth or bringing a smile to a bedraggled face. Try bringing a smile to someone, preferably a stranger; you’ll see what I’m talking about.

We are consumed by our need to be right to the point that we would compromise ourselves to achieve our desired result. If I treat a brother as an enemy when all he’s done is dare to vocalize his differing opinion on a tertiary issue, I’m going to run out of brothers and sisters in the time it takes to write that strongly worded e-mail denouncing them.

I’ve made this point before, but it bears repeating: you can’t lone wolf it through life and expect to cross the finish line in one piece. There’s a reason the Word tells us we ought not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, and it’s not because of sister Bertha’s double-baked mac ‘n cheese during the bi-monthly potluck.

Not only that but we are encouraged to increase the frequency with which we assemble and exhort one another so much more as we see the Day approaching. The day is swiftly approaching when all we will have is each other. The entire world and every vitriolic, demonic minion the devil has at his disposal will be targeting the children of God, and if we can’t have each other’s backs, if we can’t encourage and exhort one another, if one little disagreement is enough to torch lifelong friendships and burn every bridge in our wake, then we will suffer the consequences of our actions along with the rebellious.

We seem to have gotten away from the idea that we are one body, and if a member suffers, the entire body operates at a less-than-optimal level. Although, thankfully, I haven’t had an attack in years now, I have gout. For those of you who don’t know how bad it can get, it has been compared to childbirth as far as the pain level is concerned. What it is is uric acid crystalizing between the joints of your toes, knees, elbows, or fingers, and it feels like someone’s shoving razor blades between your bones with all the abandon of a dog chasing a ball. Whenever I would have an attack, it would be localized to a toe, a knee, or an elbow, but the entire body would drag because of that one area. The same goes for the body of Christ. It’s not just one member that suffers; one member is suffering more, but the entire body is affected.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Friday, December 22, 2023

Doing IV

 Words don’t fill bellies. Even kind words fail to satiate hunger or thirst. You can have a thousand flowery, poetic, inspiring words and a warm bowl of soup, and the hungry man will choose the bowl of soup each and every time. If he doesn’t, if he says he’d prefer to hear your emotional rendition of an ode to hunger, they weren’t hungry to begin with.

James 2:18, “But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’”

James is not trying to be snarky or combative, as some have claimed when he turns the tables and tries to elucidate the matter of faith and works being intertwined. It’s not a matter of semantics or hair-splitting. It’s not as though we can agree to disagree, and you attain salvation through works, I attain salvation through faith, and we meet in heaven in the end. There isn’t some fork in the road where you choose works or faith. There aren’t two paths or ten; there is one. Works evidence faith.

This does not mean it’s works salvation, it simply means that the faith you possess is living and animated and stirs you to good works. Whatever way those works manifest is between you and God. There is no preset list of works or an itemized list of bullet points that must be completed to progress to the next level. When people begin to look at it that way, it betrays their immaturity and lack of understanding in relation to the responsibility of a servant. Move when God stirs you. Don’t resist when God moves you. That nudge, that voice, that impetus, that feeling of empathy or sympathy for that one individual out of ten thousand is the urging of the Holy Spirit and not some accidental, random thing.

The ministry I spearhead puts out a newsletter once in a while. In it, we present various needs, whether it’s for firewood, cows, goats, fixing a roof, renovating an existing home, or building a new one for a family. All we can do is present the needs as we find them. Those who respond usually send a note designating their donation and, in various ways, telling us that this particular need spoke to them in some form or fashion. Nobody’s standing behind them, breathing down their neck, pointing to the need they should help with. It’s the Holy Spirit speaking to them, and they in turn being sensitive enough to the urging of the Holy Spirit to follow through.

When James insists that one show their faith without works, he already knows they can’t. It’s like the people who got everybody to buy Iraqi dinars while they themselves were not invested in the currency. Show me you believe in the investment. Do you own any? Well, no, you see, I’m diversified, and my portfolio can’t take the risk of this particular investment. Hold on a minute; you’re trying to get me to invest in what amounts to colored toilet tissue because you say my returns will be thousands of percent. Why wouldn’t you liquidate everything and go all in if you believed that to be the case?

Before what I’m sure is a large number of my Iraqi readers get angry and start shooting off e-mails. I am not saying the dinar is toilet tissue; it’s not sanitary enough to be used as such. What I am saying is that your currency is largely worthless, especially in the eyes of those who exchanged US legal tender for dinars in the hopes of reaping billions.

If you say you have faith, but your actions or works do not confirm it, you’re lying to yourself and others. It’s not an easy truth to accept, but it is the truth nevertheless. Good trees bear good fruit. Barren trees bear no fruit, and eventually, the tree that bears no fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. Jesus said that. I know; that pesky Bible again.

Essentially, James was saying, look at my works, and you will discern my faith therein. My works are not salvific. They are evidence of my deep, abiding, and living faith. Works highlight and accentuate the existence of faith in an individual life. Should someone consider themselves spiritually superior because they have works? Certainly not; all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, so feeling entitled, superior, or better than your brothers or sisters in Christ because you have works is a fool’s position.

Works are a byproduct of true faith and, as such, come naturally to the believer without being forced, coerced, or performed only when reward or remuneration are promised on the back end. We do them because they come naturally once hearts are anchored in Christ.

One thing that I will always praise Americans for is the culture of giving that is inherent in their upbringing. At least it was back in the day. Things are changing, and not for the better, but that’s another story for another time.

My people do not have a culture of giving. Being gracious and charitable, welcoming and hospitable is not innately commonplace, yet you’ll never find a more selfless group than the believers there. My mother was the most generous person I’ve ever known, willing to give of herself until there was nothing left to give, and not because she was born this way or because she modeled others around her, but because it’s what Jesus transformed her heart into once she surrendered at the foot of the cross.

Anyone who’s visited our apartment in California or the ministry in Romania while my mother was alive can attest to her tireless dedication. You never left the Duduman Boldea home hungry, and you were never turned away if you needed a place to sleep. Back in the early nineties, even though there were seven of us in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment that we also ran the ministry out of, we hosted an elderly Romanian couple for almost a year because they had nowhere to go. They slept on the couch in the living room/dining room/ministry headquarters.

The point isn’t to make you imagine the mélange of odors nine people can produce in a hot California apartment on a summer’s day. It’s to reaffirm that if you desire to help someone, you’ll always find a way to do so, resource-scarce as you might be.

I know what you’re thinking. Old Spice existed back in the early 90s, along with Drakkar Noir and Eternity for Men. True, they did, but food trumps deodorant when you only have the money for one. 

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Doing III

 Another worthwhile point worth mentioning is that James didn’t say ‘if someone says they have faith in Jesus,’ rather, he said ‘if someone says they have faith.’ The faith he was referring to was not faith in Christ but this amorphous, ethereal, indefinable faith that has become so popular nowadays. It was his way of saying if someone insists they are spiritual. It’s not a new thing, but it has recently exploded in popularity.

People want to claim spirituality; they want to say they have faith, but they don’t want to associate themselves with any religion in particular. They’ll insist they are people of faith, but when you press them and ask faith in whom or in what, they’ll start to stutter and throw out some hackneyed line like karma or the universe or the god within.

That’s when you know you’ve happened upon someone who would stink to high heaven if ignorance had a scent attached to it. Their spirituality is not some inward experience bringing them closer to truth; it’s a way to highlight their self-importance. What such people believe to be enticing, exciting, cutting-edge, and noteworthy is vapid, tedious, cumbersome, and trite. Whenever I hear someone say they are spiritual, my Pavlovian response is to roll my eyes and throw up in my mouth just a little bit.

You have no rudder, no compass, no anchor, no clear path in life, no direction, and no purpose, but sure, you’re spiritual because you ate some dried-up mushrooms and did ayahuasca with the hippie that smelled like stale sweat and patchouli. At least the Gnostics of old had knowledge as their objective. What does this new iteration of spiritual persons have, exactly?

Faith must have a focus, an objective, and an anchor point. Faith in nothing is no faith at all, but if your faith is in Christ, then you will do the things Christ commands you to do. It’s the process of supplanting their will with God’s will that bothers many people. They want to be in control. Some even need to be in control, and when called upon to surrender that control and become a bondservant of Christ, it riles the flesh.

If the function of the faith God requires of us is to place us in possession of all His promises, does it not stand to reason that the enemy’s singular purpose is to keep you from developing true and abiding faith?

God has something great for you. The devil wants to keep you from getting it at all costs. In his quest to keep you from receiving the promises of God, the enemy is willing to give you baubles, trinkets, influence, power, wealth, and even a harem if that’s what it will take. Few stop to question why the devil is offering them such shiny things in exchange for something he calls worthless, meaningless, and not worth pursuing. Few ponder what the true value and worth of God’s promises is if the devil is willing to part with vast fortunes just to keep you from them.

The enemy knows what heaven is. He knows he can never return. His jealous rage has funneled into a single point of purpose, that of keeping everyone else from going there as well. If you look at the situation objectively, dangerous as he might be, the devil is still just a petulant child who doesn’t want anyone else to have heaven if he can’t.

By what James says, we can infer that there is dead faith, and there is living faith. There is faith that moves mountains; then there is faith that lays comatose in the fetal position, waiting for it all to end. There is active faith, looking to do the work of the kingdom, looking to be a good and faithful servant of the cross, and then there is faith that restricts itself to an early exit and as little exertion as possible.

God’s function is to give, and mine is to receive. That’s all I know, and it sounds good even though the rational part of me tends to wonder why the guy telling me it’s God’s job to give and mine to receive is asking me to give to him. I’m sure it’s just an oversight that will be remedied posthaste. I mean, doesn’t he want to unclog the torrent of blessings by being sacrificial in his giving too?

Sometimes, we want to believe the lie so much that we ignore the inconsistencies. We want the easy win, the comfy life, and the prosperous future without enduring or overcoming because we know what those things imply, and it’s not summer hats and cotton candy.

If the enemy can manage to eliminate certain concepts from the Christian ethos, then when those things appear in one’s life, they are rejected wholesale because they will be associated with something other than faithful obedience and perseverance.

If, as a new believer, I’m constantly told I will not have to suffer persecution even though Paul said all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus would, and Jesus Himself said that if the world hated Him, they would likewise hate us, then when persecution arises, wouldn’t I do anything to avoid it?

If, as a new believer, I’m constantly told that all I have to do is raise a hand in the air, and I’m set for life when the opportunity arises to be an answer to prayer and a blessing to a brother or a sister in need, wouldn’t I turn my head and walk the other way because I could use the extra twenty in my pocket like anyone else.

The least we can do is be honest with ourselves and admit that we gravitate toward certain teachings because they are more pleasing to the flesh. The least we can do is admit that if we rightly divide the Word, a healthy, vibrant, living faith is active and purposeful in doing the work of the Kingdom, putting its hand to the plow wherever a need arises.

You can tell a thirsty man you pray his thirst be quenched and send him on his way, or you can give him a cup of water. Never discount the possibility that you may be the miracle that man’s been praying for.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Doing II

 Faith without works is dead not because faith itself is deficient but because it cannot truly exist without being accompanied by works. Works are a natural byproduct of faith. A package deal. Inseparable, and interwoven. Your faith ignites the desire in your heart to do the works of the kingdom. Your faith allows you to snatch glimpses of eternity and stand on the promise of God that He will give to each one according to his work.

 When you have faith, your desire is to obey and do what God commands without question or delay. A writer writes, a painter paints, a singer sings, and a servant serves. Without serving, you are not a servant, just as without writing, you cannot be a writer. You can tell people you’re a writer, but if they ask you what you’ve written and you say nothing, they’ll roll their eyes and realize you could have just as easily said you’re a scientist, an archeologist, or a Reiki healer. In case you’ve never run across one, those last people are a hoot.

I’ve mentioned wanting to be an archeologist when I grew up, but I’ve never introduced myself as an archeologist just because I wanted to be one. When it suits them, or there is some profit in it, some people like to identify as Christian without being Christian and doing Christian things. By that, I don’t mean going to Gaither concerts or putting a fish sticker on your car, but daily picking up their crosses, denying themselves, and following after Christ.

When one is determined to be a follower, it presupposes that they will follow the one leading wherever He may do so. It’s not about where the follower wants to go, nor is it the follower that determines the pace the leader sets. The follower has one function: to follow. He does not determine anything more about the journey than just that.

You can’t follow Jesus without denying yourself. People have tried, and people have failed because the self does not desire to follow after Him. Picking up your cross not just once or once in a blue moon requires discipline and a singularly focused purpose. Yes, there will be days when you won’t want to pick up your cross. There will be days when it’s the last thing you want to do because you’re tired and sore, and everything the world is throwing at you is leaving a bruise, but you do it nonetheless because He said you must, and that you have no choice in the matter if you desire to follow Him.

Many have taken to believe that intellectual acknowledgment of a thing is all that’s required for living, transforming, and saving faith to be ignited in the heart of man without any of the transformative byproducts that true and abiding faith produces. When someone says they are spiritual or believe there is a god, they’re not referring exclusively to the God of the Bible or the redeeming work of Christ. To them, God is a concept rather than a person, an idea rather than the embodied reality of God’s love in Christ Jesus.

All dogs don’t go to heaven, and all paths don’t lead to the same destination. The lies we tell ourselves are multitudinous, but the intent and purpose of every lie is to distract you and take your eyes off Jesus and the cross.

The example James puts forth is reminiscent of what politicians do whenever there’s a disaster somewhere, and they want some face time with the peasants, showing how empathetic they are to their pain while in reality doing nothing substantive to help them in their time of need.

James 2:15-16, “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?”

The demographic isn’t the world’s poor or someone in a far-flung country, but a brother or sister. Someone you know, someone you fellowship with, someone within your circle of acquaintances, if not outright friends. If you see them naked and destitute of daily food, and all you do is pay them lip service without seeing to their need, what have you really done?

We’ve all seen it at one point or another, and it’s always grating. Some politician landing near some devastation in a helicopter, with rubber boots so new they didn’t even bother to take the tags off, looking around, glad-handing a few folks he made sure used some Purel first, and insisting that they are all in this together.

How so, mister politician? How exactly are we all in this together? There’s a little girl fifteen feet away, covered in mud, with a torn dress, petting a dead cat, with a hollow look that reveals she’s seen more than any child her age ever should. You’re about to board a jet and go back to Washington because you don’t want to miss your reservation at Mastro’s.

Tell me how seeing a brother or sister in need, being able to do something to ameliorate their need, yet choosing to do nothing is any different. Worse still are those who would do something only if a camera crew were around or their name ended up on a plaque somewhere. It’s not the rich James is referring to; it’s everyone and the condition of their heart. If someone’s naked and destitute of daily food, you don’t have to be a millionaire to make their lives better. A loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, and some hand-me-down clothes would be an answer to prayer.

It’s not about the grand gestures. It’s not about building the wings of a hospital if you are unable to do so. It’s about the little things and the people that fall through the cracks, those who could use not just a reassuring word and an encouragement but also a hot meal.

I’ve been married for twenty-three years. In all that time, I realized that my wife is more excited when I remember to pick up eggs and milk than when I gift her a pair of earrings or some trinket or another. Grand gestures play well in the eyes of others, but the little things are what warm people’s hearts.

With love in Christ, 

Michael Boldea, Jr.

Monday, December 18, 2023


 I’m fully aware of the madness gripping the world wherein someone believes just because they say they are something, or might even believe they are that something, they are somehow transformed into the thing they believe they are. We’ve seen people believe they’re dogs, cats, a reincarnated Tutankhamun, or the space lord Zip come from a galaxy far, far away, but all they really are is attention-seeking clowns. Either that or people with severe mental disorders who are as likely to try and bite off your nose as they are to pitch a fit for misgendering them.

There’s a difference between saying you’re something and being something, between intending to do something and actually doing it. It may just be me, but I’ve been planning to get in shape for the better part of thirty years now. However, here I still am, Rubenesque as always, glowing with vitality and high animal fat content because even when I start to go to the gym and exercise, something always comes up. It’s enough of an excuse for me to torpedo the entire thing.

Yes, I’m fully aware bodily exercise profits little, and I’ve discovered there are enough things that profit more that by the time I’m done with those, the day is done, and I need rest. That profits a little, too, but I’ve decided I like sleep as much as the next guy, even if I don’t get enough.

James 2:14-17, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or a sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.’”

Ever wonder if James and Jude ever got together to figure out how to annoy the sanctimonious and self-righteous? They were, after all, brothers, so they must have hung out more than they would have with strangers. I wonder about that a lot.

Here’s the plan: You write to the churches, I’ll write to the Jews, but let’s be brave and bold and direct in our writing like our big brother would have been. Then we’ll see who gets martyred first.

Spoiler alert: historically speaking, James won by a nose, but Jude’s martyrdom was more gruesome, being beaten with a club and then crucified rather than just being stoned like his brother. I know, if only they knew the prosperity keys to unlock the storehouse of all the wealth of the wicked that was laid up for the righteous. Perhaps they could have purchased their freedom. Oh wait, that wasn’t their intent. It wasn’t about a comfortable life here; it was about eternity there. It still is for those who want what Jesus offers, not what men are peddling.

To understand the deeper truth of what James is trying to impart we must first determine what he means by works. The other thing we must be aware of is the way in which he frames the question.

Yes, I’m well aware that I’m likely to catch flack from ‘the you don’t have to do anything to obtain eternity, except perhaps throw a hand in the air and a few bucks in the plate,’ but when we come to understand what faith works in us, how it transforms us, and how it directs us, we will come to realize that James is right, as is Paul, Peter, and Jesus, and any other Biblical author who insist upon devotion, surrender, faithfulness, and obedience.

James doesn’t start out by saying, ‘if someone has faith,’ but rather ‘if someone says he has faith.’ Again, it’s one thing to say you have something and another to demonstrably prove it. You can say you have faith, but the evidence of faith is the aforementioned works, and if there are no works to be had, if there is no fruit to be gleaned, if all you have is your say so and you have no solid evidence to back up your claims, do you really have anything?

Life is not a video game, and you don’t need to perform a certain number of tasks in order to get to the next level. No one is standing at heaven’s gate with a clipboard, checking off all the things you were supposed to do to gain entry as far as works are concerned. James is saying that faith transforms you as an individual, and the works of which he speaks are a byproduct of true and abiding faith in Jesus.

Although everyone is quick to say that Paul contradicts James, Jude, and Peter, and to a certain extent Jesus, because let’s face it, telling someone you love that they need to go and sell all they have and then come and follow can be seen as having to put in some kind of work, he doesn’t.

The only time people can vociferously say that Paul contradicts everyone else is when they take one verse out of context and Forrest Gump it until the wheels fall off.

The same Paul, whom some say insists on a fast pass to heaven also insisted on doing works befitting repentance, but nobody really likes to talk about that. It pokes a hole in the narrative, and we’d rather gloss over anything attempting to do so.

Acts 26:19-20, “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn, to God, and do works befitting repentance.”

True faith produces works, and those with true faith do not have to tell others that they have faith; they will witness it in their works. It’s not works salvation; it’s the natural byproduct of a life lived in obedience.

I’m well aware that every avenue we’ve pursued of late reveals that there are far fewer people of faith in what we call the church than we first assumed, but that can’t be helped. The truth will out whether I speak it or not because if we remain silent, the stones will cry out in our stead.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Saturday, December 16, 2023


 If mercy triumphs over judgment, does this mean we should never judge? Are we to keep silent, turn a blind eye, and pretend as though we are not witness to what we are seeing and go about our lives indifferently, disconnected, and unaffected?

The Bible never says we ought not to judge; the lukewarm, duplicitous, and godless just want you to think it does. What the Bible does is warn that we will be judged with the same judgment we judge with. If you judge righteously, then you will be judged righteously. If you judge biblically, using the Word as your plumb line, you likewise will be judged biblically.

We will all be judged one day. No man can escape judgment, and when we stand before God and His throne, everything will be laid bare, and one of the things that will be taken into account is the judgment with which we judged and the measure we used to do so. This does not mean that if you’ve never judged righteously or otherwise, you get a waiver and go straight to the feasting. The whole process begins with separating those on His right from those on His left, those who knew Him from those who pretended to.

Matthew 7:1-2, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with what measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

That’s what Jesus said, but we only like to quote that first part because it immunizes us from responsibility or defending righteousness. Well, yes, Bob came to church in a dress and expects everyone to call him Brenda now, but you know, judge not. Is that what Jesus said, though?

Are we to turn a blind eye to perversion, depravity, and sin because calling it out might be construed as judging? Are we to stop preaching the gospel because some who might hear it being laden with sin will conclude that they are being judged?

Jesus isn’t condemning judging righteously; He is condemning hypocrisy. Jesus isn’t saying the church shouldn’t have a standard; He is saying the church should hold itself to the standard it has first and foremost before pointing out the shortcomings of others.

I don’t know how we got it this twisted, but I do know it all began when unscrupulous men started to make the narrow way wide and the straight way crooked because it meant more bodies in the seats, which translated to more cash in the coffers. Wouldn’t you know it if you tell sinners that rather than repent of their sin, they can just throw a few bucks in the plate, they’ll throw the few bucks in the plate every time.

We built monstrously large ministries on a foundation of lies because no matter how warm and fuzzy it may sound to your flesh if the Bible is not that which forms the construct of a work, it is doomed to crumble and fail. We’ve seen an entire generation come into maturity who is no less broken, no less lost, no less hopeless, and no less disenchanted than the world, the only difference being a few less dollars in their pocket because if they got anything drilled into them, it was the indispensable necessity of the tithe.

What many failed to realize when they were building these monstrosities is that once you build a monster, you have to feed it, and in order for it to get fed, greater and greater compromises must be made to incur the favor of more and more lukewarm souls.

If the gate that leads to life is narrow and the way difficult, and few find it, how is it that we can broaden the definition of what is to be saved to the point that if you walked by a church on a given day and they were holding service inside you were saved by osmosis?

You’ve got fully grown adults playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but instead of Kevin Bacon, it’s Jesus. They know someone who knows someone who was in church that one time, so they’re pretty much guaranteed eternal security.

If you dare to mention what Jesus said about the gate being narrow and the way being difficult, you’re just a mean old meany who’s seeped in legalism and doesn’t understand that this is a new Christianity for a new generation, rebranded and streamlined.

I’m sure you’re just exaggerating or misquoting Jesus about the way being difficult. That would mean our evangelists have been lying to us all this time, and that doesn’t seem right to me.

Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

But I thought Jesus said His yoke was easy and His burden was light. What’s this talk about the way which leads to life being difficult? Getting to that point of walking through the narrow gate or journeying in the way that leads to life is difficult. It requires breaking ties with all the old things that were comfortable and had become habitual in nature. It requires the thorough cleaning out of the vessel that new life might be poured in. Once you’ve found life, once you’ve received it, and He resides within, his yoke is indeed easy, and His burden light.

It’s like hunting for the greatest treasure known to man, following maps and directions, being diligent and not giving up when others have, then finally unearthing what you’ve been searching for all that time. You don’t remember the blistered feet and the sore back. You don’t remember the cold nights and the hot days. All of that seems long forgotten because you’ve claimed what you’ve been searching for.

Another apropos illustration is childbirth. I was in the room when both of my daughters were born. If my wife’s screaming is any indication, the process is not a walk in the park, and that’s putting it mildly. Once it’s over, once that first cry breaks the silence, and the baby is laid on its mother’s chest, all the pain is forgotten instantaneously.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Friday, December 15, 2023


 You can’t be a body without members. For a body to function properly, you need arms and legs, hands and feet, fingers and toes, a nose, ears, lips, a mouth, eyes, a tongue, and everything else combined to make a body complete. No single member is more important than the integrity of the whole body. If a finger becomes necrotic, you remove the finger. If a toe, you remove the toe. Whatever poses a danger to the well-being of the entire body must be removed if it cannot be healed, rehabilitated, and brought back into full functionality. Given enough time to spread, an infected member is an existential danger to the whole body.

That said, you can’t go around hacking off fingers because you didn’t like the hair on the knuckles. The finger was perfectly healthy and functional, doing its assigned duties; you just didn’t like the aesthetic of it.

In order to determine whether a member is necrotic and in need of removal or just a tad different than what you would prefer in a member, you must diagnose it and use the Bible to determine the truth of it. It’s not up to personal opinion; it’s not up to a denomination whether something should be deemed a sin; it’s up to the Bible, and the Bible has the final say.

My brother Sergiu has a goofy third toe. By goofy, I mean it’s about half an inch longer than all his other toes, and it’s different enough that it stands out. Even though his foot looks different because of the uncommon length of the toe, never once has it crossed his mind to hack off his toe or his foot. Why? Because the toe isn’t bad, it’s not diseased, it’s not necrotic, it’s just different. The toe does not threaten the viability of the body, nor does it hinder the functionality thereof. It’s just a big toe. Sure, people notice, but it is what it is.

The Word of God must determine whether a member is just different, marching to the beat of his own drum but overall harmless and absent malice or ill intent, or if they are in rebellion and need to be set aside for the wellbeing of the body.

We’re too quick with the cleaver and too slow with the balm, and we’ve managed to create ever smaller niches within Christendom akin to warring factions. Just as a house divided against itself cannot stand, neither can a body. Imagine your feet wanting to go one way and your torso the other. Imagine you trying to scratch an itch on your upper lip, and your finger pokes you in the eye instead. Eventually, because you’re afraid of what your body might do, you just end up sitting on your hands and doing nothing. And voila, there you have the modern-day church.

What’s the cause of all this? Glad you asked. The answer is staring us in the face, but to admit to the reality of what it implies is too earth-shattering to contemplate. The body is off-kilter, divided, and wholly unfocused because it is no longer subservient to the head.

If the body is functioning properly, it takes all its orders from the head and does nothing outside what it is instructed to do. When the head determines that the body should move forward, the body moves forward. When it determines that it should turn right, it will turn right.

Even those of you who slept through Bible study class should know who the head of the church is. Well done: the head of the church is Christ. Now, if a church is chasing every wind of doctrine, running to and fro without focus or direction, you know that somewhere along the way, it’s lost its head, and just like a chicken after a run-in with the chopping block, it’s running around bleeding all over the place, but is already dead.

Although it’s not my intent to sound mean-spirited, the reality of the situation is too evident to ignore. Whole churches, even whole denominations, are already dead; they just haven’t gotten the message yet. The body is still performing macabre acrobatics, but it’s just an illusion, sort of like when a cadaver releases gasses, and everyone thinks uncle Tom came back from the dead. Jesus hasn’t been their head for a long time, and without His guidance and direction, they pursued all manner of things that lead to ruination, justifying their actions by their not having been struck deaf, dumb and blind. That would have been light punishment. Far worse is to be left to your heart's desire because once it comes to its final iteration and the metamorphosis is complete, most would have wished for deafness, dumbness, and blindness.

We can lie to ourselves, and we can even find others to lie to us and reassure us that the church is doing great, the devil’s on the run, and all that awaits is the victory lap, but at this juncture, it would mean not believing your own eyes, senses, and the reality of all that surrounds you and taking place within Christendom. Yes, I know; you’re waging war in the heavenlies and doing it from a barstool and half in the bag, no less.

What passes for Christianity today is far removed from the Christianity of the Bible, and it shows in our decaying culture, fraying morals, and tepid response from self-titled warriors of the cross to the call of Christ. Seeing all that we’re seeing, one wonders if perhaps Jesus knew more than He was letting on when He asked if the Son of Man would find faith on the earth when He returned.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.