by Mike Ratliff
And her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD has not spoken. (Ezekiel 22:28)
I cannot count the number of times I have heard an argument similar to the following statement from someone who did not agree with a doctrinal statement I or someone else was teaching. They say something like, “That passage cannot mean that because my God wouldn’t do something like that.” Of course, what they mean by that is their concept of God and His ways does not line up with some teachings from the Bible. People who say things like this actually have created a god in their own image. This god is subject to Human Reason. This god will never violate the principles or values they have constructed for him. In the last post we looked at the following passage. Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 1:2)
We have arrived at the stage of Job’s trial where he is past trying to rationalize his suffering in light of his godly walk with God. He has stoically refused to curse God in his suffering saying that we should be willing to accept the good with the bad. He silently suffered in his agony on the ash heap. Then his three friends showed up and suffered in silence with him for a week. Job then cried out in pain and frustration to his friends complaining that he did not deserve to be treated like this. Eliphaz responded with a diatribe that included an accurate declaration that all men are sinners. However, he made the mistake of trying to get Job to confess that he had committed some grievous sin, which caused God to punish him. Job then responded that he was justified in his complaint. His suffering is increasing. He is past being noble and gracious. He can no longer contend with Eliphaz and the others because they refuse to believe that such horrible suffering isn’t God’s chastening. Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
Then Job answered and said: “Oh that my vexation were weighed, and all my calamity laid in the balances! For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea; therefore my words have been rash. (Job 6:1-3)
We left Job and his three friends in the last study with Eliphaz delivering a diatribe proclaiming that Job’s suffering was due to sin that Job had committed. In that diatribe Eliphaz gave an accurate portrayal of the utter depravity of man outside of God’s grace, but he erred in proclaiming that all suffering was due to unrepentant sin. His understanding is it that to guarantee one to be free of suffering a person must be sinless. Why did Eliphaz believe this so vehemently? Continue reading
Discernment is a vital part of being effective Christians. We are not to passively cooexist with heresy. Please read this missive by Gary E. Gilley about the reality that is the Emergent Church.
Right after God saved me in 1986 I was taught to confess and repent of my sins as a way of walking before the Lord. What this does is keeps us in fellowship with God. Unconfessed and unrepented of sins drive a wedge between us and God spiritually. This lack of fellowship causes many spiritual maladies that cause many undesirable issues in Christians. To be in a close walk with God is vital. This missive by Steve Camp is a must read for the Christian who desires that Spirit-led walk with our Lord.
This missive by A.W. Pink is a must read for believers. Assurance is a mighty part of our full Armor of God. It helps us fight off the enemy who desires us to doubt God and His promises.
Contentment is that nebulous condition with which most Americans freely admit they are completely unacquainted. Sadly, most American Christians fall into this lack of contentment as well. This missive by the Rev. Charles R. Biggs gives us the biblical explaination of Christian contentment. Please prayerfully read it.
Christians have a tendency to fall into two views. One view is that faith and salvation is 100% grace and works are not involved at all. The other view is that salvation is by grace plus works. However, the Bible is very clear that salvation is by grace through faith. It is a gift of God. However, there are also passages that tell us that works are a vital and necessary part of our salvation. Please read this edifying devotional by Martin Luther. I believe it gives us a very accurate description of works and their role in our salvation.
Pastor Ken Silva has once again written a missive that shines God’s light into the darkness of deception that has overtaken the Church in America. Please read this hard-hitting post here.
by Mike Ratliff
Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.” So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” And the LORD said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” (Genesis 18:20-26)
When I was about six or seven years old my mother agreed to watch the son of a friend of hers after school. This boy was the same age as my sister who was two years older than me. Well, he and I played together because what seven or eight year old boy wants to play with girls? Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. (Job 3:1)
When God opens the eyes of His children as they seek Him by drawing close and following hard after Him, they become Spirit-led. That means they have matured to a point by God granting them repentance where they actively strive to take every thought capture unto Christ and walk through each day in repentance. There will never be a day in this life where they will be perfect or sinless. Yes, in God’s eyes they are righteous and blameless before Him, however, this life is one of maturing not sinless perfection. Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17)
Some people have a tendency to suffer alone. They prefer that no one even knows about their pain. Others love to share with everyone how hard their lot is. In fact, they will wear out anyone who is unfortunate enough to not be able to get away from them. However, most of us deeply desire for a brother or sister in Christ to come along side and comfort us, pray for us, and perhaps just be there in our time of need. Continue reading
The Compromised Church seems to be growing larger and more powerful each day. The deceptions upon which it is based are becoming more and more accepted by Christians and their leaders at a rate that is astonishing. It is as if the great deception, which was prophesied in the Bible, is upon us. The Spiritual Blindness is deepening. What was once considered heresy or egregious sin is now accepted with open arms in the Compromised Church. These facts can be very discouraging to discerning believers whose spiritual eyes and ears are open. What is going on? This post from Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries is a must read. I would further add that it is an urgent message for the remmant.
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Let’s take a pause from our study of God’s Sovereignty in the Suffering of His People for this weekend. We all suffer in various ways and it can be quite draining and hard to deal with. Of course God is in the fire with us, but it is only by faith we realize this. God gave us a gift at our salvation that is the source of our ability to live for Him, serve Him and endure all sorts of tests and trials. That gift, of course, is the indwelling Holy Spirit in our Hearts. Bill Williams has written a wonderful post on this very subject. Click Here to read this vital expostion of scripture.
by Mike Ratliff
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:33-39)
Several years ago in Oklahoma I was a deacon in our church. I also led a small group that met in our home on Sunday evenings. It was made up of couples. One of the couples in our group was a very godly husband and wife who were probably about 10 years or so older than my wife and me. They were a joy to have in the group. Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1 Peter 4:12-19)
When John Piper was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in December 2005, he preached a wonderful sermon about prayer then he wrote an open letter posted on his web site. The letter was titled Don’t Waste Your Cancer. The sermon really got hold of me about the condition of my prayer life. Then I read that letter and was ashamed at how I was handling my little bit of suffering at that time. Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
Samuel did what the LORD commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:4-7)
In our study of God’s sovereignty in the suffering of His people from the book of Job, let’s look at Job and his family before affliction overtook them. However, before we look at that please look closely at the passage I placed at the top of this post. Samuel, by God’s direction, went to Bethlehem to anoint the next king of Israel from the sons of Jesse. When Samuel saw Jesse’s firstborn son, Eliab, he was sure that he must the one God sent him to anoint. However, what did God say? In our modern vernacular it would be something like this, “Don’t go by appearances.” “A man’s character is within and is not made up of what he looks like or what he has.” “I look on the heart of Man.” Continue reading