It’s Time for God’s People to Turn Their Hearts Back to Him


by Mike Ratliff

16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” (Luke 1:16-17 ESV)

When I was working on my first book back in 2004 I had a lot of misgivings about writing it at all. After all, who am I? I’m no preacher or theologian. I’ve never been to Seminary. I am just a person madly in love with my Lord. When I began to look for a way to have that book published, I found out that my misgivings seemed to be right. It is very difficult to become published if you aren’t already published. But, I get ahead of myself. During those days of working on the outline of Walking the Walk by Faith I was also learning much about prayer and listening as I read the Word of God and paid attention to my circumstances, etc. In late 2004 I was through with the outline and had begun to write the Introduction. Believe it or not, it took me longer to write it than any other chapter in the book. As I wrote and rewrote it over a period of two weeks or so, I was continually asking God to show me the purpose of doing this. Continue reading

The Lord is the Strength of His People


by Mike Ratliff

8 The Lord is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
9 Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever. (Psalm 28:8-9 ESV)

The Genuine Christian walk is actually part of a war. Each believer’s walk is a battle or skirmish in that war. As we see in Ephesians 6:10-20, this war is not specifically against other people. Even if heretics or apostates rant and rave against us or terrorists from some pagan religion threaten our lives, our war is against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. The people who attack us are in some way controlled by these evil forces. Continue reading

Only One Gospel


A genuine Christian is one who has been regenerated and saved by faith through grace. Jesus Christ was born sinless, lived a sinless life, and died sinless on the cross. As he died, the Father imputed the sins of all those who will be saved to His account. His death was God’s wrath being poured out on Him as the Lamb of God. He was the blood sacrifice that satisfied the wrath of God against the sin being paid for by Christ’s gruesome death. However, Jesus did not stay dead. He was resurrected on the third day. This created the way to peace with God for all who believe on Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Those who do believe on Him have Christ’s perfect righteousness imputed to their account. They are justified in God’s eyes. They now have peace with Him. Continue reading

My Conscience is Captive to the Word of God


by Mike Ratliff

18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. (1 Timothy 1:18-20 ESV)

I had an aside conversation for several days a few weeks ago via email with a person claiming that he wasn’t emergent. However he continually proclaimed their teachings while trying to cast doubt about what I proclaim as the pure unadulterated doctrine from the Word of God. His point that he kept trying to pound into me was that it wrong for me to be associated with the Christian Research Network. Why? He kept trying to show me how divisive everyone one at CRN was and that I shouldn’t associate with them. Continue reading

Accountability


by Mike Ratliff

7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your fathers put me to the test
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
and they have not known my ways.”
11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,
“They shall not enter my rest.” (Psalm 95:7-11 ESV)

Preaching or teaching from God’s Word is nothing to trifle with. The responsibility that goes with each is eternal. Those who minister through the Word will be held accountable. We must ask each time we preach or teach, “Did I treat what is Holy as it deserved? Have I fallen into doing my ministry perfunctorily?” Those of us who teach must never do so in way that is in any way motivated by anything other than our love and devotion for our Lord. Yes, there will be circumstances that we respond to and use as inspiration or input, but, even in that, we do a tremendous disservice to our Lord if we don’t go to Him in prayer first before we respond, write, preach, or teach. While the leader has a huge responsibility to minister by the Spirit, those who hear the truth from God’s Word will also be held accountable. Continue reading

Wherefore By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them


by Mike Ratliff

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 2 3And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:15-23 KJV)

This post did not come precisely from our discussions last week on obedience. It was born from a side discussion I had with someone about how to tell a genuine Christian from someone who is false. This is an important consideration because many of us lived marginal Christian lives for long periods of time. These horrid times away from the center of God’s will were torturous for some while others seemed not affected at all. I was one who was in agony over my inability to repent of certain besetting sins. Their residue is still with me as a reminder in many ways. Yes, God has changed me. He has given me the ability to repent. However, that path into these sins is far too easy for me to fall into than I would like. I believe God has left this in place in my heart so that I will be humble and entirely dependent upon Him to not stumble and fall. Continue reading

You can only feel the thorns when you quit running.


by Mike Ratliff

5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:5-6 ESV)

I saw the movie “Amazing Grace” last week. I had been anticipating seeing it for some time and when my daughter and son-in-law came to visit this last week, we made a point of doing so. It was a very good movie that never flinched from the Christian message of repentance and salvation. It was a story of the battle to end the slave trade in Great Britain by passing laws in Parliament to outlaw it. The primary character in the movie is William Wilberforce, but he was not alone. His best friend was William Pitt and his spiritual advisor was John Newton. Continue reading

At Calvary


At Calvary

by William R. Newell, 1895

1. Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
On Calvary.

* Refrain:
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty
At Calvary.

2. By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned
To Calvary.

3. Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing
Of Calvary!

4. Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
At Calvary!

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Regarding Christ and the Ministry of Reconciliation


by Mike Ratliff

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:16-17 ESV)

People who are genuine Christians are Born Again. Their hearts have been regenerated. They are New Creations. That means that their hearts now regard Christ spiritually rather than through the flesh. This is an important point for there are growing numbers of people calling themselves Christians who refuse to surrender to the Lordship of Christ in all areas of their lives. They regard Christ via their Human reason rather than spiritually. By this, they prove that they are simply religious converts rather than regenerated disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of this, these pseudo-Christians are spiritually blind, yet they believe they are legitimate because they love Jesus and are involved in their “ministries.” However, they preach not the truth because they don’t know the truth. They pick things from scripture they like, but refuse to submit to the parts they don’t . The Jesus they love and “serve” is another Jesus, not the one we see from scripture when it is studied exegetically. Continue reading

Judgment on the Abyss of Love


In today’s “Christian” atmosphere or culture or whatever you want to call it, the word “judgment” has almost become taboo. If we speak of it we are called hypocrites or those who label others. When we refuse to accept heresy or apostasy as legitimate Christianity then we are called judgmental, spiritually arrogant, etc. The ones crying foul always point to Jesus Christ as their example, but when we point out their apostasy, they say we are un-Christlike. The following devotional by Oswald Chambers speaks of this. I pray that God will bless you as you meditate of the truths found in it. – Mike Ratliff Continue reading

Heads Up


My friend Sarah Jones sent me an email this morning asking for help. Someone hacked into one of her blogs and replaced her picture with an erotic one. She is humiliated. If you see any of her comments on by blog, the Avatar that is shown is the one that was changed. Isn’t this what those in the darkness, who hate the light, do when the light from the life in us tells the truth?

The Habit of Enjoying the Disagreeable


by Mike Ratliff

While Christians must pursue peace and unity with all whenever possible, that does not mean that they should ever be at peace with false teaching, false teachers, false preachers, or false leaders. The conflict that arises when we obediently confront error, as Jesus did and as Paul did, is most disagreeable. I, for one, do not like it. I have a deep desire to be at peace with everyone, but when those who disagree with the truth from God’s Word descend upon me simply for stating it, refusing to be sucked into unfruitful debate about it, or for rebuking those who refuse to repent then I must remain obedient and ready to continue in that obedience. The cost has been counted. Even though it hurts some when being called all sorts of names or reading things about myself that these people write, I have learned a very huge truth. When we do this and do not fall away from it, our Lord is right there with us manifesting Himself through us. Our human side may want to avoid the conflict, but if we are genuine disciples called to this ministry of restoration and reform then we will experience a closeness with our Lord that few have. That closeness is also accompanied by a deep Joy that comes to those who are obedient no matter how hot the fire. I am posting another devotional by Oswald Chambers on obedience. Enjoy and be blessed. Continue reading

Build Your House on the Rock


by Mike Ratliff

46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? (Luke 6:46 ESV)

There is much controversy in the Church these days over some teaching from those who have made it a point to be move their doctrine away from the Orthodox into a what used to be called liberalism. However, instead of rejecting everything spiritual as the liberals do, these new teachers claim that they are moving back to the origins of the Church with methods and doctrine that are more indicative of the early church rather than what is called Orthodox now. The followers of these teachers have, for the most part, rejected “church” with any hint orthodoxy in it. Continue reading