The New Life


by Mike Ratliff

“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their hearts; who having become callous gave themselves up to lust, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (Ephesians 4:17-19 WEB)

The vast majority of professing Christians in the United States and in other countries, whose churches are patterned after American churches, are enslaved to their flesh. Why? The trend that I have witnessed in our churches for at least the last 25 years or so is a de-emphasis of discipleship. Evangelism or outreach has crowded out in-reach and Bible study. Why? Church growth has become the golden calf of the new evangelism. Because of that, church leaders strive to be culturally relevant even if it means dummying down the Gospel and no longer putting any resources into biblical discipleship. Continue reading

Christian Chraracter


by Mike Ratliff

Pray for us, for we are persuaded that we have a good conscience, desiring to live honorably in all things. I strongly urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you sooner. Now may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, our Lord Jesus, make you complete in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:18-21 WEB)

R.C. Sproul shared the following story in the September 2007 issue of Tabletalk magazine. “Several years ago I was participating in a discussion with some business men in Jackson, Mississippi. In the course of the conversation, one of the men made reference to a man who was not present at the meeting. He said, ‘He is an honorable man.’ When I heard this comment, my ears perked up as I thought for a moment I was hearing a foreign language being spoken. I realized that I was in the middle of the Deep South where customs of old had not entirely been eradicated, yet I still could not get over that somebody in this day and age was using the word honor as descriptive term for a human being.” Continue reading

Spurgeon on Persevering Grace


I have always be puzzled over why some reject the Doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints. The evidence of the veracity of this doctrine in the Word of God is overwhelming. Of course the culprit in that resistance is the same as that which opposes each of the doctrines of grace. The Sovereignty of God is the issue. How far does it extend? Is there a limit to it? To what extent does Man have autonomy? I pray that our study of the doctrines of grace has helped you in seeing that God is Sovereign and Man, being a creature in His creation, is under His sovereignty even as all other creatures. Let us end this study with Charles Spurgeon’s take on the Doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints.

Isaiah 6 by Todd Agnew


I saw the Lord, seated on a throne, high and exalted
And the train of His robe filled the temple
Above Him were angels, with six mighty wings
And with two they’d cover their faces
With two they’d cover their feet
With two, they’d fly
With two, they’d fly… and sing

(Chorus:)
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty
The whole earth is full of His glory
He’s glorious

I said, “Woe to me, I am ruined
I am unclean, and so are all my kind
But my eyes have seen the King
The Lord Almighty

(Chorus:)
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty
The whole earth is full of His glory
He’s glorious

An angel flew to me and he had fire in His hand
He put it to my lips and God took away my sin
He took away my sin

(Chorus:)
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty
And the whole earth is full of His glory
He’s glorious
You’re glorious

Hymns – His Grace Untold


Christians draw near to their God through prayer, His Word, and worship. If we have a hard time worshiping our Lord because we don’t care for the “worship style” then what is the problem? At my former church many of my generation and older left when the Pastor decided to cut out all hymns and go 100% contemporary. Why do you suppose he did that? I like some contemporary praise and worship songs, however, hymns also carry my heart directly to the throne of almighty God as I bow at His feet in worship.

I received a copy of Tonya Betz’s latest CD a few weeks ago to preview. The title of the CD is “HYMNS – His Grace Untold.” I have been listening to it while I study and write for the last three weeks and have been blessed. The music style is Tonya singing to self-accompanied acoustic guitar. My memory of the wonderful hymns on this CD are of a large choir and the whole assembled church singing together. It is a whole different experience to hear them as Tonya sings and plays. Here is a list of the hymns on this CD.

1. Grace Greater Than All Our Sin
2. I Once Was a Stranger
3. O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus (this is my favorite one on this CD)
4. My Lord, I Did Not Choose You
5. I Will Sing of My Redeemer
6. All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name
7. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
8. Be Thou My Vision
9. The Church’s One Foundation
10. It Is Well With My Soul

The price of the CD is $14.00 which includes shipping and handling. You can order it here. www.tonyabetz.com

Another thing important to know about this CD  is that the music is used in a very dynamic street preaching ministry and proceeds from sales are used to buy Bibles and tracts for that. I highly recommend this CD to you and I recommend that you incorporate it into your own devotional time with the Lord. To Him be all the glory! – Mike Ratliff

Persevering Grace


Persevering Grace

by Mike Ratliff

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 8:35-39 ESV)

Probably the number one thing that I have learned while presenting the doctrines of grace is that there are people who simply will not believe nor back away from their own conception of Soteriology. For instance, I have friends, acquaintances, and relatives who smirk and roll their eyes back when the topic of Persevering Grace comes up. I heard one fellow say once that God writes those who are saved in the Lamb’s Book of Life in pencil and that pencil has an eraser. Where in the Bible is that one?

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East to West


In preparation for my post on the Doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints I would like to post the lyrics to one of my favorite songs by Casting Crowns. Its title is East to West. – Mike Ratliff

God’s forgiveness is an amazing gift. The problem is that our logic gets in our way.
~Psalm 51 / Ephesians 2:1-10 / 1 John 1:9 / Psalm 103 / Romans 8 / Colossians 2:9-15 / Isaiah 38:17 / Psalm 32 / Lamentations 3:22-24 / Romans 6 / Romans 3:5-8

Here I am, Lord, and I’m drowning in your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest
I don’t want to end up where You found me
And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight
I know You’ve cast my sin as far as the east is from the west
And I stand before You now as though I’ve never sinned
But today I feel like I’m just one mistake away from You leaving me this way

Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west
‘Cause I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
‘Cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other

I start the day, the war begins, endless reminding of my sin
Time and time again Your truth is drowned out by the storm I’m in
Today I feel like I’m just one mistake away from You leaving me this way

I know You’ve washed me white, turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through, to get me through this night
I can’t live by what I feel, but by the truth Your word reveals
I‘m not holding on to You, but You’re holding on to me
You’re holding on to me

Jesus, You know just how far the east is from the west
I don’t have to see the man I’ve been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
‘Cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other
One scarred hand to the other
From one scarred hand to the other

Written by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms

© 2007 My Refuge Music/Club Zoo Music/SWECS Music (BMI) (admin. by EMI CMG Publishing) / Word Music, LLC (ASCAP), Banahama Tunes (ASCAP). All rights on behalf of itself and Banahama Tunes administered by Word Music, LLC.

Spurgeon on Irresistible Grace


Yesterday I posted my testimony about my salvation and how God had drawn me to Himself. It was His good work in me. Many years later He drew me to a much closer walk with Him. Again, it was His doing, not mine. Today let us look at the doctrine of Irresistible Grace or Effectual Calling. I actually prefer the later name for it. In any case, here is a sermon by Charles Spurgeon on the “I” from T.U.L.I.P. Enjoy and be blessed. – Mike Ratliff

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God Has Allotted to Each a Measure of Faith


by John Piper

September 23, 1998

Romans 12:3

In my message on Romans 12:3-8 , I argued from verse 3 that God gives varying measures of faith to his people. Paul says that we ought “to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” In the context this is not a limited reference to the unique spiritual gift of faith (1 Corinthians 12:9). For Paul says, “I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” “To each” refers back to “everyone among you.” God has given all Christians varying measures of faith. This is the faith with which we receive and use our varying gifts. It is the ordinary daily faith by which we live and minister. Continue reading

A Testimony


by Mike Ratliff

In January 1986 on a cold Sunday morning I drove my family to church. I took our son to his Sunday school class. He was four. My wife took our daughter who was seven to her class. The Church was a Southern Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Pastor was a friend from High School. We attended that church because my wife and I felt that our children needed it. I had turned 34 the previous October and had lived those 34+ years the way I wanted. I grew up going to church, but as soon as I was old enough to do so, I quit. Neither my wife nor I were attending church when we met then later married. We chose that church because my friend was the Pastor. I had been baptized when I was in the 4th grade because all my friends did. I was as Christian as this Apple Computer I’m typing on right now.

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Spurgeon on Limited Atonement


I have become convinced that God must open a heart in order for it to grasp the veracity of the doctrines of grace. The natural man seems to be born a Free Will advocate. Just as it takes God regenerating a heart in order to save a person, it also takes spiritual growth through many crises of belief for God to grow that person into submission to His sovereignty in all things. Last night I posted on Limited Atonement. It took me several days to work through that post, develop the outline, research, then put it together. However, this evening I believe we need to sit at the feet of one of God’s great pulpit men from the past. Enjoy and be blessed.

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Limited Atonement


by Mike Ratliff

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Now on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present a food offering to the LORD. And you shall not do any work on that very day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whoever is not afflicted on that very day shall be cut off from his people. And whoever does any work on that very day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall not do any work. It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict yourselves. On the ninth day of the month beginning at evening, from evening to evening shall you keep your Sabbath.” (Leviticus 23:26-32 ESV)

As I write this, it is mid-morning on Yom Kipper. That is, it is the 10th day of the seventh month (Tishri) on the Jewish calendar. Please carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post. Do you see the serious emphasis God places on the need for His people’s atonement? What is this atonement? Biblical atonement is the act of God canceling the debt of His people’s sin. Without it God’s wrath against their sin could not be appeased.

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Ten Effects of Believing the Five Points of Calvinism


by John Piper

April 20, 2002

These ten points are my personal testimony to the effects of believing in the five points of Calvinism. I have just completed teaching a seminar on this topic and was asked by the class members to post these reflections so they could have access to them. I am happy to do so. They, of course, assume the content of the course, which is available online from Desiring God Ministries, but I will write them here in the hope that they might stir others to search, Berean-like, to see if the Bible teaches what I call “Calvinism.” Continue reading

A Word of Encouragment


No matter what the circumstances might look like when the days of evil come as this apostasy spreads like a spiritual wildfire, we who are in Christ will understand that the Bible is a supernatural Book. In this short devotion over at Apprising Ministries Ken Silva reminds us how comforting it is for us to know that no matter what happens in this sin-sick and cursed creation, the Word of God tells us that the life of the Christian is even now hidden with Christ in God.