The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom


In Psalm 111, the prophet giveth thanks to the Lord for His merciful works toward His Church. He also declareth wherein true wisdom and right knowledge consistith.

Psalm 111
1 Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart in the assembly and Congregation of the just.
2 The works of the Lord are great, and ought to be sought out of all them that love them.
3 His work is beautiful and glorious, and his righteousness endureth forever.
4 He hath made his wonderful works to be had in remembrance: the Lord is merciful and full of compassion.
5 He hath given a portion unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.
6 He hath shewed to his people the power of his works in giving unto them the heritage of the heathen.
7 The works of his hands are truth and judgment: all his statutes are true.
8 They are established forever and ever, and are done in truth and equity.
9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant forever: holy and fearful is his Name.
10 The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord: all they that observe them, have good understanding: his praise endureth forever. – (Geneva Bible Psalm 111)

The prophet declares that he will praise God both privately and openly and from his heart that he has consecrated wholly and only to Him.

He professes that God’s works are sufficient cause wherefore we should praise Him, but chiefly His benefits towards His Church.

God has given to His Church all that was necessary for them and will do still more for His covenant’s sake.

As God promised to take the care of His Church; so in effect does He declare Himself just and true in His government of the same.

They only are wise that fear God, and none have understanding, but those that obey His Words which are His commandments.

True Fruit of the Fear of God


by Mike Ratliff

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 KJV)

The total lack of the fear of God is what marks the ungodly. (Romans 3:18) On the other hand, genuine believers in scripture are described as those who do fear Him. Tragically, when moral issues between professing Christians and the unchurched are compared there is very little difference. There is the same level of divorce, adultery, pornography, dishonesty, etc.; in both groups. This should not be so. Continue reading

Stewards of God’s Grace


by Mike Ratliff

“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:17-24 ESV)

At 3pm today I had my hair cut. The fellow who cuts my hair was a Marine in the Vietnam War. His was tank gunner. As he cut my hair we talked about Christmas and faith and many other things. He was in a depressed mood. I asked him why. He told me that Christmas has lost all of its significance. Here we are supposedly celebrating the birth of our Saviour and now it is not politically correct to use the word “Christmas” when referring to the Holiday. It is all about commercialism and political correctness. Continue reading

Simeon and Anna’s Testimonies


by Mike Ratliff

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:33-35 ESV)

Apostates, false teachers, those who seek redemption via religion, tares, and goats, have overrun the Church in our time. Since the beginning these people have been part of the visible Church, but now it appears that they have captured it and hold it prisoner. Much of the blame for this belongs to those who should be coming of age to lead the Church who have been compromised by humanistic teachings that make being a minister a “career move.” As a result these people are leading their churches further and further away from the real Jesus to follow one of their own making. Continue reading

Simeon’s Prophecy


by Mike Ratliff

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:25-32 ESV)

Genuine (saving) faith is not well understood by most professing Christians. I grew up as a Southern Baptist and was one until 2005. However, I now prefer to think of myself as simply a Christian. I have learned that God saved me. I was not saved because I decided anything. Those whom God saves are given the faith to believe. When He does this they believe and are saved. Jesus said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Who is saved? Only those who believe are saved. How are they saved? Continue reading

Genuine Faith vs Human Faith


by Mike Ratliff

“When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” (Luke 2:15-20 ESV)

Human faith is not the same thing as Genuine (saving) faith. The former is based in Human reason and intellect. The latter is supernatural. What passes for faith in many professing believer’s “Christianity” is a belief based in who preaches to or teaches them. This is not Genuine faith because it is not a belief in the Word or in God through the Word. These are “believers” who will eventually fall away. Some may last a lifetime, but as soon as the fires of tribulation come upon them they slide into apostasy because their faith is not of the substance that endures. Continue reading

Repost of Do Not Love the World


The following was first posted on January 18th, 2007.

by Mike Ratliff

1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 ESV)

One of the markers of genuineness in a Christian is Separation from the World. This isn’t a physical removal from planet Earth or a disintegration of the body of a Christian. A genuine Christian’s character should be in a continual upgrade unto Christlikeness. That means that as he or she cooperates with God in their sanctification, working out their salvation with fear and trembling, their character will take on more and more of Christ’s character. They will love what He loves and hate what he hates. God is love, but He hates a certain type of love. Continue reading

Christ is All


by Mike Ratliff

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” (Colossians 3:5-11 ESV)

In our last post we looked at the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, becoming flesh and dwelling amongst us. (John 1) Through our Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrifice as the Lamb of God, becoming the propitiation for our sins, He began the process of growing the Kingdom of God from a mere seed. Scripture tells us that it will grow and grow and eventually replace all that came before. For this to be true we must understand that there are two worlds, the old and the new. Continue reading

The Word Became Flesh


by Mike Ratliff

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”” (Matthew 1:18-21 ESV)

We are in the process of celebrating the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, most people celebrating Christmas are not doing so in light of the coming of our Saviour. However, that should not impede us from doing so should it? The early church did not celebrate the Advent of our Lord. That came later. Therefore, we must keep this in the perspective of who He really is and why He came. Continue reading

Not Peace but Division


by Mike Ratliff

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36 ESV)

The number one accusation against those who proclaim the truth from God’s Word in the face of apostasy is that they are being divisive. I believe we should seek to have peace with all men, but we must be prepared to encounter conflict with those who refuse to submit to God’s truth. We are never called to be at peace with false teachers or false prophets or apostates.

From Jesus’ own teachings we learn that the cost of being His disciple is very high. Grace is free, but becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ costs us everything. We are told that no one is worthy of the Kingdom of God who is in love with this world. We cannot serve God correctly if we love our own life more than Him. We cannot love our families more than Him. We cannot love possessions more than Him. We are called to be the interim or peacemaker between those whom we love and God. We are to be the one God uses to bring them into the Kingdom. However, we are also called to not waiver and turn our backs on God and His ways because pressure is put on us to compromise our walk with God for the sake of peace. Continue reading

Repost of Called to be Holy


I will be taking a few days off as I travel to Oklahoma to visit family. While I am gone please enjoy some reposts from 2006. – Mike Ratliff

by Mike Ratliff

45 For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:45 ESV)

The resistance in today’s version of the Church of Jesus Christ to commands such as the one above is rooted in rebellion. Yes, I know that is a blunt statement. Yes, I know that there are huge segments of the church in America that believe that the Old Testament is not for them. However, the truth does not stop being the truth simply because people refuse to believe it. I run into this quite a bit. I teach something or write something that is a clear command of God that we must obey and someone will say or write something like, “well everyone knows that that can’t mean that because God isn’t like that.” Excuse me but since when does what people believe about God change what God is like or diminishes the veracity of His commands? Continue reading

Repost of Break Open the Jar


 I will be taking a few days off as I travel to Oklahoma to visit family. While I am gone please enjoy some reposts from 2006. – Mike Ratliff

by Mike Ratliff

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at the table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:1-8 ESV)

I am convinced that most professing Christians are absolutely clueless when it comes to genuine worship of the Lord in spirit and in truth. The idea that going to a building once or twice a week to sing a few songs and listen to Bible lesson and a sermon constitutes genuine worship would be foreign to Jesus Christ, the Apostles, and the early Church. Genuine worship is more than singing God glorifying songs or simply praying a prayer that someone else wrote. If it isn’t these things, then what is it? Continue reading

Repost of Our Sin Problem Part 3


I will be taking a few days off as I travel to Oklahoma to visit family. While I am gone please enjoy some reposts from 2006. – Mike Ratliff

by Mike Ratliff

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. (Colossians 3:1-6 ESV)

I find it appalling that our version of the church in the early 21st Century has so neglected Discipleship that Christians across the board are clueless about the deadly issue of resident sin within them. They not only do not know it is there, but they are given no training on how to deal with it. After salvation they are told that they are new creations in Christ, the old has passed away, behold the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Well, that is true, at salvation believer’s hearts are quickened. What was dead is now alive. What this means is that where there was zero spiritual life before there is now abundant spiritual life. However, this means that believers are now in Christ spiritually and He is in them spiritually. They can pray, worship and read their bibles with understanding. However, it does not mean that their “old man” sin nature is dead and gone. He is still there. He now has an alive Spirit to deal with whereas before, the Soul controlled everything. Now there is huge battle taking place between the Spirit and Soul for dominance in the heart of the believer. Continue reading

Repost of Our Sin Problem Part 2


 I will be taking a few days off as I travel to Oklahoma to visit family. While I am gone please enjoy some reposts from 2006. – Mike Ratliff

by Mike Ratliff

As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me. Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me! (Psalms 40:11-13 ESV)

As we saw in Part 1, the first step in mortifying our sin is to attack it habitually. That means that as we take each step through each part of each day we habitually take each thought capture to the Holiness of God. We compare what our hearts are attempting to pursue for gratification with God’s standards, the Law and the commands of our Saviour. This is the first step in our declared war on the root of sin in our hearts. There are two ways to attack our sin nature. The first way is useless. It involves trying to stop doing the sin. It is equivalent to picking the fruit off of a bad tree in an attempt to kill it. That, of course, is silly, but that is what trying to use will power to stop sinning is analogous to. The other way to to attack our sin nature is to lay the axe at the root of the tree and start going for the kill. If we kill the root the tree will die. I would rather think of what we are attempting to kill as weeds rather than a fruit tree, but you get the idea. Continue reading