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

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

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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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

Roaring Lions


by Mike Ratliff

8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 ESV)

On Monday this week I posted a devotional by Oswald Chambers about how our obedience to God is costly to other people. I wrote my intro to it and posted it along with the devotional with the intent of showing what happens in the hearts of people when God’s truth is preached from His Word. That was my intent, but the emergent conversation decided that I had written something offensive. I write very little about it or any of the people in it. I concentrate on writing things that God directs me to that are primarily focused on discipleship issues and Christian Authenticity. However, the outrage from the emergent camp about this caused me to ponder what God was doing in this. I never once feared their wrath or their slick (but obviously shallow) arguments. Their approach to confronting me was to pick out a phrase here and there in my posts and comments then twist the meaning of it ever so slightly in an attempt to trip me up or make me say something back to them that they could pounce upon and exploit. Continue reading

Conflict


O Lord God,

Thou art my protecting arm,

    fortress, refuge, shield, buckler.

Fight for me and my foes must flee;

Uphold me and I cannot fall;

Strengthen me and I stand unmoved, unmovable;

Equip me and I shall receive no wound;

Stand by me and Satan will depart;

Anoint my lips with a song of salvation

    and I shall shout thy victory;

Give me abhorrence of all evil,

    as a vile monster that defies thy law, casts off thy yoke,

        defies thy law, casts off thy yoke,

        defiles my nature, spreads misery.

Teach me to look to Jesus on his cross

    and so to know sin’s loathsomeness in thy sight.

There is no pardon but through thy Son’s death,

                no cleansing but in his precious blood,

                no atonement but his to expiate evil.

Show me the shame, the agony, the bruises of incarnate God,

        that I may read boundless guilt in the boundless price;

May I discern the deadly viper in its real malignity,

            tear it with holy indignation from my breast,

            resolutely turn from its every snare,

            refuse to hold polluting dalliance with it.

Blessed Lord Jesus, at thy cross

            may I be taught the awful miseries from which I am saved,

                ponder what the word ‘lost’ implies,

                see the fires of eternal destruction;

Then may I cling more closely to thy broken self,

                    adhere to thee with firmer faith,

                    be devoted to thee with total being,

                    detest sin as strongly as thy love to me is strong,

And may holiness be the atmosphere in which I live.

From the Valley of Vision – A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions

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My First Sermon


by Mike Ratliff

I preached my first sermon this morning. It was at First Baptist Church in Lathrop, MO. I was contacted by some leaders in that church to preach one Sunday out of three Sundays in which their pastor would be recovering from hip replacement surgery. I had never done anything like that before, but I agreed to do it after my wife and I prayed about it. I told them that I was primarily a writer and teacher, not a preacher, but they wanted me to come anyway. I preached two sermons today (the same one twice) 🙂 I was exhausted afterwards. 🙂 My wife, daughter and son-in-law were present. I got a lot of positive feedback from the people in the church as well as my family. I know that the reason it did go well was that I was not alone on that platform. God is good! In any case, my sermon notes are below. I pray that the Lord will bless you as you read them. Continue reading

A New and Different Person


Much of the controversy in the Church these days centers around the New Birth and what actually happens to those who believe. Some teach that a simple prayer of faith and baptism are all it takes. Some teach that all we have to do is let Jesus come into our lives and we are saved. However, the Bible is very clear that no one sees the Kingdom of God unless they are Born Again. Also, it is this "regeneration" that is the New Birth that changes a person from a Natural Man into a genuine Christian. This New Birth is what enables a person to believe and be saved. The person is a New Creation old things are past away, behold, the new has come. This means that the light from the life of God in them will be manifest in a life that is growing in Grace. They are working in cooperation with God in their sanctification. This is not what justifies them in God’s eyes. Instead, He justified them when they repented and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. – Mike Ratliff

The following devotional by Martin Luther is from Faith Alone.

A New and Different Person

by Martin Luther

You should not be surprised at my saying, "You must be born again." (John 3:7)

This new birth shows itself most clearly when trials and death draw near. Then it becomes clear whether or not a person has experienced the new birth. At that time, human reason–the old light–twists and wrestles, refusing to let go of its own thinking. It doesn’t want to give up and turn to the gospel. Reason simply won’t let go of its own light. But those who are born anew, or who are being born anew, surrender and follow God. They give up their old light, life, possessions, honor, and whatever else they have. They trust what John records in his gospel and cling to it. As true children of God, they will receive their eternal inheritance.

If your old, arrogant light of reason grows dark, becomes dead, and is replaced by a new light, then your entire life will be transformed. For when your reason is changed, your will follows soon after. And when your will is changed, what you love and desire changes as well. In order to become new, you must crawl into the gospel with your whole self. You must shed off the old skin, as a snake does. When its skin becomes old, a snake looks for a narrow hole in the rock. It crawls through it and sheds its skin, leaving it outside in front of the hole. Similarly, you also must go into the gospel and God’s Word. You must confidently believe its promise that God does not lie. So you shed off your old skin, leaving behind your old light, arrogance, will, love, desires, and what you say and do. You become a new and different person who views everything differently than before.

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