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.
One evening during this time I was reading in Luke prior to working on the outline. I had prayed just prior to that that God would show me why I was to write this book or be a writer at all. Then I read the passage I placed at the top of this post. Now I know that I am no John the Baptist, but I knew right then that God wanted me to continue to obey Him by writing along with teaching and preaching to all whom he sent to me. I was simply to obey and never shirk from speaking or writing the truth. The result would be that He would use my ministry to turn those people’s hearts back to Him. I also knew at that time that I wasn’t alone. There were, and are, countless others being drawn from darkness to light to be used by God for His purpose in this battle for His people’s hearts.
I naively thought that my book was the the tool God was going to use for this. Well, that isn’t exactly what happened. Instead, my publisher wanted me to start a web site to promote the book and myself. I did that, but the more I worked on it, the more I made it into a ministry. I pushed the author and book information to the back pages and concentrated on using the site to minister to those God sent me. At this point, I was finishing up my second book while researching my third and fourth. The research led me to many people’s blogs. I decided to create one on Blogger. It was called “Walking the Walk by Faith.” This was late 2005 and early 2006. It was during this time that I started publishing my own articles on that blog along with things I learned from my research. I did this for several months. Then I found WordPress. I created “Possessing the Treasure” there, fully intending to keep both blogs up and independent. However, the time constraints to do that were impossible. So, I migrated all of my articles from my old blog to my new blog and that began the ministry you are participating in right now.
Instead of trying to find a publisher for the books I had completed (The Pilgrim’s Heart, Let us Reason Together, Judge Not!) I decided to publish them online one chapter at a time except for Judge Not! I thought it was good enough to be published so I sent copies to some friends for advice.. This ended up getting it linked to from ministries such as Reformation Theology.com. This resulted in it being linked to by Slice of Laodicea. It was from this exposure that eventually led to me becoming part of Christian Research Network. Whew! Now, enough about me. Who did all that? I mean who lead me to each of those things that eventually led to my writing having this sort of exposure? It sure wasn’t me.
When people make comments about how what they read here has touched their heart I am always taken back to that day in 2004 where God gave me that jolt when I read Luke 1:16:17. Who is doing this? I just research and write. God is doing this. As I visit other blogs and sites all over the internet I find other brothers and sisters in Christ whom God is using the same way. Why is God doing this? Why is this so important?
There is a huge problem in the 21st Century Church. The vast majority of Christians in our Churches are in bondage to their flesh. They have never been truly discipled. Very few of them would even qualify to be a member of a Puritan Church from the 17th Century. Because of their lack of spiritual maturity, they are very susceptible to false teachers, false preachers, false prophets, and outright deceivers. This is my burden, which God has given me. I write from the insight He has given me so He can shine His light of truth into those hearts so they can start their own walks of repentance and learn how to spot the counterfeit. How else are they ever going to know that they are called to be Christians for HIS Purposes not theirs or their pastor’s or anyone else. Therefore, I and all others God has called to this ministry, are to obey God, tell the truth, disciple and minister to everyone God gives us.
This work is serious business. We are in a war. We fight skirmishes and battles in this war every time we minister. The toll can be very heavy if we get our focus on ourselves or on God’s enemies. We must not do either. Instead, we must remain diligent with total devotion to the glory of God. This takes strength and courage for our enemies seem to be helped by deceiving spirits who know how to instill fear and despair in our hearts if we become distracted. The following passage from the book of Joshua has been very helpful to me in this war.
6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:6-9 ESV)
If we are obedient to God then we can claim this promise as well. If we are doing what we are called to do then we must do it the same way Joshua performed his ministry of leading the invasion and possession of the Promised Land. If we devote ourselves to His glory, become Spirit-led by obeying Him, reading and studying His Word, and submitting to everyone He commands we submit to, then we will have good success wherever we go. If we do this then when the apostates and heretics rant and rave and attack us, we will be able to rebuke them in the Name of our Lord and continue our ministries of restoration and revival. We can do this because we know that the Lord our God is with us wherever we go.
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