God’s Perfect Knowledge of Man


by Mike Ratliff

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. (Psalms 139:1-4 ESV)

Our God is beyond our understanding. Thankfully, He has revealed Himself to us, to a degree, in His Word. Those who claim to serve Him, but treat His Word as if it was not important, or refuse to submit to the truths therein are fools. That has always puzzled me about those who take a sliver of God’s Word, misinterpret it, and then build massive doctrines around their misinformation. Have they no fear of God?

God is Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent. He knows all, is everywhere at once, and is all-powerful. Those who play games with Christianity must have no understanding of this for if they did, they would not dare trifle with God Almighty!

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Paradoxes


by Mike Ratliff

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24 ESV)

All genuine Christians have one thing in common—they are imperfect people who, no matter how much they desire to be Christlike, will struggle with the paradox of being new creations slowly becoming conformed to the image of their Saviour while being mired in a body of death that wants to be ruled by their old sin nature. How often do we cry out to God to release us from this prison? What good can it do for us to struggle so with the demands of the flesh?

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Out of Pocket


I will be in a training class August 13-17. I will be unable to monitor email and comments during the day during this time. I will try to catch up in the evening. Also, from August 17th through August 26th I will be in Oklahoma visiting family. I will not be able to post during that time. I will try to cover email and comments, but it will be sporadic at best. Please pray that I will return rested and usable by God. – Mike Ratliff

Waiting, Not Running


by Charles Spurgeon

“Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation” (Psalm 62:1).

Blessed posture! Waiting truly and only upon the LORD. Be this our condition all this day and every day. Waiting His leisure, waiting in His service, waiting in joyful expectation, waiting in prayer, and content. When the very soul thus waits, it is in the best and truest condition of a creature before his Creator, a servant before his Master, a child before his Father. We allow no dictation to God, nor complaining of Him; we will permit no petulance and no distrust. At the same time, we practice no running before the cloud and no seeking to others for aid: neither of these would be waiting upon God. God, and God alone, is the expectation of our hearts.

Blessed assurance! From Him salvation is coming; it is on the road. It will come from Him and from no one else. He shall have all the glory of it, for He alone can and will perform it. And He will perform it most surely in His own time and manner. He will save from doubt, and suffering, and slander, and distress. Though we see no sign of it as yet, we are satisfied to bide the LORD’s will, for we have no suspicion of His love and faithfulness. He will make sure work of it before long, and we will praise Him at once for the coming mercy.

Charles Spurgeon Quote


“I believe that Sunday should be spent in recreation. You are dreadfully shocked, and well you may be. But what do I mean by ‘recreation’? It means creating us new. Oh, that everybody who talks about spending Sunday in recreation would come to be recreated, regenerated, renewed, refreshed, revived, and made to rejoice in God.”

New Pilgrim’s Progress Movie


There is a new movie based on John Bunyan’s great allegory, The Pilgrim’s Progress, that is nearing the end of post production. It is called “Pilgrim’s Progress – The Journey to Heaven.” Here is a link to the movie website. Watch the trailer. I don’t know how well it will portray our spiritual journey, but I intend to see it when it is released and will post a review.

Addendum: I have been contacted by Danny R. Carrales of DRC Films, LLC. They are shooting to have the film ready for the Christian Film Festival in Orlando, Fl. in mid-October. I will be able to review the film after that.

Update: I have written a review of this movie which can be read here.

Life in the Spirit Part 2


by Mike Ratliff

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:16-18 ESV)

Christians who have stumbled and fallen into sin have done so because they have taken their eyes off of their Saviour as they were running the race the Father has set before them. (Hebrews 12:1-2) Often what distracted them from leaning on Jesus or clinging to Him in utter dependence was a desire to do something that appeared to be a good work. However, as they tried to do that work they had to step away from their abiding in the Lord and, instead, depended on their own abilities. This removed them for the Lord’s protection from deception. Before long, they found themselves entangled or mired in something they never thought would happen to them. However, the fact that they realize this is a very good thing. Unfortunately, there are scores of Christian leaders and their followers who are clueless that they are walking in darkness.

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Here is Love


Yesterday at the church my wife and I have been visiting, we had communion. The following song was sung as “the cup” was being passed out. I wept as the depth and breadth of God’s love for His people became apparent to me, at least to the extent that I could grasp it…

Here Is Love

music and extra lyrics by Steve & Vikki Cook
lyrics by William Rees

Here is love wide as the ocean
Loving kindness as a flood
When the Prince of Life, our ransom
Shed for us His precious blood
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten
Throughout Heaven’s eternal days

On the mount of crucifixion
Fountains opened deep and wide
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide
Grace and love like mighty rivers
Poured incessant from above
And Heaven’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love

Oh how marvelous, oh how glorious
Is my Savior’s love for me!
Oh how marvelous, oh how glorious
Is my Savior’s love for me!

Of Your fullness You are pouring
Your great love on me anew
Without measure, full and boundless
Drawing out my heart to You
You alone will be my glory
Nothing in the world I see
You have cleansed and sanctified me
You Yourself have set me free

© 2002 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP). Sovereign Grace Music, a division of Sovereign Grace Ministries. From the CD All We Long to See.

Addendum: Thanks to Don Moffitt at at Backus Books for the fascinating history of this song. From Don: ”

Mr. Ratliff,

I noted with interest your short article today on the CRN website regarding Dyma Gariad (Here is Love). Being Scottish, I first became aware of this hymn several years ago when I purchased a cd of a group that does Celtic worship music. I was quite taken by the hymn and it has been one of my favorites since then. Should you desire to see two quality versions of Dyma Gariad I would direct you to the following two YouTube videos: Katherine Jenkins at the Welsh Morriston Chapel ). The other version is by Huw Priday, a Welsh tenor

The version you cited has a third verse that I am not familiar with. I am also attaching a version that was provided to me by a pastor friend. It has a third and fourth verse that are not included in the version you cite. You may be interested in these additional verses. You may also be interested to know that the hymn was written by a Baptist pastor, William Rees (1802 – 1883) and was known as the love song of the Welsh Revivals of 1904.

Of the two YouTube versions, I think the one by Huw Priday is the best. When I found it a couple of months ago I played it three times and each time I was reduced to tears. I was so taken that I contacted Priday productions to see if I could offer the cd to my customers. I also ordered a copy for myself. The cd also contains an excellent hymn called “Lover of My Heart” which quickly became another favorite of mine. Priday graciously extended me a distributorship for their products so that I can buy in quantity for resale to my customers on my own website – www.backusbooks.com .

I agree with your assessment of the hymn and hope that it can become more widely known among Christians in this day.

Don Moffitt

Backus Books

Here is the pdf of the original song: Here is Love

All for Christ and Straining Toward the Goal


By Mike Ratliff

And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. (1 Corinthians 2:3-7 ESV)

When we observe those “Christian Leaders” espousing the social activism of new evangelicalism, which is rooted in Semi-Pelagianism and Humanism, it should make us wonder at what motivates them. Why would these people seek to create a new version of Christianity? I suppose it is that they see that what they are seeking to replace has “failed” because so many young people want nothing to do with it. Therefore, they desire to create a new Christianity that uses the marketing techniques of the world and entertainment to entice people to be part of a church that is new and exciting. Gone is any call to repent of sins. Sin is hardly, if ever, mentioned. Instead of calling on God for mercy and seeking the Son for salvation from the Father’s coming judgment, they are told to come to Jesus and let Him into their lives so He can make their life better.

What are the leaders of this movement missing? What is wrong with what they are doing? It is not wrong to want to reach the lost with the Gospel. No, we should be doing that, but it is very wrong to make every Sunday morning into a show that only appeals to the flesh. Instead of worshipping our Lord God in referential fear, they have a rock concert. The leaders of this movement may indeed create large churches and international ministries by doing what they do, but is it right?

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The People Who Know Their God Shall be Strong


by Charles Spurgeon

“The people that do know their God shall be strong.”-Daniel 11:32

Every believer understands that to know God is the highest and best form of knowledge; and this spiritual knowledge is a source of strength to the Christian. It strengthens his faith. Believers are constantly spoken of in the Scriptures as being persons who are enlightened and taught of the Lord; they are said to “have an unction from the Holy One,” and it is the Spirit’s peculiar office to lead them into all truth, and all this for the increase and the fostering of their faith. Knowledge strengthens love, as well as faith. Knowledge opens the door, and then through that door we see our Saviour. Or, to use another similitude, knowledge paints the portrait of Jesus, and when we see that portrait then we love Him, we cannot love a Christ whom we do not know, at least, in some degree. If we know but little of the excellences of Jesus, what He has done for us, and what He is doing now, we cannot love Him much; but the more we know Him, the more we shall love Him.

Knowledge also strengthens hope. How can we hope for a thing if we do not know of its existence?  Hope may be the telescope, but till we receive instruction, our ignorance stands in the front of the glass, and we can see nothing whatever; knowledge removes the interposing object, and when we look through the bright optic glass we discern the glory to be revealed, and anticipate it with joyous confidence. Knowledge supplies us reasons for patience. How shall we have patience unless we know something of the sympathy of Christ, and understand the good which is to come out of the correction which our heavenly Father sends us? Nor is there one single grace of the Christian which, under God, will not be fostered and brought to perfection by holy knowledge. How important, then, is it that we should grow not only in grace, but in the “knowledge” of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.