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!
by Mike Ratliff
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12 KJV)
The Apostle Paul often used the analogy of a runner to describe our spiritual growth. Unlike a race that has an ending with one runner reaching the goal and attaining the prize of victory, our spiritual race will continue as long as we live. We will never reach the goal of Christlikeness, but like the runner in a race we must continue to pursue that goal.
Even though the current crop of evangelicals disdain discipleship, Bible study, and spiritual growth calling them unnecessary since their sole goal is numerical growth through their evangelical ministries, we must not give in to this lie. Paul tells us that God’s will for each of His children is their sanctification. (1 Thessalonians 4:3) That means His desire for each of us is that we be holy. Continue reading
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?
“After our Lord’s death was over, the blood of animals was not the type, but the blood of the grape. That which was terrible in prospect is joyous in remembrance. That which was blood in the shedding is wine in the receiving. It came from him with a wound, but it comes to us with a blessing.”
“A man who is really saved by grace does not need to be told that he is under solemn obligations to serve Christ. The new life within him tells him that. Instead of regarding it as a burden, he gladly surrenders himself–body, soul, and spirit–to the Lord who has redeemed him, reckoning this to be his reasonable service.”
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
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.
“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.”
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.
by Mike Ratliff
“I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.'” (1 Chronicles 17:13-14 ESV)
God is Sovereign. He is at no one’s beck and call. He is not subject to anyone. Men may indeed insist that God must follow their ideas of who He is and what He will or won’t do, but these things come from flawed Human reason. Men are arrogant creatures who have been trying to usurp God’s place on His throne since the fall in Genesis 3. Most people do not correctly understand God’s revelation of Himself that we find in the Bible, therefore, their doctrines are more man based than God centered.
One of the most important teachings about our Lord Jesus Christ that is missed by so many professing Christians and their leaders is that all of creation is really all about Him. He created it for Himself, that He would be glorified in it. After His resurrection just prior to His ascension He told His disciples and us something we would best not forget.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18 ESV)
“Many preachers have had to confess the uselessness of mere moral preaching. There is no instance, I believe, on record, where the mere preaching of the law made a man love God, or where the heart ever was, or ever could be, renewed by inculcating good works.”
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.
Chip Brogden at the School of Christ now offer’s his teachings via Video Webcast. The first one, The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation” is online now.
by Mike Ratliff
No matter how far away from the light the Church drifts into apostasy and darkness, we must remain faithful and understand that God is sovereign. Those God gives over to their idolatry are spiritually blind. They cannot see that while they believe they are serving God they are actually walking in rebellion. It seems that at this time God is placing me in a position of reflection on His grace and His love and that neither of them will ever fail. We must pray for those in darkness and never stop telling them the truth. Perhaps God will have mercy on them and call them to come out of the Scarlet Woman, from darkness into the light.