Understanding The Word of God


by Mike Ratliff 

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. (Psalms 119:9-16 ESV) 

I expected some backlash when I posted Homosexuality is Sin the other day. One of the most vociferous responses came from an atheist. He quoted passages from Leviticus and tried to use human reasoning to show that it made no sense. I attempted to tell him, after explaining the point of the post, that an unregenerate person cannot read and understand God’s Word correctly. One thing that struck me though was how similar his reasoning concerning God’s Word was to the folks here, here, and here. The main difference of course was that this fellow does not believe in God and could not understand that Christians are New Creations by the Grace of God. However, that same rejection of God’s Word as being authoritative as well as absolute truth was very apparent, just more pronounced.  Continue reading

Biblical Discernment Will Always be Politically Incorrect


by Mike Ratliff

There is a myth in our time that has deceived untold numbers of professing Christians. The deceived have believed the lie that Christians are not to confront and rebuke false teachers nor preach or teach anything that has the potential to cause division within the visible Church. The visible Church contains the churches we see all across this globe. This would include denominations and local churches and ministries that we can see visually and of which we can partake. The invisible Church is made up of the elect. This is the true Church of genuine believers. It is within the visible Church. Therefore, the visible Church contains both genuine believers and professing believers who are not genuine.  Continue reading

Homosexuality is a Sin


by Mike Ratliff 

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. (Leviticus 18:22 ESV) 

Last week I found myself watching a special on PBS about the relationships between Winston Churchill, FDR, and Josef Stalin. Afterwards I did some research into the history of the Communist Party in Soviet Russia. One of the early leaders of the Bolsheviks was Leon Trotsky. After the death of Lenin, Trotsky came into conflict with the Bolsheviks who supported Stalin. He had to leave the country. He wrote articles in hiding that attacked the policies of the Stalinists. One of the “strategies” of Trotsky that was rejected by the Stalinist was “Continual Revolution.” He was a true Communist. According to Marx’s Communist Manifesto, Communism is the goal, but in order to reach it Capitalism must be replaced with Socialism and eventually done away with completely in order to bring in a pure Communistic state. Trotsky was a true believer, while Stalin was more pragmatic. What has this to do with Homosexuality? The ”Gay Rights” movement is constructed according to the principles of Leon Trotsky’s “Continual Revolution.” Its true believers will never stop until they achieve their goal of complete societal acceptance of Homosexuality as a protected minority with all the same legal rights as non-homosexuals, but with the added protection from the Federal and State governments to ensure it.    Continue reading

God’s Grace and God’s Justice in Balance


by Mike Ratliff 

They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. (Jude 1:18-23 ESV) 

I spent the weekend in Oklahoma. I spent time with my mother and father. My mother is in a rehabilitation hospital following a heart attack and stroke. She has a very hard time putting clear thoughts together into coherent speech. It was amazing though how much I could understand what she meant. I tried to comfort her in the Lord and let her know that I loved her and this stuff made no difference to me. My Dad is in a lock-down facility for Alzheimer’s patients. He cannot understand why we do not take him home after a visit with my mother. I thought I was going to have to force him back into the unit Saturday evening. He does not understand that he is incapable of taking care of himself or my mother any more than she could take care of him or herself. I prayed all weekend that God would give me wisdom and patience during all of this. I was able to respond to my dad with a patience that I did not think I had. Continue reading

The Source of the New Birth


by Mike Ratliff 

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:6-8 ESV) 

I grew up as a Southern Baptist. Much of the memories from my childhood have something to do with being at church each and every Sunday morning and evening. One thing I remember was an annual event in our church called a ‘Revival.’ The Pastor and his staff would plan it for a certain date, put that date in every church bulletin leading up to it, put signs up in front of the church advertising it, and make announcement after announcement from the pulpit to remember the upcoming ‘Revival.’ The speaker for these revival meetings was usually some evangelist I had never seen before or a Pastor from another SBC church. One time we had a group of brothers come in and ‘do the revival.’ One preached, one played various instruments, while the other sang solos. That was my concept of ‘Revival.’ Is it possible for people in one place to plan for a certain date and time on the calendar to be the time and place God moves, pouring out His spirit on a local body of believers? The emphasis in those ‘Revivals’ I witnessed were on evangelism instead of a moving of God to bring about repentance and a rededication of a group of people to live for God instead of self.  Continue reading

Abstain from Sexual Immorality


by Mike Ratliff 

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 ESV) 

When the Carrie Prejean, Miss California, controversy began several weeks ago with the outrage over her comment about marriage being between a man and a woman I really did not focus on her in this. Instead, I was intrigued with the reaction from the media, the libertine lobby, and the various powers that be with something to say about it. It was as if she had no right to state what she said. I had intended to pray, research, and write about that aspect of this, but that was about the same time that several crises arose in my family. Now it seems that the controversy has deepened tremendously with the exposure of Miss Prejean’s semi-nude pictures and breast augmentation surgery. When the push began to elevate Miss Prejean to that of a great example of godliness in the Church et cetera, I had a nagging doubt about that. It reminded me somewhat of the push to make George W. Bush into a godly near-saint during his first election run. Then articles started appearing from what many derisively refer to as ODMs. Their stance over this issue has solidified into an agreement that this whole thing is a fallacy.  Continue reading

Bearing the Marks of Jesus Christ


by Mike Ratliff

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” (Matthew 5:10-11 ESV)

A week ago or so I posted an articled titled “Are You Bearing the Marks of Jesus or the Mark of the Beast?”. I received one comment that caused me to reexamine my own walk and motives for doing what I do in the ministry and in all of my relationships. The commenter asked me to consider posting another article examining “what can the average Christian living within the cultural context with which you are most familiar do in his daily life to bear the marks of Jesus Christ?” The marks of Jesus are what each believer receives from our enemy and his seed as part of participating in Christ’s suffering at the Cross. The marks can be physical or even fatal, but more often than not, they are verbal assaults or exclusions because of one’s Christian witness. The commenter also asked, “…how many Christians actually perform these activities, thereby proving with their works that their faith is not dead but living (i.e. the book of James, John 13-17, the “fruitful vines” parables in the Synoptics, etc.)?” Continue reading

Pictures from my Trip to Oklahoma


Some have asked to see the pictures I took while in Oklahoma last weekend. It rained the whole time we were there so I didn’t get to hike to some of the places I wanted. Here are the pictures I was able to take however. By-the-way, some of the pictures will have some white spheres seemingly floating through. These are raindrops caught by my flash. Raindrops are spheres.

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Born Again of Imperishable Seed


by Mike Ratliff

since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; (1 Peter 1:23 ESV)

The Emergent paradigm contends that the primary mission of our Lord Jesus Christ at His incarnation was to teach Man the correct way to live. I have read the Bible through more times than I can remember and the sense of that contention being the primary mission of our Lord just doesn’t ring true. In fact, His true mission is clearly defined in those sacred pages. He is the Lamb of God. His death on the Cross was necessary in order that those chosen before the foundation of the World (Ephesians 1:4) could be redeemed and saved from the wrath to come. This salvation comes to those who have been born again of imperishable seed, not perishable nor through any mad-made device. Instead, it is only through the living and abiding Word of God. Continue reading

To Die in Faith


by Mike Ratliff

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13 ESV)

All truly in Christ are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). They were once spiritually dead in their sins, but are now alive, forgiven, and now a stranger and alien in this world. Each day lived in this life by a child of God is one spent in enemy country. The world is not their friend. In fact, if the world is a person’s friend then he or she is not God’s friend. Why? Whoever is the friend of the world is the enemy of God. The Christians who deny self, take up their crosses and follow Christ each day will find enemies everywhere. Pressure will come to bear on them to conform to the world and become “relevant.” The Christian who does not give in to this pressure will be seen by all those not on this narrow path to be out of step, irrelevant, behind the times, and all other sorts of things that divide them from being identified with the world and its ways. Continue reading