I will be traveling to Oklahoma today then to Washington, D.C. through the 9th of November. I will try to write and post some during that time, but that is up to God to provide the time and guidance. Please pray for my wife and I to have a safe trip.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Father Forgive Them

by Mike Ratliff

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:35-36 ESV)

Probably the command from our Lord that is the most difficult for us to obey is found in Luke 6:35 (above). That is, it is hard or difficult if we are full of pride and are self-focused. However, as the master vinedresser prunes us as we abide in the True Vine and the refiner burns away the fleshly dross from us in the refiner’s fire, we will be humbled as we surrender to the potter, as the clay should. This humbling is what is required for Christlikeness to become manifest in and through us. Why? If we are being driven by pride then we will be self-focused and operate as if we are the center of our universe, much like my one-year old grandson does. However, the humble believer is one who has given that up as something that hinders their walk with the Lord. He or she sees the things of this world, the very things the world runs after, as nothing but dung in comparison to what they have in Christ. He becomes their all-in-all. Their love for Him spills over into all parts of their lives and for the Saviour’s sake they love their enemies and are merciful to all just as He was and is. Our Lord demonstrates the epitome of this as He was crucified.  Continue reading

Spiritual Growth as Confirmation of Election

by Mike Ratliff

For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 ESV)

Doctrine is a vital part of the true Church. Many of us may disagree on some things pertaining to our faith and still call one another brother or sister, but there are some things, from the sound doctrines from God, that are non-negotiable. I am constantly amazed when those who disagree with the clear exegesis from God’s Word will counter with human philosophy or attempt to use human reason to void what the Bible actually says. The veracity of God’s Truth is unimpeachable no matter who believes it to be so or not. One of those clear truths from God’s Word that is under severe attack in our time is the role and extent that regeneration plays in the life of the believer. Some claim that all that is required to be “saved” is the saying of some prayer or saying that he or she agrees with some “truth.” God’s Word tells us, however, that regeneration is a washing that changes everything (Titus 3:5). There will be solid and observable changes in those saved by grace through faith as a gift from God.  Continue reading

Signs of the Close of the Age

by Mike Ratliff

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15 ESV)

The Church in our time appears huge, but this is only in appearance. It is thousands of miles wide, but only a fraction of an inch deep. Much of what claims to be Christian is not and proves it by what is actually its focus and what (or who) it actually worships. The focus has its foundation in pragmatism and its worship is nothing more than self-aggrandizement. They give lip service to their own version of “Jesus” who bears little if any resemblance to the Jesus we read of in God’s Word. This counterfeit Christianity is the majority while the true Church, which is made up of those saved by grace through faith because of God’s election and effectual calling is the minority. This should not surprise us because the Word of God tells us that this will be case as this age comes to a close to make way for the age to come.  Continue reading

The Doctrine of Election and the Natural Result of Rejecting It

by Mike Ratliff

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? (Romans 9:20-21 ESV)

I was a teenager in the 1960’s. My generation, the Baby-Boomers, are known for their rebellion against authority. I was no flaming radical, but like most in my generation, I did question the right of those in positions of authority over me. However, I enlisted in the US Navy in 1973 and quickly found out what submission to authority was really all about. All through boot camp and data processing training in the Navy, I discovered how important it was to obey commands and work under the authority of those over me. This hit home to me in a big way when I went to fire fighting school as part of my basic training.  Continue reading

Answering a Fool According to His Folly

by Mike Ratliff

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. (Titus 3:10-11 ESV)

Secular humanism, relativism, pluralism, et cetera are worldly philosophies that have invaded the visible Church. These ways of the world when applied to the Church are some of the things that “stirs up division” within the Body of Christ. Other things that cause this would be majoring in minors such as taking things from the Bible that are not explained in detail enough to be taken literally because they are given to us in an arbitrary fashion. Some take these minor points and make them major points in the gospel stirring up division. Also, some simply want to argue. They hate the truth and are not interested in it being explained to them in detail. All of these are the ones Paul was speaking of in Titus 3:10-11 (above). It is a total waste of time to contend with these people continually. There comes a time when, through God’s wisdom, that we move on and have nothing to do with these divisive people.  Continue reading

The Loving and Patient Hand of God

by Mike Ratliff

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  (Rom 8:26-27 ESV)

I am still on the road, but should be home this evening. I spent much of my time over the last several days with my 13 month old grandson. His mental and physical development over the last several months has been amazing. His understanding of how to function in his environment has grown as well. He has his own little personality and ways. It is a joy to see this creation of God in action. However, he must still be watched closely and his mother and father still have to provide for his needs and protection. He does not know what is good for him or what is bad. He is very smart, but his mental development is that of a toddler. I asked God to show me something profound during this trip. I went to visit my parents this weekend as well. They are both in an assisted living center. They are in their 80’s. I learned much during that visit as well about the stages of our lives and how God is intimately involved throughout in our care and development. Continue reading

Weekend Trip

I will be traveling over the next 3 or 4 days. I hope to be back home and writing again on Sunday evening. Please pray that God will give us a safe, edifying, and God-glorifying trip.

Self-Righteousness and Accusing the Brethren

by Mike Ratliff

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14 ESV)

Self-Righteousness: the attempt to meet God’s standards based upon one’s own merits.

In the truth war, some though they perhaps mean well, from a confused theology foundation and concept of genuine holiness and Christlikeness, are continually accusing many of us of things that seemed designed to discourage and divide. Their “standards” of Christian conduct that reveals whether a person is genuinely in God’s will or not is based on a set of values that are very hard to find in the only place that counts, the Word of God. Instead of being based in our Lord’s own teachings and those of the inspired writers of the Word of God, they have created their own standards that our enemy uses in his accusations of those who are truly obeying God in the truth war.  Continue reading

The Good Fight And Why It is Necessary

by Mike Ratliff

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12 ESV)

I had a very wonderful experience last night. My wife and I attended the meeting of our Care Group at Church. After prayer, we viewed lesson two in the Proclaim series. This is a series on teaching laypersons how to be more evangelistic. After the video, we did an exercise that was a survey of how we personally reacted to certain situations. Then we added up the scores. Most people are very strong in one or two of the six styles, which are Direct, Intellectual, Testimonial, Relational, Invitational, and Serving. I got a 15 on Direct, 16 on Intellectual, 15 on Testimonial, 10 on Relational, and single digits on the last two. Following this, we had a sharing time. When it was my turn, the leader stopped me as I began to share some exciting things that God was doing in this ministry. He then asked me to share about my seizures and how God was using that in my walk and ministry. Then he had everyone come and lay hands on me and pray for God to continue to work through this for His glory. I was weeping through it all.  After that everyone seemed much more loose and the sharing became much deeper. We left a couple of hours later rejoicing in the fellowship and how God is going to use each of us in the building of His Church.  Continue reading

The Incarnate Word Part II

by Mike Ratliff

And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:30-32 ESV)

Spiritual blindness is the result of darkness of the heart not being subject to the light of life that comes from the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Those in this darkness are ruled by their unbelief. They may consider themselves to actually be quite knowledgeable about Christianity or “Jesus” or religion, but they do not possess saving faith because they are unregenerate. They are still of the “opinion” that the sound doctrine of the atonement for the sins of those whom God saves is just another incomprehensible religious thing that elevates a “mythical God, and a mythical Jesus” way out of proportion to the actual mission of Jesus, et cetera. Men such as Bart Ehrman who wrote Misquoting Jesus would be one of these. Of course, his thesis has been soundly rejected by all sound Bible scholars, that is, those who are diligent in the soundness of their approach to interpreting Scripture. On the other hand, there are some whose unbelief has only been made darker and deeper by their acceptance of Ehrman’s fallacy and others like his.  Continue reading

The Incarnate Word

by Mike Ratliff

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life– the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us– that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1-3 ESV)

The unbelief manifested from an unregenerate heart is a wonder to behold. What is it? It is a total absence of the faith that is present in every heart that has been quickened by God. Those in this unbelief “question everything,” that is, when it concerns the gospel and sound doctrine. I suppose we should stop being surprised when these same people have no problem believing the utter nonsense associated with mysticism or avatars or that “all religions are okay with our pluralistic God.” It is the manmade that is easily accepted by the unregenerate mind while it completely rejects in abject rebellion the biblical gospel.  Continue reading

Christ Our Redemption

by Mike Ratliff

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. (Romans 8:33-34 ESV)

The “Emergent” gospel is one that claims that the sound doctrines of orthodoxy which teach us about the atonement, advocacy, and propitiation of Christ for the sake of His sheep are unnecessary “add-ons“ to Christ Jesus and, in fact, simply get in the way of truly knowing and emulating Him. If that is so then why did the God-inspired writers of the New Testament give these sound doctrines to us in such great and clear detail? These are not “doctrines” of demons. These are not “doctrines” made up by men. No, these are the doctrines given to us by God Himself that reveals God to us, gives us the truth about our own sinfulness and spiritual bankruptcy outside of His grace, and the superiority of Christ our Saviour, our Advocate, Our propitiation, our Redeemer. Continue reading