Genuine Repentance


by Mike Ratliff

1 Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? 3 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:1-5 (NASB) 

I used to belong to a Christian discussion group on Facebook called “You may be a Heretic.” It was fun for awhile. There was a lot of people on there with the type of sense of humor that I enjoy. There were always some who took everything way too serious and tried to ruin it for everyone. However, everything changed for me when one of the admins of the group got into a very heavy discussion with a friend of mine who was doing nothing more than defending the reputation of that missionary who was killed by natives on that island in the Pacific. The admin was being quite cruel to my friend and I decided to get in between them and defend my friend. When that happened I triggered something in that admin that caused him to vent all his anger towards me and I told him he needed to calm down and leave us alone. He suspended my account for two weeks. I knew the guy who owned the site and contacted him about it. He said he agreed that the admin was out of line and reinstated my account. But it was just like when my former pastor in Olathe, Kansas told me and my wife that if we did not submit to his authority in that church and become Purpose Driven then we had to leave. He was very blunt. We were gone within the hour and never went back. A few weeks later he sent me a letter wanting me to repent and come back. After all, I was a Deacon. However, he had broken something in me that could not be repaired. My wife and I agreed to simply ignore the letter and keep looking for another church. The same thing happened with that discussion group. I simply lost all interest in it. I contacted my friend who owned it and told him I was done, but he really needed to consider cleaning up his admins. Continue reading

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled


by Mike Ratliff

[27] Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27 ESV)

My Dad died in 2009 in the Assisted Living Center where he was forced to live because he had Alzheimer’s Disease. It is a horrible disease. I told everyone close to me at that time that we lost our Dad 10 years earlier when that disease took hold of him. My mother suffered a heart attack during that time before they had to go live there and while in the hospital she had a stroke which caused her to lose the ability to drive, to communicate clearly, and so, we as a family had both of them moved to that Assisted Living Center. If Dad had not been there who knows what would have happened to him? He did not know where he was most of the time. He even started forgetting who most of us were. As I said, He died in 2009 while asleep at the age of 86. My mother was then moved to an apartment in the same Assisted Living Center. She lived there for many years until she got to be about 90 then we moved her to be closer to my sister in Houston. It was there that her health started going down pretty fast. She died in 2018 just after turning 91.  Continue reading

Spiritual Darkness Unbelief and Unrighteousness


by Mike Ratliff

4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” 5 And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He wondered at their unbelief.
And He was going around the villages teaching. Mark 6:4-6 (NASB) 

The joy of the Lord is a tremendous gift to God’s people from him. Without it we would be left to deal with far more evil, disappointment, tragedy, distress, and despair than we could ever do on our own. We have prayer and the promise that we can always come boldly to the Throne of Grace.

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16 (NASB) 

I watched some videos today while at lunch that showed the reaction of many of the spokespersons from the Main Stream Media and other politically leaning left groups as they reacted to the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election. These reactions were from the immediate two days after the 3rd of November. Some of the people from CNN for example could not even make complete sentences they were so overcome with emotion. The one that really got my attention though was a spokesperson for a Social Justice group. He said that the attempts by the Trump Campaign and his supporters to force recounts and expose corruption in the election process were “Racist.” Yes, that is what he said.

During and after the 2016 election I lost a boatload of Facebook friends. During the 2020 election I lost a lot of friends on Facebook as well, but these were different. These were people I had been reaching out to with the light of the Gospel. I had been giving them the truth yet as it became clear that I was not participating the ‘you must live in fear tyranny’ coming from certain government institutions as they proclaimed that the Covid-19 outbreak had become a “Pandemic” when it was really far less lethal than the seasonal flu and I refused to allow anyone to bash our President with all sorts of outlandish accusations then I ended up having to sever a lot more Facebook relationships.

However, what is most disturbing to me during all this is when professing Christians fall into that pit of hate and lies I just described. They have become part of that “darkness” and because of that, they will no longer listen to reason. They will no longer listen to clear Biblical evidence that “the way” they are on only leads to destruction. Isn’t it interesting that those professing Christians doing that are also on the Social Justice, Critical Race Theory, and Intersectionality way?

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Life in the Spirit Unto Maturity


by Mike Ratliff

1 Οὐδὲν ἄρα νῦν κατάκριμα τοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. Romans 8:1 (NA28)

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to the ones in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

 Romans 8 is best understood after reading the Apostle Paul’s exposition of his own “wretched man” trapped in a “body of death” in Romans 7:14-25. 

14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. 17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:14-25 (NASB) 

There are some who teach from this passage saying that it describes Paul’s life before Christ citing that this description is contrary to his own account or description of true believers in Romans 6 (cf. vv. 2,6,7,11,17,18,22) . However, as we read this passage it is obvious that this is a believer because he desires to obey God’s law and hates his sin. He is humble, recognizing that nothing good dwells in his humanness. He sees sin in himself, but not as all that there is, and he serves Jesus Christ with his mind. This very struggle was my desperate struggle for a couple of decades and I get private emails from many readers in the same boat, doubting the veracity of their salvation because they are in the same battle. Why are they in despair? Why was I in despair for so long? The churches, the religious systems of which we were part of told us in their pragmatism that there would be some point when we would outgrow this and reach some level of maturity and would no longer struggle like this. If that did not happen either we were very immature or not Christians at all.

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Sure


by Mike Ratliff

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— 18 and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 2 Peter 1:16-18 (NASB)

I have been doing as much research as I can into what many are calling “Wokeism.” Of course that is just a term for the movement the proponents of it call Social Justice. The mechanisms behind it are complex and go back pretty far in history and are rooted partially in Marxism, but mostly in the teachings of Paul-Michel Foucault. He was a French philosopher. Foucault’s theories primarily address the relationship between power and knowledge, and how they are used as a form of social control through societal institutions. Though often cited as a post-structuralist and postmodernist, Foucault rejected these labels. His thought has influenced academics, especially those working in communication studies, anthropology, sociology, criminology, cultural studies, literary theory, feminism, Marxism, and critical theory. It is from his work that we have the two-headed Satanic monster plaguing our society today, Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. Proponents of this reject all ability to know objective truth. In fact, they decry that it even exists. Instead, they elevate subjective truth as what is knowable and, therefore, what is true for you may not be true for me, etc. What should trouble all of us who have faith is that the goal of these people is to topple all of our societal values and structures and replace them with the madness of Intersectional tyranny. If that is not Satanic I don’t know what is.  Continue reading

The Limits of Government


by Mike Ratliff

This year, 2020, we have seen massive lockdowns in our society due to the reactions in our governments due to the Covid-19 “pandemic.” Some states have opened things up, some a little bit, some not much at all. For instance, here in Oklahoma I can take my family to some restaurants and we can sit inside, but they make everyone “social distance.” There are no condiments on the tables. However, our church and most churches in our area were not allowed to be open until this summer. Some are still not meeting together. They meet outside and/or they rely on online sermons. In California the government shutdown all churches from meeting. However, John MacArthur and his church, Grace Community, defied this order and started meeting. Do governments have authority over our Christian faith and how we meet and worship?

On the other hand, there is another issue that I have struggled with personally through the last several elections, especially this one in 2020. I am not only Pro-Life, I am an Abolitionist. What is that? I am 100% for the abolition of the legality of abortion in all its forms. Pro-Life seems to be for the same thing, but has tried to work the system, that is, its proponents have tried to elect politicians who are Pro-Life and at the same time tried to merge the Christian world-view with Conservative politics. Is that working? No, not at all. It is a false assumption that the U.S. Government should be Christian. What is the role that God gave government?  What about the Christian’s role in politics? Should Christians labor and give large sums of money for political purposes or should those resources and effort be used for God’s Kingdom instead? Martin Luther was often caught in the middle between Kings, Emperors, Popes, and what he believed God willed for him to do. How did he handle this? Continue reading

Drinking from the Cup the Father has Given Us


by Mike Ratliff

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:12-17 (NASB) 

Here it is November 5, 2020 two days after the Presidential Election and we still do not know who won. This being 2020 we have all been through “much.” I don’t have to go into detail about that do I? I heard a friend online today say that the pandemic was done on purpose to wreak our economy, and cause corruption in our election process so that Joe Biden could win through ballot manipulation, etc. I wouldn’t put that past anyone who is of the flesh. I have also been doing research on the “agenda” of the Democrats if they get control of our government. It is scary. If they do then it may end up eventually being illegal to be an Evangelical Christian. Oh, it may be perfectly fine to be a Woke Christian, or a follower of the Pope, but if we are amongst those who stand firm in our faith refusing to compromise no matter what then we will be outside the law, not inside. However, if you read the passage I placed at the top of this post then you know that our God uses pressures like this to “exclude” us from those who are not in Christ. He does separate us and we are called to “suffer as a Christian” while at the same time not being ashamed to do so, but understand that it is to glorify God in the name of Christ.  Continue reading

Post election retrospection


by Mike Ratliff

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, Ephesians 6:10-18 (NASB) 

As I write this it is the day after the 2020 Election and the conclusion of the drama of who has won the Presidential race is still unknown. I have been paying close attention to what has been going on through the political and social spectrum throughout this election year. Unless you have been “off the grid” you too should be very much aware of the political and social pressures being put on by the Left/Progressives/Socialists to do a “reset” on everything in our economy, our social structure, our educational systems, and even our Christian doctrines. There have been riots. There has been a “pandemic” that has caused economic and social havoc. The “lockdowns” throughout our country have been manipulated to cause massive voter participation via an easily corrupted absentee ballot system. So, here we are one day into waiting to see who won the election and we have 3 or more states with hundreds of thousands of votes counted more than registered voters while another state has hundreds of thousands of missing ballots all Republican. However, what is disturbing me the most and causing me to be in a deep state of mourning is the dramatic takeover of our churches and denominations by Wokeism, that is, Social Justice/Critical Race Theory/Intersectionality. This takeover is akin to the takeover in the early centuries of the Church when Arianism corrupted the Gospel by claiming that Jesus Christ was a created being. This new takeover replaces the Gospel with a works righteousness based on victimhood. This takeover coupled with the corruption induced by political entities into our election process should cause each of us to reflect deeply on our relationship with our creator God, the state of our salvation, and His call for our repentance. 

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Testing of Your Faith


by Mike Ratliff

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1 Peter 1:3-7 (NASB) 

There is no guarantee that the Genuine Christian will be immune from suffering. In fact, suffering is the method God uses to prune the branches that abide in the Vine, our Lord Jesus Christ. (John 15) I have found that the form this suffering takes is nearly always a surprise. When atheists or pagans ridicule, the resulting sorrow from that is relatively minor and easily borne compared to that delivered by professing Christians. In any case, we must not be discouraged, even though that is what our enemy seeks to do to us through it. God is allowing him to do this to us, therefore, what should our reaction be? Continue reading

Stir up one another to love and good works


by Mike Ratliff

23 κατέχωμεν τὴν ὁμολογίαν τῆς ἐλπίδος ἀκλινῆ, πιστὸς γὰρ ὁ ἐπαγγειλάμενος, 24 καὶ κατανοῶμεν ἀλλήλους εἰς παροξυσμὸν ἀγάπης καὶ καλῶν ἔργων, 25 μὴ ἐγκαταλείποντες τὴν ἐπισυναγωγὴν ἑαυτῶν, καθὼς ἔθος τισίν, ἀλλὰ παρακαλοῦντες, καὶ τοσούτῳ μᾶλλον ὅσῳ βλέπετε ἐγγίζουσαν τὴν ἡμέραν. Hebrews 10:23-25 (NA28) 

23 Let us hold firmly the confession of the hope without wavering, for trustworthy is the one who made the promise. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not abandoning to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Proof that these are Laodicean times, that is, lukewarm, man-centered, not fervently God-centered times in the “visible church” is always found in points of contention. The Social Justice/Woke/Critical Race Theory/Intersectionality corruption of our seminaries and leadership in our denominations should clearly show those with discernment that those involved in that have believed “another gospel.” There is that, then there is the always present so-called Christian leaders teaching a false gospel of “Easy-Believism” (just believe, no repentance required). I thought we had that one snuffed out, but I now believe our enemy will always find fake Christian leaders who hope to build large churches on that foundation of dung. However, if we focus too much on the apostasy all around us my brethren we can become very discouraged, therefore, as the writer of Hebrews says in the passage above, “Let us hold firmly the confession of the hope without wavering, for trustworthy is the one who made the promise. Continue reading

The Name Above Every Name


by Mike Ratliff

1 The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” Psalm 110:1 (NASB) 

15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:15-21 (NASB) 

When I witness the bizarre conflicts in the visible Church in our time, especially the ones in which I take part, I never come through them without wondering how those whose faith is in their religion or idol can call Jesus Lord since they most definitely are not obeying Him nor submitting to His will as their Lord. If they did then two things would be true about them. They would teach sound (ἀντίκειται) doctrine (διδασκαλίᾳ) from God’s Word and they would minister to His Church with love (ἀγάπη). Any other form of “ministry” will negatively impact the Body of Christ for it will come from motivations other than ministering unto the glory of God alone as a slave (δοῦλος) of his or her Lord (κύριος). These other motivations are actually service to another lord, either self or the enemy of our souls and are therefore the source of bad fruit. Continue reading