The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom


In Psalm 111, the prophet giveth thanks to the Lord for His merciful works toward His Church. He also declareth wherein true wisdom and right knowledge consistith.

Psalm 111
1 Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart in the assembly and Congregation of the just.
2 The works of the Lord are great, and ought to be sought out of all them that love them.
3 His work is beautiful and glorious, and his righteousness endureth forever.
4 He hath made his wonderful works to be had in remembrance: the Lord is merciful and full of compassion.
5 He hath given a portion unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.
6 He hath shewed to his people the power of his works in giving unto them the heritage of the heathen.
7 The works of his hands are truth and judgment: all his statutes are true.
8 They are established forever and ever, and are done in truth and equity.
9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant forever: holy and fearful is his Name.
10 The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord: all they that observe them, have good understanding: his praise endureth forever. – (Geneva Bible Psalm 111)

The prophet declares that he will praise God both privately and openly and from his heart that he has consecrated wholly and only to Him.

He professes that God’s works are sufficient cause wherefore we should praise Him, but chiefly His benefits towards His Church.

God has given to His Church all that was necessary for them and will do still more for His covenant’s sake.

As God promised to take the care of His Church; so in effect does He declare Himself just and true in His government of the same.

They only are wise that fear God, and none have understanding, but those that obey His Words which are His commandments.

The Superiority of Christ and the Cost of Discipleship


by Mike Ratliff

1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. Hebrews 1:1-4 (NASB) 

The Church in the early part of the 21st Century is very sick. This sickness has not happened all at once. Instead, it is the result of centuries of compromise after compromise on the part of Christian leaders and their followers to adapt the Gospel and the Church doctrines to conform to what men want. That process is called “Pragmatism.” As a result, the Church has lost its savor. It is no longer salty. The countries in Europe where the Reformers restored the Gospel at the cost of untold numbers of martyrs would not now be considered Christian at all.

In the United States, the visible Church still has some influence in politics and society, but is that what the Church is supposed to be about? The segment of the American Church that would consider itself evangelical has become so doctrinally shallow that most of the members as well as their leadership have no idea what they really believe. If they are confronted with the Arminain/Semi-Pelagian vs. Calvinism debate they would be clueless about what each side believes and does not believe. In fact, they are so spiritually shallow, they don’t understand why it is important to know what you believe and why you believe it. Continue reading

Fixing our eyes on Jesus


by Mike Ratliff

This is Monday, June 28, 2021. It sure is a Monday. As I got up this morning to take Sunrise photos before doing my morning devotions I found that the dreary rain and dark clouds were still with us. I took a few shots then went back inside. I sat down with my Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning, my Tabletalk magazine, and Greek Word for Today word study devotionals before praying. However, I was in a dark mood that seemed to match the weather. I have issues both with the Department of Safety of Oklahoma and the Social Security Administration. I am having issues with the company I work for. Most of this has to do with me being nearly 70 years old and I am being pressured on one side to retire while on other sides to still act like a full time employee at work providing goals for the next several years. The State of Oklahoma is in no hurry to reissue my driver’s license that expired in April because, hey, everyone’s driver’s license in Oklahoma is expired due to the push to be One Id. I have all this pressure being put on me while at the same time I am working very hard on my retirement IRA and 401K to grow them and protect them so I can retire and have enough to live on for who knows how long. Yes, I was in a pretty dark mood this morning as I sat down to go through these devotionals and pray. However, that didn’t last long. The first one I always start with is my Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning. Continue reading

Compromise and Friendship with with World


by Mike Ratliff

1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:1-4 (NASB)

One of the first books I placed in my personal Christian library was a gift from a good friend years ago when we were both in the same church where I was a Deacon, Bible Study leader on Sunday mornings and Precept leader on Sunday evenings. The friend who gave me the book was in every Precept class I taught. The book was the first edition of John MacArthur’s book The Gospel According to Jesus. I read the book in just a few days. I honestly was quite shocked about some of the things in it. I suppose I had become ignorant of the downgrade of much of what we call the Visible Church. Continue reading

The Back-Door to Hell


by Mike Ratliff

10 “They will all respond and say to you,
‘Even you have been made weak as we,
You have become like us. Isaiah 14:10 (NASB) 

Part of my morning devotions is to read the morning devotion for the day from Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning. Today’s devotion really got me to thinking about the large numbers of Christian leaders who are going hard after Social Justice in all its forms. I have read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress several times and I must admit that part about the “back way” or “back-door” into Hell has always disturbed me and it should you too.  Continue reading

Is there only one Gospel?


by Mike Ratliff

8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:8-12 (NASB) 

The title of this article may surprise many. The current attack by those whose theology has been corrupted by Woke-ism seem to be all about placing their liberal, Marxist, CRT philosophy up there on par with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ or at least they insist that it is an essential part of it. Their stance is that no one can know everything about the Gospel through the Bible alone, instead, they must also become Woke to be in obedience to God.  Before I was saved I may have bought that argument, but not anymore. Our God is a very precise God who does things His way in His timing and always for His glory. He regenerated me and justified me and is sanctifying me. As I present myself to Him as a living sacrifice daily, holy and acceptable to God, the Holy Spirit transforms me. Oh, and I have also studied the Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. Now, I can see the Woke/CRT/Social Justice nonsense for what it is.  Continue reading

The path of CRT’s invasion into Christianity is Pragmatism rooted in Post-Modernism


by Mike Ratliff

28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Luke 14:28 (NASB) 

I really struggled with the title for this post. In fact as I began typing here I have changed it twice more. I wrote my first post about pragmatism in the visible church back in 2008 while doing battle almost daily against the Purpose Driven paradigm and the Emergent Church. That post was titled Pragmatism. However, two years earlier I wrote a 6 part series titled The Compromised Church. I reposted it in 2008. It dealt with the very same issues, but in much greater detail of course. Back then the battles we fought were geared more toward the havoc Post-Modernism was taking on the theological solidity of our churches. I was most certainly not fighting that battle alone. Ken Silva actually gave me marching orders, but I also did research on my own as well. Chris Rosebrough a was huge contributor as well. What I never got used to were the Ad Hominem attacks from those who just didn’t like us being precise presenting Theology exegetically from God’s Word and relying solely on it as the arbiter for what is truth and what is not. This created a dividing line that those with discernment could see very easily who was walking in the light compared to those who only pretended to be. Continue reading

When you go woke, your theology gets broke


by Mike Ratlif

39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39 (NASB) 

A few months ago, on Good Friday, Dr. Josh Buice posted the following on Twitter:

As We behold the slain Christ on the cruel cross on this Good Friday, we must never forget the truth!

Jesus was not the victim of injustice.

Jesus was the predestined substitute for sinners crushed under the wrath of the Father in order to fulfill holy justice.

Isaiah 53:10

Here is Isaiah 53:10:

10 But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. Isaiah 53:10 (NASB) 

This started a firestorm reaction from several theologians from the largest SBC Seminaries such as Southern, Southeastern, and Southwestern.  Others who objected were pastors. What was their complaint? They accused Dr. Buice of heresy because his doctrinally correct statement violated their Wokism theology that sees everything through the eyes of Critical Race Theory, that is, Social Justice. Their responses to this statement even showed that they no longer had a clear understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. Continue reading

Your Sins Are Forgiven


by Mike Ratliff

17 One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. 18 And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. 19 But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. 20 Seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” Luke 5:17-21 (NASB) 

I have known many through my many years who professed to be Christians, but who held to doctrines that placed the burden and veracity of their salvation on themselves. For the first 20 or so years of my walk with the Lord, I was a Southern Baptist. The SBC is not a denomination of churches that are consistent across the board on doctrine. There are Reformed and Arminian Churches in the convention along with everything in between. In fact, until God woke me up and drew me into the light in 2004 I really had no idea what the difference was. I had never heard of Arminianism. I had only heard of Calvinism in World History classes.  However, as I studied doctrine I found to my great surprise that my own personal doctrine of salvation was a mishmash of Calvinism and Arminianism. Most non-Reformed Southern Baptists believe in a ‘doctrine’ of ‘Once Saved, Always Saved.’ It is not the same thing as the Reformed doctrine of ‘The Perseverance of the Saints.’ The former appears to be a holdover from the old days of the Baptist churches that were predominately Reformed in the doctrine. Continue reading

Praise be to God


by Mike Ratliff

1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,
AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.
8 “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.”
9 Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 10 How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; 11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.
13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15 for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.
16 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 (as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.” 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 23 Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. Romans 4 (NASB)

I saw a satirical cartoon this morning before my wife and I went to worship service at our church. It showed an artist’s conception of the gates of Heaven, but above the door was a sign that said, “Under New Management – CRT.” Below the sign was an artist’s conception of Jesus being removed from the premises. Now think on that for a second. I am sure whoever came up with that wasn’t being serious, but was trying to make a point. However, it got me angry at first then I asked God to forgive me for that then I focused on the truths of the Gospel such as the passage I shared above. The author of that cartoon was trying to show that many professing Christians are going after another “god” and a another “gospel” which is all wrapped up in Critical Race Theory, Wokeism, Intersectionality, and/or Social Justice. However, that nonsense, and that is all it is, is nothing more than another heresy that is an attack on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Continue reading

Fundamentalism, Evangelicalism, and Neo-Evangelicalism


by Mike Ratliff

15 He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:15-19 (NASB)

The following definitions are from the New Oxford American Dictionary.

e·van·gel·i·cal| ˌēvanˈjelək(ə)l | adjective of or according to the teaching of the gospel or the Christian religion. of or denoting a tradition within Protestant Christianity emphasizing the authority of the Bible, personal conversion, and the doctrine of salvation by faith in the Atonement.

fun·da·men·tal·ism| ˌfəndəˈmen(t)lˌizəm | nouna form of a religion, especially Islam or Protestant Christianity, that upholds belief in the strict, literal interpretation of scripture: there was religious pluralism there at a time when the rest of Europe was torn by fundamentalism. strict adherence to the basic principles of any subject or discipline: free-market fundamentalism. Modern Christian fundamentalism arose from American millenarian sects of the 19th century and has become associated with reaction against social and political liberalism, and with the rejection of the theory of evolution. Islamic fundamentalism appeared in the 18th and 19th centuries as a reaction to the disintegration of Islamic political and economic power, asserting that Islam is central to both state and society and advocating strict adherence to the Koran (Qur’an) and to Islamic law (sharia).

For a definition of Neo-Evangelicalism, go here.

Continue reading

Regarding Christ and the Ministry of Reconciliation


by Mike Ratliff

16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (NASB) 

People who are genuine Christians are Born Again. Their hearts have been regenerated. They are New Creations. That means that their hearts now regard Christ spiritually rather than through the flesh. This is an important point for there are growing numbers of people calling themselves Christians who refuse to surrender to the Lordship of Christ in all areas of their lives. They regard Christ via their Human reason rather than spiritually. By this, they prove that they are simply religious converts rather than regenerated disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of this, these pseudo-Christians are spiritually blind, yet they believe they are legitimate because they love the Jesus they have perceived in their own minds and are involved in their “ministries.” However, they preach not the truth because they don’t know the truth. They pick things from scripture they like, but refuse to submit to the parts they don’t . The Jesus they love and “serve” is another Jesus, not the one we see from scripture when it is studied exegetically. Continue reading

SBC Downgrade


by Mike Ratliff

15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ Matthew 7:15-23 (NASB) 

The last SBC President, J.D. Greear, was so obviously a shill for the left, i.e. liberals, that whatever he said or did was really no surprise and most of us considered him something of a doofus. However, the current 2021 SBC Convention has just elected a new President, Ed Litton who is from Alabama. Here is a link to some info about him. I have been all over Facebook and the Internet today looking at discussions about him. What I have seen is not encouraging. Continue reading

How is it You do not Understand?


by Mike Ratliff

17 And Jesus, aware of this, *said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? 18 HAVING EYES, DO YOU NOT SEE? AND HAVING EARS, DO YOU NOT HEAR? And do you not remember, 19 when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” They *said to Him, “Twelve.” 20 “When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” And they *said to Him, “Seven.” 21 And He was saying to them, “Do you not yet understand?” Mark 8:17-21 (NASB)

The mortification of sin has been a topic that we have looked at a great deal over the last several months. Why? It is vital for our Christian maturity to learn to walk in repentance and that requires that we learn how to mortify the sin(s) that cling close to us. In this post we will take a closer look at a vital aspect of walking by faith. When Jesus rebuked Peter in Matthew 16 it was for having his focus on the things of men rather than the things of God. Because of that focus, Peter had actually rebuked Jesus for telling them about His upcoming crucifixion and resurrection. Peter told Jesus that he shouldn’t talk about things like that. Instead, He wanted Jesus to change His focus to that of his vision of who the Messiah was rather than on what our Saviour had been telling and showing them about Himself. What was Peter’s real problem? Why did he have the wrong “vision” of Jesus’ ministry? Peter’s problem was that his heart was hardened and, therefore, he had a case of spiritual blindness. Before we point our fingers at him let’s turn those fingers around and point them right back at ourselves. All of us have been there and many of us are still there. Not everyone’s faith is as strong as those whom the Lord has drawn into a Spirit-filled walk. Therefore, instead of condemning our weaker brothers and sisters we should come along side them and help them see the truth from God’s Word and show them the way to change their level of devotion to our Lord and submission to His Lordship. Continue reading