The Goal of Life


by Mike Ratliff

24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 1 Corinthians 9:24 (NASB) 

I was searching for topical references in the NT that dealt with how Christians are to remain properly focused during times of great pressure and confusion. I have always believed that God has given me a role in my ministry to see through the confusion and go the root of the issues and then point His people to the truth. Yes, there are times we get our eyes on issues that are obviously being caused by evil people trying to use lies and deceit to gain power over those they view as mere “serfs” in their economy. We can become overcome with anger or fear or whatever emotion our enemy is trying to use against us if we focus on these things instead of seeking the real goal of life knowing that our omnipotent God is fully in control of all things at all times. Continue reading

The Test of Shame


by Mike Ratliff

2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” Matthew 11:2-6 (NASB) 

Do you remember the first time that someone ridiculed you for your faith? How did it feel? The Test of Shame is one that comes upon all professing Christians. This test is designed to separate the genuine from the disingenuous. Many may fail this test and still be genuine, but in their hearts they will bear a shame that is worse than the ridicule and persecution they sought to avoid. The beauty of God’s ways is that the path of forgiveness is there for those who repent. Peter’s denial of Christ during Jesus’ trial is a perfect example of this. There are also many during the reign of Queen Mary of England, Bloody Mary, who initially failed this test as they were persecuted or their families were threatened with persecution unless they abjured. However, as the Holy Spirit worked in their hearts they would go public with their faith and endure the fires of martyrdom in the joy of the Lord. Continue reading