Lord God, please do not take your sustaining grace from us!


by Mike Ratliff

30 It was Hezekiah who stopped the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all that he did. 31 Even in the matter of the envoys of the rulers of Babylon, who sent to him to inquire of the wonder that had happened in the land, God left him alone only to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart. 2 Chronicles 32:30-31 (NASB) 

I doubt if any professing Christian who is a genuine child of God has not come to that sobering and often devastating realization in which God has taken His hand away just enough so that decisions are made and actions are taken apart from His wise counsel. The consequences of our going it alone are humbling to say the least. God tests us in these circumstances to show us what is really in our hearts. We are placed in circumstances in which the wise and Christian thing to do would be to seek God’s face and move only as He leads, but if we are honest we must confess that in these circumstances our self-righteousness comes to the fore or we operate from pride or instead of mortifying our sin, we indulge our flesh. These are not marks of the unregenerate my brethren, but of the children of God. I am convinced that God uses these things to show us what we are really made of and, therefore, we are humbled and become more usable in the Kingdom.  Continue reading

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them


by Mike Ratliff

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 NASB)

As many of you know, I grew up as a Southern Baptist. After God saved me in 1986 I was a Southern Baptist until 2006 when our former church was overtaken by the Purpose Driven paradigm. I was bitter about that for a while. I and many of you found common ground having had our churches ripped away from us and in many cases finding it nearly impossible to find a good Biblical local church remaining in our area after the Seeker-Sensitive tsunamis had moved through devastating what were once good churches, leaving behind man-centered, store fronts for Rick Warren’s brand of man-focused religiosity.  However, God is good and through this devastation and some personal fiery trials, which actually began in 2004, He has worked in me to grow me up into a more mature Christian, stronger in the Word of God than ever, more knowledgeable in Biblical Greek, and deeper in the more cerebral areas of our faith that are sorely needed in our day such as apologetics. When I was a Deacon teaching Sunday school at our local SBC church, I was extremely mediocre in most of that and hardly knowledgeable at all in the area of apologetics. Why? I was serving and operating from within a mindset that was extremely immature spiritually compared to today. My understanding of the Gospel and theology was probably deeper than most of my peers at that time, but compared to now, it was probably surface level at best.  Continue reading

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works


by Mike Ratliff

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 NASB)

As many of you know, I grew up as a Southern Baptist. After God saved me in 1986 I was a Southern Baptist until 2006 when our former church was overtaken by the Purpose Driven paradigm. I was bitter about that for a while. I and many of you found common ground having had our churches ripped away from us and in many cases finding it nearly impossible to find a good Biblical local church remaining in our area after the Seeker-Sensitive tsunamis had moved through devastating what were once good churches, leaving behind man-centered, store fronts for Rick Warren’s brand of man-focused religiosity.  However, God is good and through this devastation and some personal fiery trials, which actually began in 2004, He has worked in me to grow me into a more mature Christian, stronger in the Word of God than ever, more knowledgeable in Biblical Greek, and deeper in the more cerebral areas of our faith that are sorely needed in our day such as presuppositional apologetics. When I was a Deacon teaching Sunday school at our local SBC church, I was extremely mediocre in most of that and hardly knowledgeable at all in the area of apologetics. Why? I was serving and operating from within a mindset that was extremely spiritually immature compared to today. My understanding of the Gospel and theology was probably deeper than most of my peers at that time, but compared to now, it was probably surface level at best.  Continue reading

The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it


by Mike Ratliff

11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and all it contains, You have founded them. (Psalms 89:11 NASB)

The real work done via Diaprax by Leadership Network and those it sponsors such as Rick Warren is done in the background in a way that will not be obvious to the Church. Why? It is done this way because what is being done can only be accomplished via deception. If these people were upfront with what they were trying to accomplish, it would be stopped cold. However, we are now in a stage in their process where we see the carnage of apostasy with local church after local church all across this globe going the way of man-focused seeker-sensitivity, losing their eternal focus, and along with that, the Gospel itself. This was accomplished as a fruit of deceit. In the New Testament, the word that is translated from the Greek as “deceit” is δόλος or dolos. Our Lord Jesus lists δόλος as one of the sins that come out of the human heart in Mark 7:22. He stated about Nathanael that there is no δόλος in him in John 1:47. Paul and Peter also include δόλος in their list of vices (Romans 1:29; 1 Peter 2:1). Let’s face it, δόλος is serious to those who truly fear God. Of course, to those who have no fear of God, so what, right? Let’s take a closer look.  Continue reading

Accepted in the Beloved


by Mike Ratliff 

6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:6 ESV)

Our salvation, our redemption, is God’s handiwork end to end. In all my many years as a believer, I have run across multitudes of professing Christians in spiritual bondage because they have a “distrust” of God that they absolutely refuse to admit is there, but prove it by walking in unbelief. This “walking in unbelief consists of believing their salvation is entirely up to them and their performance in walking in repentance to remain in God’s good graces. It is as if they have the offer of salvation, which they have accepted, but they are in deadly fear that the offer will be revoked if they sin or or not work hard enough. This is a form of unbelief because God’s Word does not teach that. In fact, it teaches the opposite. I wonder if those in this bondage have every considered the fact that since none of us could do one thing to save ourselves, therefore, the teaching we will be held eternally accountable to a standard of perfection that is impossible for us to be conformed to in this life is a heresy.

Continue reading

The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them


by Mike Ratliff

11 The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.  (Psalm 89:11 ESV)

God worked out the circumstances in my walk so that right after I repented and turned from my self-focused religiosity to walking before Him as one bearing his own cross I was drawn into this discernment ministry. Through this I became aware of the decades of apostasy that the visible church was in and how so much of what we call “church” in our time is not. The move away from God-focused Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy in the Church to what we see in the majority of the visible church today into man-centeredness was accomplished mostly in small, behind-the-scenes moves. Why? It is always done this way by Satan’s change agents because what is being done can only be accomplished via deception. If these people were upfront with what they were trying to accomplish, it would be stopped cold by those with the basic level of discernment. However, we are now in a stage in their process where we see the carnage of apostasy with local church after local church all across this globe going the way of man-focused seeker-sensitivity, losing their eternal focus, and along with that, the Gospel itself. Remember that this was accomplished as a fruit of deceit. In the New Testament, the word that is translated from the Greek as “deceit” is δόλος or dolos. Our Lord Jesus lists δόλος as one of the sins that come out of the human heart in Mark 7:22. He stated about Nathanael that there is no δόλος in him in John 1:47. Paul and Peter also include δόλος in their list of vices (Romans 1:29; 1 Peter 2:1). Let’s face it, δόλος is serious to those who truly fear God. Of course, to those who have no fear of God, so what, right? Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading

God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart


by Mike Ratliff

30 This same Hezekiah closed the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. 31 And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart. (2 Chronicles 32:30-31 ESV)

I doubt if any professing Christian who is a genuine child of God has not come to that sobering and often devastating realization in which God has taken His hand away just enough so that decisions are made and actions are taken apart from His wise counsel. The consequences of our going it alone are humbling to say the least. God tests us in these circumstances to show us what is really in our hearts. We are placed in circumstances in which the wise and Christian thing to do would be to seek God’s face and move only as He leads, but if we are honest we must confess that in these circumstances our self-righteousness comes to the fore or we operate from pride or instead of mortifying our sin, we indulge our flesh. These are not marks of the unregenerate my brethren, but of the children of God. I am convinced that God uses these things to show us what we are really made of and, therefore, we are humbled and, therefore, become more usable in the Kingdom.  Continue reading

Christian Suffering and Perseverance


by Mike Ratliff

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is 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 ESV)

Because of God’s grace and regeneration, believers are changed forever. However, they are not immediately at the spiritual maturity level that God desires for His people. Therefore, from that point until they go home to be with their Lord, all genuine Christians will go through a series of tests and trials that put pressure on their faith. This pressure is spiritual, but the circumstances applying it come from all directions and sources. The Apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh that put such pressure on his faith that the testing brought him to the point that he implored the Lord to take it away three times.

Continue reading

God’s Purpose for the Church Part 2


by Mike Ratliff

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints and believers in Christ Jesus who are in Ephesus.  2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and  our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:1-2 Possessing the Treasure New Testament v1)

Is the Gospel something that the Christian “is” or “becomes?” The Emergent Christians are fond of quoting St. Francis of Assisi, “preach the gospel always, use words if necessary.” There are two problems with this quote. First, he never said that and second, the gospel is a message that is to be proclaimed. The word “gospel” comes from the Greek εὐαγγέλιον (euangelion), “gospel, good news.” It is a message that redemption is available to those who are in bondage. The Emergents’ call “to be the Gospel” is utter nonsense because what they have done is taken the Biblical definition of the Gospel and redefined into something else that we often call on this blog, the “social gospel,” which is “another gospel,” and does not save.  Continue reading

Only One Gospel Part 2


by Mike Ratliff

1 Getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over the sea and came to His own city. 2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.” 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? 5 “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? 6 “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He *said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he got up and went home. 8 But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men. (Matthew 9:1-8 NASB)

The conversion of Saul of Tarsus who was traveling from Jerusalem with authority to seek out and arrest Christians in Damascus on that very road was quite dramatic (Acts 9). The facts of that conversion were beyond anything any of today’s “Christian Superstars” dare to claim happened to them. Saul was on a horse and as he and his party were approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him, and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Everything changed for Saul and for the Church at that moment. Saul of Tarsus the persecutor and ravager of the Church became the Apostle Paul who took the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. Paul’s conversion was quite dramatic not only in the events of it, but also in that the one who was seeking to destroy the Church and the Gospel became the writer of most of the New Testament and developed via inspiration from God, much of the Doctrines of the Church. Continue reading

Created in Christ Jesus for Good Works


by Mike Ratliff

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV)

As many of you know, I grew up as a Southern Baptist. After God saved me in 1986 I was a Southern Baptist until 2006 when our former church was overtaken by the Purpose Driven paradigm. I was bitter about that for a while. I and many of you found common ground having had our churches ripped away from us and in many cases finding it nearly impossible to find a good Biblical local church remaining in our area after the Seeker-Sensitive tsunamis had moved through devastating what were once good churches, leaving behind man-centered, store fronts for Rick Warren’s brand of man-focused religiosity.  However, God is good and through this devastation and some personal fiery trials, which actually began in 2004, He has worked in me to grow me into a more mature Christian, stronger in the Word of God than ever, more knowledgeable in Biblical Greek, and deeper in the more cerebral areas of our faith that are sorely needed in our day such as presuppositional apologetics. When I was a Deacon teaching Sunday school at our local SBC church, I was extremely mediocre in most of that and hardly knowledgeable at all in the area of apologetics. Why? I was serving and operating from within a mindset that was extremely spiritually immature compared to today. My understanding of the Gospel and theology was probably deeper than most of my peers at that time, but compared to now, it was probably surface level at best.  Continue reading

The Earth is the Lord’s


by Mike Ratliff

The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.  (Psalm 89:11 ESV)

In our post The Way The Truth and The Life a few days ago in this video, it was made very clear that the real work done via Diaprax by Leadership Network and those it sponsors such as Rick Warren is done in the background in a way that will not be obvious to the Church. Why? It is done this way because what is being done can only be accomplished via deception. If these people were upfront with what they were trying to accomplish, it would be stopped cold. However, we are now in a stage in their process where we see the carnage of apostasy with local church after local church all across this globe going the way of man-focused seeker-sensitivity, losing their eternal focus, and along with that, the Gospel itself. Remember that this was accomplished as a fruit of deceit. In the New Testament, the word that is translated from the Greek as “deceit” is δόλος or dolos. Our Lord Jesus lists δόλος as one of the sins that come out of the human heart in Mark 7:22. He stated about Nathanael that there is no δόλος in him in John 1:47. Paul and Peter also include δόλος in their list of vices (Romans 1:29; 1 Peter 2:1). Let’s face it, δόλος is serious to those who truly fear God. Of course, to those who have no fear of God, so what, right? Let’s take a closer look.  Continue reading

What Happens When God Leaves Us to Ourselves?


by Mike Ratliff

This same Hezekiah closed the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart. (2 Chronicles 32:30-31 ESV)

I doubt if any professing Christian who is a genuine child of God has not come to that sobering and often devastating realization in which God has taken His hand away just enough so that decisions are made and actions are taken apart from His wise counsel. The consequences of our going it alone are humbling to say the least. God tests us in these circumstances to show us what is really in our hearts. We are placed in circumstances in which the wise and Christian thing to do would be to seek God’s face and move only as He leads, but if we are honest we must confess that in these circumstances our self-righteousness comes to the fore or we operate from pride or instead of mortifying our sin, we indulge our flesh. These are not marks of the unregenerate my brethren, but of the children of God. I am convinced that God uses these things to show us what we are really made of and, therefore, we are humbled and become more usable in the Kingdom.  Continue reading

Perseverance in Suffering


by Mike Ratliff

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith-more precious than gold that perishes though it is 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 ESV)

When God saves a person, he or she is changed forever. However, they are not at the spiritual maturity level that God desires for His people. Therefore, from that point until they go home to be with their Lord all genuine Christians will go through a series of tests and trials that put pressure on their faith. This pressure is spiritual, but the circumstances applying it come from all directions and sources. The Apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh that put his faith to test to the point that he implored the Lord to take it away. Continue reading