For God So Loved the World


by Mike Ratliff

16 οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλʼ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον. John 3:16 (NA28)

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only son that everyone believing in Him should not perish but have life eternal. John 3:16 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

The first verse I memorized in Sunday School as a child was John 3:16 from the King James Bible. This must have been sometime around 1956-1957 since I did not learn to read until the 1st grade. My mother even had a plaque made with that verse on it and put it on the wall over my bed. I still have the little white New Testament I got for memorizing the most verses in my class that year. So what? When I look back on my life from that point to the time God had mercy on me in 1986, I am truly amazed that He did at all. Since the time I came to know Christ, I have known much of both of the tender mercies of our Lord as well as His flail of tribulation. My brethren, the school of the cross is the school of light, it discovers the world’s vanity, baseness, and wickedness, and lets us see more of God’s mind. Out of dark affliction comes a spiritual light. With that, let us look at John 3:16-21.  Continue reading

The Excellency of Christ’s Deity


by Mike Ratliff

14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (NASB) 

All genuine Christians are involved in some form of spiritual conflict. They are tempted to doubt their salvation because their assurance is under attack or they are being tempted to turn aside for some fleshly “diversion” or they are tempted to compromise in some fashion in a way that would be an act against conscience, et cetera. Some reading this have contacted me for prayer because of family or health issues. We are all in desperate need of our hearts being strengthened in the resignation of ourselves unto the Lordship of  Jesus Christ. We need our affections as the Bride of Christ to be stirred up and made more apparent to our regenerate hearts. How do we do this? What can we do that will endear our hearts unto Christ? Continue reading

The lovingkindness of God endures all day long


by Mike Ratliff

For the choir director. A Maskil of David, when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul and said to him, “David has come to the house of Ahimelech.”

1 Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man?
The lovingkindness of God endures all day long.
2 Your tongue devises destruction,
Like a sharp razor, O worker of deceit.
3 You love evil more than good,
Falsehood more than speaking what is right.
Selah.
4 You love all words that devour,
O deceitful tongue.
5 But God will break you down forever;
He will snatch you up and tear you away from your tent,
And uproot you from the land of the living.
Selah.
6 The righteous will see and fear,
And will laugh at him, saying,
7 “Behold, the man who would not make God his refuge,
But trusted in the abundance of his riches
And was strong in his evil desire.”
8 But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.
9 I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it,
And I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones. (Psalm 52:1-9 NASB)

No matter how far away from the light the visible Church drifts into apostasy and darkness, we must remain faithful and understand that God is sovereign. Those God gives over to their idolatry are spiritually blind. They cannot see that while they believe they are serving God they are actually walking in rebellion. It seems that at this time God is placing me in a position of reflection on His grace and His love and that neither of them will ever fail. We must pray for those in darkness and never stop telling them the truth. Perhaps God will have mercy on them and call them to come out of the Scarlet Woman, from darkness into the light. Continue reading

What can believers do that will endear their hearts unto Christ?


by Mike Ratliff

14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NASB)

All genuine Christians are involved in some form of spiritual conflict. They are tempted to doubt their salvation because of spiritual warfare or they are being tempted to turn aside for some fleshly “diversion” or they are tempted to compromise in some fashion in a way that would be an act against conscience, et cetera. Some reading this have contacted me for prayer because of family or health issues. We are all in desperate need of our hearts being strengthened in the resignation of ourselves unto the Lordship of  Jesus Christ. All genuine believers need their affections as the Bride of Christ to be stirred up and made more apparent to their regenerate hearts. How is this done? What can believers do that will endear their hearts unto Christ? Continue reading

John 3:16


by Mike Ratliff

16 οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλʼ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον. (John 3:16 NA28)

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only son that everyone believing in Him should not perish but have life eternal. (John 3:16 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

The first verse I memorized in Sunday School as a child was John 3:16 from the King James Bible. This must have been sometime around 1956-1957 since I did not learn to read until the 1st grade. My mother even had a plaque made with that verse on it and put it on the wall over my bed. I still have the little white New Testament I got for memorizing the most verses in my class that year. So what? When I look back on my life from that point to the time God had mercy on me in 1986, I am truly amazed that He did at all. Since the time I came to know Christ, I have known much of both of the tender mercies of our Lord as well as His flail of tribulation. My brethren, the school of the cross is the school of light, it discovers the world’s vanity, baseness, and wickedness, and lets us see more of God’s mind. Out of dark affliction comes a spiritual light. With that, let us look at John 3:16-21.  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

Jesus Christ is Exceedingly Excellent and Desirable in his Deity


by Mike Ratliff

14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NASB)

All genuine Christians are involved in some form of spiritual conflict. They are tempted to doubt their salvation because their assurance is under attack or they are being tempted to turn aside for some fleshly “diversion” or they are tempted to compromise in some fashion in a way that would be an act against conscience, et cetera. Some reading this have contacted me for prayer because of family or health issues. We are all in desperate need of our hearts being strengthened in the resignation of ourselves unto the Lordship of  Jesus Christ. We need our affections as the Bride of Christ to be stirred up and made more apparent to our regenerate hearts. How do we do this? What can we do that will endear our hearts unto Christ? Continue reading

Our Father Who is in Heaven


by Mike Ratliff

9 Οὕτως οὖν προσεύχεσθε ὑμεῖς· Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς· ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου· (Matthew 6:9 NA27)

9 “You, therefore, pray in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, let your name be hallowed, (Matthew 6:9 a personal translation of from the NA27 Greek Text.) 

As one who desperately wants to stay on the narrow way, bearing my own cross as I follow my Lord each and every day, I have found that there are times when my circumstances seem to overwhelm me and there is anything but peace in my life as those very circumstances appear to be about to consume me or destroy me or something indeed horrible. It is as I am driven to prayer as per Hebrews 4:14-16:

[14] Since then 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 is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. [16] Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV)

that my perspective is altered and what seemed such a large problem is seen in a completely different light. Do the issues or problems still exist? Yes they do, but when viewed from the perspective of a child who has come before his heavenly father who has properly prayed for him to reveal himself, his majesty, his power, his grace, his mercy, his love, et cetera to me in a way that brings him glory in and through me then I know that my temporal problems are nothing when it comes to eternity.  Continue reading

Our Declaration of Dependence


by Mike Ratliff

Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.  (Psalm 33:20-22 ESV)

The movements we are seeing all around us, whether Christian in form or not, that are attempts to improve the world, to bring in some form of utopian existence or a new level of evolution, or whatever; are all simply examples of the same thing that happened in the Garden of Eden when Man rejected God’s plan and went with his own (Genesis 3). The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) is an example of men coming together in disobedience to God’s command to try to improve on what He has promised to give them. The stuff going on now with globalization of the Church via Dominionism, the Seeker Sensitive movement via Diaprax, et cetera, are just current day examples of professing Christians doing things their own way because they consider God’s way to be ineffective or boring or outdated, et cetera. These movements are declarations of independence from God as Lord and are markers of people who may profess to be Christian, but by these actions, they prove they are anything but.  Continue reading

Accepted in the Beloved – Part 1


by Mike Ratliff 

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1:6 KJV) 

Our salvation, our redemption if you will, is God’s handiwork. In all my many years as a believer, I have run across multitudes of professing Christians in spiritual bondage because they believe that it is 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. 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 not biblical. Continue reading

Thank You for your Prayers


My nephew Travis had his brain surgery yesterday. He was awake during much of it. He even made a phone call to his wife Jennifer as part of his cognitive tests. The surgery took most of the day. He is in recovery in the ICU now. Below is an email my brother-in-law, Travis’ dad, sent me about how it went. Join me in praising God for His goodness and healing power. Please also remember him and his family in your prayers. To God be the Glory – Mike Ratliff

Continue reading

The Steadfast Love of God Endures


by Mike Ratliff

No matter how far away from the light the Church drifts into apostasy and darkness, we must remain faithful and understand that God is sovereign. Those God gives over to their idolatry are spiritually blind. They cannot see that while they believe they are serving God they are actually walking in rebellion. It seems that at this time God is placing me in a position of reflection on His grace and His love and that neither of them will ever fail. We must pray for those in darkness and never stop telling them the truth. Perhaps God will have mercy on them and call them to come out of the Scarlet Woman, from darkness into the light.

Continue reading

Here is Love


Yesterday at the church my wife and I have been visiting, we had communion. The following song was sung as “the cup” was being passed out. I wept as the depth and breadth of God’s love for His people became apparent to me, at least to the extent that I could grasp it…

Here Is Love

music and extra lyrics by Steve & Vikki Cook
lyrics by William Rees

Here is love wide as the ocean
Loving kindness as a flood
When the Prince of Life, our ransom
Shed for us His precious blood
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten
Throughout Heaven’s eternal days

On the mount of crucifixion
Fountains opened deep and wide
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide
Grace and love like mighty rivers
Poured incessant from above
And Heaven’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love

Oh how marvelous, oh how glorious
Is my Savior’s love for me!
Oh how marvelous, oh how glorious
Is my Savior’s love for me!

Of Your fullness You are pouring
Your great love on me anew
Without measure, full and boundless
Drawing out my heart to You
You alone will be my glory
Nothing in the world I see
You have cleansed and sanctified me
You Yourself have set me free

© 2002 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP). Sovereign Grace Music, a division of Sovereign Grace Ministries. From the CD All We Long to See.

Addendum: Thanks to Don Moffitt at at Backus Books for the fascinating history of this song. From Don: ”

Mr. Ratliff,

I noted with interest your short article today on the CRN website regarding Dyma Gariad (Here is Love). Being Scottish, I first became aware of this hymn several years ago when I purchased a cd of a group that does Celtic worship music. I was quite taken by the hymn and it has been one of my favorites since then. Should you desire to see two quality versions of Dyma Gariad I would direct you to the following two YouTube videos: Katherine Jenkins at the Welsh Morriston Chapel ). The other version is by Huw Priday, a Welsh tenor

The version you cited has a third verse that I am not familiar with. I am also attaching a version that was provided to me by a pastor friend. It has a third and fourth verse that are not included in the version you cite. You may be interested in these additional verses. You may also be interested to know that the hymn was written by a Baptist pastor, William Rees (1802 – 1883) and was known as the love song of the Welsh Revivals of 1904.

Of the two YouTube versions, I think the one by Huw Priday is the best. When I found it a couple of months ago I played it three times and each time I was reduced to tears. I was so taken that I contacted Priday productions to see if I could offer the cd to my customers. I also ordered a copy for myself. The cd also contains an excellent hymn called “Lover of My Heart” which quickly became another favorite of mine. Priday graciously extended me a distributorship for their products so that I can buy in quantity for resale to my customers on my own website – www.backusbooks.com .

I agree with your assessment of the hymn and hope that it can become more widely known among Christians in this day.

Don Moffitt

Backus Books

Here is the pdf of the original song: Here is Love