Betraying Jesus


by Mike Ratliff

21 Ταῦτα εἰπὼν [ὁ] Ἰησοῦς ἐταράχθη τῷ πνεύματι καὶ ἐμαρτύρησεν καὶ εἶπεν· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι εἷς ἐξ ὑμῶν παραδώσει με. John 13:21 (NA28)

21Having said these things, Jesus was troubled in His Spirit and He testified and said, “Amen, amen I say to you that one of you will betray me.” John 13:21 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In our last post, Lord Do You Wash My Feet?, our Lord revealed that one of the twelve disciples was “not clean” in John 13:10 and then in 13:18 He revealed that this would fulfill Old Testament prophecies about an insider betraying Him. Now, we enter that part of John’s account of our Lord’s last Passover Feast in which His betrayer is sent away to do his deed. In contrast, our Lord reveals that those who truly belong to Him follow the commandment from God to love one another. Then He reveals to Peter, even though Peter declares that he would rather die than leave the Lord, he will deny that he even knows Jesus three times this very night. Let us take a closer look.  Continue reading

Lord Do You Wash My Feet?


by Mike Ratliff

6 ἔρχεται οὖν πρὸς Σίμωνα Πέτρον· λέγει αὐτῷ · κύριε, σύ μου νίπτεις τοὺς πόδας; 7 ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ὃ ἐγὼ ποιῶ σὺ οὐκ οἶδας ἄρτι, γνώσῃ δὲ μετὰ ταῦτα. 8 λέγει αὐτῷ Πέτρος· οὐ μὴ νίψῃς μου τοὺς πόδας εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς αὐτῷ· ἐὰν μὴ νίψω σε, οὐκ ἔχεις μέρος μετʼ ἐμοῦ. John 13:6-8 (NA28)

6 Then He came to Simon Peter who said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered and said to Him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will understand after these things.” 8 Peter said to Him, “Never will you wash my feet even into the age.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you do not have a share with me.” John 13:6-8 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

As I write this and work on this translation of John 13:1-19 I am listening to a CD from Sovereign Grace music titled “No Greater Love.” Right now, my favorite song on that CD is playing which is titled “Know You.” Why am I sharing this? The heart that knows the Lord is so because the Lord knows that person by and through the power of the Cross. Those who are loved by the Lord through the work of the Gospel want deeply to know their Lord, to be with Him and they can never get enough of Him. That is what is expressed in that song and all through this CD. Now, remember what I have shared continually through this series, Christianity is true not because of feelings or by any esoteric values that I was attempting to describe above.  Continue reading

Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life


by Mike Ratliff

6 λέγει αὐτῷ [ὁ] Ἰησοῦς· ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ὁδὸς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια καὶ ἡ ζωή· οὐδεὶς ἔρχεται πρὸς τὸν πατέρα εἰ μὴ διʼ ἐμοῦ.John 14:6 (NA28)

 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and life; no one come to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

We continue with the time our Lord spent with His disciples in preparation for His separation for them as He was arrested, tried, crucified, died, and laid in a tomb. In John 13 He has told them that He is about to be betrayed by one of their number and that Peter this very night will deny that he ever knew the Lord at all. All of these are extreme jolts and tests of their faith therefore our Lord encourages them greatly. In this post we will look how He begins this by exegeting John 14:1-14.  Continue reading

Christian Boldness


by Mike Ratliff

1 Why do the nations rage
And the peoples meditate on a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against Yahweh and against His Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord mocks them.
5 Then He speaks to them in His anger
And terrifies them in His fury, saying,
6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

7 “I will surely tell of the decree of Yahweh:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth as Your possession.
9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like a potter’s vessel.’”

10 So now, O kings, show insight;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
11 Serve Yahweh with fear
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (Psalm 2:1–12 Legacy Standard Bible)

Christians should not be surprised when they are the minority in the world. They should not become discouraged when worldly philosophies such as Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality become predominate in the social and educational structures where they live. However, we should take a stand when these evil philosophies invade our churches, denominations, seminaries, and Christian schools just as Charles Spurgeon did in the 19th Century when the Baptist Union churches in England began going Liberal. He refused to be part of it and it cost him. He ended up removing the church he pastored from the Baptist Union and was then censured by them. He died just a few years after that, but in our time who do we remember? Who’s books are still studied and who’s sermons are still read? I still read his daily devotionals. On the other hand if you go to the Baptist Union’s website you will find a denomination that stands for nothing.

Continue reading

Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen


by Mike Ratliff

13 “These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. 14 “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and elect and faithful.” (Revelation 17:13–14 Legacy Standard Bible)

In this post we will look our Lord’s parable of the Wedding Feast from Matthew 22:1-14. I was told by some one who disagreed with my post Who Is Responsible For A Believer’s Salvation?, that those of us who held a “Calvinist” viewpoint” did so because we misinterpreted this parable. His contention was that we were taking v14 out of context. Let us look at the entire context. Continue reading

Religiosity and Unbelief


by Mike Ratliff

43 Μετὰ δὲ τὰς δύο ἡμέρας ἐξῆλθεν ἐκεῖθεν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν· 44 αὐτὸς γὰρ Ἰησοῦς ἐμαρτύρησεν ὅτι προφήτης ἐν τῇ ἰδίᾳ πατρίδι τιμὴν οὐκ ἔχει. 45 ὅτε οὖν ἦλθεν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν, ἐδέξαντο αὐτὸν οἱ Γαλιλαῖοι πάντα ἑωρακότες ὅσα ἐποίησεν ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ, καὶ αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἦλθον εἰς τὴν ἑορτήν. John 4:43-45 (NA28)

43 And after the two days, He went from there into Galilee 44 (for Jesus Himself testified that a prophet in His own country does not have honor.)  45 Therefore, when He came into Galilee, The Galileans received Him having seen all things that He did in Jerusalem during the Feast for they also went to the Feast.  John 4:43-45 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

The “after the two days” refers to the two days Jesus and His disciples spent in Sychar of Samaria ministering to the people there. The statement by our Lord about a prophet not having honor in his own country contrasts the believing response of the Samaritans with the unbelief of our Lord’s own people in Galilee and Judea. The Jews reticent faith depended on our Lord’s performance of miracles much as they did in John 6 after he fed the 5,000 from five barley loaves and two fish. This, of course, led to his hard preaching in John 6:22-65 leading to “many of his disciples turning back an no longer walking with him.” In contrast, all He did in Samaria was preach the truth. The Samaritans responded, but the Jews were not open to Him, but more often than not, exhibited reluctance and hardness. In my translation, the verb “received” from v45 is ἐδέξαντο the 3rd person, Aorist tense, Indicative mood, Middle voice case of δέχομαι (dechomai), “essentially means to receive something, but it can also mean to welcome someone.” As v45 is in context with v44 and v48, this reception was likely one of curiosity seekers whose appetite centered more on seeing miracles than believing in Jesus as Messiah, therefore, John probably meant these words as irony. Continue reading

It’s All About Me


by Mike Ratliff

3 “ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:3-16 (NASB) 

I have often written on this blog and elsewhere about the spiritual awakening that God took me through in 2004. I remember vividly, however, being very confused about some things as I went through that. Several years earlier, I had been deeply involved in several men’s studies at a former church that were built around the teachings of Henry Blackaby. I had been through once and led several times the study called “Experiencing God.” One thing that always puzzled me in that study was how cool it was and how “deep” it was in the beginning and then so wrapped up in spiritual or mystical disciplines toward the end because to progress past the initial seeking where God is working then get involved stage, which was always quite exciting for everyone, it got into those parts of self-discipline that most of the men simply shrugged off and didn’t come back. In any case, I used the context of those studies to evaluate or try to understand what God was doing in my life in August 2004. Things just did not jibe together as I thought they should.  Continue reading

Our Heavenly Dwelling and the Ministry of Reconciliation


by Mike Ratliff

1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, 3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 (NASB) 

As I shared in another post, I tested positive for Covid-19. I retested about a week later when my symptoms seemed to be abating and it was again positive. My symptoms worsened. Then last week I retested again and it still came up as positive. I contacted my son who is an M.D. He had recently gone through the same thing, but was back at work. He told me to quit retesting as I will continue to test positive for about 90 days. This caused me to look back at how long these “symptoms” had been plaguing me. It started the same day I retired which was Christmas Eve. It was also the day that all of our family members came in for the holidays. We had a houseful. That’s when it started. My symptoms have been bad, then almost went away only to come back again and again. So, counting back to Christmas Eve I think I have another month of this up and down stuff. When the symptoms are raging I feel awful. When they abate it is like nothing at all is wrong. While this was all going on my brother had to be hospitalized because he got Pneumonia from the Covid infection he had. That started in December and even though he is home now, he is still on oxygen. I am very thankful that I have not had to go through that. So, as believers we have to ask, “What is God doing through all this?”

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It Has Been Given to You


By Mike Ratliff

4 Yet to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear. Deuteronomy 29:4 (NASB)

God is Sovereign. He is on the throne in Heaven. He is high and lifted up. The seraphim around the throne of God cry to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” The arrogant and the proud have no portion with Him for all who encounter Him will immediately see their sin and cry, “Woe is me for I am ruined!” These may fall on their face before the throne, but they do so because “It has been given” to them to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven. They have been given a heart to understand and eyes to see and ears to hear the truth, grasp it, know it, believe it, submit to it, and be changed forever by it.  Continue reading

I will strengthen thee


by Mike Ratliff

10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10 (NASB) 

I saw an Christian encouragement meme a few days ago that went something like this, “When you see a Christian who is at peace in the midst of chaos what you are witnessing is a mature believer who has been through the fire and has learned where their strength comes from and in whom to trust.” Of course the source of their strength is the Lord and the one in whom they trust is also Him. Our enemy has his puppets in power seemingly everywhere right now. What is their message continually? Be afraid! Worry! Doom and gloom! This affects everything. Yes, we are in Christ, but we also must make our way through this fallen world on the way to the Celestial City. That means we have to make a living, prepare for retirement, somehow have the right medical care and insurance, etc. In other countries those things I mentioned aren’t even options. People are just after their next meal and struggle to provide for their families. This world is fallen and Satan has been allowed by God to be the ruler of those in darkness. Continue reading

Cast your burden upon the Lord


by Mike Ratliff

33 The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the LORD. Proverbs 16:33 (NASB) 

30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. Matthew 10:30-31 (NASB) 

33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 (NASB) 

22 Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalms 55:22 (NASB) 

I was not part of the discussion. All I did was put my “like” on the original statement, which showed the contrast between the fallacy of Easy-believes/Works-Righteousness and genuine salvation that is based in the Biblically sound teaching of the sovereignty of God. My heart rejoiced in doing that. Why? I once was confused about how I actually came to Christ. However, as I studied the sovereignty of God in the context of our salvation I joyfully came to the understanding that God did it all. However, as I read some of the comments below the original statement I was very disappointed in some of them. I saw some who actually denied that they were “saved” because they were first drawn to Christ by God. This actually denies what our Lord said in John 6:44. Now that does not mean they weren’t first drawn to Christ, it just means they could have just been more confused than I was before God enlightened me. However, the purpose of this post, while being about the sovereignty and grace of God, is not about how Christians are “saved.” No, it is how we are to live after we are called, regenerated, and justified. Continue reading

God is Sovereign man is not


by Mike Ratliff

9 And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; 10 for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.” Acts 18:9-10 (NASB) 

As many of you know if you have been following me for awhile, I am preparing to retire. My wife and I are really going through the wringer getting ready for this. Both of us are 70 year old. The way this Medicare and Medicare and insurance stuff is going along with getting my medical stuff moved over to the VA and my wife’s coverage moved over to Medicare is like a very bad dream at times. In any case, I am getting a real look at the gritty side of reality and I am positive God is allowing this for a reason. That is how he works with me so that I can learn what He wants me to learn so I can pass that on to you. I am also friends with many very good theologians who are right on the edge right now with current events and how what is going on points to God’s coming judgment. Here is a video I watched today that one of those friends linked to on Twitter. That is what is going on in Australia. I just came back from Washington, DC where my son lives. Everywhere we went we had to wear masks. I had to wear my mask in both airports and on the plane for the entire flights both ways. It was such a relief to get back to OKC and put that thing away. What is my point? Who is sovereign? What should we as Christians be about no matter what is going on all around us? Continue reading

The Lord’s portion is His people


by Mike Ratliff

8 “When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,
When He separated the sons of man,
He set the boundaries of the peoples
According to the number of the sons of Israel.
9 “For the LORD’S portion is His people;
Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance. Deuteronomy 32:8-9 (NASB)

Over the years I have been part of and have witnessed many debates and discussions about our salvation and what parts God and we play in it. I have heard more than a few times professing Christians protest against the truth of passages such as John 6:44 and Ephesians 1 & 2 saying things like, “Whatever Jesus or Paul meant there, it couldn’t mean that!” Or, “I can’t see how you could have any assurance if that is true!” The “that” they were referring to, of course, was our salvation is 100% God’s work from beginning to end. It is that we are saved by Grace through Faith and that not of ourselves, it is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). To be honest, I am baffled by that reaction because I know for certain that unless God did everything to save me, I would still be lost. However, I am His and I worship Him daily praising Him for His grace and mercy from a grateful heart knowing full well that this sinner deserves nothing but His wrath for my sin, but He has forgiven me and cleansed me of all that, regenerated me unto a new creation and I am now one of His people. This is possible because of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Now, if you are in Christ, like me, then you are also one of His people, the Lord’s portion.

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Underneath are the everlasting arms


by Mike Ratliff

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
by A.J. Showalter
What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Refrain:
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
O how sweet to walk, In this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Refrain
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Refrain

Growing up in Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma in the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s I learned to love some, but not all, of those old hymns we sung. Even to this day I can still hear those voices in our church sing in those tones that were not loud or harsh or meant to entertain, but were directed to the throne in Heaven in praise. When my mother grew older and could no longer attend church because she was in an assisted living center I used to love to pick her up and take her to church, however, I could tell she would rather hear those old hymns than some of the newer stuff that our churches seem to be in love with these days. I am pretty much the same way. Give me real worship music and hymns with meaning and sermons rooted deep in solid Biblical doctrine and my soul is well pleased. I believe they call that edification. Continue reading