But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 (LSB) 

What is Spiritual Formation and Contemplative Spirituality? Are these just another term for Christian spiritual growth or “the way or method” that God has designed for His people to grow spiritually? Or are they totally different from what the Word of God teaches us? A clear-headed and Biblically-based study of Spiritual Formation and Contemplative Spirituality will actually reveal that they are being introduced into the visible church via deception…. Continue reading

Genuine Christianity and Repentance with Joy

1 Therefore, I urge you brothers through the compassions of God to present your bodies as living, holy sacrifices, well pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service. 2 And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may discern the will of God, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 translated from the NA28 Greek text to English)

Deception is our enemy’s most powerful weapon. When a person is deceived into believing a lie they are not intending to participate in something that is wrong…. Continue reading

There is no such thing as a new kind of Christianity!

3 As I exhorted you when going to Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may command certain ones not to teach a different doctrine, 4 nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the stewardship from God which is by faith. 5 But the goal of our command is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and an unhypocritical faith. 1 Timothy 1:3-5 (LSB) 

This blog has been online since 2006 and over the years I have tried to address all of the forms of “Christianity” that were in fact “Strange Fire.” How did we know they were “Strange Fire?” They did not line up with what God’s Word says His people will do as they serve Him. It is amazing how no matter how “new” the attacks on God’s truth are, the more they consist of the very same rebellion that is exposed throughout both the Old and New Testaments of Sacred Scripture. The arguments of those who propose “different doctrines” rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith expose hearts that are spiritually blind…. Continue reading

Do Not Rejoice in This

17 Now the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20 (LSB) 

There was a period back in the late 1990’s in which I found myself in a spiritual desert. In late 1991 I was elected as chairman of the Deacons at our church in the Oklahoma City area. However, just a few weeks later we lost our pastor and associate pastor…. Continue reading

The Resurrection Body

35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” 1 Corinthians 15:35 (LSB) 

I am posting this in light of two things. Just a few days ago we celebrated Memorial Day and my family and I went to Purcell, Oklahoma Hillside Cemetery to decorate the graves of my grandparents on both sides of my family and the graves of my mother and father. My grandfather Ratliff was born in 1877 and was a settler in Oklahoma as it was opened up during the land runs in the 1880’s. Of course it was his father, Robert Ratliff, who was in charge of that, but I was born in 1951 long after all of those events and so the man I knew as my grandfather was a very old man highly revered by everyone and I was a bit intimidated by…. Continue reading

The Coming Day of the Lord

1 Behold, a day is coming for Yahweh when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. 2 Indeed, I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished, and half of the city will go forth in exile, but those left of the people will not be cut off from the city. 3 Then Yahweh will go forth and fight against those nations, as the day when He fights on a day of battle. Zechariah 14:1-5 (LSB) Read verses 4-5 on the site.

When I preached in a small Baptist Church in northern Missouri several years ago the title of my sermon was, “Are you ready to meet God?” The main theme of that sermon was who Jesus Christ really is and what He has done to redeem His people from the wrath to come. I can still see the expression on those faces as I preached…. Continue reading

God is Love

16 And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has in us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16 (LSB) 

As the elect draw closer and closer to Christ in obedience and fellowship the more and more they will be seen to be identified with Him and will, therefore, be hated by the world, just as He was and just as He said would happen (John 15:18-25). If the visible church has invited the world in and has become so conformed to it that there is no difference, what will happen within these “churches” when the elect within become conformed to Christ as I shared above?… Continue reading

Do not let your hearts be troubled

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We must all be honest and admit that we are in very troubling times. I am not speaking of the political situations all across this globe but am referring to the growing apostasy in the visible church. It seems that for every pocket of genuine believers I run across who are standing on the promises of God and not compromising their faith by buying into pragmatism or mysticism or outright heresy there is another “Christian leader” falling into the ranks of the apostate. Our error is allowing this to drive us to despair and doubt…. Continue reading

John 3:16 in context

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?… Continue reading

The Parousia of the Lord Jesus Christ

19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy. (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 NASB) 

19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation—is it not even you—before our Lord Jesus, at His coming? 20  For you are our glory and joy.  (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In this post we will look at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and attempt to unpack Paul’s statement about our Lord’s παρουσια or parousia. What we must never forget my brethren, Christianity is simply another religion if we ignore our Lord’s παρουσίᾳ. It is vital to our doctrines…. Continue reading

Law and Faith

14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Romans 6:14-15 (LSB) 

Most of the formative years of my Christian walk were spent in one church from February 1987 through February 2000.  During that time we had three pastors.  I was in some form of teaching for most of that time. One of the things that always came up when we studied the Old Testament was Romans 6:14-15…. Continue reading

What is Effectual Fervent Prayer?

By Mike Ratliff

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray on behalf of one another so that you may be cured. The petition of the righteous, being effective, has great power. James 5:16 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Notice that my ability to do these “works” of apologetics or theology or whatever are within a very specific framework. It must be for God’s glory alone and for the edification of the Body of Christ. I can only do these things if it is God’s will for me to them and as my will to do them is lined up with His in this regard. Outside of this framework, it would be like chasing after the wind. It would be me motivated according to the ways of the world with the flesh in view, would not bring glory to God, and would only cause confusion and who needs that? Therefore, before I tackle any “issue” that affects the the Church, what must I do?

In the passage at the top of this post is a very familiar verse. Here is how the LSB renders it. Continue reading

What is the nature of genuine repentance?

8 He came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 9 For on the first of the first month he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, because the good hand of his God was upon him. 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of Yahweh and to practice it, and to teach His statute and judgment in Israel. Ezra 7:8-10 (LSB) 

If we study God’s Word from cover to cover we will find that only God is perfect. He is Sovereign. He is Holy. He is complete and perfectly righteous. On the other hand, people are none of the above. We are a fallen race who, even after God’s gracious regeneration of our hearts, must continually work out our salvation with fear and trembling…. Continue reading

What is The Testing of Our Faith?

14 Yahweh is in His holy temple; Yahweh’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. 5 Yahweh tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Psalms 11:4-5 (LSB)

According to some professing Christians, if anything unpleasant comes into their lives then it proves that God is displeased with them. They say it proves that God is punishing them. Also, they proclaim that the ones suffering are simply victims in the ongoing battle between God and Satan. Is there another explanation? Let’s see! Continue reading

Fables

I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, the one who is about to judge the living and dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom; 2 preach the word. Be ready in season, out of season, expose, rebuke, encourage, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For there will be a time when they will not bear sound doctrine; but lusting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers who do that very thing, 4 and turning their ears away from the truth they will be turned instead unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:1-4 translated from the NA28 Greek text)

One of the major reasons why the uncompromised preaching of God’s truth is so important is because there will come a time when people “will not (οὐκ) bear (ἀνέξονται)” [i.e. “put up with”] sound doctrine or as the Greek literally says, ὑγιαινούσης διδασκαλίας or “healthy teaching.” What that means is teaching that is uncompromisingly God-centered and Biblically correct not watered down and or man-centered in order to be man pleasing or “culturally relevant.”… Continue reading

Unequally Yoked

Do not be mismated with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14 RSV

Mismated is literally a term that means unequally yoked. A yoke is a wooden frame or bar with loops at either end, fitted around the necks of two animals, which tied them together and forced them to function as one. That is what Paul speaks of here. He is thinking of Deuteronomy 22, where the Law says, Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together (Deuteronomy 22:10). That may seem strange to us, but God was concerned that the Israelites not tie together two animals of a different nature. Continue reading

It’s About Time That We Grow Up Isn’t It?

11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child. When I became a man, I did away with childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11 (LSB) 

When the Lord circumcised my heart in August 2004, I was truly amazed at the level of spiritual discernment that came with that blessing. Leading up to this, God had drawn me ever deeper into our relationship. I had been in a deep, close, intimate walk with Him over a period of several weeks. I was fasting from anything that distracted me from my devotion to Him. I was praying, worshipping, studying my Bible, and researching doctrine, all in obedience to His drawing me to Him…. Continue reading

Jesus Christ is the Exclusive Saviour

1 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way where I am going.” 5 Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going. How do we know the way?” 6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me. 7 If you have come to know Me, you will know My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” John 14:1-7 (LSB) 

What is noticeably missing in all cults is the correct emphasis on the necessity of the Cross of Christ and, therefore, a total misapplication of Him as our Exclusive Saviour. Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post from John 14. John 16:6 says, “Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. In response to Thomas’ question in v4, Jesus declared that He is the way to God because He is the truth of God (John 1:14) and the life of God (John 1:4; John 3:15; John 11:25)…. Continue reading

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may discern the will of God

1 Therefore, I urge you brothers through the compassions of God to present your bodies as living, holy sacrifices, well pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service. 2 And do not be conformed to this age but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may discern the will of God, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Both the Apostle John and the Apostle Paul used light and darkness in analogies pertaining to spiritual life and spiritual death. For instance, in John 1:4-5 (above) the Apostle says, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men; and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not grasp it.”… Continue reading

Intentional godliness is the product of a spirit-filled walk

6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them, 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of that light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 And do not participate in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead even expose them. Eph 5:6-11 (LSB) 

Intentional godliness is the product of a spirit-filled walk. No Christian becomes godly by simply wanting it. Neither do they become godly through self-righteousness. Instead, the walk that is truly godly is one that is not self-focused at all…. Continue reading

Walking by Faith

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 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. 5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (LSB) Read verses 6-10 on the site.

If we read this passage phrase by phrase, we see that Paul is telling the Corinthian Church that “we know” things. What things? We know that our bodies will die, but at that moment we have a body “made not with hands” that is eternal. Knowing this, we “walk by faith” instead of by sight. What does Paul mean by this? Continue reading

Christianity and Liberalism

1 And you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom we all also formerly conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. Ephesians 2:1-10 (LSB) Read verses 4-10 on the site.

I had eye surgery yesterday.  My left eye has a new lens. I am still wearing a patch over that eye.  My wife has to put different eyedrops in that eye at different times of the day. Things are still foggy in that eye though.  When things are clear It is like I am looking through my glasses…. Continue reading

The Narrow Gate and who is my Neighbor

12 Therefore, everything that you wish that men would do for you, thus also you do for them for this is the Law and the Prophets. 13 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way leading to destruction and those who enter by it are many. 14 How narrow is the gate and constricted the road leading to life and few are the ones finding it. Matthew 7:12-14 (translated from the NA28 Greek text to English)

Our Lord Jesus Christ set before us the way of Righteousness. Yes, He lived a perfect life and died on a cruel cross to pay the penalty and price for the sins of those whom He came to save. Yet, He also taught us both in word and deed how the truly Righteous should live…. Continue reading

What is Genuine Christian Faithfulness?

10 Do not fear the things you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison that you may be tested and you will have affliction ten days. Be faithful unto death and I will give you the Crown of Life. (Revelation 2:10 translated from the NA28 Greek text to English)

Πιστὸς (pistos) is the Greek adjective translated in Revelation 2:10 (above) as “faithful.” Πιστὸς is defined as “faithful, trustworthy, reliable, dependable.” In the context of Revelation 2:10, 13, which are our Lord’s own words, to be “faithful” is to refuse to compromise the Christian faith, even in the face of persecution and martyrdom…. Continue reading

Ministering by publicly aligning to things hidden because of shame while walking in craftiness and adulterating the Word of God

21 Therefore what benefit were you then having from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. Romans 6:21 (LSB) 

Back in 2006 thru 2008 or so we were vociferously debating what was going on in the seeker sensitive churches all around us as they abandoned expository preaching, replacing it with topical sermons, entertainment, drama, dance, videos, et cetera. In fact, that was how this ministry began, that is, in ministering to those dear brethren who had lost their churches to hostile takeovers by the Purpose Driven paradigm…. Continue reading