New Testament & Psalms 2019

True Fruit of the Fear of God

My comments are probably too long. I found this statement interesting:

“The Geneva Bible and the King James Bible translate “justice” here as “judgment.” It is the Hebrew word “mishpat.” This word means “properly” referring to a verdict that is pronounced judicially. It carries with it the idea of all judgments being carried out in a manner that is right in all parts of government, not just the judicial section of it.”

Not long ago in my studies I noted that although we hear much today about Justice, we don’t actually hear about Judgment. Justice seems to be what people want and Judgment is to be avoided. Interesting. Mike is right in the KJV at least (I can’t find a good working copy of the Geneva Bible) משׁפּט mishpâṭ is translated 297 times as Judgment or Judgments, in context some times what God does, other times what people do. Justice is only used once in the Book of Job, and there one still sees the message of God’s Judgment. Job 36:17  But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee.

We don’t hear this clear message in the culture today….maybe we are missing something?

Proverbs 1:7  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NASB) 

The total lack of the fear of God is what marks the ungodly. (Romans 3:18) On the other hand, genuine believers in scripture are described as those who do fear Him. Tragically, when moral issues between professing Christians and the unchurched are compared there is very little difference. There is the same level of divorce, adultery, pornography, dishonesty, et cetera; in both groups. This should not be so.

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New Testament & Psalms 2019

Walking in the Light

Mike this is a great challenge. Lately I have been sensing my church of 30 years is just a glorified Country Club. Yes they use the Bible still, but worship is mostly from a “professional band”, and very often sing just the Hillsong or Bethel praise lines. No flashing light yet; but I have avoided the 5 o’clock service. Focus is two fold…1)how do you serve (which is great idea), but it’s mostly cultural context community service with very little gospel sown in; 2)pay your dues and I mean $$$, annual pledges, offering, (luckily no seed sowing), but almost constant reminders to give more or we are behind budget, Never teaching verse by verse through whole books, mostly just topical preaching, where luckily at least one pastor still teaches though most of the verses in the passage they are using as a source text. It could be much worse.

Anything spiritually oriented is focused on the teaching of some popular leader or writer/teacher….outside the church. And you know the issues they can have. Or lately, even worst…they invited a group in to run paid classes at our church on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. Aspects of spiritual formation have long been in the background of the church since the days of Richard Foster. But this is wide in the open, though I doubt many are attending.

The tiny reformation doctrine class I’ve been leading is never promoted, surprisingly none of the pastors, elders or deacons have every attended. And in the years I’ve been leading it we probably have only trained a handful of church members and none of the leaders, though the WCF is primary text affirmed in addition to the Bible.

Anyway I’d love to lead a study of the mediations of Calvin or Knox or even John Gill or John Bunyan….they don’t have to be Presbyterian…Henry Blackaby, or the Celtic cult or Lectio Divina would more likely appeal to them. I just can’t go there.

On the good side the Church does encourage everyone though to be in their Bibles daily, Satan tries to knock that off our schedule. We will be coming up to a new year quickly, 2020 would be a good time to renew a commitment to read through the Bible, lots of good ways to do that. Or pick up an old way. About 5 years ago I actually, switched to the KJV, few would consider that, but I actually found benefits in the way they translated the Greek and Hebrew words. I see echos of major themes like righteousness and judgment regularity flowing through the text. And for me even reading the old English words they used in the 1600’s engages my mind to think about what is being said. I actually don’t find it distracting. The small Reformed Church I some times visit when I need a break from the Country Club teaches from the NKJV. I came to the Lord via the RSV, NIV, NASB and ESV and you can check my highlights in those versions….I didn’t wear them out but on a scale I think they would weigh more than when published. Of course that can happen just by them collecting dust on the shelf also!

Any of the good translations are useful, if they are read. But I appreciate you encouraging us to go beyond just reading, that is a challenge!

“I’m talking about getting into the Word of God, praying and worshipping Him. Fast and pray whenever possible.”

It only happens if we make it a priority.

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:1-3 (NASB) 

God’s truth is knowable. Also, His truth is as His attributes and character. He is immutable. His truth is never changing. He is Holy. His truth is Holy, separate from the corruption of the world. His truth, the Word of God, is precise. It supernaturally divides man’s “truth”…

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New Testament & Psalms 2019

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

Again Mike, great article.

“ As I have said many times before, unbelief is an amazing thing to witness. It does not matter how deep you go in God’s Word to show these people the truth nor how illogical their beliefs are when compared with God’s truth, it does not matter, they will not believe.”

So true…even Jesus encounters it, which is pretty clear in John 6 when you read the Chapter and all the amazing events but ends with John 6:66:

John 6:66  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Notice the sadness in that verse and these were not the “religious” leaders.

Thankful we are given some hope for a different end:
2 Peter 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

BTW I just finished reading Tom Junod’s article “My Friend Mr. Rodgers” in the December Atlantic…and the movie is being released next week. Rodgers was a Presbyterian minister, not sure which branch.

The culture needs a message to take to heart. Mr. Rodgers can’t hurt but the truth is we really need to hear messages like yours that are the truth in God’s word…..but who is going to listen?

Romans 1:32  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

We can only hope and pray and proclaim God’s word faithfully.!

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, Romans 2:5 (NASB) 

I was online today on a friends Facebook page reading about an issue he is dealing with in which a school is disciplining someone who called a “transgender” a girl. He was discussing how he would get involved because he writes and how he needed to get involved because the local press in that city is ignoring the whole thing. I was simply reading the article and trying to understand what was going on then began reading the comments when a person that I did not know started calling my friend a bigot. He made several very rude and crude comments. I made one comment about how hypocritical it was for those demanding tolerance to…

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