True Christianity


LORD OF HEAVEN,

Thy goodness is inexpressible and inconceivable.

In the works of creation thou art almighty,

In the dispensations of providence all-wise,

In the gospel of grace all love,

And in thy Son thou hast provided for

    our deliverance from the effects of sin,

    the justification of our persons,

    the sanctification of our natures,

    the perseverance of our souls in the path of life.

Though exposed to the terrors of thy law,

    we have refuge, from the storm;

Though compelled to cry, ‘Unclean,’

    we have a fountain for sin;

Though creature-cells of emptiness

    we have a fullness accessible to all,

    an incapable of reduction.

Grant us always to know that to walk with Jesus

    makes other interests a shadow and a dream.

Keep us from intermittent attention to eternal things;

Save us from the delusion of those

    who fail to go far in religion,

    who are concerned but not converted,

    who have another heart but not a new one,

    who have light, zeal, confidence, but not Christ.

Let us judge our Christianity, not only by our dependence upon Jesus,

    but by our love to him,

        our conformity to him,

        our knowledge of him.

Give us a religion that is both real and progressive,

            that holds on its way and grows stronger,

            that lives and works in the Spirit,

            that profits by every correction,

            and is injured by no carnal indulgence.

From The Valley of Vision - A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions.  Edited by Arthur Bennett

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Faith’s Checkbook by C.H. Spurgeon – Wednesday November 29, 2006


This devotional by Charles Spurgeon from his Faith’s Checkbook hits me square between the eyes. It knocks my self-reliance and self-assurance legs right out from under me. Why? Because I wait poorly. I am convinced that most of the stress in my life right now is due to God destroying these strongholds in my heart. When He is done I pray that I will be one who knows how to wait – Mike Ratliff

Know How to Wait

He that believeth shall not make haste. (Isaiah 28:16)

He shall make haste to keep the Lord’s commandments; but he shall not make haste in any impatient or improper sense.

He shall not haste to run away, for he shall not be overcome with the fear which causes panic. When others are flying hither and thither as if their wits had failed them, the believer shall be quiet, calm, and deliberate, and so shall be able to act wisely in the hour of trial.

He shall not haste in his expectations, craving his good things at once and on the spot, but he will wait God’s time. Some are in a desperate hurry to have the bird in the hand, for they regard the Lord’s promise as a bird in the bush, not likely to be theirs. Believers know how to wait.

He shall not haste by plunging into wrong or questionable action. Unbelief must be doing something, and thus it works its own undoing; but faith makes no more haste than good speed, and thus it is not forced to go back sorrowfully by the way which it followed heedlessly.

How is it with me? Am I believing, and am I therefore keeping to the believer’s pace, which is walking with God? Peace, fluttering spirit! Oh, rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him! Heart, see that thou do this at once!

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Charles Spurgeon Quote


“You might as soon yoke a gnat with an archangel as think of your going in to help Christ save you. To join a filthy rag from off a dunghill with the golden garments of a king or a queen cannot be permitted.”

Faith’s Checkbook by C.H. Spurgeon for Tuesday November 28, 2006


Doing what God Can Bless

The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto. (Deuteronomy 28:8)

If we obey the Lord our God He will bless that which He gives us. Riches are no curse when blessed of the Lord. When men have more than they require for their immediate need and begin to lay up in storehouses, the dry rot of covetousness or the blight of hard-heartedness is apt to follow the accumulation; but with God’s blessing it is not so. Prudence arranges the saving, liberality directs the spending, gratitude maintains consecration, and praise sweetens enjoyment. It is a great mercy to have God’s blessing in one’s iron safe and on one’s banking account.

What a favor is made ours by the last clause! "The Lord shall bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand unto." We would not put our hand to anything upon which we dare not ask God’s blessing, neither would we go about it without prayer and faith. But what a privilege to be able to look for the Lord’s help in every enterprise! Some talk of a lucky man: the blessing of the Lord is better than luck. The patronage of the great is nothing to the favor of God. Self-reliance is all very well; but the Lord’s blessing is infinitely more than all the fruit of talent, genius, or tact.

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Shoving Aside God’s Grace


by Mike Ratliff

15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. 17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.  (Galatians 2:15-21 ESV)

Even though the passage above is near and dear to my heart, I must confess to all of you right now that I have been struggling deeply over the last few weeks as the Lord has been cleansing me of my “addiction” to works righteousness. Now, I never thought I was, but God has put me into a “churchless” situation right now. When this started, I replaced all my work in church with work in this blog, my web site, my other blog, and writing several books. Over the last several months I have had to taper off much of this due to being very busy at work and with family. As this “busy-ness” has calmed down I have found that I am very much out-of-sync with my devotion to my Lord. Normally, I would just get busy and “work” my way back into “fellowship” with Him. However, I have not been able to do this due to many constraints. This has been very frustrating for me. However, God knows what He is doing. What this seems to be doing in my heart is to draw me to Him and Him alone, but not by doing good works, but by humbling myself to all people as I humble myself before Him. Yes, that’s right. What has been missing in my devotion to my Lord and Saviour is genuine humility in my interaction with other people. This is what God is forcing me into right now. Conflicts abound. I don’t care how close the relationship is to me right now there is tension. Peace is impossible unless I humble myself in that relationship. There is no give from anyone else. God has shown me clearly that it is me who must humble self and serve everyone else as if I was their bondservant.

What is very painful in this is that I know I must submit to people even if they are very undeserving. Their spiritual relationship with God is not the point. This has been made very clear. God has done this to me in the past, but I was not mature enough to “get it” until just recently — I suppose. Now, I feel like one who cannot even raise my head in the presence of anyone. If I do then conflict storms in. This may seem cruel to some for God to do this to me, but as I read the passage above this morning in my morning quiet time and again this evening it started making sense. I feel as if I must ask the entire world to forgive me for how I have been reacting to this for the last few weeks. Yes, I know I was doing this right up to a point, and even wrote about it many times, but I believe God is taking me to another level. I ask that each of you reading this to please pray for me that I will obey God in this as He does His incredible work in my heart.

In Christ – Mike Ratliff

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Comment Moderation


I have decided to turn on Comment Moderation for Possessing the Treasure. I ask for your forgiveness if this offends you, but it has become necessary to do this in order to preserve the integrity of the message God has given me for the American Church. I will try to “process” all comments in a timely manner.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

The Gospel Way


Blessed Lord Jesus,

No human mind could conceive or invent the gospel.

Acting in eternal grace, thou art both its messenger and its message,

    lived out on earth through infinite compassion,

    applying thy life to insult, injury, death,

        that I might be redeemed, ransomed, freed.

Blessed be thou, O Father, for contriving this way,

Eternal thanks to thee, O Lamb of God, for opening this way,

 Praise everlasting to thee, O Holy Spirit,

    for applying this way to my heart.

Glorious Trinity, impress the gospel on my soul,

    until its virtue diffuses every faculty;

Let it be heard, acknowledged, professed, felt.

Teach me to secure this mighty blessing;

Help me to give up every darling lust,

                to submit heart and life to its command,

                to have it in my will,

                        controlling my affections,

                        moulding my understanding;

                to adhere strictly to the rules of true religion,

                        not departing from them in any instance,

                        nor fro any advantage in order to escape evil,

                            inconvenience or danger.

Take me to the cross to seek glory from its infamy;

    Strip me of every pleasing pretence of righteousness by my own doings.

O gracious redeemer,

    I have neglected thee too long,

        often crucified thee,

        crucified thee afresh my my impenitence,

        thee to open shame.

I thank thee for the patience that has borne with me so long,

    and for the grace that now makes me willing to be thine.

O unite me to thyself with inseparable bonds,

    that  nothing my ever draw me back from thee, my Lord, my Saviour.

From The Valley of Vision – A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions – by Arthur Bennett

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Charles Spurgeon Quote


“Suppose that God saved men on account of their merits. Where would you drunkards be? Where would you swearers be? You who have been unclean and unchaste, and you whose hearts have cursed God, and who even now do not love him, where would you be? But when it is all of grace, then all your past life, however black and filthy it may be, need not keep you from coming to Jesus.”

Do Not Be Anxious


by Mike Ratliff

22And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:22-34 ESV)

I watched a few minutes of the NBC nightly news this evening. I don’t usually do that. Also, it seemed that everyone at work today wanted to rant about something that is desperately wrong in the world this day. I also spent some time on Slice of Laodicia today reading about the latest Purpose Driven Madness. It seems that there is plenty to make us anxious. It appears that things are getting out of control. Are they? Continue reading

Unworldliness


by Mike Ratliff

11See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 12It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:11-16 ESV)

As many of you know, my wife and I have been church vagabonds since May of this year. We are still churchless. We have visited many churches, but God has not given us clear direction about where our church home should be. We both agree that if we lived in Edmond, OK or near it, we would probably join Henderson Hills Church there. We both love the church and the pastors. However, we live in the Kansas City area on the Kansas side and we cannot agree on the church we should be part of here. Continue reading

Faith’s Checkbook by C.H. Spurgeon for Thursday November 16, 2006


Weapons Doomed to Fail

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. (Isaiah 54:17)

There is great clatter in the forges and smithies of the enemy. They are making weapons wherewith to smite the saints. They could not even do as much as this if the Lord of saints did not allow them; for He has created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire. But see how busily they labor! How many swords and spears they fashion! It matters nothing, for on the blade of every weapon you may read this inscription: It shall not Prosper.

But now listen to another noise: it is the strife of tongues. Tongues are more terrible instruments than can be made with hammers and anvils, and the evil which they inflict cuts deeper and spreads wider. What will become of us now? Slander, falsehood, insinuation, ridicule-these are poisoned arrows; how can we meet them? The Lord God promises us that, if we cannot silence them, we shall, at least, escape from being ruined by them. They condemn us for the moment, but we shall condemn them at last and forever. The mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped, and their falsehoods shall be turned to the honor of those good men who suffered by them.

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Break Open the Jar


by Mike Ratliff

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at the table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:1-8 ESV)

I am convinced that most professing Christians are absolutely clueless when it comes to genuine worship of the Lord in spirit and in truth. The idea that going to a building once or twice a week to sing a few songs and listen to Bible lesson and a sermon constitutes genuine worship would be foreign to Jesus Christ, the Apostles, and the early Church. Genuine worship is more than singing God glorifying songs or simply praying a prayer that someone else wrote. If it isn’t these things, then what is it? Continue reading

Charles Spurgeon Quote


“Avoid a sugared gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek that gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let his gospel soak into your soul.”