by Mike Ratliff
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. (Colossians 3:1-6 ESV)
We are born from our Mothers’ wombs depraved and separated from God because we are sinners. Unless God intervenes in our lives we will be self-absorbed and temporally focused in every part of our lives. We are “depraved” because we desperately seek fulfillment from our only avenue open to us for any circumstance which will tell us we are special or deserving of a positive “feeling” of contentment or fulfillment. That avenue is the flesh. Our flesh is all about self. Even seemingly selfless acts are done from a motivation of some form of self-gratification. Continue reading
Since I am one of those Christians who struggle very much with despair and self-loathing because of sin, this devotion by Martin Luther really struck me right in the heart. I never considered this before as part of our Mortification of Sin. I pray God will use this in your heart as well for your edification. – Mike Ratliff
by Martin Luther
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
When you become aware of your sin and frightened by it, you must not allow the sin to remain in your conscience. This would only lead to despair. Rather, just as your awareness of sin flowed to you from Christ, so you must pour your sin back on him to free your conscience.
So be careful you don’t become like the misguided people who allow their sin to bite at them and eat at their hearts. They strive to rid themselves of this sin by running around doing good works. But you have a way to get rid of your sins. You throw your sins on Christ when you firmly believe Christ’s wounds and suffering carried and paid for you sins. As Isaiah said, “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Peter said Christ himself “bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). And Paul said, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
You must rely on these and similar verses with your whole heart. The more your conscience torments you, the more you must rely on them. For if you don’t do this and try to quiet your conscience through your own sorrow and penance, you will never find peace of mind and will finally despair in the end. If you try to deal with you sin in your conscience, let it remain there, and continue to look at it in your heart, your sins will become too strong for you. They will seem to live forever. But when you think of your sins as being on Christ and boldly believe that he conquered them through his resurrection, then they are dead and gone. Sin can’t remain on Christ. His resurrection swallowed up sin.
from Faith Alone – A Daily Devotional James C. Galvin General Editor
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A Wonderful Guarantee
I will strengthen thee. (Isaiah 41:10)
When called to serve or to suffer, we take stock of our strength, and we find it to be less than we thought and less than we need. But let not our heart sink within us while we have such a word as this to fall back upon, for it guarantees us all that we can possibly need. God has strength omnipotent; that strength He can communicate to us; and His promise is that He will do so. He will be the food of our souls and the health of our hearts; and thus He will give us strength. There is no telling how much power God can put into a man. When divine strength comes, human weakness is no more a hindrance.
Do we not remember seasons of labor and trial in which we received such special strength that we wondered at ourselves? In the midst of danger we were calm, under bereavement we were resigned, in slander we were self-contained, and in sickness we were patient. The fact is that God gives unexpected strength when unusual trials come upon us, We rise out of our feeble selves. Cowards play the man, foolish ones have wisdom given them, and the silent receive in the selfsame hour what they shall speak. My own weakness makes me shrink, but God’s promise makes me brave. Lord, strengthen me “according to thy word.”
I believe that we are where we are and associated with those around us specifically to be used by God to affect His will and message to them. We are to give testimony of Christ and be ready to give the Gospel message to all. This message is so radical and exclusive that the world hates it. Any who claim to be adherents of it, but suppress its message are false. Bob DeWaay has written this piece that compares the authentic disciple of Christ with the example of Rick Warren. Prayfully read it and I pray that God will move in your heart to show you the truth. – Mike Ratliff
Pastor Ken Silva is on Mike Corely’s Radio show today.
Here is the link. I highly recommend that you listen to this.
“Whence came our carnality, covetousness, pride, sloth, and unbelief? Are they not all to be traced to the corruption of our hearts? When the hands of a clock move in an irregular manner, and when the bell strikes the wrong hour, be assured there is something wrong within. Oh, how needful that the mainspring of our motives be in proper order, and the wheels in a right condition.”
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Rest on a Promise
The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it. (Genesis 28:13)
No promise is of private interpretation: it belongs not to one saint but to all believers. If, my brother, thou canst in faith lie down upon a promise and take thy rest thereon, it is thine. Where Jacob "lighted" and tarried and rested, there he took possession. Stretching his weary length upon the ground, with the stones of that place for his pillows, he little fancied that he was thus entering into ownership of the land; yet so it was. He saw in his dream that wondrous ladder which for all true believers unites earth and heaven, and surely where the foot of the ladder stood he must have a right to the soil, for other wise he could not reach the divine stairway. All the promises of God are "Yea" and "Amen" in Christ Jesus, and as He is ours, every promise is ours if we will but lie down upon it in restful faith.
Come, weary one, use thy Lord’s words as thy pillows. Lie down in peace. Dream only of Him. Jesus is thy ladder of light. See the angels coming and going upon Him between thy soul and thy God, and be sure that the promise is thine own God-given portion and that it will not be robbery for thee to take it to thyself, as spoken specially to thee.
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by Mike Ratliff
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. (John 1:14-16 ESV)
There is a certain hysteria currently amongst many of our 21st Century Puritans. While I gladly count myself as a Puritan, I also know that our enemy desires to shackle and nullify our witness and divert our focus, by feeding our heightened perceptions as to what is godly and what is false with misleading and derogatory information that cause us to turn on one another. Having experienced this against my own ministry over the last few months I can say that it is very frustrating and eye opening. Continue reading
by Mike Ratliff
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV)
Over the last several weeks of 2006 we looked at “Christian Authenticity.” The genuine Christian is a new creation. He or she will not be the same after regeneration as they were before. Before regeneration they were children of wrath and conformed to this world. After regeneration they were adopted children of God who, from an eternal perspective, are Holy, justified, sanctified, and glorified in Christ. However, from a temporal perspective they are in the process of sanctification that God uses to conform His children unto the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The unregenerate may suffer. They may have a large number of problems. However the suffering of Christians is different. God uses suffering, tests, and trials in the lives of His children to build humility and uproot pride in their hearts. Continue reading