The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked


by Mike Ratliff

Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. (Proverbs 4:14 ESV)

There are things taking place in Christendom that I never thought I would see. The Roman Catholic Church seems to be returning to its former aggressive ways while much of non-Catholic professing Christians are seeking reconciliation with the “Mother Church.”

We are fast approaching the end of this age. These “signs of the times” will only increase not only in intensity, but frequency as our Lord lines things up in this World according to His will to bring His Kingdom to completion. What are those of us who are not blind to these things to do? The focus of my last several posts has been on drawing our eyes to our Lord alone. We are to seek Him and do as He says because this is the way of the Righteous and not the way of the wicked.

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Bow Down; Be Lifted Up


by Charles Spurgeon

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. (1 Peter 5:6)

This is tantamount to a promise: if we will bow down, the Lord will lift us up. Humility leads to honor; submission is the way to exaltation. That same hand of God which presses us down is waiting to raise us up when we are prepared to bear the blessing. We stoop to conquer. Many cringe before men and yet miss the patronage they crave; but he that humbles himself under the hand of God shall not fail to be enriched, uplifted, sustained, and comforted by the ever-gracious One. It is a habit of Jehovah to cast down the proud and lift up the lowly.

Yet there is a time for the Lord’s working. We ought now to humble ourselves, even at this present moment; and we are bound to keep on doing so whether the Lord lays His afflicting hand upon us or not. When the Lord smites, it is our special duty to accept the chastisement with profound submission. But as for the Lord’s exaltation of us, that can only come “in due time,” and God is the best judge of that day and hour. Do we cry out impatiently for the blessing? Would we wish for untimely honor? What are we at? Surely we are not truly humbled, or we should wait with quiet submission. So let us do.

Charles Spurgeon Quote


“The knowledge of God is the great hope of sinners. Oh, if you knew him better, you would fly to him! If you understood how gracious he is, you would seek him. If you could have any idea of his holiness, you would loathe your self-righteousness. If you knew anything of his power, you would not venture to contend with him. If you knew anything of his grace, you would not hesitate to yield yourself to him.”

I Am the Way and the Truth and the Life


by Mike Ratliff

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2 ESV)

The growing apostasy in the Church in our time is actually the culmination of decades of poor, man-centered doctrine within our churches and ministries coupled with relentless assaults of liberalism by unbelieving believers bent on remaking Christianity into a politically correct social institution. Those people behind this see Christianity as just another religion.

Since these people have the appearance of godliness, but deny its power, their motives for this could not be to partake of what they are denying, therefore, we must assume that they see the fulfillment of their spiritual journey elsewhere. They refuse to say that Jesus is Lord in the context that we mean it.

They may call Him Lord, but they are referring to another Jesus of their own making who is totally lined up with their spiritual agenda. Our enemy is working quite hard in attempting to discourage those of us who see the truth. Therefore, we must seek the one who is our only source of comfort; He can override the bleakness of this time in our hearts with His peace and joy.

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This is a hard saying who can listen to it?


By Mike Ratliff

Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? John 6:59-61 ESV)

One theologian that has helped me a great deal in my journey into the truth, out of darkness into light, is Dr. C. Matthew McMahon at A Puritan’s Mind. He was the pastor of Christ Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church in South Florida. I subscribed to his podcast of his sermons and eagerly listened to his expository preaching that both edified me and brought me to repentance over many things in my life that God’s Word exposed as His light shown in the darkness of my heart.

However, over the last several months, the podcast sermons ceased. I wondered what had happened. Today I heard another podcast from Dr. McMahon’s Wild Boar radio cast. In it he explained why the doors to Christ Covenant had come to be closed. It was a long explanation, but the reason for what happened to that church could be boiled down into one succinct statement, “The people there could not endure sound doctrine.”

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How Precious is Your Steadfast Love


by Mike Ratliff

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
(Psalms 36:7 ESV)

Life is not fair. One of the hardest humps for Christians to get over is the concept that there are no good deserving people on planet Earth. Bad things happen to people, but most people will lament when they see those who they perceive as “good” or “innocent” suffering. They want to know why “bad things happen to good people.” The hump that staggers us is that our perception of goodness being in people is a product of a flawed view of reality. When we seriously study the Bible we learn that no one is good, NO ONE! Jesus even told a person that only God was good. Instead of wondering why disaster comes upon “good people,” we should be asking why God didn’t simply wipe out the Human Race a long time ago. Those who refuse to believe or submit to this truth about people are under the influence of a wicked heart.

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Spiritus Sanctus


O HOLY SPIRIT,
As the sun if full of light, the ocean full of water,
Heaven full of glory, so may my heart be full of thee.
Vain are all divine purposes of love
and the redemption wrought by Jesus
except thou work within,
regenerating by thy power,
giving me eyes to see Jesus,
showing me the realities of the unseen world.
Give me thyself without measure,
as an unimpaired fountain,
as inexhaustible riches.
I bewail my coldness, poverty, emptiness,
imperfect vision, languid service,
prayerless prayers, praiseless praises.
Suffer me not to grieve or resist thee.
Come as power,
to expel every rebel lust, to reign supreme and keep me thine;
Come as teacher,
leading me into all truth, filling me with all understanding;
Come as love,
that I may adore the Father, and love him as my all;
Come as joy,
to dwell in me, move in me, animate me;
Come as light,
illuminating the Scripture, moulding me in its laws;
Come as sanctifier,
body, soul and spirit wholly thine;
Come as helper,
with strength to bless and keep, directing my every step;
Come as beautifier,
bringing order out of confusion, loveliness out of chaos.
Magnify to me thy glory by being magnified in me,
and make re redolent of thy fragrance.

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

Charles Spurgeon Quote


“If we had lain in hell forever, yet divine justice would not have been fully justified, for after thousands of years of suffering there would remain still an eternity of debt due to God’s justice. If God had annihilated all the sinners that ever lived, at one stroke, he would not have so honored his justice as he did when he took sin and laid it on his Son, and his Son bore divine wrath which was due to that sin. For now there has been rendered unto divine justice a full equivalent, a complete recompense for all the dishonor which it suffered.”

Lessons For the Tempted


Let us look at temptation from the viewpoint of a great Baptist preacher from the 19th Centurty named John A. Broadus. He was an American contemporary of Charles Spurgeon. One of the reasons we look to those theologians who came before is that we live in a time of rampant apostasy and compromise in our churches and seminaries which has bled over into congregations of spiritually starving sheep. Those of us who desperately want to be fed the pure milk from God’s Word often must resort to sitting under the teaching of long dead men who knew not apostasy and compromise. They may have indeed confronted it in their day, but they did not fall under it. In the conception of those enamored with being part of some form of churchianity, the idea that we would study Tozer, Pink, Chambers, Spurgeon, Broadus, Whitefield, Edwards, Gill, Henry, Owen, Bunyan, Watson, Love, Brooks, Tyndale, Calvin and Luther (to name a few) rather than more modern thinkers, is strange bordering on the absurd. In their eyes we must be stuck in the past in areas where the Holy Spirit has departed and moved on. The problem with that sort of reasoning is that God’s Truth never changes. It doesn’t evolve from one form to another. Therefore, when God’s men get it right and obediently expound it then we must listen, learn and submit to the Lord’s truth. – Mike Ratliff

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Praying in Times of Trouble


In our study of temptation for the believer it has become apparent that our major weapon in this battle is prayer. Jesus told us that we should pray as He showed us in what has become known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” It ends with this, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” This is a cry to God that He not allow us to be drawn into temptation which is not the same thing as being tempted. In any case, God has given us this prayer as part of what we do in seeing as we become holy and separate from the world. God allows us to be stressed so that we will pray.

by Martin Luther

Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: “O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. (Isaiah 37:14-16 ESV)

This chapter is Isaiah contains an interesting story about King Hezekiah. The Assyrians were attacking Jerusalem with a large army and beginning to overpower it. The situation looked hopeless. King Sennacherib ridiculed Hezekiah mercilessly. Sennacherib made fun of Hezekiah’s misfortune by writing him a letter filled with insults about God in order to make the devout king lose all hope. Instead of losing hope, Hezekiah went into the temple, spread out the letter in front of God, bowed down with his face touching the ground, and prayed a heartfelt prayer.

Learning to pray with there’s an emergency or when something is frightening us requires a lot discipline. Instead of praying, we tend to torture ourselves with anxiety and worry. All we can think about is trying to get rid of the problem. The devil often tricks us when temptation or suffering first begins, whether we are dealing with spiritual or physical matters. He immediately barges in and makes us so upset about the problem that we become consumed by it. In this way, he tears us away from praying. When we finally begin to pray, we have already tortured ourselves half to death. The devil knows what prayer can accomplish. That’s why he creates so many obstacles and makes it so inconvenient for us that we never get around to prayer.

On the basis of this story in Isaiah, we should get into the habit of falling on our knees and spreading out our needs in front of God the moment we have an emergency or become frightened. Prayer is the very best medicine there is. It always works and never fails–if we would just us it!

Charles Spurgeon Quote


“A good old saint who lately lay dying told her pastor that she was resting on the ‘justice’ of God. The good man thought that she had chosen a strange point of the divine character to rest on, but she explained, ‘I rest in his justice to my great Substitute, that he would not let him die for me in vain.'”

The Danger of Entering Temptation


by Mike Ratliff

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:9-13 ESV)

Yesterday we looked at the nature of Temptation. Today we will look at the danger of “entering temptation.” There is no doubt that most believers walk in defeat in this battle much of the time. On top of the guilt and self-abhorrence that are natural products of Christians sinning, there is also the battle fatigue that comes upon them which results in more guilt simply for being “tempted” in the first place. Of course, much of this can be blamed on faulty theology and an extreme drought in the area of teaching the Biblical truth about sin and temptation from our pulpits and Bible studies. To understand the danger of “entering temptation” we must first understand what it is and what it is not.

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Caution to Stir up to Watch Against Sin


by John Bunyan

And bring thee safe to life eternal.–AMEN.

The first eight lines one did commend to me,
The rest I thought good to commend to thee:
Reader, in reading be thou rul’d by me,
With rhimes nor lines, but truths, affected be.
8 April 1684

I.
Sin will at first, just like a beggar, crave
One penny or one half-penny to have;
And if you grant its first suit, ’twill aspire,
From pence to pounds, and so will still mount higher
To the whole soul: but if it makes its moan,
Then say, here is not for you, get you gone.
For if you give it entrance at the door,
It will come in, and may go out no more.

II.
Sin, rather than ’twill out of action be,
Will pray to stay, though but a while with thee;
One night, one hour, one moment, will it cry,
Embrace me in thy bosom, else I die:
Time to repent [saith it] I will allow,
And help, if to repent thou know’st not how.
But if you give it entrance at the door,
It will come in, and may go out no more.

III.
If begging doth not do, sin promise will
Rewards to those that shall its lusts fulfill:
Penny in hand, yea pounds ’twill offer thee,
If at its beck and motion thou wilt be.
‘Twill seem heaven to out-bid, and all to gain
Thy love, and win thee it to entertain.
But give it not admittance at thy door,
Lest it comes in, and so goes out no more.

IV.
If begging and promising will not do,
‘Twill by its wiles attempt to flatter you.
I’m harmless, mean no ill, be not so shy
Will ev’ry soul-destroying motion cry.
‘Twill hide its sting, ’twill change its native hue,
Vile ’twill not, but a beauty seem to you.
But if you give it entrance at the door,
Its sting will in, and may come out no more.

V.
Rather than fail, sin will itself divide,
Bid thee do this, and lay the rest aside.
Take little ones (’twill say) throw great ones by,
(As if for little sins men should not die.)
Yea SIN with SIN a quarrel will maintain,
On purpose that thou by it might’st be slain.
Beware the cheat then, keep it out of door,
It would come in, and would go out no more.

VI.
Sin, if you will believe it, will accuse,
What is not hurtful and itself excuse:
‘Twill make a vice of virtue, and ’twill say
Good is destructive, doth men’s souls betray;
‘Twill make a law, where God has made man free,
And break those laws by which men bounded be.
Look to thyself then, keep it out of door,
Thee ‘twould entangle, and enlarge thy score.

VII.
SIN is that beastly thing that will defile
Soul, body, name, and fame in little while;
‘Twill make him, who some time God’s image was,
Look like the devil, love, and plead his cause;
Like to the plague, poison, or leprosy
Defile ’twill, and infect contagiously.
Wherefore beware, against it shut the door;
If not, it will defile thee more and more.

VIII.
SIN, once possessed of the heart, will play
The tyrant, force its vassal to obey:
‘Twill make thee thine own happiness oppose
And offer open violence to those
That love thee best; yea make thee to defy
The law and counsel of the deity.
Beware then, keep this tyrant out of door,
Lest thou be his, and so thy own no more.

IX.
SIN harden can the heart against its God,
Make it abuse his grace, despise his rod,
‘Twill make one run upon the very pikes,
Judgments foreseen bring such to no dislikes
Of sinful hazards; no, they venture shall
For one base lust, their soul, and heav’n and all.
Take heed then, hold it, crush it at the door,
It comes to rob thee, and to make thee poor.

X.
SIN is a prison, hath its bolts and chains,
Brings into bondage who it entertains;
Hangs shackles on them, bends them to its will,
Holds them, as Samson grinded at the mill,
‘Twill blind them, make them deaf; yea, ’twill them gag,
And ride them as the devil rides his hag.
Wherefore look to it, keep it out of door,
If once its slave, thou may’st be free no more.

XI.
Though SIN at first its rage dissemble may,
‘Twill soon upon thee as a lion prey;
‘Twill roar, ’twill rend, ’twill tear, ’twill kill out-right,
Its living death will gnaw thee day and night:
Thy pleasures now to paws and teeth it turns,
In thee its tickling lusts, like brimstone burns.
Wherefore beware, and keep it out of door,
Lest it should on thee as a lion roar.

XII.
SIN will accuse, will stare thee in the face,
Will for its witnesses quote time and place
Where thou committedst it; and so appeal
To conscience, who thy facts will not conceal;
But on thee as a judge such sentence pass,
As will to thy sweet bits prove bitter sauce.
Wherefore beware, against it shut thy door,
Repent what’s past, believe and sin no more.

XIII.
SIN is the worm of hell, the lasting fire,
Hell would soon lose its heat, could SIN expire;
Better sinless, in hell, than to be where
Heav’n is, and to be found a sinner there.
One sinless, with infernals might do well,
But SIN would make a very heav’n a hell.
Look to thyself then, to keep it out of door,
Lest it gets in, and never leaves thee more.

XIV.
No match hast sin save God in all the world,
Men, angels it has from their stations hurl’d:
Holds them in chains, as captives, in despite
Of all that here below is called Might.
Release, help, freedom from it none can give,
But he by whom we also breathe and live.
Watch therefore, keep this giant out of door
Lest if once in, thou get him out no more.

XV.
Fools make a mock at SIN, will not believe,
It carries such a dagger in its sleeve;
How can it be (say they) that such a thing,
So full of sweet, should ever wear a sting:
They know not that it is the very SPELL
Of SIN, to make men laugh themselves to hell.
Look to thyself then, deal with SIN no more,
Lest he that saves, against thee shuts the door.

XVI.
Now let the God that is above,
That hath for sinners so much love;
These lines so help thee to improve,
That towards him thy heart may move.
Keep thee from enemies external,
Help thee to fight with those internal:
Deliver thee from them infernal,