Behold, I am vile


C. H. Spurgeon

“Behold, I am vile.”—Job 40:4.
ONE cheering word, poor lost sinner, for thee! You think you must not come to God because YOU are vile. Now, there is not a saint living on earth but has been made to feel that he is vile. If Job, and Isaiah, and Paul were all obliged to say “I am vile,” oh, poor sinner, wilt thou be ashamed to join in the same confession? If divine grace does not eradicate all sin from the believer, how dost thou hope to do it thyself? and if God loves His people while they are yet vile, dost thou think thy vileness will prevent His loving thee? Believe on Jesus, thou outcast of the world’s society! Jesus calls thee, and such as thou art.

“Not the righteous, not the righteous;
Sinners, Jesus came to call.”

Even now say, “Thou hast died for sinners; I am a sinner, Lord Jesus, sprinkle Thy blood on me”; if thou wilt confess thy sin thou shalt find pardon. If, now, with all thy heart, thou wilt say, “I am vile, wash me,” thou shalt be washed now. If the Holy Spirit shall enable thee from thy heart to cry
Just as I am, without one plea But that Thy blood was shed for me, And that thou bidd’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come!”
thou shalt rise from reading this morning’s portion with all thy sins pardoned; and though thou didst wake this morning with every sin that man hath ever committed on thy head, thou shalt rest to-night accepted in the Beloved; though once degraded with the rags of sin, thou shalt be adorned with a robe of righteousness, and appear white as the angels are. For “now,” mark it, “Now is the accepted time.” If thou “believest on Him who justifieth the ungodly thou art saved.” Oh! may the Holy Spirit give thee saving faith in Him who receives the vilest.

This devotion of from Charles Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning for June 6.

Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy


This Devotion is from Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning for May 16

“Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.”—1 Timothy 6:17.
UR Lord Jesus is ever giving, and does not for a solitary instant withdraw His hand. As long as there is a vessel of grace not yet full to the brim, the oil shall not be stayed. He is a sun ever-shining; He is manna always falling round the camp; He is a rock in the desert, ever sending out streams of life from His smitten side; the rain of His grace is always dropping; the river of His bounty is ever-flowing, and the well-spring of His love is constantly overflowing. As the King can never die, so His grace can never fail. Daily we pluck His fruit, and daily His branches bend down to our hand with a fresh store of mercy. There are seven feast-days in His weeks, and as many as are the days, so many are the banquets in His years. Who has ever returned from His door unblessed? Who has ever risen from His table unsatisfied, or from His bosom un-emparadised? His mercies are new every morning and fresh every evening. Who can know the number of His benefits, or recount the list of His bounties? Every sand which drops from the glass of time is but the tardy follower of a myriad of mercies. The wings of our hours are covered with the silver of His kindness, and with the yellow gold of His affection. The river of time bears from the mountains of eternity the golden sands of His favour. The countless stars are but as the standard bearers of a more innumerable host of blessings. Who can count the dust of the benefits which He bestows on Jacob, or tell the number of the fourth part of His mercies towards Israel? How shall my soul extol Him who daily loadeth us with benefits, and who crowneth us with loving-kindness? O that my praise could be as ceaseless as His bounty! O miserable tongue, how canst thou be silent? Wake up, I pray thee, lest I call thee no more my glory, but my shame. “Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake right early.”

Created in Christ Jesus for Good Works


by Mike Ratliff

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as 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 so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10 (NASB) 

As many of you know, I grew up as a Southern Baptist. After God saved me in 1986 I was a Southern Baptist until 2006 when our former church was overtaken by the Purpose Driven paradigm. I was bitter about that for a while. I and many of you found common ground having had our churches ripped away from us and in many cases finding it nearly impossible to find a good Biblical local church remaining in our area after the Seeker-Sensitive tsunamis had moved through devastating what were once good churches, leaving behind man-centered, store fronts for Rick Warren’s brand of man-focused religiosity.  However, God is good and through this devastation and some personal fiery trials, which actually began in 2004, He has worked in me to grow me into a more mature Christian, stronger in the Word of God than ever, more knowledgeable in Biblical Greek, and deeper in the more cerebral areas of our faith that are sorely needed in our day such as presuppositional apologetics. When I was a Deacon teaching Sunday school at our local SBC church, I was extremely mediocre in most of that and hardly knowledgeable at all in the area of apologetics. Why? I was serving and operating from within a mindset that was extremely spiritually immature compared to today. My understanding of the Gospel and theology was probably deeper than most of my peers at that time, but compared to now, it was probably surface level at best.  Continue reading

Accepted in the Beloved – Part 1


by Mike Ratliff 

6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:6 (NASB) 

Our salvation, our redemption if you will, is God’s handiwork. In all my many years as a believer, I have run across multitudes of professing Christians in spiritual bondage because they believe that it is up to them and their performance in walking in repentance to remain in God’s good graces. It is as if they have the offer of salvation, which they have accepted, but they are in deadly fear that the offer will be revoked if they sin. This is a form of unbelief because God’s Word does not teach that. In fact, it teaches the opposite. I wonder if those in this bondage have every considered the fact that since none of us could do one thing to save ourselves, therefore, the teaching we will be held eternally accountable to a standard of perfection that is impossible for us to be conformed to in this life is not biblical. Continue reading

Holy to the LORD!


by Mike Ratliff

36 “You shall also make a plate of pure gold and shall engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, ‘Holy to the LORD.’ 37 You shall fasten it on a blue cord, and it shall be on the turban; it shall be at the front of the turban. 38 It shall be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron shall take away the iniquity of the holy things which the sons of Israel consecrate, with regard to all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD. Exodus 28:36-38 (NASB) 

I have written much over the years about our battle with pride pretending to be humility especially when it comes to service and worship. I struggle with this as much as any of you. When I was a new Christian I had the mistaken concept that the more I served the Lord and better the quality of that service was, the more I would acceptable to Him. It took many years and many trials and a personal revival to cleanse me of that. A huge part of being cleansed of that is to understand that God is Sovereign and we are saved by Grace alone through Faith alone. We are acceptable to God because of the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ, not our works. Yes, we are given works to walk in (Ephesians 2:10), but that is also by and through God’s Grace. Continue reading

Grow in Grace


by Mike Ratliff

17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:17-18 (NASB) 

I have been praying a lot lately for healing not just for this nasty head cold I picked up just before Christmas, but also for my wife’s healing after her shoulder surgery which really put her into a very painful condition with the use of only one arm. The surgery was about a week before Christmas. I was preparing to leave work as my retirement date approached and suddenly both of us were smacked with these things, but we were still expected to participate in family Christmas events. She cannot even lie down to sleep. I wake up at night every couple of hours not being able to breath. Our enemy has really been working on me trying to get me to despair. Here we are now with no job and seemingly at the mercy of Medicare and the V.A. Then I was contacted by my sister who told me that my brother has Covid and is in the hospital. He is on oxygen and not doing well and his wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Do we despair? No! Why? We have the throne of grace and prayer. Continue reading

Cast your burden upon the Lord


by Mike Ratliff

33 The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the LORD. Proverbs 16:33 (NASB) 

30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. Matthew 10:30-31 (NASB) 

33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 (NASB) 

22 Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalms 55:22 (NASB) 

I was not part of the discussion. All I did was put my “like” on the original statement, which showed the contrast between the fallacy of Easy-believes/Works-Righteousness and genuine salvation that is based in the Biblically sound teaching of the sovereignty of God. My heart rejoiced in doing that. Why? I once was confused about how I actually came to Christ. However, as I studied the sovereignty of God in the context of our salvation I joyfully came to the understanding that God did it all. However, as I read some of the comments below the original statement I was very disappointed in some of them. I saw some who actually denied that they were “saved” because they were first drawn to Christ by God. This actually denies what our Lord said in John 6:44. Now that does not mean they weren’t first drawn to Christ, it just means they could have just been more confused than I was before God enlightened me. However, the purpose of this post, while being about the sovereignty and grace of God, is not about how Christians are “saved.” No, it is how we are to live after we are called, regenerated, and justified. Continue reading

Base things of the world hath God chosen


by Mike Ratliff

26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (NASB) 

15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 1 Timothy 1:15 (NASB)

I rejoice in amazement that God had mercy on this sinner. When Paul proclaimed himself the foremost of all sinners we must examine ourselves to see if we have any self-righteousness brewing inside us that is attempting to get us to believe that we somehow earned or deserved this salvation. No, my brethren, none of us do and there is not one thing we could ever do to gain it in and of ourselves. That is why we are saved by grace through faith as God’s gift (Ephesians 2:8,9). Continue reading

Ask and it will be given to you


by Mike Ratliff

7 “ Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:7-11 (NASB) 

While the passage above (Matthew 7:7-11) has been abused greatly by many false teachers in the Health, Wealth, and Prosperity part of the visible church, that does not mean it does not hold the truth for those of us who are truly in Christ. In fact, those who actually serve the Lord His way know they can do nothing without spending much time at the throne of grace. This is necessary for none of us have one thing that elevates us above anyone else. We are all sinners. We are all, in and of ourselves, completely incapable of serving our Lord and doing His work in our own abilities. However, as we abide in Christ, take up our crosses and follow Him daily as a way of life, which means spending time asking, seeking, and knocking so we can receive and have doors opened that only God can give and open. My new book Complete in Christ is an example of of this. There is absolutely no way I could have done that work without the Holy Spirit working through me to do that. I am still “seeking” from the Lord what my next project will be. Continue reading

Have mercy upon me, O God!


by Mike Ratliff

1 Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin. Psalms 51:1-2 (NKJV) 

One of the most abhorrent things I encounter in my walk is a professing Christian who believes they are in Christ because they deserve it. These same people will always want us to look at their works. They want us to see them in their religiosity. In the following devotional by Charles Spurgeon he uses William Carey as the example for whom we should be our model of humility. Continue reading

Into Your hand I commit my spirit


by Mike Ratliff

3 For You are my rock and my fortress;
For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.
4 You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
5 Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth. Psalms 31:3-5 (NASB) 

I doubt that I am alone in experiencing the pressure coming primarily from our enemy about all the evil going on in the world that seems to indicate that “everything is falling apart.” Our President is clueless. Most of the visible church in the U.S. is apostate. Idiots are in positions of power and stupid sheep are following them. If we have our eyes on these things then things can really bring us down. However, is this supposed to be how those of us in Christ are supposed to function? Continue reading

Glean today in the broad field of God’s promises


by Mike Ratliff

1 Now Naomi had a kinsman of her husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. 2 And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after one in whose sight I may find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” Ruth 2:1-2 (NASB) 

My wife and I just returned from a trip to the Colorado Springs, Colorado area for some vacation relaxation. She had never been in that area. I had, but it was when I was just a child back in the late 1950’s. I had driven through the area to get to ski areas and a couple of years ago to attempt to climb Mount Elbert which is further north up by Leadville. In any case, I was looking forward to some rest and relaxation and some photo opportunities. We had a good time. I got some great shots. That part of the trip was great. However, as many of you know, when I am home I spend as little time as possible watching TV and when I do it never includes the Mainstream News Media, which is nothing more than propaganda for the political left’s narrative of whatever their agenda is. Continue reading

Perseverance in Suffering


by Mike Ratliff

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1 Peter 1:3-7 (NASB) 

When God saves a person, he/she is changed forever. However, they are not at the spiritual maturity level that God desires for His people. Therefore, from that point until they go home to be with their Lord all genuine Christians will go through a series of tests and trials that put pressure on their faith. This pressure is spiritual, but the circumstances applying it come from all directions and sources. The Apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh that put his faith to test to the point that he implored the Lord to take it away. Continue reading

What Happens When God Leaves Us to Ourselves?


by Mike Ratliff

30 It was Hezekiah who stopped the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all that he did. 31 Even in the matter of the envoys of the rulers of Babylon, who sent to him to inquire of the wonder that had happened in the land, God left him alone only to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart. 2 Chronicles 32:30-31 (NASB) 

I doubt if any professing Christian who is a genuine child of God has not come to that sobering and often devastating realization in which God has taken His hand away just enough so that decisions are made and actions are taken apart from His wise counsel. The consequences of our going it alone are humbling to say the least. God tests us in these circumstances to show us what is really in our hearts. We are placed in circumstances in which the wise and Christian thing to do would be to seek God’s face and move only as He leads, but if we are honest we must confess that in these circumstances our self-righteousness comes to the fore or we operate from pride or instead of mortifying our sin, we indulge our flesh. These are not marks of the unregenerate my brethren, but of the children of God. I am convinced that God uses these things to show us what we are really made of and, therefore, we are humbled and become more usable in the Kingdom.  Continue reading