The Prayer of Faith


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 (LSB) 

Despite what the Health, Wealth, and Prosperity preachers say or those who preach nothing but positive messages to all who are Christians, the Word of God promises something very different. Like what? How about trials of various kinds? How about fiery trials? How about thorns in the flesh? These are used by God to produce in His children a stronger faith and a deeper steadfastness. Why is this necessary?  Continue reading

Spiritual Darkness Unbelief and Unrighteousness


by Mike Ratliff

4 And Jesus was saying to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” 5 And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He was marveling at their unbelief.
And He was going around the villages teaching.nMark 6:4-6 (LSB) 

The joy of the Lord is a tremendous gift to God’s people from him. Without it we would be left to deal with far more evil, disappointment, tragedy, distress, and despair than we could ever do on our own. We have prayer and the promise that we can always come boldly to the Throne of Grace.

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us take hold of our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things like we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16 (LSB) 

I watched some videos today while at lunch that showed the reaction of many of the spokespersons from the Main Stream Media and other politically leaning left groups as they reacted to the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election. These reactions were from the immediate two days after the 3rd of November. Some of the people from CNN for example could not even make complete sentences they were so overcome with emotion. The one that really got my attention though was a spokesperson for a Social Justice group. He said that the attempts by the Trump Campaign and his supporters to force recounts and expose corruption in the election process were “Racist.” Yes, that is what he said.

During and after the 2016 election I lost a boatload of Facebook friends. During the 2020 election I lost a lot of friends on Facebook as well, but these were different. These were people I had been reaching out to with the light of the Gospel. I had been giving them the truth yet as it became clear that I was not participating the ‘you must live in fear tyranny’ coming from certain government institutions as they proclaimed that the Covid-19 outbreak had become a “Pandemic” when it was really far less lethal than the seasonal flu and I refused to allow anyone to bash our President with all sorts of outlandish accusations then I ended up having to sever a lot more Facebook relationships.

However, what is most disturbing to me during all this is when professing Christians fall into that pit of hate and lies I just described. They have become part of that “darkness” and because of that, they will no longer listen to reason. They will no longer listen to clear Biblical evidence that “the way” they are on only leads to destruction. Isn’t it interesting that those professing Christians doing that are also on the Social Justice, Critical Race Theory, and Intersectionality way?

Continue reading

Behold he prayeth


C. H. Spurgeon from his Morning by Morning devotional for November 3.


 

11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.Acts 9:11-12 (KJV)

PRAYERS are instantly noticed in heaven. The moment Saul began to pray the Lord heard him. Here is comfort for the distressed but praying soul. Oftentimes a poor broken-hearted one bends his knee, but can only utter his wailing in the language of sighs and tears; yet that groan has made all the harps of heaven thrill with music; that tear has been caught by God and treasured in the lachrymatory of heaven. “Thou puttest my tears into thy bottle,”1 implies that they are caught as they flow. The suppliant, whose fears prevent his words, will be well understood by the Most High. He may only look up with misty eye; but “prayer is the falling of a tear.” Tears are the diamonds of heaven; sighs are a part of the music of Jehovah’s court, and are numbered with “the sublimest strains that reach the majesty on high.” Think not that your prayer, however weak or trembling, will be unregarded. Jacob’s ladder is lofty, but our prayers shall lean upon the Angel of the covenant and so climb its starry rounds. Our God not only hears prayer but also loves to hear it. “He forgetteth not the cry of the humble.” True, He regards not high looks and lofty words; He cares not for the pomp and pageantry of kings; He listens not to the swell of martial music; He regards not the triumph and pride of man; but wherever there is a heart big with sorrow, or a lip quivering with agony, or a deep groan, or a penitential sigh, the heart of Jehovah is open; He marks it down in the registry of His memory; He puts our prayers, like rose leaves, between the pages of His book of remembrance, and when the volume is opened at last, there shall be a precious fragrance springing up therefrom.

“Faith asks no signal from the skies,
To show that prayers accepted rise,
Our Priest is in His holy place,
And answers from the throne of grace.”

1Psalm 56:8

After this manner therefore pray ye 


C.A. Spurgeon from his Morning by Morning Devotional for October 29

9 After this manner therefore pray ye Matthew 6:9 (KJV) : Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Matthew 6:9 (KJV)

This prayer begins where all true prayer must commence, with the spirit of adoption, “Our Father.” There is no acceptable prayer until we can say, “I will arise, and go unto my Father.” 1
This child-like spirit soon perceives the grandeur of the Father “in heaven,” and ascends to devout adoration, “Hallowed be thy name.” The child lisping, “Abba, Father,” grows into the cherub crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” There is but a step from rapturous worship to the glowing missionary spirit, which is a sure outgrowth of filial love and reverent adoration—“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Next follows the heartfelt expression of dependence upon God—“Give us this day our daily bread.” Being further illuminated by the Spirit, he discovers that he is not only dependent, but sinful, hence he entreats for mercy, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors:” and being pardoned, having the righteousness of Christ imputed, and knowing his acceptance with God, he humbly supplicates for holy perseverance, “Lead us not into temptation.” The man who is really forgiven, is anxious not to offend again; the possession of justification leads to an anxious desire for sanctification. “Forgive us our debts,” that is justification; “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” that is sanctification in its negative and positive forms. As the result of all this, there follows a triumphant ascription of praise, “Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.” We rejoice that our King reigns in providence and shall reign in grace, from the river even to the ends of the earth, and of his dominion there shall be no end. Thus from a sense of adoption, up to fellowship with our reigning Lord, this short model of prayer conducts the soul. Lord, teach us thus to pray.

1Luke 15:18

In Prayer


O LORD,

In prayer I launch far out into the eternal world,

    and on that broad ocean my soul triumphs

    over all evils on the shores of mortality.

Time, with its gay amusements and cruel disappointments

    never appears so inconsiderate as then.

In prayer I see myself as nothing;

    I find my heart going after thee with intensity,

    and long with vehement thirst to live to thee.

Blessed be the strong gales of the Spirit

    that speed me on my way to the New Jerusalem.

In prayer all things here below vanish,

    and nothing seems important

    but holiness of heart and the salvation of other.

In prayer all my worldly cares, fears, anxieties disappear,

    and are of as little significance as a puff of wind.

In prayer my soul inwardly exults with lively thoughts

    at what thou art doing for thy church,

    and I long that thou shouldest get thyself a great name

    from sinners returning to Zion.

In prayer I am lifted above the frowns and flatteries of life,

    and taste heavenly joys;

    entering into the eternal world

    I can give myself to thee with all my heart,

    to be thine for ever.

In prayer I can place all my concerns in thy hands,

    to be entirely at thy disposal,

    having no will or interest of my own.

In prayer I can intercede for my friends, ministers,

    sinners, the church, thy kingdom to come,

    with greatest freedom, ardent hopes,

    as a son to his father,

    as a lover to the beloved.

Help me to be all prayer and never to cease praying.

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

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Secret Prayer Distinguishes Sincerity from Hypocrisy


by Mike Ratliff

“1 Beware of doing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 6:1 (LSB)

Of all of the things Christians do that sets them apart from non-believers, prayer is both practiced heavily and not well understood. There is controversy about what genuine prayer is and isn’t. The Word-Faith people go so far as to use prayer like a vending machine. I could write a post everyday on prayer in this blog from now until the Lord takes me home and never run out of things to write about. Before we go any further in this discussion I want to state here that I am no expert on prayer. My favorite place and time to pray is in my home office in the morning right after showering and dressing before I eat breakfast. I am still learning how to pray. Public prayer like in church prayer meetings or in a Bible study class or a Deacon’s meeting are things that I struggle with. I am not good at it. I hear other people pray out loud and am amazed at the depth and intricate wording of their prayers. Mine are short and sweet. It’s not that I don’t see the value in public prayer, but it seems somewhat pointless to ask someone to pray before a bunch of people who is not prepared or is in the midst of a personal struggle of some kind or is just having a bad day. Then when that person struggles with praying like that there are some who are positive that person’s spiritual maturity is nil. Continue reading

Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in Heaven


C.A. Spurgeon from his Morning by Morning devotional for October 11.

41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens. Lamentations 3:41 (KJV)

The act of prayer teaches us our unworthiness, which is a very salutary lesson for such proud beings as we are. If God gave us favours without constraining us to pray for them we should never know how poor we are, but a true prayer is an inventory of wants, a catalogue of necessities, a revelation of hidden poverty. While it is an application to divine wealth, it is a confession of human emptiness. The most healthy state of a Christian is to be always empty in self and constantly depending upon the Lord for supplies; to be always poor in self and rich in Jesus; weak as water personally, but mighty through God to do great exploits; and hence the use of prayer, because, while it adores God, it lays the creature where it should be, in the very dust. Prayer is in itself, apart from the answer which it brings, a great benefit to the Christian. As the runner gains strength for the race by daily exercise, so for the great race of life we acquire energy by the hallowed labour of prayer. Prayer plumes the wings of God’s young eaglets, that they may learn to mount above the clouds. Prayer girds the loins of God’s warriors, and sends them forth to combat with their sinews braced and their muscles firm. An earnest pleader cometh out of his closet, even as the sun ariseth from the chambers of the east, rejoicing like a strong man to run his race. Prayer is that uplifted hand of Moses which routs the Amalekites more than the sword of Joshua; it is the arrow shot from the chamber of the prophet foreboding defeat to the Syrians. Prayer girds human weakness with divine strength, turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and gives to troubled mortals the peace of God. We know not what prayer cannot do! We thank thee, great God, for the mercy-seat, a choice proof of thy marvellous lovingkindness. Help us to use it aright throughout this day!

Wait on the Lord


this devotion is from Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning for August 30.
C. H. Spurgeon

“Wait on the Lord.”—Psalm 27:14.
IT may seem an easy thing to wait, but it is one of the postures which a Christian soldier learns not without years of teaching. Marching and quick-marching are much easier to God’s warriors than standing still. There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desirous to serve the Lord, knows not what part to take. Then what shall it do? Vex itself by despair? Fly back in cowardice, turn to the right hand in fear, or rush forward in presumption? No, but simply wait. Wait in prayer, however. Call upon God, and spread the case before Him; tell Him your difficulty, and plead His promise of aid. In dilemmas between one duty and another, it is sweet to be humble as a child, and wait with simplicity of soul upon the Lord. It is sure to be well with us when we feel and know our own folly, and are heartily willing to be guided by the will of God. But wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in Him; for unfaithful, untrusting waiting, is but an insult to the Lord. Believe that if He keep you tarrying even till midnight, yet He will come at the right time; the vision shall come and shall not tarry. Wait in quiet patience, not rebelling because you are under the affliction, but blessing your God for it. Never murmur against the second cause, as the children of Israel did against Moses; never wish you could go back to the world again, but accept the case as it is, and put it as it stands, simply and with your whole heart, without any self-will, into the hand of your covenant God, saying, “Now, Lord, not my will, but Thine be done. I know not what to do; I am brought to extremities, but I will wait until Thou shalt cleave the floods, or drive back my foes. I will wait, if Thou keep me many a day, for my heart is fixed upon Thee alone, O God, and my spirit waiteth for Thee in the full conviction that Thou wilt yet be my joy and my salvation, my refuge and my strong tower.”

Crucifixion and Ressurection


O LORD,

I marvel that thou shouldst become incarnate,

be crucified, dead, and buried.

The sepulcher calls forth my adoring wonder,

for it is empty and thou are risen;

the four-fold gospel attests it,

the living witnesses prove it,

my heart’s experience knows it.

Give me to die with thee that I may rise to new life,

for I wish to be as dead and buried

to sin, to selfishness, to the world;

that I might not hear the voice of the charmer,

and might be delivered from his lusts.

O Lord, there is much ill about me – crucify it,

much flesh within me – mortify it.

Purge me from selfishness, the fear of man, the love of approbation,

the shame of being thought old-fashioined,

the desire to be cultivated or modern.

Let me reckon my old life dead because of crucifixion,

and never feed it as a living thing.

Grant me to stand with my dying Saviour,

to be content to be rejected,

to be willing to take up unpopular truths,

and to hold fast despised teachings until death.

Help me to be resolute and Christ-contained.

Never let me wander from the path of obedience to thy will.

Strengthen me for the battles ahead.

Give me courage for all the trials, and grace for all the joys.

Help me to be a holy, happy person,

free from every wrong desire,

from everything contrary to thy mind.

Grant me more and more of the resurrection life:

may it rule me,

may I walk in its power, and be strengthened through its influence.

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

 

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. Continue reading

Underneath are the everlasting arms


by Mike Ratliff

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
by A.J. Showalter
What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Refrain:
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
O how sweet to walk, In this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Refrain
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Refrain

Growing up in Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma in the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s I learned to love some, but not all, of those old hymns we sung. Even to this day I can still hear those voices in our church sing in those tones that were not loud or harsh or meant to entertain, but were directed to the throne in Heaven in praise. When my mother grew older and could no longer attend church because she was in an assisted living center I used to love to pick her up and take her to church, however, I could tell she would rather hear those old hymns than some of the newer stuff that our churches seem to be in love with these days. I am pretty much the same way. Give me real worship music and hymns with meaning and sermons rooted deep in solid Biblical doctrine and my soul is well pleased. I believe they call that edification. Continue reading

The Right Attitudes Concerning Prayer


by Mike Ratliff

12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. John 14:12-14 (NASB) 

Prayer is a mystery my brethren. Anyone who claims to be a master of it is someone who has been deceived or is a deceiver. We do not know exactly how prayer works, but we do know that God uses it. Does some outcome depend upon you or I praying for it? No, it depends upon the sovereignty of God. However, God still uses prayer. Our role in this is to obey Him and pray knowing full well that God is sovereign and that He will be glorified in and through the circumstance and love for His children. On the other hand, there are so many in our time who twist wonderful passages like Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me,” bending its meaning to say, “I can do anything I want because Christ gives me the strength.” However, context of that passage is about contentment through the fires of tribulation as Paul was given the strength to do what God commanded of him. Others turn to this and other passages like it to prove their “self-image” teaching and their “Christian success-motivation” philosophies. These are polar opposite from the true meaning of these passages. They are nothing but examples of humanistic arrogance with a Christian label pasted on it. Our trust and confidence must never lie in “self,” but only in Christ. Continue reading

Hope of Relief in God’s Mercy


by Mike Ratliff

I had a commenter here on Possessing the Treasure several years ago who tried to discourage me and all of my readers with his aggressive attacks on the character of God along with his disparaging remarks about Christians in general. He called us all a bunch of deceived hypocrites who believed a lie and thought we were better than everyone else. Then he said that if God did exist he would find him then the first thing he would do would be to kick him in the crotch. Yes, he said that. I told him that I would reply to his comment, but then I would not let him comment further. I told him that he had genuine Christians all wrong. Yes, there were plenty of professing Christians who were probably like that, but real Christians were humble, knowing they had received mercy they did not deserve by grace from God who is perfect, sovereign, and good. I told him also, that God probably took his threat as a joke, thinking it was pretty funny since He is omnipotent. However, this is not the point of this post. Do we really take our absolute unworthiness before God seriously? None of us deserve this wonderful salvation we have been given. We all deserve God’s wrath that is prepared for all those who love their sin and refuse to obey Him. However, because we have believed the Gospel and received our Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior by the faith given to us as His gift (through grace), we are seen by the Father just as holy and righteous as the Son. This is mind-boggling! However, it is vital that as believers we continue to preach this Gospel to ourselves until we reach home. It is also vital that we continue to understand that in this life, we are still wretched sinners, but are saved by grace. Continue reading

Prayer Fasting and Forgiveness


by Mike Ratliff

9 Οὕτως οὖν προσεύχεσθε ὑμεῖς· Matthew 6:9a (NA28)

9 Therefore, thus pray you; Matthew 6:9a (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

The context of Matthew 6:9-13 from which we get what is traditionally called “The Lord’s Prayer,” is, of course, Matthew 6, which is part of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount. The theme of Matthew 6:1-18 (the context of vv 9-13) is found in v1, “Προσέχετε [δὲ] τὴν δικαιοσύνην ὑμῶν μὴ ποιεῖν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων πρὸς τὸ θεαθῆναι αὐτοῖς· εἰ δὲ μή γε, μισθὸν οὐκ ἔχετε παρὰ τῷ πατρὶ ὑμῶν τῷ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.” Or, “But be careful to not demonstrate your righteousness before men with the aim to be seen by them; otherwise, you have no reward with your Father in Heaven.” Our Lord gives an example in vv 2-4 of believers giving alms to the needy. Their motive is to be seen by others in order to receive praise from men. Then in vv 5-18 our Lord gives uses the examples of prayer, fasting, and forgiveness, which will be the subject of this post.  Continue reading