Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Look Away From Self and Towards Christ

Look not to yourselves! You are by nature wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked; you cannot make atonement for your past transgressions, you cannot wipe out a single page on that long black list.

And when the King shall ask you for your wedding garment you will be speechless. Look simply unto Jesus, and then the weight shall fall from off your shoulders, the course shall be clear and plain, and you shall run the race which is set before you.
~ J.C. Ryle

Hold Your Possessions Loosely

Are you prosperous in the world? Have death, sickness, disappointment, poverty and family troubles passed over your door up to this time and not come in? Are you secretly saying to yourself, “Nothing can hurt me much.

I shall die quietly in my bed and see no sorrow.” Take care. You are not yet in harbor. A sudden storm of unexpected trouble may make you change your note. Set not your affection on things below. Hold them with a very loose hand and be ready to surrender them at a moment’s notice. Use your prosperity well while you have it; but lean not all your weight on it, lest it break suddenly and pierce your hand.
~ J.C. Ryle


Monday, February 15, 2021

Pray For Your Pastor

Do we desire to help forward the cause of pure and undefiled religion in the world? Then let us never forget to pray for ministers, and especially for young men about to enter the ministry.

The progress of the Gospel, under God, will always depend much on the character and conduct of those who profess to preach it. An unconverted minister can never be expected to do good to souls. He cannot teach properly what he does not feel experimentally. From such men let us pray daily that the Church may be delivered. Converted ministers are God’s special gift. Man cannot create them. If we would have good ministers, we must remember our Lord’s example, and pray for them. Their work is heavy. Their responsibility is enormous. Their strength is small. Let us see that we support them, and hold up their hands by our prayers.
~ J.C. Ryle

9 Lessons From God Concerning Sickness

Sickness is meant…

1. To make us think, to remind us that we have a soul as well as a body – an immortal soul, a soul that will live forever in happiness or in misery – and that if this soul is not saved we had better never have been born.
2. To teach us that there is a world beyond the grave, and that the world we now live in is only a training place for another dwelling, where there will be no decay, no sorrow, no tears, no misery, and no sin.
3. To make us look at our past lives honestly, fairly, and conscientiously. Am I ready for my great change if I should not get better? Do I repent truly of my sins? Are my sins forgiven and washed away in Christ’s blood? Am I prepared to meet God?
4. To make us see the emptiness of the world and its utter inability to satisfy the highest and deepest needs of the soul.
5. To send us to our Bibles. That blessed Book, in the days of health, is too often left on the shelf, becomes the safest place in which to put a bank-note, and is never opened from January to December. But sickness often brings it down from the shelf and throws new light on its pages.
6. To make us pray. Too many, I fear, never pray at all, or they only rattle over a few hurried words morning and evening without thinking what they do. But prayer often becomes a reality when the valley of the shadow of death is in sight.
7. To make us repent and break off our sins. If we will not hear the voice of mercies, God sometimes makes us “hear the rod.”
8. To draw us to Christ. Naturally we do not see the full value of that blessed Savior. We secretly imagine that our prayers, good deeds, and sacrament-receiving will save our souls. But when flesh begins to fail, the absolute necessity of a Redeemer, a Mediator, and an Advocate with the Father, stands out before men’s eyes like fire, and makes them understand those words, “Simply to Your cross I cling,” as they never did before. Sickness has done this for many – they have found Christ in the sick room.
9. To make us feeling and sympathizing towards others. By nature we are all far below our blessed Master’s example, who had not only a hand to help all, but a heart to feel for all. None, I suspect, are so unable to sympathize as those who have never had trouble themselves – and none are so able to feel as those who have drunk most deeply the cup of pain and sorrow.
Summary: Beware of fretting, murmuring, complaining, and giving way to an impatient spirit. Regard your sickness as a blessing in disguise – a good and not an evil – a friend and not an enemy. No doubt we should all prefer to learn spiritual lessons in the school of ease and not under the rod. But rest assured that God knows better than we do how to teach us. The light of the last day will show you that there was a meaning and a “need be” in all your bodily ailments. The lessons that we learn on a sick-bed, when we are shut out from the world, are often lessons which we should never learn elsewhere.

~ J.C. Ryle

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Look Away From Self and Towards Christ

Look not to yourselves! You are by nature wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked; you cannot make atonement for your past transgressions, you cannot wipe out a single page on that long black list.

And when the King shall ask you for your wedding garment you will be speechless. Look simply unto Jesus, and then the weight shall fall from off your shoulders, the course shall be clear and plain, and you shall run the race which is set before you.
~ J.C. Ryle


Hold Your Possessions Loosely

Are you prosperous in the world? Have death, sickness, disappointment, poverty and family troubles passed over your door up to this time and not come in? Are you secretly saying to yourself, “Nothing can hurt me much.

I shall die quietly in my bed and see no sorrow.” Take care. You are not yet in harbor. A sudden storm of unexpected trouble may make you change your note. Set not your affection on things below. Hold them with a very loose hand and be ready to surrender them at a moment’s notice. Use your prosperity well while you have it; but lean not all your weight on it, lest it break suddenly and pierce your hand.
~ J.C. Ryle


Friday, February 12, 2021

Don’t Add Anything to the Bible

Let us beware of attempting to add anything to the word of God, as necessary to salvation. It provokes God to give us over to judicial blindness. It is as good as saying that His Bible is not perfect, and that we know better than He does what is necessary for man’s salvation.

It is just as easy to destroy the authority of God’s word by addition as by subtraction, by burying it under man’s inventions as by denying its truth. The whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, must be our rule of faith nothing added and nothing taken away.
~ J.C. Ryle


God’s View of Man

Young men, God does not show favoritism or respects the honors bestowed by men. He rewards no man’s heritage, or wealth, or rank, or position. He does not see with man’s eyes.

The poorest saint that ever died in a ghetto is nobler in His sight than the richest sinner that ever died in a palace. God does not look at riches, titles, education, beauty, or anything of the kind. There is only one thing that God does look at, and that is the immortal soul. He measures all men by one standard, one measure, one test, one criterion, and that is the state of their souls.
~ J.C. Ryle


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Living Like a Pilgrim

We must beware of thinking too much about our meals, our furniture, our houses, and all those many things which concern the life of the body.

We must strive to live like people whose first thoughts are about the immortal soul. We must endeavor to pass through the world like people who are not yet at home, and are not so troubled about the fare they meet with on the road and at the inn. Blessed are they who feel like pilgrims and strangers in this life, and whose best things are all to come!
~ J.C. Ryle


The Blessedness of Christ’s Return

True Christians shall alone be found ready at the second advent. Washed in the blood of atonement, clothed in Christ’s righteousness, renewed by the Spirit, they shall meet their Lord with boldness, and sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb, to go out no more.

They shall be with their Lord–with Him who loved them and gave Himself for them–with Him who bore with them, and carried them through their earthly pilgrimage–with Him, whom they loved truly and followed faithfully on earth, though with much weakness, and many a tear. Surely this also is a blessed prospect.
~ J.C. Ryle


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The Mighty Cost Of Our Freedom

“The freedom of Christ’s people has been procured, like all other freedom, at a mighty cost and by a mighty sacrifice. Great was the bondage in which they were naturally held, and great was the price necessary to be paid to set them free. Mighty was the enemy who claimed them as his captives, and it needed mighty power to release them out of his hands.

“But, blessed be God, there was grace enough, and power enough ready in Jesus Christ. He provided to the uttermost everything that was required to set His people free. The price that Christ paid for His people was nothing less than His own life-blood.”
~ J.C. Ryle
Practical Religion, “Freedom”, 219.


Exercising Your Faith Diligently

Would you have more faith? Do you find believing so pleasant that you would like to believe more? Then take heed that you are diligent in the use of every means of grace diligent in your private communion with God  diligent in your daily watchfulness over time, temper, and tongue  diligent in your private Bible reading  diligent in your own private prayers. It is vain to expect spiritual prosperity, when we are careless about these things. Let those who will, call it over-precise and legal to be particular about them. I only reply, that there never was an eminent saint who neglected them.

~ J.C. Ryle


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Stark Contrast of Believers and Unbelievers

There are two points in religion on which the teaching of the Bible is very plain and distinct. One of these points is the fearful danger of the ungodly; the other is the perfect safety of the righteous. One is the happiness of those who are converted; the other is the misery of those who are unconverted. One is the blessedness of being in the way to heaven; the other is the wretchedness of being in the way to hell.

I hold it to be of the utmost importance that these two points should be constantly impressed on the minds of professing Christians. I believe that the exceeding privileges of the children of God, and the deadly peril of the children of the world, should be continually set forth in the clearest colors before the Church of Christ. I believe that the difference between the person in Christ, and the person not in Christ, can never be stated too strongly and too fully. Reserve on this subject is a positive injury to the souls of people. Wherever such reserve is practiced, the careless will not be aroused, believers will not be established, and the cause of God will receive much damage.
~ J.C. Ryle


Don’t Undervalue the Old Testament

Let us beware of undervaluing, or despising the Old Testament. In its place and proportion, the Old Testament is just as valuable as the New.

There are probably many rich passages in that part of the Bible which have never yet been fully explored. There are deep things about Jesus in it, which many walk over like hidden gold mines, and know not the treasures beneath their feet. Let us reverence all the Bible. All is given by inspiration, and all is profitable. One part throws light upon another, and no part can ever be neglected without loss and damage to our souls.
~ J.C. Ryle


Monday, February 8, 2021

Are You Elect? Do You Have Fruit?

Election can only be known by its fruits. The Elect of God can only be discerned from those who are not Elect by their faith and life. We cannot climb up into the secret of God’s eternal counsels.

We cannot read the book of life. The fruits of the Spirit, seen and manifested in a man’s conversation, are the only grounds on which we can ascertain that he is one of God’s Elect. Where the marks of God’s Elect can be seen, there, and there only, have we any warrant for saying “this is one of the Elect.” How do I know that yon distant ship on the horizon of the sea has any pilot or steersman on board? I cannot with the best telescope discern anything but her masts and sails. Yet I see her steadily moving in one direction. That is enough for me.
~ J.C. Ryle


Do You Have These Marks of a Christian?

Are we ourselves people of God? Have we been born again? Have we the MARKS which always accompany the new birth–sense of sin, faith in Jesus, love of others, righteous living, separation from the world? Let us never be content until we can give a satisfactory answer to these questions.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

The Fruits of Your Public Worship

“The best public worship is that which produces the best private Christianity. The best Church services for the congregation are those which make its individual members most holy at home and alone.

If we want to know whether our own public worship is doing us good, let us try it by these tests. Does it stimulate our conscience? Does it send us to Christ? Does it add to our knowledge? Does it sanctify our life? If it does, we may depend on it; it is worship of which we have no cause to be ashamed.”
~ J.C. Ryle


How to Walk with God

To walk with God is to walk in the light of God’s countenance; to live as people who remember that all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we walk, that the darkness is no darkness with Him,

and remembering this, to aim at never thinking or saying or doing anything we should be ashamed of in the presence of the great Searcher of hearts. To walk with God is to walk after the Spirit–to look to the Holy Spirit as our Teacher, to lean on Him for strength, to put no confidence in the flesh, to set our affections on things above, to wean them from things on earth, and to be spiritually-minded.
~ J.C. Ryle


Saturday, February 6, 2021

Do YOU Possess the Marks of the New Birth?

Would we know what the marks of the new birth are? We shall find them already written for our learning in the First Epistle of John. The person born of God “believes that Jesus is the Christ,” – “does not commit sin,” – “does righteousness,” – “loves the brethren,” – “overcomes the world,” – “keeps himself from the wicked one.” This is the person born of the Spirit! Where these fruits are to be seen, there is the new birth of which our Lord is speaking. They that lacks these marks, is yet dead in trespasses and sins. (1 John 5:1; 3:9; 2:29; 3:14; 5:4; 5:18).

And now let us solemnly ask ourselves whether we know anything of the mighty change of which we have been reading? Have we been born again? Can any marks of the new birth be seen in us? Can the sound of the Spirit be heard in our daily conversation? Is the image and superscription of the Spirit to be discerned in our lives? Happy is the person who can give satisfactory answers to these questions! A day will come when those who are not born again will wish that they had never been born at all.
~ J.C. Ryle



Bringing Children to Christ

We must never allow ourselves to suppose that little children’s souls may be safely let alone. Their character depends exceedingly on what they see and hear during their first seven years.

They are never too young to learn evil and sin. They are never too young to receive religious impressions. They think in their childish way about God, their souls, and a world to come, far sooner and far more deeply than most people are aware. They are far more ready to respond to appeals to their feeling of right and wrong than many suppose. They have each a conscience. God has mercifully not left Himself without a witness in their hearts, fallen and corrupt as their natures are. Each have a soul which will live forever in heaven or in hell. We cannot begin too soon to endeavor to bring them to Christ.
~ J.C. Ryle



Friday, February 5, 2021

Getting Beyond Selfish Prayers

Let us take heed that we pray for others also. Let us beware of selfish prayers – the prayers which are wholly taken up with our own affairs, and in which there is no place for other souls beside our own.

Let us name all whom we love before God continually. Let us pray for all – the worst, the hardest, and the most unbelieving. Let us continue praying for them year after year, in spite of their continued unbelief. God’s time of mercy may be a distant one. Our eyes may not see an answer to our intercession. The answer may not come for ten, fifteen, or twenty years. It may not come until we have exchanged prayer for praise, and are far away from this world. But while we live, let us pray for others. The greatest kindness we can do to anyone is to speak for them to our Lord Jesus Christ. The day of judgment will show that one of the greatest links in drawing some souls to God, has been the intercessory prayer of friends.
~ J.C. Ryle



Oh, To Be Pardoned!

“Where must a man go for pardon? Where is forgiveness to be found? There is a way both sure and plain and that way is simply to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. It is to cast your soul, with all its sins, unreservedly on Christ,

– to cease completely from any dependence on your own works or doings, either in whole or in part – and to rest on no other work but Christ’s work, no other merit but Christ’s merit, as your ground of hope. Take this course and you are a pardoned soul.”
~ J.C. Ryle



Thursday, February 4, 2021

Lazy Christians

 “The man who is content to sit ignorantly by his own fireside, wrapped up in his own private affairs, and has no public eye for what is going on in the Church and the world, is a miserable patriot, and a poor style of Christian. Next to our Bibles and our own hearts, our Lord would have us study our own times.”

- J.C. Ryle

Lukewarm Christians

 The saddest symptom about many so-called Christians is the utter absence of anything like conflict and fight against spiritual apathy in their Christianity. They eat, they drink, they dress, they work, they amuse themselves, they get money, they spend money, they go through a brief round of formal religious services once or twice every week. But of the great spiritual warfare – its watchings and strugglings, its agonies and anxieties, its battles and contests – of all things they appear to know nothing at all. Let us take care that this case is not our own. -J.C. Ryle


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Don’t Be A Dim Lighthouse

Settle it down in your mind that you will aim at the highest degree of holiness, spiritual-mindedness, and consecration to God—that you will not be content with any low degree of sanctification.

Resolve that, by the grace of God, you will make Christianity beautiful in the eyes of the world. Remember that the children of the world have but few patterns of true religion before them. Oh, that every true Christian would recollect that he is set as a lighthouse in the midst of a dark world, and would labor so to live that every part of him may reflect light, and no side be dim!
~ J.C. Ryle


Do Not Become Dead to the Gospel

 Men and women who hear the Gospel regularly, I often fear much for you. I fear lest you become so familiar with the sounds of its doctrines, that insensibly you become dead to its power.

I fear lest your religion should sink down into a little vague talk about your own weakness and corruption, and a few sentimental expressions about Christ, while real practical fighting on Christ’s side is altogether neglected. Oh, beware of this state of mind! Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only. No victory—no crown! Fight and overcome!
~ J.C. Ryle


Friday, January 29, 2021

To Be Like Christ Is To Forgive

 Let us determine by God’s grace to forgive, even as we hope to be forgiven. This is the nearest approach we can make to the mind of Christ Jesus.

This is the character which is most suitable to a poor sinful child of Adam. God’s free forgiveness of sins is our highest privilege in this world. God’s free forgiveness will be our only title to eternal life in the world to come. Then let us be forgiving during the few years that we are here upon earth.
~ J.C. Ryle



Do Not Neglect the Throne of Grace

 Let us pray more heartily in private, and throw our whole souls more into our prayers.

There are live prayers and there are dead prayers; prayers that cost us nothing, and prayers which often cost us strong crying and tears. What are yours? When great professors backslide in public, and the church is surprised and shocked, the truth is that they had long ago backslidden on their knees. They had neglected the throne of grace.
~ J.C. Ryle



Train Your Children like God Trains His Children

 As you train your children, continually remember how God trains His children. 


The Bible tells us that God has an elect people—a family in this world. All sinners who have been convinced of sin, and fled to Jesus for peace, make up that family. All of us who really believe in Christ for salvation are its members.


Now God the Father is always training the members of this family for their everlasting home with Him in heaven. He acts like a farmer pruning his vines, that they may bear more fruit. He knows the character of each one of us—our besetting sins—our weaknesses—our special needs. He knows our deeds and where we live, who our companions in life are, and what our trials are, what our temptations are, and what our privileges are. He knows all these things, and is always working out everything for our good. He allots to each of us, in His providence, the very things we need, in order to bear the most fruit—He gives us as much sunshine and rain as we can stand—as much of bitter things as we can bear, and as much of sweet things that would be good for us. Dear friend, if you want to train your children wisely, note well how God the Father trains His children. He does all things well; the plan which He adopts must be right.

Notice, too, how many things there are which God withholds from His children. The majority of His children, have had desires which God has determined not to fulfill. There has often been some one thing they wanted to attain, and yet there has always been some barrier to prevent fulfillment. It has been just as if God was placing it above our reach, and saying, "This is not good for you; this must not be." Moses greatly desired to cross over the Jordan, and see the land of promise; but you will remember his desire was never granted.

Notice, also, how often God leads His people by ways which seem dark and mysterious to our eyes. We cannot see the meaning of all His dealings with us; we cannot see the reasonableness of the path in which our feet are walking. Sometimes so many trials have assaulted us—so many difficulties surrounded us—that we have not been able to discover the purpose of it all. It has been just as if our Father was taking us by the hand into a dark place and saying, "Don’t ask any questions, but just follow Me." There was a direct road from Egypt to Canaan, yet Israel was not led into it; but round and round, through the wilderness. And this seemed very hard at the time. "The soul of the people," we are told, "became very discouraged on the way." [Exodus 13:17Numbers 21:4]

Also, see how often God chastens His people with trial and affliction. He sends them crosses and disappointments; He lays them low with sickness; He strips them of property and friends; He changes them from one position in life to another; He visits them with things that are most difficult to flesh and blood; and some of us have almost fainted under the burdens laid on us. We have felt pressed beyond strength, and have been almost ready to murmur at the hand which chastened us. Paul the Apostle had a thorn in the flesh assigned to him, some bitter bodily trial, no doubt, though we do not know exactly what it was. But this we do know—he pleaded with the Lord three times that it might be removed; yet it was not taken away [2 Corinthians 12:89].

Now, dear friends, despite all these things, did you ever hear of a single child of God who thought his Father did not treat him wisely? No, I am sure you never did. God's children will always tell you, in the long run, it was a blessed thing they did not have their own way, and that God had done far better for them than they could have done for themselves. Yes! And they could tell you, too, that God's dealings had provided more happiness for them than they ever would have obtained themselves, and that His way, however dark at times, was the way of joy and the path of peace.

I ask you to take to heart the lesson which God's dealings with His people is meant to teach you. Do not be afraid to withhold from your child anything you think will do him harm, whatever his own wishes may be. This is God's plan.

Do not hesitate to give him commands, of which he may not presently see the wisdom, and to guide him in ways which may not now seem reasonable to his mind. This is God's plan.

Do not shrink from chastising and correcting him whenever you see his soul's health requires it, however painful it may be to your feelings; and remember medicines for the mind must not be rejected because they are bitter. This is God's plan.

And, above all, do not be afraid that such a plan of training will make your child unhappy. I warn you against this delusion. Depend on it, the road to unhappiness is always having our own way. To have our wills checked and denied is a blessed thing for us; it makes us value enjoyments when they come. To be perpetually indulged is the way to become selfish; and selfish people and spoiled children, believe me, are seldom happy.

Brethren, do not pretend to be wiser than God—train your children as He trains His.

The book "The Duties of Parents" can be found here: J.C. Ryle



The Converting Power of the Holy Spirit

 Let us dismiss from our minds forever the common idea that natural theology, moral persuasion, logical arguments, or even an exhibition of Gospel truth, are sufficient of themselves to turn a sinner from his sins, if once brought to bear upon him. It is a strong delusion. They will not do so. The heart of man is far harder than we fancy—the ‘old Adam’ is much more strong than we suppose.

The heart of man will never look to Christ, repent, and believe, until the Holy Spirit comes down upon it. Until that takes place, our inner nature is like the earth before the present order of creation began, “without form and void, and darkness covering the face of the deep.” (Gen. 1:2.) The same power which said at the beginning, “Let there be light—and there was light,” must work a creating work in us, or we shall never rise to newness of life.
~ J.C. Ryle



The Tender Mercy of Christ

 “Never, never let us curtail the freeness of the glorious Gospel, or clip its fair proportions. Never let us make the gate more straight and the way more narrow than pride and the love of sin have made it already. The Lord Jesus is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

“He does not regard the quantity of faith, but the quality. He does not measure its degree, but its truth. He will not break any bruised reed, nor quench any smoking flax. He will never let it be said that any perished at the foot of the cross. ‘Him that cometh unto Me’, He says, ‘I will in no wise cast out’ (John 6:37).”
~ J.C. Ryle



Examining Your Debt to Christ

How is it that many who profess and call themselves Christians, do so little for the Savior whose name they bear? How is it that many, whose faith and grace it would be uncharitable to deny, work so little, give so little, say so little, take so little pains to promote Christ’s cause and bring glory to Christ in the world?

These questions admit of only one answer. It is a low sense of debt and obligation to Christ, which is the amount of the whole matter. Let us daily pray that we may see the sinfulness of sin, and the amazing grace of Christ, more clearly and distinctly.
~ J.C. Ryle



Parents: Imitate Christ For Your Children

“Take care what you do in front of your child. It is a true proverb, ‘He who sins before a child, sins double.’ Strive rather to be a living epistle of Christ, such as your families can read, and that plainly too.

Be an example of reverence for the Word of God, reverence in prayer, reverence for means of grace, reverence for the Lord’s day. Be an example in words, in temper, in diligence, in temperance, in faith, in charity, in kindness, in humility.
“Do not think your children will practice what they do not see you do. You are their model picture – and they will copy what you are. Your reasoning and your lecturing, your wise commands and your good advice – all this they may not understand, but they can understand your life!”
~ J.C. Ryle

The book "The Duties of Parents" can be found here: J.C. Ryle



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