Humility: A Rare Jewel in the Life of a Christian

31000000000264170_1920x1080.jpg(J.C. Ryle)

“And Mary said: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of his servant.” Luke 1:46-56

Let us mark Mary’s deep humility in this hymn of praise. She who was chosen of God to the high honor of being Messiah’s mother–speaks of her own “humble estate,” and acknowledges her need of a “Savior.” She uses the language of one who has been taught by the grace of God to feel her own sins, and need a Savior for her own soul.

Let us copy this holy humility of our Lord’s mother. Like her, let us be lowly in our own eyes, and think little of ourselves. Humility is the highest grace that can adorn the Christian character. It is a true saying of an old divine, “A man has just so much Christianity–as he has humility.” This is the grace which is most suitable to sinful human nature.

Above all, humility is the grace which is within the reach of every converted person!
All are not rich.
All are not learned.
All are not highly gifted.
All are not preachers.
But all children of God may be clothed with humility!

Nothing is Impossible When God’s Concerned

The Curve

J.C. Ryle

“With God nothing shall be impossible!” Luke 1:37

Let us mark the mighty principle which the angel Gabriel lays down to silence all objections about the incarnation: “With God nothing shall be impossible.”

A hearty reception of this great principle is of immense importance to our own inward peace. Questions and doubts will often arise in men’s minds about many subjects in religion. They are the natural result of our fallen estate of soul. Our faith at the best is very feeble. Our knowledge at its highest is clouded with much infirmity. And among many antidotes to a doubting, anxious, questioning state of mind, few will be found more useful than that before us now–a thorough conviction of God’s omnipotence. With Him who called the world into being and formed it out of nothing–everything is possible. Nothing is too hard for the Lord.

There is no sin too black and bad to be pardoned. The blood of Christ cleanses from all sin.

There is no heart too hard and wicked to be changed. The heart of stone can be made a heart of flesh.

There is no work too hard for a believer to do. We may do all things through Christ strengthening us.

There is no trial too hard to be borne. The grace of God is sufficient for us.

There is no promise too great to be fulfilled. Christ’s words never pass away–and what He has promised, He is able to perform.

There is no difficulty too great for a believer to overcome. When God is for us–then who shall can against us? The mountain shall become a plain!

Let principles like these be continually before our minds. The angel’s maxim is an invaluable remedy. Faith never rests so calmly and peacefully–as when it lays its head on the pillow of God’s omnipotence!

No Fruit, No Conversion

800px-PapayaLet it be a settled principle in our religion that when a person brings forth no fruits of the Spirit, they do not have the Holy Spirit within them.
Let us resist as a deadly error the common idea, that all baptized people are born again, and that all members of the Church have the Holy Spirit. One simple question must be our rule: What fruit does a person bring forth? Do they repent? Do they believe with the heart on Jesus? Do they live a holy life? Do they overcome the world? Habits like these are what Scripture calls “fruit.” When these “fruits” are lacking, it is profane to talk of a person having the Spirit of God within them.
~ J.C. Ryle

The Devil and His Duties in Church

16000000000247880_1920x1080The devil, no doubt, is everywhere. That malicious spirit is unwearied in his efforts to do us harm. He is ever watching for our halting, and seeking occasion to destroy our souls. But nowhere perhaps is the devil so active as in a congregation of Gospel-hearers.

Nowhere does he labor so hard to stop the progress of that which is good, and to prevent men and women being saved. From him come wandering thoughts and roving imaginations–listless minds and dull memories–sleepy eyes and fidgety nerves–weary ears and distracted attention. In all these things Satan has a great hand. People wonder where these things come from, and marvel how it is that they find sermons so dull, and remember them so badly! They forget the parable of the sower. They forget the devil.
~ J.C. Ryle

Being Convinced of Your Sinful Heart

220px-Hazard_T.svg“What is the reason that men are so half-hearted in seeking Christ? Why are they so soon deterred, and checked, and discouraged in drawing near to God?
The answer is short and simple. They do not feel sufficiently their own sins. They are not thoroughly convinced of the plague of their own hearts, and the disease of their own souls. Once let a man see his own guilt, as it really is, and he will never rest till he has found pardon and peace in Christ.”
~ J.C. Ryle

Your True Character Exposed

Chilean_purse_seineLet it be a settled principle with us, never to be satisfied with mere outward church-membership. We may be inside the net, and yet not be in Christ.

The waters of baptism are poured on myriads who are never washed in the water of life. The bread and wine are eaten and drunk by thousands at the Lord’s table, who never feed on Christ by faith. Are we converted? Are we among the “good fish?” This is the grand question. It is one which must be answered at last. The net will soon be “drawn to shore.” The true character of every man’s religion will at length be exposed. There will be an eternal separation between the good fish and the bad. There will be a “furnace of fire” for the wicked.
~ J.C. Ryle

The Fruits and Effects He Produces

1920512_590700531000752_1397415828_n(J.C. Ryle, “The Holy Spirit“)

“When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment.” (John 16:8)

Where the Holy Spirit is, there will always be deep conviction of sin–and true repentance for it. It is His special office to convict of sin.

He shows the exceeding holiness of God.

He teaches the exceeding corruption and infirmity of our nature.

He strips us of our blind self-righteousness.

He opens our eyes to our awful guilt, folly and danger.

He fills the heart with sorrow, contrition, and abhorrence for sin–as the abominable thing which God hates.

He who knows nothing of all this, and saunters carelessly through life, thoughtless about sin, and indifferent and unconcerned about his soul–is a dead man before God! He has not the Holy Spirit.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in a man’s heart can only be known by the fruits and effects He produces. Mysterious and invisible to mortal eye as His operations are–they always lead to certain visible and tangible results.

Just as you know there is life in a tree by its sap, buds, leaves and fruits–just so you may know the Spirit to be in a man’s heart by the influence He exercises over his thoughts, affections, opinions, habits, and life. I lay this down broadly and unhesitatingly. I see it clearly marked out in our Lord Jesus Christ’s words, “Every tree is known by his own fruit.” Luke 6:44

Training Children To Pray

1924756_362917790512963_797200242_n“Parents, if you love your children, do all that lies in your power to train them up to a habit of prayer. Show them how to begin.

Tell them what to say. Encourage them to persevere. Remind them if they become careless and slack about it. Let it not be your fault, at any rate, if they never call on the name of the Lord.”
~ J.C. Ryle
The Upper Room, “The Duties of Parents”, 294.

Sickness, Trials and Disappointments!

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JC Ryle

Sickness helps to remind men of death. Most live as if they were never going to die. They follow business, or pleasure, or politics, or science–as if earth was their eternal home. They plan and scheme for the future, like the rich fool in the parable–as if they had a long lease of life. A heavy illness sometimes goes far to dispel these delusions. It awakens men from their day-dreams, and reminds them that they have to die, as well as to live. Now this I say emphatically is a mighty good.

We live in such a lovely and pleasant world–we are so surrounded with so much that is smiling and mirthful–that if we were not often obliged to taste of sickness, trials and disappointments–we would forget our heavenly home, and pitch our tents right in this Sodom!

Therefore it is that God’s people pass through great tribulations. Therefore it is they are often called upon to suffer the sting of affliction and anxiety–or weep over the grave of those whom they have loved as their own soul.

It is their Father’s hand that chastens them!

It is thus He weans their affections from things below–and fixes them on Himself!

It is thus He trains them for eternity, and cuts the threads one by one which bind their wavering hearts to this poor earth.

No doubt such chastening is grievous for the time–but still it brings many a hidden grace to light; and cuts down many a secret seed of sin.

The purest gold is that which has been longest in the refiner’s furnace.

The brightest diamond is often that which has required the most grinding and polishing.

We shall see those who have suffered most–shining among the brightest stars in the assembly of Heaven.

The last night of weeping will soon be spent, the last wave of trouble will soon have rolled over us–and then we shall be at home forever with the Lord!

“Our light affliction endures but for a moment, and it works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!” 2 Corinthians 4:17

Be Patient and Endure

87dec81797506402d8b06427d2f0a10cWe must run with patience, or we shall never obtain. There may be many things we cannot understand, much that the flesh could perhaps wish otherwise, but let us endure unto the end, and all shall be made clear, and God’s arrangements shall be proved best.

Think not to have your reward on earth, do not draw back because your good things are all yet to come. Today is the cross, but tomorrow is the crown. Today is the labor, but tomorrow is the wages. Today is the sowing, but tomorrow is the harvest. Today is the battle, but tomorrow is the rest. Today is the weeping, but tomorrow is the joy. And what is today compared to tomorrow? Today is but seventy years, but tomorrow is eternity. Be patient and hope unto the end.
~ J.C. Ryle