Tag Archives: James Ryle

From “Rylisms” by James Ryle

Numbering Our Days

“So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, NASB).

I once heard a comedian say, “Life is like a roll of toilet paper — the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!”

Perhaps you have noticed how the pace of Life has picked up over the past few years; things seem to be moving faster and faster; Time seems to be turning into a blur. It was just yesterday, wasn’t it, that the big Y2K scare had people building bunkers and stocking up with beans and bullets? And here we are now — already pushing to the close of 2008.

With the upgraded pace of Life comes multiple choices of how we will spend our Time — and our lives. What will we do with what has been given to us? How will we steward our talents, resources, and opportunities. What will be the end of all our labors?

Shortly before his death, George Bernard Shaw was asked a most curious question by a eager young reporter. “Mr. Shaw,” he began, “you have visited with some of the world’s most famous people. You’ve known royalty, renowned authors, great artists, brilliant teachers, and admired dignitaries from every part of the world. You have conversed with scientists and celebrities alike. If you could live your life over and be anybody you’ve ever known – who would you choose to be?”

Shaw answered with hardly a hesitation, “I would choose to be the man George Bernard Shaw could have been – but never was.”

Shaw died one month later – died as a man bound within the limitations of a life that did not reach its full potential, that did not achieve its highest purpose.

May you so number you days, even in the midst of this blistering pace, so that you have no regrets as your turn the final corner on this thing called Life. May you exit this world and enter the next with a heart of wisdom and a life well-lived.


From “Rylisms” by James Ryle

You have to…. 

Take a Risk

“Men who hazarded their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 15:26)

The status quo requires no risk. Nothing ventured; nothing gained. But excellence, by its very nature, requires that you break out of the pack and pull away from the common and ordinary, shaking off the mundane and mediocre. Hey, the only thing in the middle of the road is yellow stripes and dead armadillos!

It has be said many times, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” What this means, then, is if you want something that you’ve never had before, you must be willing to do something that you’ve never done before. And that is where RISK comes into the equation.

Noah built a boat in the middle of a desert —that was a risk. Abraham left his home and went out, not knowing where he was going – that was a risk. Moses forsook the security of Pharaoh’s palace, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God —that was a risk.

Daniel prayed to God though the king had decreed death to any who dared do so—that was a risk. David faced a giant in the open field of battle—that was a risk. John the Baptist confronted the sins of King Herod—that was a risk. Peter walked on water—that was a risk. Paul openly declared to Caesar himself that Jesus Christ is Lord—that was a risk.

These were men of whom the world was not worthy. These are the fathers of our Faith, and we are their sons and daughters. Now it is our turn. Now we have the opportunity and the abilities to not only follow in their steps, but to go beyond where they themselves were able to go. But it will require a definite dose of vision, passion, discipline and risk.

Are you willing to make that leap?



From “Rylisms” by James Ryle

To not bring this to your attention would be an act of the most vile hatred for you.  Love means sharing that which is above all true. 

A Day of Reckoning

“Bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.” (Luke 19:27, NKJV).

There is a finality to unbelief. Those who reject Christ and refuse God’s only provision for salvation will most surely die in their sins. The Bible leaves nothing vague on this matter, for the stakes are high and eternal.

The writer of the Book of Hebrews presents the clearest case regarding this weighty issue: “Anyone who disobeys the Law of Moses is put to death without any mercy when judged guilty from the evidence of two or more witnesses. What, then, of those who despise the Son of God? who treat as a cheap thing the blood of God’s covenant which purified them from sin? who insult the Spirit of grace? Just think how much worse is the punishment they will deserve! It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” (Hebrews 10:28—31, Good News Bible).

Moreover, Jesus said, “Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Matthew 21:44). Christ is the Rock. You and I must fall upon Him and be broken – redeemed from all self-righteousness and sinful independence. Otherwise, the Rock will fall on us and we will be crushed—separated forever from God, and from all things good and holy.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “In the end there will be two categories of people. Those who say to God, “Thy will be done,’ and thus enter Heaven; and those to whom God says, ‘Thy will be done,’ as they enter Hell.”

A Day of Reckoning is coming for believer and unbeliever alike. For those who reject Christ it will be a day of terror—and finality. For those who love the Lord, and served Him faithfully in life, it will be a day of reward and great joy.

What are you doing to be best prepared for that coming Day?

From the writings of James Ryle

Outside the Camp

“Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.” (Hebrews 13:13)

This world is a campy place, and people gravitate to the camp that suits them. This is true in may ways — political, religious, economic, recreational, vocational, educational, or ideological. We find our niche and get our name, and learn the secret handshake. We also learn why we are superior to those in other camps.

But Jesus is outside the camp. He is a man with no labels. And the moment you link up with one group or another, and take unto yourself the labels and causes and agendas and issues of this or that group, then it is you cease following Jesus and begin following men. That will lead to pride, division, strife, and trouble.

Men love to build empires and fight enemies. But Jesus has called us to something better and higher. He has called us unto Himself.
We are in this world, but not of this world. Here we have no continuing city; for we seek a city whose builder and maker is God.

Therefore, we are pilgrims passing through the many camps we come in contact with; exchanging greetings in the marketplace, dining in the restaurants, sunning on the beach, or playing in the fields — but only for a while. For this is not our home; this is not our camp.
Jesus calls us onward, upward, and outward.

Onward insures that we will experience progress in our lives; upward insures we will reach our potential; and outward insures we will be misunderstood…and rejected. For the moment you leave the camp and go out to Jesus, the others campers will hold you in reproach — just like they did to Him.

But while we may be reproached by the world, we are embraced by the Lord. Not such a bad trade off if you ask me!
See you outside the camp?

From the “Writings of James Ryle”

     This is where it all begins for the christian.  By saying yes, we allow God to work in our lives, to work through our lives, and by doing so open open our lives to the blessings He has in store for us both now and through eternity.

Never Hesitate to Say Yes to God’s Plan for Your Life


“Be it unto me according to Thy Word.” (Luke 1:38).


Os Guinness writes, ” Our passion is to know we are fulfilling the purpose for which we are on earth. All standards of success — wealth, power, knowledge, position, fame — grow tiny and hollow if we do not satisfy this deeper longing.”


Nothing short of God’s will obeyed can both ground and fulfill the truest human desire for significance. And we are never happier than when we are expressing the deepest gifts and callings that are truly us.


Abraham was called by God out of a dead religion practiced by pagans, and became the Father of Faith. He was without children until God spoke a promise. Abraham believed God and became the Father of Nations. He said yes to God.


Moses was a stuttering stammering sheep herding Bedouin in the high deserts of Midian, when a burning bush caught his eye. Approaching the Bush, he heard a voice. That Voice spoke of great and mighty things to come. Moses answered, “Who am I?” The Voice called him out of his own sense of inability and limitations, and ushered him forth into the great drama of human history as one of the greatest and most influential men who has ever lived. He said yes to God.


David was the runt of the litter; the eighth born son in a family where seven was enough. Last on the food chain, there was usually nothing left when his turn came along. God spoke a promise to his young heart in the isolated fields of unseen worship. He believed God and rose to become the greatest King Israel has ever known. He said yes to God.


Mary said yes to God and rose from humble surroundings to be the mother of our Lord.


Now it’s your turn. Whatever the situation of your life, or the circumstances in which you presently find yourself — it is never too late to say yes to God’s will for your life. He can still do the impossible with the improbable.


He CAN do what He says He can do. And He WILL do what He says He will do!


Never overlook the extraordinary potential of the ordinary! Never under-estimate the power of a personal word from God! And, never hesitate to say yes to God’s plan for your life! These are the three great lessons we learn from a peasant girl named Mary.


From the “Writings of James Ryle”

     The reason some christians are weak in their faith is because they don’t know what the word of God says.  They doubt the Word of God.  Believe and take God at His word; have faith and trust that He can and will do all He says.  You’ll be amazed at what will happen in your life when take God at His word.

Never Under-estimate the Power of a Personal Word from God


“With God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)


Sometimes important things can be lost in translation. This verse is one example of that. The word nothing fails to convey into English the fullness of its Greek beginnings. In order to get a better sense of what is being said, we first need to split the word into two words — as in “no thing” instead of “nothing.”


Next we examine the Greek word rhema, which is translated as “thing.” It literally means “that which is spoken by a living voice.” It refers to the power that is inherent within any thing that God says.


In fact, the full meaning of the word “nothing” would look like this if translated into English — “Each and every thing God says; any and all words that proceed from His mouth; the whole of what He speaks, and not just a part, shall not under any circumstance of any sort be impossible in any way or at any time.”


Or, as the English puts it, “With God nothing shall be impossible.”


The point is both powerful, and personal. Whenever God speaks a word to your heart and places a promise upon your life — you can take it to the bank! He will do what He has said He will do.


“God said it, and it was so.” This phrase fills the first chapter of Genesis and introduces us to the God who does what He says. Even foolish Balaam has at least enough sense to state the obvious — “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19).


So, then, what has God spoken to you? What promise has He made, what dream has He given, what hope has He placed in your heart? Whatever it is, know this for certain — “Each and every thing God says; any and all words that proceed from His mouth; the whole of what He speaks, and not just a part, shall not under any circumstance of any sort be impossible in any way or at any time.”


Never under-estimate the power of a personal word from God! That’s the second of three great lessons we learn from Mary’s humble response to God’s amazing invitation. Lesson Three will come tomorrow.


From the “Writings of James Ryle”

     Imagine if people looked for the potential in the things and people around them rather than taking them for granted.  Imagine your potential if you let Christ guide your life.

Never Overlook the Potential of the Ordinary

“Despise not the day of small beginnings.” (Zechariah 4:10, NLT).

God always does extraordinary things with ordinary stuff. Just look at what He made with dirt — YOU! How amazing is that? The Bible tells us that He made everything out of nothing. He is the CAN DO God. With Him nothing is impossible.

One day a young boy showed up at a crowded event to hear a traveling preached talk about wonderful things. He never dreamed for an instant that he would become the central character in an epic moment of history. The preacher was Jesus. The young boy was the lad with a small sack lunch containing two fish and five loaves of bread.

It was just a sack lunch on any other day, but on this day it became the stuff of miracles. It is amazing what can happen when you place something in the hands of Jesus. What do you think could happen if you placed your life in His hands?

You may be just an ordinary person, with ordinary looks, and ordinary thoughts, ordinary talents and ordinary dreams — but Jesus can do something amazing with that sack lunch of yours. If you just let Him have it.

Most people never reach their full potential in life simply because they overlook the potential of the ordinary. If you simply start where you ARE, instead of waiting to start until you get to where you hope to go — you will become all you ever dreamed of being!

Little by little. Step by step. Day by day.

Like Mary did on that first night when God told her of extraordinary things, say yes to God and let the miracle begin to slowly grow inside you.

Never overlook the potential of the ordinary. That’s the first of three great lessons we learn from Mary’s humble response to God’s invitation. Lesson Two will come tomorrow.

From the Writings of James Ryle

     Nothing can make such a difference, offer so much peace, raise our hope, and increase our faith like the habit of prayer. 

Driven to My Knees

“One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4 (KJV)

Abraham Lincoln said, “Many times I have been driven to my knees in prayer by the conscious knowledge that I had no where else to turn.”

For many of us it takes trouble to drive us to our knees. A crisis in our life, or some dread calamity beyond our power to avert. While prayer is certainly the appropriate course when faced with such things, I want to make a case for a more noble cause. Beginning tomorrow, I want to share three great facts about prayer that, once comprehended by us, will drive us to our knees without the aid of crisis and calamity.

By way of introduction to this short series of posts, let me acquaint you with a great promise from Scripture: “Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.” Psalm 92:13 (KJV).

Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” Thus, if we are “planted in the house of the Lord” then we are rooted and grounded in a life of devotional faithfulness. This means that we will “flourish in the courts of our God.” If House is where He lives, the Courts is where He works.

In other words, our commitment to a life of prayer opens the doors for us to enter into the fullness of God’s work in the earth. Being made sensitive to His presence, to His Voice, and to His ways while we are in His House, makes us ready and available to see His Hand at work in our world — bringing His kingdom all around us in the lives of our families, our friends — and even our foes.

“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.” (Samuel Chadwick)

May we become men and women who are driven to our knees!

From the Writings of James Ryle

    Our beliefs are important, but the attitude we have in our expression of them is just as important.   How many people have we turned away because of our attitude?  People won’t care how much we know until they see how much we care.    

Be Winsome, and You Just Might Win Some

“You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth.” (2 Timothy 2:25, The Message).

Tit for Tat — that seems to be the standard operating procedure for today’s divided world. We live in the midst of an embattled and embittered population, polarized by strongly held opinions and cauterized by spiteful arguments and endless shouting matches as each side tries to prove to the other why one is right and the other wrong.

Today’s verse is inviting us to raise the bar in our own life and be done with pointless arguments and strife. By taking the high road in moral debates, and listening respectfully to what others truly think, feel and believe; and by keeping a cool head when expressing your own thoughts and ideas — you just never know what God might do.

So refuse to get involved in inane discussions that always end up in fights. Instead, become a servant — God’s servant — and steer clear from becoming argumentative.

Even though there are plenty of models for the argumentative style displayed on the various television networks, and even though this worldly spirit has found a place in many of today’s pulpits, passing itself off in the guise of “apologetics” — this is not what the Lord wants us to be: combative, belligerent, self-exalting know-it-alls.

Rather, He tells us that by being winsome, we just might win some.

“Be a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, enabling them to escape the Devil’s trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands.” (2Ti 2:23-26).

Be winsome, and you just might win some.

From the Writings of James Ryle-Nov. 4

     I came across this last night in my meandering, and found it food for thought.

The Book of Presidents

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, NASB).

On this day we vote into office our next President. Much has been said and done by both candidates in their campaigns for our support. One will win, and one will lose — whether it’s a blowout, or one of the tightest elections in history.

But the bigger question is, “Will WE win?”

Those who pursue the high office seem to be increasingly dismissive of the Highest Office of them all. This is a grave mistake. For no man can soundly govern a nation who is not himself being governed by God; to have authority, one must be under authority. The alternative is dictatorship.

Here is a brief view of how our previous Presidents have regarded the influence of God in their lives and administrations, particularly as that influence was wrought through their devotion to the Bible:

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” — George Washington

“So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable members of society…” —John Quincy Adams

“That Book, sir, is the rock on which our republic rests.” — Andrew Jackson

“I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to men. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.” — Abraham Lincoln

“Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet anchor of your liberties. Write its precepts in your hearts, and practice them in your lives. To the influence of this book are we indebted for all the progress made in true civilization, and to this we must look as our guide in the future.” — Ulysses S. Grant

“There are a good many problems before the American people today, and before me as President, but I expect to find the solution of those problems just in the proportion that I am faithful in the study of the Word of God. A man has deprived himself of the best there is in the world who has deprived himself of this, a knowledge of the Bible. When you have read the Bible, you will know that it is the Word of God, because you will have found it the key to your own heart, your own happiness, and your own duty.” — Woodrow Wilson

“We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic. Where we have been the truest and most consistent in obeying its precepts, we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity.” —Franklin Roosevelt

“The whole inspiration of our civilization springs from the teachings of Christ and the lessons of the prophets. To read the Bible for these fundamentals is a necessity of American life.” — Herbert Hoover

“The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings we get from Exodus and Saint Matthew, from Isaiah and Saint Paul. I don’t think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don’t have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the State!” —Harry Truman

“The Bible is endorsed by the ages. Our civilization is built upon its words. In no other book is there such a collection of inspired wisdom, reality, and hope.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Within the covers of the Bible are all the answers for all the problems men face. The Bible can touch hearts, order minds, and refresh souls.” — Ronald Reagan

May God revive our spirits and restore our Nation to a love for His Word, that we may walk in His ways.