"God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you" (1 Samuel 12:23).
Above Rubies Daily Encouragement Blogs
Through the weekly and daily devotionals you can be constantly encouraged in your great role of parenting, the highest career in the nation. You can also stay updated on what's happening with the Above Rubies ministry.
Colin Campbell is an internationally known author, speaker, and authority on Biblical Manhood and Family.
Called to the encouragement and lifting up of men throughout the world Colin is an author of books, teaching CDs and DVD's.
As author of Where Are The Real Men of God? and 21st Century Patriarch DVD studies, Colin often speaks at family retreats and Men's groups throughout the year also.
Believing God’s plan is "building godly generations" through men and families, he seeks to impart God’s truth to the next generation and their children too.
Nazareth was also a humble place. Nazareth means “separated or branch, possibly prophetic of Jesus.” Being warned by God in a dream, Joseph and Mary fled with baby Jesus to Egypt. After Herod died, they returned to Nazareth to live.
Mary was in Nazareth when the angel, Gabriel first announced to her that she was chosen to be the mother of Jesus the Christ (Luke 1:26). Joseph’s carpentry business was in Nazareth.
John 1:45, 46 tells us: “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.” God delights to bring the very best out of the things that men regard as insignificant.
1 Corinthians 1:25-29 says: “The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence.”
Simeon, an old man and obviously a humble man, being led by the Holy Spirit was told by God he would not see death before he saw the Christ (Luke 2:25-32). Why was this privilege not given to others? Could humility be the answer?
Anna, a prophetess and widow for 80 years lived at the temple serving God “with fastings and prayers night and day” (Luke 2:36-38). She also arrived on the scene just at the right moment and “gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”
I amazed me how few were privileged to behold his first coming. How many will be chosen to behold His second coming?
May God grant to us all a revival of the true humility of Christ.
Bethlehem was a humble city. The word Bethlehem means “a place of bread and food.” Jesus confessed in John 6:35: “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
Micah 5:2 says: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
Why didn’t God the Father choose a famous city such as Jerusalem to be the birthplace of the King of kings and Lord of lords? Once again, God the Father wanted to teach the world a tremendous lesson on the subject of humility. Evidently God did not want His Son to be born in Jerusalem. There was too much religious pride in Jerusalem, especially with the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus said of them: “All their works they do for to be seen of men; they make broad their phylacteries and enlarge the borders of their garments. And love the uppermost rooms at feast, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi” (Matthew 23:5-8).
Little Bethlehem was the place of His humble birth, but Jerusalem was the place of his death. Pride persecutes and puts to death the humble. But the humble shall always be lifted up for God the Father deeply loves humility. James 4:6, 10 says: “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. . . . Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
Bethlehem was near the place of Rachael’s tomb (Genesis 35:19). Ruth, the God-fearing Moabitess made her home in Bethlehem with her second husband, Boaz and was remembered as the ancestress of David (Ruth 1:1, 2, 19, 22). King David himself was known as “the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem-judah, whose name was Jesse” (1 Samuel 17:12, 15). It was also in Bethlehem that David was anointed king over Israel (1 Samuel 16:13).
Joseph was obviously a humble man. Matthew 1:18, 19 says: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost . Then Joseph her husband being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.”
If Joseph had been a proud and arrogant man he may have made a public example of Mary which could have meant her death or at least tremendous public humiliation. However, he was a humble man, he loved Mary, and was not willing to publically humiliate her. Instead, he was prepared to annul the espousement, which among the Jews, was the only legal contract in the marriage. All legal documents were signed at this time although the couple had to wait to come together to be married. The only way for these contracts to be annulled was through a bill of divorce.
The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and explained to him how Mary had become pregnant by the Holy Ghost and he must go ahead and marry her. Joseph was humble enough to bear with the shame and carry the suspicions of all those who knew them both. Even though they both might have tried to explain it, who would believe that they had not committed fornication before marriage? Even though he was a “just man” and would have wanted to defend his character, he was humble enough to obey the angel of the Lord who appeared to him in a dream. By getting married to Mary, friends and family would judge he was admitting his guilt.
Joseph was not only a just and upright man, but also a humble man, willing to suffer shame on the behalf of Christ. By putting Mary away and giving her a bill of divorce, he would have cleared his name, but humility tempered his justice and enabled him to bear the consequences.
The Scriptures mention that Joseph was a carpenter. After the people had listened to Jesus teach in his own town of Nazareth Matthew 13:54,55 says: “They were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s?” They questioned his credentials. In their minds the only people worth listening to had to have cultural and theological credence.
They were familiar with his mother and his brothers and sisters, but because of his lack of credentials they were offended in him (verse 57). The Greek word is “skandalizo” and means they were stumbled or scandalized by Him. They didn’t take humility into account at all when it came to theological wisdom and mighty works. They did not know how to connect the dots. A carpenter’s son could not, in their minds, be Israel’s Messiah.
But he surely was a carpenter’s son as well as the son of God.
I care little for the government which presides at Washington, in comparison with the government which rules the millions of American homes. No administration can seriously harm us if our home life is pure, frugal, and godly. No statesmanship or legislation can save us, if once our homes become the abode of profligacy.
~ T. L. Cuyler
Mary and Joseph were very humble people. Mary mentions in her Magnificat: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For he hath regarded the LOW ESTATE of his handmaiden: for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed” (Luke 1:48).
God looked for humility when He chose Mary to be the mother to bring forth the Savior of the world. It was not the status of her family; not her social standing, not brilliant intellect, not her gift of singing or any other gift, not her good looks if she was so endowed, and nor her pleasant personality.
Mary’s prophetic utterance made it abundantly clear that it was nothing less than her humility, her LOW ESTATE. She also prophecies: “He hath showed strength with his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of LOW DEGREE” (Luke 1:51, 52).
This is a great lesson for all who want God to lift them up. How low is our estate (regard of self) in our pursuit of humility? Have we reached the depth where God can gladly lift us up? We have just stated how God exalts them of low degree.
The question remains: How far down do we go to reach the point of low degree? Paul instructed the believers in Philippians 2:5-11: “Let this mind (attitude) be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
It appears to me that the lower the depth of humility the higher the exaltation.
Men, we must take this truth to our own hearts and make sure that we impart it to our families.
To be continued.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing.
The western world is not all silent regarding the birth of God’s beloved Son. We publish it with carols and brilliant light displays. We observe the 25th of December as a special holiday to commemorate the wonder and glory of His birth. Personally, I am all for it. I rejoice at the birth of Christ and am glad that along with other Christians we can enjoy a special meal and the sharing of gifts.
The devil is a killjoy and does not want Christians to rejoice and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the world. Some Christians despise Christmas trees and it decorations citing Jeremiah 10:1-5 and Isaiah 44:9-17. These Scriptures refer to the tree being used as an idol and worshipped. In all my life I have not met one Christian who worships a Christmas tree.
Legalism is always a joy robber. But God is not a killjoy. He lit up the heavens and the glory of the Lord came down. The heavenly hosts rejoiced, so why shouldn’t we?
Some say the reason we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas is because it is celebrated on a day that was once used to celebrate a pagan deity. In my mind, I think that if it replaces a pagan celebration, then it is a good thing and another victory over the devil.
However, in the excitement and joy of Christmas we must never be silent in our praises for Christ’s absolutely, amazing humility. This to me is the greatest reason why I celebrate Christ’s birth.
Who did God the Father invite to come to visit His newborn Son? Why was the list so small, especially considering He was the “Son of the Highest” and heir to the throne of David (Luke 1:32)?
It was only the humble shepherds were invited by God to see His newborn son (Luke 2:8-20). Verse 12 says: “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” What a sign that was. I doubt there would have been another baby in the world born in a cattle stall and laid in a manger. Yet this was no accident. It was pre-planned from the beginning of time.
While the “multitude of the heavenly host” rejoiced at this amazing event, the earth was strangely silent. Only a few humble shepherds were honored to receive the heavenly announcement. The Christmas carol, “Silent Night, holy night” truly fitted the manger scene.
King Herod only received the news second hand. He was too proud to receive the great news from God. The religious leaders of Israel were not notified by God or angels for they were also too proud. In fact, the whole nation, apart from the humble shepherds, were silent and asleep that night.
When heaven reasoned who should be told and invited to this awesome holy occasion, out of the whole nation, it was only the humble shepherds who were given the amazing privilege
Oh how God loves humility.
There has never been anyone who humbled themselves us much as our Lord Jesus Christ, not even close. Humility is most often connected with His death, which without doubt, is the greatest display of His humility. However, His birth into this world also displays such amazing humility.
None of this was by accident, but rather God’s eternal purpose and decree. We must ask ourselves the question: What great and wealthy king would ever plan for his first born son to be born in a cattle barn (a manger) without all the comforts of the local Inn? It would not have been hygienic. Cattle stalls are not always that clean. The smell of cattle and their droppings would certainly have tainted the air and, without a doubt, Mary would have been concerned.
I am sure that Joseph would have done his best to clean up a space for his wife to give birth, but Mary may have wondered if she had really heard from God. After all, what great God would stoop to such depths to bring forth his Son in such poor and humble conditions. Surely God could have arranged for someone to cancel their night in the Inn.
But these continuing doubts would have quickly dispersed when eventually the wise men from the East came to visit. They had been invited by God to follow star from some eastern country all the way to Jerusalem where they inquired: “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2).
They eventually were given an appointment with King Herod to enquire more. But this baby was not Herod’s baby although he lived in the palace. God was teaching the world a great lesson of how much He respects, loves, and honors humility.
To be continued.
Matthew 12:34: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
Are your conversations joyful? If joy fills our hearts, we will speak joyfully. If the source of the stream is abundant, the overflow will also be abundant. It’s hard to keep the lid tight on a boiling pot. Something has to give way for the source of pressure is amazingly powerful. Likewise, a Holy Spirit filled-with-joy Christian will explode if he cannot give vent to the joy that wells up within him.
People are attracted to this phenomena and will ask the reason for the joy. This opens up great opportunities to witness for Christ. As believers, we must take time to immerse our hearts in the presence of Christ on a daily basis. How can we possibly give out what we haven’t got in our hearts?
Jesus said that when we abide in Him and His words abide in us that we can ask what we will and it will be done for us (John 15:7). Jesus makes it very clear that His purpose for telling us these things is that His own personal joy will remain in us and that our joy will be full (John 15:11 and 16:24).
This means there will be no more dragging the bottom. No more trying to get the crumbs or the left over residues of joy. This means we will have an overflowing testimony.
This joy is not fleeting, but lasting. Isaiah 51:11 says that “everlasting joy shall be upon their heads.”
The joy the world gives comes from parties spiced with alcohol and living a life filled with worldly pleasures. Many Christians who do not know what it means to have the “joy of the Lord” are also tempted to cram their lives with worldly pleasures. The reason for this is that man was created with a great need for joy. The “joy of the Lord” fills the abiding Christian no matter what they are going through--sunshine or rain.
Persecution and even the treat of death cannot quench the joy of the Lord unless we allow it to. Worldly pleasures with their counterfeit joy are very circumstantial and are not all at all lasting.
A joyous person is good to be around. Conversely, a down-in-the-mouth, morose person is hard to be around, at least for any length of time.
True Christianity should be a daily, joyful experience and yet there are some people think Christianity is best represented by a solemn, smileless face.
The Scripture admonishes us in Philippians 2:12 to “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Our attitude towards temptation, sin, and the world, the flesh, and the devil should always be met with fear and trembling lest we grieve the Spirit of God and hinder His blessing in our lives.
However, we should also understand that the salvation we are working out is one of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14;17). Therefore we ask: is it possible to be serious and joyful at the same time? I believe it is.
We should always be on guard that we do not equate true Christian joy with foolishness and foolish jesting. We must be serious about that. Our freedom in Christ must always be guarded so we do not allow freedom to become an occasion for the flesh (Galatians 5:13).
Legalism leads to bondage and joylessness. Freedom leads to peace and joy.
He whom the Son sets free is free indeed! Joy leads to a bright, shining face and this leads to spiritual joy and holiness, and this leads to worship and praises.
It is a challenging thought that there are many in the world who “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” type of people. They often have more joy than a lot of Christians. This is not a good advertisement for Jesus Christ is the One who has been anointed with the “OIL OF GLADNESS above his fellows” (Hebrews 1:9).
“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that you JOY MIGHT BE FULL” (John 15:11).
“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your JOY MAY BE FULL.” John 16:24
JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD IS COME!
Men, the natural mind equates joy with good times. It is difficult for the natural mind to conceive anyone could experience joy in the midst of trials and troubles.
Jesus said in Luke 17:21: “The kingdom of God is within you.”
Romans 14: 17 says: “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
No matter what the circumstances, good or bad, the Holy Spirit within us releases the unchanging state of the kingdom of God which is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
No circumstances on earth can ever change the true state of the heavenly kingdom within us. Even in our frailty, even when we are afraid and fearful, Christ within us never changes. The living water that flows from His kingdom within us never changes.
Psalm 46:1-5 says: “ God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.”
The joy coming from God’s kingdom is not at all dependent on good and prosperous times. This river is miraculous. All we have to do is dwell in it.
Psalm 91:1 says: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Verse 7 says: “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” Fathers, we must teach our children this amazing truth so they will not let fear and heartache destroy them.
So many young people are disillusioned and afraid of what the future holds for them. Instead of their resorting to alcohol, drugs, and suicide, we must lead them to the river of life that is filled with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
“The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
Every day we need strength for the battles we face against the enemy’s attacks.
Can we really be strong when we feel so vulnerable? Yes, we can. Many Americans are fearful and afraid because of what happened with the Russian airliner crash over the Sinai Peninsular, the Paris terrorist attack, and now the San Bernardino attack killing 14 people and injuring 21 others. Many are afraid to visit places where large crowds congregate, e.g. super markets, sporting events, and airports, etc. Lone wolf attacks are most difficult to predict and radical Islam has terrorist sleeper cells waiting to be activated at any given moment in every city all over our nation--and most, if not all western nations.
We do not live in a safe world in the west any more, and this is just the beginning. Therefore, in the light of the uncertainty of our times, how can we experience joy in the midst of so much pending danger? Christmas is meant to be a joyous time as we celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world. Someone may say, “Tell that it the people in Paris or the bereaved families in San Bernardino. They will find it hard to receive.”
Nevertheless, the birth of Christ, bringing joy to the world, was not a peaceful time in Israel’s history. The Roman armies ruled them with a tight grip on the nation. At the time of Jesus’ birth, Herod ordered the killing of every baby two years old and under (Matthew 2:16). Jesus’ life was under constant threat during his ministry. And yet there was great joy and peace published at Christ’s birth, as well as throughout his ministry.
To be continued.
“Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
It’s easier to listen to someone who shines than to a thousand who do not shine. Christmas time is celebrated with lots shining lights, especially here in America. I personally love to see homes all lighted up to celebrate the most glorious birth that has ever, or ever will be, born on this earth. Jesus Himself was and is the shiniest of all the lights that have ever shone upon this dark, sin-sick world.
Let us all remember at this season the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:14: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” Obviously the best lights that need to be turned on, not only at this season, but at all times, are the Christians themselves.
In my last post I talked about hearing the words of Christ as opposed to tuning into so many other voices. Last week, two of my grandsons, Zadok and Crusoe Johnson, with three other shining and ardent young men drove to New York to pray for a two-year-old boy, Trucker, who has serious brain cancer. At the same time they are witnessing to everyone they meet along the way, both going and coming.
They have already led a number to Jesus and I am so looking forward to hearing more of their testimonies. I know that many more souls will be led to Jesus Christ and miracles will happen because they shine with the light of Christ and their countenances are radiant.
The best Christmas tree is a face lit up with the glory of the Lord. It is high time for the whole Christian church to cast off all the things that eclipse the light of Christ in their lives and shine like we have never shone before. Only then will the world listen to our message.
Perhaps we could further ask, What does our nation need to hear from God that it has not already heard? The message of Jesus Christ has been abundantly available, but not necessarily made known in a direct personal way. Multitudes have not been confronted with the claims of Christ by individuals who are willing to sit down with them and take time to talk about their needs and the vacuum in their lives that drives them into drugs, alcoholism, and sexual perversions. Plus many other issues causing them pain, depression, and sleepless nights.
America has more churches, Bibles, Christian TV, radio, and Internet outreach programs than any other nation. Almost every motel room has a Bible supplied by Gideon’s International. And yet it often takes more than all this availability of the message to really get the message home.
Isaiah 52:7 says: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings.”
If only the church would not put so much emphasis on the pulpit and the professional evangelist at the expense of marshalling its people to witness for Christ to all they meet, and wherever there is an opportunity, to share of Jesus Christ to a hurting soul.
Christmas provides a great time to share what Christ means to you.
Train your children to be witnesses for Christ, too. There’s no greater training. Paul encouraged Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” Before you encourage others, first train your sons and daughters to be faithful men and women who know how to share the Gospel and God’s truths.
Men, if ever there was a time when our nation needs to hear from Jesus Christ, that time is now. We face the ISIS threat, Planned Parenthood selling body parts of precious babies, the ever increasing racial divide and Black Lives Matter, destruction and mayhem in our cities, and lone wolves who take revenge into their own hands and kill innocent people. And the list could go on. At the same time, a large portion of people in the nation are taken up with entertainment and loose living that they hardly know what’s going on in the real world.
Our nation certainly needs to hear the voice of God through Jesus Christ. However, God uses His people who intently listen to Him to be His medium through whom He can speak. Isaiah 6:8 says: “And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” God tells Isaiah in the rest of this chapter what to say to a nation that is not interested in hearing Him.
Isn’t it amazing that God, in His grace, should still try to speak to people who do not want to hear Him?
Men, as people who call ourselves Christians, we have a great responsibility to listen to the voice of Jesus Christ so that we can tell it to our families, churches, friends, and nation--whether they want to hear it or not!
Luke 9:35: “And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: HEAR HIM.”
Men, we live in a very critical time. Innumerable voices cram for our attention. Some of the voices are not bad.. In fact, many of them are good, and some of them very good. And yet there is one voice above all others to which we should give our utmost attention--the voice of God’s well-beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Family and close friends have a right to our attention, but there are other mediums we must watch regarding how much attention we give them. We live in a very media driven age. Almost everyone has a smart phone and other electronic devices to captivate their attention. Multitudes text and Facebook one another no matter where they are, but everyone seems too busy to listen to the most important voice of all.
Why should the chief voice of all, the “Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” be crammed out by voices that are unbelievably less important?
The voice of Jesus Christ, the lover of our souls, the only one who truly understands us, and the One who wants to lead and guide our every step on a daily basis waits patiently for us to listen to Him every day.
To be continued.
(God loves to reveal Himself through a manger mentality).
Isaiah 57:15: “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”
The ceremonial sword contradicts God’s way for man. Christianity is misrepresented by all our glamorous buildings and programs. It should be characterized by the humble manger. The flesh is not attracted to it but those who have humble hearts will seek it and find it.
Simple, raw, down-to-earth humility and meekness are the materials with which God loves to build. We best represent Christianity by a rugged cross, a crucified yet living Messiah, and crucified yet living disciples. Why does the church have to make it flashy, pretentious, showy, and grandiose?
Past, present, and future, God looks for “humble mangers” through which to reveal His Son to the world. Much of the present-day church, while giving approval for the humble manger because it sounds so enchanting, would never think of endorsing such humility if it was their own child being born to the King of kings. As always, God confounds the wisdom and pride of man. God’s only begotten Son, who in His pre-existence created all the worlds, was planned before the world began to be born in an animal manger. This is how God confronts the pride of man.
Jesus was rejected by the religious leaders because He never fitted into their idea of how a Messiah should be born, live, or die. Is it not still our pride that causes us to present to the world a glamorous Christianity that still shuns the cross, as well as the manger?
God on earth still loves to reveal Himself through a manger mentality.
The ceremonial sword represents false Christianity. Jesus despised and hated it. The whole of Matthew 23:1-29 describes the falseness of the Pharisees. They were the epitome of the counterfeit.
Jesus Christ, the only beloved Son of the Father, who was God (Immanuel) in the flesh, could never be labeled a ceremonial sword. Every day of His ministry He fought against the powers of darkness and their hold upon the children of men. Jesus Christ was the Word made flesh, and the Word is the Sword of the Spirit. This sword flashed every day against all His enemies, including the established religious status quo who were mainly nothing else than ceremonial swords.
Jesus’ sword was the true Word of God and it eventually took Him all the way to Calvary’s cross to fight the greatest battle of all--to be crucified on our behalf in order that we might become completely free from the kingdom of darkness.
The truth is that Jesus Christ did not fight every day of His life until His death so that we would become prissy flowers or pompous ceremonial swords. Dash that thought from our thinking forever. Rather, He redeemed us so that we would become true flashing swords, looking and living as He did upon the earth.
Why then, do so many Christians have no appetite to fight? Many will not even put up a real fight for themselves, let alone their perishing fellowman. Shame on us. Considering the price Jesus paid for us (His own precious blood), how is it possible for any of us to be ceremonial swords and yet call ourselves Christians. It is a crime against the blood of His cross.
On the day when He comes to count up His jewels, be assured if this truth that there will be no fake ones amongst them. Malachi 3:18 says: “Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”
Most of all, right now, we need discernment for ourselves. Philippians 2:12 exhorts us: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Read the whole chapter of Matthew 23:1-39. The scribes and Pharisees epitomize the ceremonial sword.
1. (v.2). They loved to sit in Moses’ seat, but they were nothing like Moses. Numbers 12:3 says: “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” Moses was intrinsically meek, but they were inherently proud.
2. (v.3). They talked with their mouths but did not carry it out in their actions.
3. (v.4). “They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” Jesus Christ, on the other hand, lifted burdens from the brokenhearted. He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4 and 60:1-3).
4. (v.5). They did everything for men to see. They loved the praises of men. Jesus was “meek and lowly of heart” (Matthew 11:28-30).
5. (v.5). They broadened their phylacteries (small cases for carrying Scriptures), but they did not show it in their lives. It could be said of them: “The bigger the Bible, the bigger the hypocrite.”
6. (v. 5). They lengthened the tassels of their garments. They were prideful and religious show-offs.
7. (v.6). They loved the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues. I am sure that when Jesus went to the synagogue that he didn’t sit in the chief seat. A thousand times no. He would have sat amongst the people.
8. (v.8). They loved religious titles and to be called Rabbi or Master.
9. (v.14). For a pretense they prayed long prayers.
10. (v. 27). These ceremonial swords are described as “whited sepulchers,” looking beautiful outwardly, but within were “full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness . . . full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”
To be continued.