Parent Category (Pocket Sized Thoughts [Roger Jacobs])

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 1 Thessalonians – Part 9

The very God of peace sanctify you wholly and that your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (5:23)

Paul concludes with some very practical thoughts on church life and meetings. He reminds them to support those who have responsibilities, maintain unity, rejoice, pray, give thanks and retain an openness to the speakings of the Spirit as they gather together. If we turn our eyes away from the Lord, then these things that have just been mentioned, will fall into decline. The life of God and the power of the gospel is to be upheld at all times. The church is to be as a city set on a hill for all to see so that the word of the Lord and ‘our’ faith is to reach every place (1:8). It is most sad when our Christian lives lose their distinct edge and expectancy for the Lord’s return decreases. We must ensure that every aspect of our being is kept alive, alert, and sharpened in all the things of God. Let none of us become dull, or drift away, but ever dependent upon the faithfulness of Him who has called us and who will also complete His work of salvation within us. May these things be an ever present reality in all our lives.

PRAYER :- “Lord, help me to follow your word and retain an ever vibrant relationship with You. Amen.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 1 Thessalonians – Part 8

The Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” (5:2)

One of the things that has plagued the church for centuries has been the attempt to try and calculate the date of the Lord’s return. Some have become obsessed with interpreting signs and events. Any prediction is prone to error. Even the Lord Jesus, while on earth, said that He did not know the day, nor the hour of His return (Mark 13:32). All we can say with any certainty is that it is now nearer than when we first believed (Romans 13:11). However, that day will come when it is least expected. ‘They’ (v.3,7) will not be ready. Therefore, let ‘us’ (v.6,8) be alert, watchful and ready. As Christians, we are not children of the night and darkness, but children of light and of the day. As the world spins increasingly out of control, we live by the guidelines of another kingdom altogether. Do not become intoxicated with the pleasures of the world nor confused with all its propaganda. Instead, be sure-footed, arming yourself with faith, hope and love against all the deceptive voices in the world today. It is easy to allow current events to crush us. Instead, allow those same events to lift up our eyes and look for that glorious fulfilment of the salvation which God has appointed for us.

PRAYER :- “Lord, help me not to fear but to hope in your glorious return.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 1 Thessalonians – Part 7

The coming of the Lord” (4:15)

Having established the effects of the gospel in our lives, both in initial conversion and subsequent growth, Paul now goes on to consider the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. There was a concern among the believers that those who had died before Jesus returned, would somehow not be included and thus, have no hope. However, when Jesus returns, there would be a mighty in-gathering and re-uniting of all who were and are in Christ. Paul does not talk about what would happen before Jesus returns (he leaves some of that to his second letter), but what would happen when He did. There would be the shout of an archangel, the sound of a trumpet and even the Lord Himself would cry out as He descends. This is to be no secret event; all the world will witness it (Matthew 24:30,31) as the Lord gathers together all His people from all ages. They were not to be afraid but to use the knowledge of these certain facts, not to speculate, but to comfort, exhort and help each other in all manner of holy living until He returns.

PRAYER :- “Lord, find me ready at Your mighty return; or else, find me ready when I die and go to be with You.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 1 Thessalonians – Part 6

That you increase more and more …” (4:10)

While Paul speaks of affliction, he also prays for abundance and overflowing. The two thoughts are not incompatible. If we are rooted and grounded in Christ it will force qualities of Christian character to grow. And, not just to grow, but to super-abound, especially in the areas of love and pleasing God. What an amazing thought that when so much else is shut down through one affliction, or another, we can still love one another in various ways and we can please God. This is not a time for moaning, but excelling in all the virtues of the Lord Jesus Christ. This includes sanctification, self-control, honour, being conscientious in work, not loud-mouthed or gossiping, not despising others and letting go of all grudges. There is no limit to growth. If these qualities are already in us, then let them, Paul says, increase more and more. There is always room for improvement. What a testimony it would be to God and the world if these aspects of Christian life were very much evidently on display in all our lives.

PRAYER :- “Lord, help me not to be self-centered, but to live a life that is well pleasing to you in all things.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 1 Thessalonians – Part 5

To establish you and to … [make] you stand fast in the Lord.” (3:2,8)

Paul continues his theme of affliction. Though affliction is to be expected, he tells them not to be moved by it. The word Paul uses indicates not being drawn aside, shaken or disturbed in any way. Many things can cause disquiet, but Paul tells us not to be surprised by these things. They have a design and such trials can be a part of God’s plan for our lives to establish us further in the gospel of Christ. Buffeting winds only serve to strengthen the roots of the exposed tree. The enemy may tempt and Paul thought that all his work would come to nothing but news of their perseverance brought great joy. It is a source of great strength to fellow believers that we ourselves keep faithful despite every hardship and trial. Nothing gives more determination to press on than when we hear of those we know who have likeminded steadfastness of heart under every circumstance. This helps us through to the end.

PRAYER :- “Lord, help me to be steadfast and true to You in every situation.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 1 Thessalonians – Part 4

You also have suffered similar things …” (2 v.14)

While it is absolutely true that God always loves and cares for us, it is also equally true that believers will face conflict in some form, at one time or another. The initial reception of the gospel in Thessalonica was accompanied by affliction (1:6). Paul speaks of suffering in 2:14, being persecuted in 2:15 and how Satan had hindered them in 2:18. Christians have an adversary; his name is Satan. Any true turning to God will always stir up his anger. It will take different forms and will be of different degrees of intensity for different people. Christians may be mocked, ostracised, opposed, resisted, or even openly persecuted. One thing is certain – there is no opposition that can rob believers of their crown, nor of their joy. There are countless examples down through the ages where joy has triumphed in the presence of much joy and pain. Paul warns them, and us, of trouble, but this trouble cannot take away our glory and our joy.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that the joy You give is greater than the sum of all affliction.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 1 Thessalonians – Part 3

We were gentle … and affectionately longed for you.” (2 v.7,8)

The Apostle Paul’s visit to Thessalonica did not fail in its purpose. God had approved their work and He had graciously given them lasting results. In the first few verses of chapter 2, we see something of the heart method of Paul. In preaching the gospel, Paul used no deceit, flattery, slyness or any other form of hidden agenda. His motives were entirely pure. While it is true that some use the gospel for their own ends, such as lining their pockets, Paul was quite different. His love for them was sincere and he wished only the very best for those dear people. In a picture of Christ Himself, Paul nursed, cherished and loved them, willingly laying down his life, for their benefit. It is a most wonderful thing when we have ministers of the gospel who genuinely care for our spiritual welfare. This helps us to become further established in the truths of the gospel, growing in grace and walking worthily of the God who has called us into His kingdom and glory (v.12). All this is because, although God used men, it was His word which spoke to us. His word, backed up by His love and care (often demonstrated through fellow believers), will work in us and forever change our lives. What a wonderful and powerful gospel this is.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you for the love and care You have constantly shown me.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 1 Thessalonians – Part 2

You turned to God from idols …” (1 v.9)

As said previously, when we receive the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, the effects are dramatic. Verse 9 identifies another effect. Quite spontaneously, without the need to labour the point, one effect is to make the one who receives the gospel to turn to God and leave all forms of idolatry. Note the order. First, this gospel, in the power of the Holy Spirit, turns people to God. Again, this is not just mental assent; it is a turning of the entire being and personality toward God. The person becomes God conscious in a way they never were before. Realising how infinitely better it is to know God than anything else, the second part of the process comes into play, that is, they turn away from everything else. Every sin, affection, fear and doubt; this gospel has the power to release us form every other claim on our lives. The end result is that instead of serving and spending our time (and money) on other things, we now become occupied in serving and worshipping the living and true God. This is true repentance. Has the gospel made a similar impact upon you as it did to those believers back in Thessalonica?

PRAYER :- “Lord, help me to see that You are incomparable to everything else that claims my attention.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 1 Thessalonians – Part 1

Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but in power and in the Holy Spirit …” (1 v.5)

One of the main themes of 1 Thessalonians is the second coming of Christ. More will be said of this later but it is vital to realise that we will not be ready for His second coming unless we have really met, known and experienced Him in accordance with His first coming. This is what Paul reminds them of in chapter 1 v.5 that the gospel did not come to them in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance. The account of Paul’s visit is found in Acts 17:1-9. There, he reasoned, opened, alleged and preached the gospel. Though employing his considerable intellect, Paul’s appeal was to more than just the mind; it touched the core-heart of his listeners. Only the power of God can do this. This is why the gospel is more than word only; it has the power to convince and persuade more than any eloquence can ever do. The results are startling and comprehensive. The gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit brings much assurance, joy, makes you a follower of Jesus Christ and is so dramatic that all your acquaintance will hear about it. How have you received the gospel?

PRAYER :- “Lord, help me to know your power as I listen to your Word.”