Parent Category (Pocket Sized Thoughts [Roger Jacobs])

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Christmas – Part 17

The appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:10).

This final meditation on the incarnation of Christ Jesus reveals further reasons for Christ’s manifestation. The word ‘manifest’ means to make clearly visible, leaving nothing in doubt. God has no tricks; all is in plain view. This is so that when we believe, it is real. We do not need to convince ourselves, or deceive ourselves into having something which we do not have. Christ was manifested not only to destroy the works of the devil (see part 15), but also that He may abolish death, rendering it inactive and making it of no effect. In other words, through Christ, death does not have the last word. But, it is even greater than that. Not only has Christ conquered death, removing its sting, pain and fear, but He has also brought something in, that is, life and immortality; a life which is eternal and incorruptible. “In Him was life and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). It is this life, the life of the Son of God, that He has come to give to all who truly believe on His name. When we really receive His incarnation (so to speak), He gives us authority to become sons of God (John 1:12). He was incarnated so as to become incarnate in us. Glory be to His Name!

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you for your amazing life; I receive all the fullness of it once more into my life.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Christmas – Part 16

Joseph … was warned by God through a dream.” (Matthew 2:22)

Every attempt by the devil to destroy the new born Christ was more than countered by God. The role of Joseph throughout the story of the birth of Jesus is very honourable. When Mary was discovered to be pregnant, Joseph sought to privately break the betrothal. God spoke and Joseph obeyed (Matthew 1:18-25). After the visit of the wise men, and angel told Joseph to take his family into Egypt. Again, Joseph obeyed (Matthew 2:13-14). Much later, they left Egypt at God’s command through a dream (Matthew 2:20) and as they returned, God warned Joseph by another dream to go by another route before settling in Nazareth (Matthew 2:22-23). In all these events, it shows that Joseph’s heart was sensitive to receive information from the Lord. Are our hearts equally receptive? But also, these events demonstrate the wisdom and power of God in protecting His own. The devil is no match for the Lord. God will not be outwitted by the cunning and cruelty of Satan and his hordes. When the devil sought to destroy the mother and her child, God sent an ‘eagle’ to deliver them (Revelation 12:14). God takes remarkable and detailed care over His own. Rejoice and give thanks at His great delivering power.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that you keep me from so many known and even unknown dangers; I entrust myself once more to You.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Christmas – Part 15

Then Herod … was exceedingly angry.” (Matthew 2:16)

Despite all the joy and wonder, it must also be noted that there was anger and rage at the birth of Christ. Herod, in a fit of jealous fury, commanded every child under two years of age in Bethlehem at the time, to be murdered. It was an extremely evil thing to do. In this respect, Herod is typical of the devil. The devil hates Christ and every manifestation of His blessed Name (whether in His body upon earth, or in His body of true believers). The devil cannot be negotiated with. He is full of malice and is a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). Do not be surprised that at every manifestation of the name of Christ and every sincere approach to Him in worship will be contested by the Evil One. There is a great conflict in this world and the devil will do anything to prevent you in finding the truth of Jesus Christ. While we should not be surprised at this, neither should we fear. Every heart that displays true faith toward God will know the full measure of victory that is in Christ Jesus. For this reason, was the Son of God manifested that He may destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). Let this glorious truth embolden your faith to come to and know more of Christ Jesus.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that nothing, not even the devil can stop the displaying of Your life in mine.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Christmas – Part 14

Gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11).

These were the three gifts the wise men brought and presented to Jesus. To say the least, they were unusual gifts to give to a very young child. Yet, these gifts were of significant worth, rather than intrinsic value and they were all received. None were refused. Gold speaks of Christ’s kingship. There is nothing finer than gold and there is no greater king than Jesus. Frankincense was a gum-resin and one of the constituent parts of the holy incense burnt upon the altar of incense in the Tabernacle (Exodus 30:34). As such Frankincense speaks of prayer and devotion, something by which we can approach God, but also something which the Lord Jesus exercised Himself in during His days upon earth (see Hebrews 5:7). Finally, myrrh, another gum-resin, was a spice used to perfume a body taken in death (see John 19:39). Unquestionably, myrhh spoke of Christ’s own death; a reminder that He came to live, in order to die. All three gifts speak of the character of Christ. He was the King who offered the most acceptable prayers to God and also to lay down His life for the ransom of many. May my life, prayers and obedience unto fully acceptable to God.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you for my life; I offer it back in my devotion to You.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Christmas – Part 13

They fell down and worshipped Him.” (Matthew 2:11)

These wise men had had a long journey. They had crossed mountains and deserts, experienced heat and cold, thirst and hunger, yet nothing deterred them from their quest. In Jerusalem, they enquired of Herod the king, but received mixed help. It was the star, the light sent by God, which led them to the exact spot. There, in Bethlehem, it was not a king in pomp and ceremony they found, but an infant child with His mother, surrounded by poverty. Far from being put off by such humble conditions, without hesitation, they bowed and worshipped the child-King, Jesus. Think of it – mature men bowing before an infant child. There was no room for any kind of pride. They recognised who He was and their instant response was to worship and yield. What do we expect of Christ? Some sort of ‘superman’ who will give us whatever we ask for? Remember, He deliberately made Himself of no reputation (Philippians 2:7). Blessed are they who are not offended as such an ‘unlikely’ king. More blessed are they who truly recognise Him even in His humble, servant state and bow before Him.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you for all that you are; Your love and humility cause to me to yield and bow even more.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Christmas – Part 12

We have seen His star.” (Matthew 2:2)

These were men who were probably from modern day Iraq, or Iran. Whoever they were, they were totally outside the covenant relationship God had with His ancient people, Israel. The promises and benefits normally did not extend to them. Yet, there was still hope. In God’s amazing economy of mercy and grace, even those who were far off and distant could still find the King of kings, the one born King. In Isaiah 60:3 it speaks of “gentiles coming to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising.” They literally had to see the light. And, once they did, they acted. They did not stay in their comfortable homes, or private studies, but left and embarked upon an epic journey which would have taken many weeks. They left all to find Christ, the King. Have you seen His light? And, more importantly, having seen it, have you responded to it. It does not matter how far away you are, or have been, if God’s light has shone to you, it beckons you to come. Rise up and go and find Him, as these wise men did. Wise men still seek Him.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that you have placed a guiding light in this dark world so that I may find you.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Christmas – Part 11

A sword shall pierce your own soul also.” (Luke 2:35)

These are strange words indeed which Simeon spoke to Mary after he had given thanks to the Lord. Amid all the joy and wonder of Christ’s birth, there is a note here of the future of the cross. The birth and life of Jesus was exceptional in every respect but it is only by His sacrificial death that His salvation is made available to us. It involved pain and suffering. It will also be painful to us as the message of the cross will cut through all the natural desires of our lives. This was not a feature that Mary reckoned upon in her life. Often, it is not with us either. So, when unexpected, or difficult things happen, we may be surprised. But, in the hands of God all events can be used by Him as part of the work of the cross in our lives. God wants to put to death all natural dependencies and every inclination of the flesh to replace it with total dependency upon Him alone and make us people who live according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. This is the work of the cross and the reason why Jesus was born and became man. Has He been born in you so that the work of the cross may be done in your life?

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that your death as well as your birth works salvation in my soul.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Christmas – Part 10

My eyes have seen your salvation.” (Luke 2:30)

According to the law of Moses, Jesus was circumcised eight days after his birth. Mary then underwent a ritual purifying for another 33 days (Leviticus 12:2-4) before she and Joseph presented their son before the Lord in the Temple at Jerusalem. Whilst they were there a man called Simeon was also there. The Holy Spirit was upon Him and had revealed something very special to Him (v.26) and that moment he entered the temple by the Spirit. Simeon would have been conscious of the Holy Spirit doing something special at that time. When he saw Jesus, Simeon spoke that he had seen the Lord’s salvation. It takes the Spirit of God to open our eyes to see what and who Jesus really is. We cannot perceive these things by our natural reasoning. By the Spirit, God will shine into our hearts to give knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). But Simeon did not only speak. He gathered Jesus up into his arms and thanked God. It is wonderful when God opens our eyes to see the Christ, but we must also embrace Him, that is, fully take Him to ourselves. When we do this with understanding given by the Spirit, the heart’s response is to thank and bless God. Have we really seen Jesus? Have we gathered Him up into our lives? May the Lord lead us so that we also will say, with Simeon, that our eyes have seen His salvation.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that your Spirit can reveal to my poor understanding all that Jesus is.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Christmas – Part 9

And, there were shepherds, staying in the field.” (Luke 2:8)

Of all people for God to make the first announcement of the birth of His Son to, He chose shepherds. God by-passed kings, politicians, armies, financiers, ‘celebrities’ (all of whom are acclaimed in our modern society) and sent an angel to a mixture of men staying out at night, away from all the comforts of home, looking after sheep (not even the more valuable cows!). As they sat, they were only waiting for the cold night to pass. They were not expecting anything. Imagine their shock and fear as an angel in full glory appeared to them. As the announcement of Christ’s birth was made, they were not told to seek Him, but only where they should find Him. We are not ordered to seek, but if we do seek, we shall find. One angel was then joined with vast numbers of others, all praising God. It was amazing that no-one else seemed to hear, or see it. Once the angels had left, the shepherds left all that they were doing to go and find Christ. They didn’t wait to see if the angels may return, but went quickly, without delay, to Bethlehem. This was their priority and once they had found what they were looking for, they were not disappointed. It was as it had been told them (v.20). All expectation was exceeded and they shared it with others. Does the wonder of Christ cause us up to rise up quickly and see it all for ourselves? Or, are we content to remain in that which is familiar?

PRAYER :- “Lord, help me to rise up and respond by going to where I am told You will be.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Christmas – Part 8

There was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)

These are well known words with an almost equally well known meaning. Due to a Roman census, Joseph and Mary, his heavily pregnant wife, had to remove from Nazareth and go to Bethlehem, their original home. It was a journey of 80-90 miles and would have taken at least 3 days. People were on the move everywhere and it was an incredibly busy time. Places to stay were at a premium. Everywhere was occupied. Because there was no room anywhere else, one innkeeper (or, perhaps his wife?), out of pity, offered them a stable. There, amidst the dirt and the smells, virtually unnoticed, Christ was born. It is incredible to think that possibly the first witnesses of Christ’s birth may have been domesticated animals (donkeys, sheep, goats, etc) – part of the Creation He had made. Many people would confess that the birth of Christ was important, but the busyness of life overtakes us. In our rush to get things done, we can so easily make no room for Jesus. Other ‘lodgers’ fill the inn of our lives. Don’t allow other things to crowd out Jesus. Give Him space and give Him time and you will be amazed at what He can do in your life. He can transform the humblest of ‘stables’ and beginnings.

PRAYER :- “Lord, don’t allow my schedules to have the pre-eminence over you; I give you room in my life.”