Parent Category (Pocket Sized Thoughts [Roger Jacobs])

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Jude – Part 7

Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless.” (v.24)

Having spent so much time on warnings against deception, it would be easy to think how could I possibly avoid such temptation; and even more impossible, how can I be perfected. But Jude clearly says that the ability to do so is God’s, not ours. If it all depended upon our wisdom, strength, or piety, we would be doomed to failure before commencement. God and God alone is able to do this wonderful and precious work. This is immensely reassuring. Furthermore, He is absolutely committed to it. Having begun His work of salvation in us, He will see it through to the end (see Philippians 1:6). This is not an irksome job that He has undertaken. He does it with unbridled joy. Yes, there are dangers and pitfalls, but as we look to Him and trust fully in Him, His sovereign power which He has invested in us, will keep us from forever stumbling. He is committed to us. Let this hope keep us committed to Him. Amen!

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you for your faithful, powerful and unbroken commitment to me.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Jude – Part 6

Building up yourselves upon your most holy faith.” (v.20)

Having warned his readers against the negative aspect of deception, Jude now concentrates upon a positive way by which we can act. There is always something interesting in watching a building going up, especially as it nears completion. Once we are saved, we are to build. We are God’s building (1 Corinthians 3:9) and we are not to remain at the foundation stage only. By the grace that God gives, we are to build wisely and there are several ways to assist that. The first is to pray in the Holy Spirit. Our prayers are not to be routine, but we are to be surrendered to and led by the Spirit in prayer; as we do so, we shall build. Likewise, we are to keep ourselves in the love of God and not drift away from it. In addition, we are to always look for and be completely dependent upon His mercy. Finally, we are to watch for the salvation of others. Some will need gentle compassion, while others may require stern rebuke; but it is all done with the aim that they should not fall short of the holy salvation which is in Christ Jesus. All of this will help us to build well and strongly and thus, avoid a collapse in our faith.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that you are the solid foundation; help me to build wisely upon that.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Jude – Part 5

Beloved, remember the words which were spoken before …” (v.17)

Jude continues his warnings about murmurers, complainers and those who sound most persuasive. He continues by saying that the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ said that there would be those who mock and who also use the gospel for their own selfish, ambitious ends. Jude says that these people do not have the Spirit but operate in the realm of the soul. They appeal to the senses, especially the emotions and imagination. They prey upon people’s feelings and often, because of their error, end up isolating themselves, labelling others as erroneous. They can be difficult to discern as the error they perpetrate is subtle. Yet, they will be exposed by the Lord as prophesied by Enoch (v.14). Enoch was a man who walked with God (Genesis 5:22); because he lived so much in the light of fellowship with the Lord, the darkness of their error was more easily seen. By living in the light and not forgetting the words of the Bible, particularly the New Testament, we will more easily be able to guard against all deceitful incursions by the evil one.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you for your infallible word; help me to recall it so as to avoid deception.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Jude – Part 4

They are dangerous blemishes in your gatherings of love.” (v.12)

Jude gives three more examples to warn against corrupting influences. Cain was motivated by envy, ignored God’s warning and mortally wounded his brother. He probably did not intend to kill his brother, but the corrupting power of sin overcame him. We may not physically kill someone, but beware lest we kill a good person’s name by envious gossip. Balaam was motivated by greed. Though ‘gifted’ by God, he used the ‘gift’ for his own selfish ends. Beware of gifting and popularity lest the love of money takes root and leads to all kinds of evil. Korah was motivated by ambition. He wanted to be leader at the expense of Moses. No doubt fuelled by good ideas and seeming unfairness, he took too much upon himself and stepped outside God given boundaries. They all, like a noisy sea, promise much but they fail and are like clouds without rain and trees who bear bitter fruit. These are all dangerous blemishes which can affect our meetings. The word for ‘spots’ (KJV) actually means hidden reefs, or sunken rocks, upon which a ship, unwaringly, can easily be wrecked. Jude is warning against these invisible dangers so that Christian gatherings are kept in love and purity.

PRAYER :- “Lord, guard my heart against every corrupting influence which the enemy tries to sow and keep me pure for You.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Jude – Part 3

The Lord rebuke you.” (v.9)

Jude goes onto warn against speaking evil of those in positions of authority, whether it be temporal upon the earth, or eternal in spiritual realms. We are never to be presumptuous. Using the example (not previously found in the Bible) of a dispute over the body of Moses, the archangel Michael does not act presumptuously but says to the devil, “The Lord rebuke thee.” By doing this, he leaves the matter in the hands of God. When we enter into the realms of the supernatural, unless we are certain that we go in the name of the Lord of hosts, we can entangle ourselves in all kinds of corrupting influence. It is better to abide in truth than to delve into things where even angels fear to tread. Be careful. There are things we don’t understand and are not meant to understand, but by remaining confident in the Lord, we shall be kept safe.

PRAYER :- “Lord, give me wisdom and humility when I am engaged in things beyond my understanding.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Jude – Part 2

I will, therefore, remind you.” (v.5)

Jude uses several examples of the corrupting influence of those who were ‘not in the truth.’ These are serious warnings and Jude took the opportunity to remind them once more, in case, by forgetfulness, those warnings lose their sharp focus and become blurred. Jude mentions those, who through unbelief, died in the wilderness and never entered the land of promise. Their unbelief and grumbling affected a whole generation which led to nearly forty years of aimless wanderings. Then, there were the angels who left their position of bliss in the presence of the Lord, by being deceived by Satan. They were not forced out, but ‘left’, stepping outside the boundaries set for them by God. They would be judged as would the people of Sodom and Gomorrah for their sin. Notice how they influenced the cities around them (v.7) and though God destroyed them with fire, they would still face the eternal fire of judgment. All these examples show how corruption can spread. Leaders must be vigilant in the churches over which God has given them responsibility while individuals, likewise must be vigilant in their own lives, in case that which was formerly shunned, is allowed to become permissible. May the Lord help us not to compromise.

PRAYER :- “Lord, keep me ever mindful not to compromise with sin.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Jude – Part 1

You should earnestly contend for the faith.” (v.3)

Jude is thought to be an actual brother of the Lord Jesus. But now, he describes himself as a servant of Jesus Christ. As such, one of his main concerns (and the reason for writing his letter) was that the truth of the gospel should not be compromised, diluted, or discredited in any way. He exhorted his readers to contend, or (more accurately) to distinguish, or discern the truth, from all imposters, so as to maintain the distinctiveness of it. Jude recognised that imposters ever sought to gain credibility in the church. If such error was to announce itself openly, then it could be identified and easily dealt with. But, the task is made more difficult by the fact that such error and the people who promote it are not up-front and trustworthy, but creep in, disguised, camoflaged and almost unnoticed (v.4). They gain a foothold, become credible and eventually have a voice in the church, which leads to further subverting influence. It is these things that Jude tells his readers to be aware of. The church is not to be gullible and deceived, but neither is it to be harsh and legalistic. It is to live in the truth and discern, and all to be done in a spirit of pure love.

PRAYER :- “Lord, help us to recognise error by living whole-heartedly in the truth of your word.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 3 John – Part 2

For His Name’s sake, they went out.” (v.7)

When truth and love really get hold of a person’s life, they want to share it, so that others may know it. Truth will make someone zealous, but it is love that really presses forward and wins souls. There were such men in the days of John and were acknowledged by him. They went out. They left the comfort, the ease and the familiar as love carried them to reach out to others. They may have gone ‘out’ to someone across the street, or to someone at work. They may have gone ‘out’ crossing the boundaries of another culture, or travelling much further abroad. In all cases, they could say, along with the apostle Paul, “The love of Christ compels me” (2 Corinthians 5:14). Furthermore, they go ‘out’ seeking no reward from the nations. Love swallows all self-interest. The Spirit of Christ is within them and to know that love and the real truth of it, is all their reward they need.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that your love is inexpressible. Help me to live in the fullness of it and share it with others.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 3 John – Part 1

Gaius … Diotrephes … Demetrius.” (vs. 1,9,12)

Another short letter, written by John, who was one who was in the truth to those who were also walking and living in the truth. Sadly, not all were doing so. There are three men mentioned. Gaius, probably one of the leaders, lived and walked in the truth. He was hospitable to all, which he did from a heart of love. For this, he was greatly respected and loved by others. He was a joy to have around. In sharp contrast, there was Diotrephes. He assumed leadership; not from love of the truth, but from a position of ambition. Like Satan, he would tolerate no rival. It is tragic when such men gain prominence in the church. That which is pure, loving and of true fellowship is destroyed under their influence. But, all is not lost, because there is another whose influence is good. Demetrius was a lover of truth and was well known as such. The truth of the gospel will always be opposed and contended. But, truth will prevail because there will also be those in whom truth dwells and they will be greatly loved. Let us aspire after the examples of Gaius and Demetrius.

PRAYER :- “Lord, even though there be opposition, thank You that you want your love and truth to be in us and to overcome.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 2 John – Part 2

I trust to some to you and speak face to face.” (v.12)

One of the problems that John faced was that of distance. He longed to be with his ‘children’ but length of travel, or other limitations prevented him. This is why he wrote to them. It was the way of expressing his love and care toward them. He had many things to write but they were best explained by face to face meetings. There is no substitute for seeing someone and talking face to face. It is the same with the Lord Himself. He has many things to say, which cannot be all covered in a letter. But, here His desire is expressed. He trusts to come to us and speak with His beloved children. It is a wonderful thing for Him to communicate to us, but how much more wonderful when He is there in Person. His Presence explains all and His Presence calms all. And, when He is really present with us, our joy is complete. Thankfully, with Him, there are no imposed restrictions. He is free to come at any time. Like little children eagerly awaiting the return of their father, let us also anticipate His Presence by His Spirit with great joy.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that you not only speak to us, but long to be with us Yourself, so that mutual joy may be full.”