Parent Category (Pocket Sized Thoughts [Roger Jacobs])

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Temptation – Part 12

He who overcomes …” (Revelation 2:7,11,17,26 ; 3:5,12,21).

This repeated statement is made at the end of each message to the seven churches. It is not a guarantee but a conditional statement. Some of the churches were commended, others were sternly rebuked. All was done from a heart of love. Every church faced problems and trials of various kinds. This is a reflection of life which is never continually smooth. The key is how we act under such situations. We could complain, give up, withdraw, rebel, or even be led away by deception. The key is not to wilt under all the pressure but to continually and faithfully look and listen to Him who is the Head of all the church. By deriving our life from Him we shall have the grace to continue to the end. It is not a sprint but more of a marathon. As we have started the race let us also be sure to finish and complete it. What joy and treasure awaits those who do and who overcome.

PRAYER – “Lord, thank you that your grace is supplied for me to be an overcomer in all things.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Temptation – Part 11

When he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10).

Of all men in the Bible (apart from the Lord Jesus Himself) Job experienced some of the most intense sufferings and temptations. There is a progression of loss from possessions, relationships, then marriage to finally his own health. In all of this, Job never knew the reason for his losses. Friends try to comfort and explain but their words are unhelpful and do more harm than good. A few verses earlier Job cries out that he wished he knew how to find God. Then, he rises to this supreme statement. He comes to the point that his life is hidden in God and that He is not His own. God is working a higher and greater purpose way beyond what Job himself can see. In our lives God works according to His good desire (Philippians 2:13 – written from prison!). Blessed is the man who understands this and graciously submits to it. The gold of godliness is the end result.

PRAYER – “Help me to be pliable to the working of your hands in my life.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Temptation – Part 10

Blessed is the man who endures temptation … he shall receive the crown of life.” (James 1:12)

James had much to say on temptation and how to bear it. He knew how it could be turned from a burden to a blessing. Here, he is not talking about temptation to sin, but events which really test and stretch us. For this reason, he says, that when these severe tests happen to us, we are to count it all joy (v.2). Is he serious? Indeed, he is, because he knew that such trials are a part of life that help us mature in our relationship and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. To meet our trials like our Saviour did, is to learn some of the greatest and deepest lessons that God has designed for us. By not collapsing under their weight, but by simply enduring them (by looking to the Lord and rolling them upon Him), we shall go on to receive a victor’s crown. This is not to boast how great we are, or to show off, but allow God to strengthen us to be more like Him and enable us to help our younger brothers and sisters in Christ. This is a great privilege; may God help us as we pass through every difficulty.

PRAYER:- “Lord, thank you that You have a purpose to every temptation; help me to understand and trust in you more.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Temptation – Part 9

This night there stood with me an angel of God.” (Acts 27:23 ; see also Acts 23:11)

This was one of the most dramatic stories in Paul’s life. On their way to Rome by ship a tremendous storm engulfed them. The soldiers and sailors did their utmost to save the ship. When trial is most intense, the temptation is to do something. Paul’s reaction is quite different. When all other natural lights had been extinguished, there deep in the bowels of the vessel, he was still and waiting for the light of God’s word. It was only when he heard God’s voice speak to him that he then knew what to do. Do we wait? Or, do we panic? Psalm 46:10 tells us to be still and know. This is not pious inaction but a disposition of heart that is tuned to hear the voice of Him that brings peace in every situation and guidance through every storm.

PRAYER – “Lord, teach me to hear your voice when things are hardest.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Temptation – Part 8

Master, do you not care that we are dying?” (Mark 4:38)

Jesus and the disciples were in a familiar boat on a familiar stretch of water. It was night. Then, the unplanned for came. They had seen storms before but this one was particularly ferocious. The waves engulfed the boat and death by drowning seemed certain. In the middle of severe trial, there is the temptation of the unworthy thought that God doesn’t care or has forgotten us. Nothing could be further from the truth. Do not misinterpret His sleeping for uncaring. The good thing is that at least the disciples came to Him. When we call upon His name, He may not answer immediately, but this does not mean that He does not care. He will rise and rebuke the storm but the thing that Jesus wants most of all is to strengthen our faith. Trust Him in every trial.

PRAYER – “Lord, help me not to doubt you but to realise that your care for me will never fail.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Temptation – Part 7

Satan has desired to have you… to sift you: but, I have prayed for you.” (Luke 22:31-32)

Satan desires to have us. Much of the time the hand of the Lord restrains him. But, there are times when we feel the full force of his fury. At such times, despair can take over and defeat seems inevitable. However, not only is the Lord aware of Satan’s attacks, but He prays … for us! This is a most wonderful thing that the Lord of all creation should pray for us at times of severest trial. But, note how He prays. He does not pray that the trial be taken away; instead He prays that in the very middle of the trial our faith should not fail. Our faith may seem to hang by a thread as questions and doubts assail but He will faithfully and prayerfully ensure that our true faith in Him will endure.

PRAYER – “Lord, thank you that you pray for me … always.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Temptation – Part 6

[Jesus] was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

It is amazing to think that there were no human witnesses to Jesus’ temptations in the desert; only God, the devil, angels and wild animals saw it. But Jesus did not wait until this ‘big contest’ to demonstrate His power over temptation. All the while He grew up in Nazareth, from a babe, to a boy, to a young man, He was tempted in every human way possible. There, in the rub of daily life and in the full view of human spectators, He heard, He saw and He felt things that tempted Him. As a child, other children teased and probably bullied Him. As a young man, His human parentage was called into question (read the sneering words of John 8:41). In His work as a carpenter, He was no doubt cheated by some who were dishonest. By these and many other ways, He would have felt the pain of it all. Despite this, He never sinned, not even once. He was living by the power of a different life, that is, the life of God. By having this life, we also can live in this world even as He did (1 John 2:6).

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that Your life that You impart to us helps us to overcome the temptations that come to us.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Temptation – Part 5

Jesus … was led by the Spirit into the desert and was tempted 40 days by the devil.” (Luke 4:1,2)

The devil may be clever, but not that clever as he used the same 3-fold attack upon Jesus as he did upon Eve. The first temptation was that stones should be turned to bread and thus satisfy the lust of the flesh, that is Jesus’ hunger. The second was to show (the lust of the eyes) Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, which would be his if He worshipped the devil. The third, the pride of life, was for Jesus to throw Himself down from the top of the temple and by being preserved, He would demonstrate to men that He was better than they were. Jesus resisted each temptation by turning to and relying upon the Word of God. By ‘feeding’ upon God’s word (instead of relying upon His own ability), Jesus systematically undid all the destructive power of sin that Satan had introduced and sown into the human race. Jesus broke sin and Satan’s stranglehold over us. By depending upon the Father and not upon ourselves, we, through Christ, can know victory over temptation. Glory be to His name.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that You defeated sin, temptation and the devil on our behalf.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Temptation – Part 4

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food … pleasant to the eyes and … to make one wise … “ (Genesis 3:6)

The serpent in the garden was both cunning and clever. The Hebrew word for snake is ‘nachash.’ It means the ‘shining one’, but can imply ‘to hiss’, or ‘to whisper’ and ‘deceive.’ By getting Eve alone, the whispers of Satan’s suggestions grew ever louder in her mind. It was then that she submitted to these three primary forces of the world:- the lust of the flesh – she saw that the tree was good for food; the lust of the eyes – the tree was pleasant to look at ; the pride of life – to eat of that tree would make her wise and superior. She ate the forbidden fruit and sin entered her life. The result was tragic, far reaching and devastating. Through her rebellion, she (and Adam who deliberately ate) lost the life of God. She and Adam had chosen the things of the world in preference to the love of God. People make the same choices today with the same destructive effect. The tragedy is made worse that there is no human ability to remedy this terrible situation. It took God in the form of man to reverse it and sort it all out.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you, that through You I do not need to fail as Adam and Eve did, but through Your Son, I can go a better way.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – Temptation – Part 3

For all that is in the world …. is not of the Father.” (1 John 2:16)

When considering temptation, we need to look back at events in the garden of Eden, recorded in Genesis chapter 3. Of course, temptation began even earlier with the devil (then called Lucifer), but humanly speaking, it was in the garden of Eden, that temptation had its beginning. But, before considering Genesis chapter 3, we need to think about this verse in 1 John chapter 2. John says that there are three primary forces that operate in the world :- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. When these are submitted to and acted upon, they lead to definite sin. This is what happened to Eve in the garden (which we will consider next time). These forces are diametrically opposed to all that is of the Father, that is, He acts in a totally different way. Thus, to really know the heart of God, we are not to love the things of the world. As we love the Father, the love(s) of the world will have less and less hold on us; by this, we shall overcome temptation.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that Your heart is so different from the world; help us to know Your heart more and more.”