Parent Category (Pocket Sized Thoughts [Roger Jacobs])

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 2 Thessalonians – Part 8

The Lord direct your hearts … into the patient waiting for Christ.” (3:5)

Paul concludes his letter with some practical considerations, which are all under the heading of being patient in waiting for Christ. Impatience gets us out of rest and may end up making us do things which are contrary to God’s word. Therefore, he commands righteous behaviour, avoiding those who indulge themselves; he encourages diligence in work and looking for every opportunity to be an influence for good; and, he warns against noisiness and disturbance, whether in thought, or deed, but to conduct ourselves in all meekness and peacefulness. He exhorts them to follow his own example (v.9), so that the impression that Christ has left upon him, should be imprinted upon them as well. In these simple ways, all ground for reproach by the enemy is taken away. Finally, he ends with a ‘double dose’ of peace by saying that the Lord of peace should give you peace (3:16). To have peace at all times and in all places is one of the greatest gifts the Lord gives and is also one of the surest marks that the grace of God is at work in the heart of such a person. It keeps that person at rest in Christ and protects them from all the turmoil of the world.

PRAYER :- “Lord, please give your peace so that I may truly shine for you in this dark world.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 2 Thessalonians – Part 7

Pray for us that the word of the Lord may swiftly run …” (3:1)

Paul knew the power of God’s word to liberate the captive minds of men. He also knew the power of prayer. Therefore, he asks that the church of believers may pray for him. He asks for prayer that the word of God should swiftly run and be free flowing, overcoming all hindrances. Prayer that the Word of God should increase is a vital aspect of the church’s existence. By such prayer, the word can reach into every inaccessible area throughout the world; but not just into other nations, but also into sections of our own society that seem otherwise impregnable. Prayer can open doors of utterance and make the preaching and teaching of the word effective in every way. Prayer can also overcome every barrier that prevents people from hearing the truth of God’s word. Paul knew this and so should we. But it is not only prayer for the word to be heard by those who do not know the gospel, but also for those who are in the church. What a profitable, living and powerful thing the word of God can be to a company of believers when it is backed up by fervent prayer. Such prayer increases a hunger for God’s word and also imparts the ability and power to obey it. With prayer, the word of God will be manifested in His people, establishing them in truth and guarding them from all deception and evil (v.3).

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you for your word; may it be truly embedded within my heart.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 2 Thessalonians – Part 6

Whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth …” (2:8)

One of the awful aspects of the being of lawlessness is his power to deceive. In this, he/it is like his father, the devil, who is a liar with no truth in him at all (John 8:44). He/it will be clever, powerful and able to perform false miracles, so much so, that he will receive world-wide applause and adulation. Those who do not join in will be categorised as ‘outsiders.’ Despite offering all manner of answers, the one problem that he will not address is the issue of sin. He will be all the more exalted because men will be beguiled into continuing with their unrighteousness. Repentance from sin will not be his message. He will be so manipulative that many apostate Christians will be swept along with his propaganda. How may such a creature be resisted and overcome? The answer is by the Word that comes out of God’s mouth, in the power of the Spirit. These are things which Paul had already told the Thessalonians (2:5) and which are now written down for our instruction. Therefore, we are to stand firm and hold fast to the Scriptures which have been handed down to us. We have a great privilege in having the Bible in our own language, but also a great responsibility to uphold the truth of God’s word, so that it may establish and comfort us in every way.

PRAYER :- “Lord, teach me your word more and more so that it may guard my heart against all deception.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 2 Thessalonians – Part 5

The Man of Sin (lawlessness) … the son of perdition.” (2:3)

One of the signs that precede the return of the Lord Jesus is a revealing, or unveiling, of the man of sin, or man of lawlessness. The fact that Paul refers to an unveiling indicates a slightly gradual process, which is not fully apparent at first. This being is also called the son of destruction. This does not mean annihilation, but ultimate ruin of all that is good, godly, righteous, loving, peaceful and joyful. It is the same word that is used for the marring of the wineskins, so that their function is lost (Luke 5:37), and of the sheep who was lost, alone and in danger of never being found again and returning to the safety of the shepherd’s fold (Luke 15:4). I cannot identify who, or what this being is. I simply don’t know. It may be a person, but it may be an economic plan, or a political theory, which promises to fix all the world’s problems. While this end may seem good in itself, the solution will be entirely humanistic. There will be nothing of God in it at all. In effect, God will be totally deposed from the philosophy of this human agency. This man of lawlessness is the end product of all the sin of all mankind. He/it is the ultimate fruition of man’s rebellion against God. As such, this ‘mystery of iniquity’ (v.7), has been at work down through the ages and is coming, increasingly, into the sharper focus of final formation. These are horrendous thoughts to contemplate, but we are not to be afraid because they are just a prelude for the glorious coming of God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

PRAYER :- “Lord, even though sin abounds, thank you that the grace of salvation in Christ Jesus abounds even more; help me to cling to that and not lose my hold upon Him.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 2 Thessalonians – Part 4

That you should not be soon shaken in mind …” (2:2)

The Apostle Paul now moves onto the main emphasis of His message, which is speaking about the Day of Christ. But before doing so, he gives a warning that they should not be soon shaken in mind by any spiritual utterance, verbal, or written report. The word Paul uses for being shaken has the thought of agitation, as winds upon the surface of water, producing waves. Paul knows that the subject he is about to talk about can bring all kinds of confusion with conflicting voices all competing to gain our attention. Inevitably, when considering the Lord’s return, there is a multitude of sermons we can hear, or articles we can read, all easily found on-line. But, we must be careful. Measure what we read, hear and see (even from so-called ‘reputable’ sources) with all the word of God and not just one, or two verses in isolation. Do not become obsessed with one line of thinking, or with one ‘eschatological’ theory only, neither try to make current events ‘fit in’ with various views of interpretation of end times. Be balanced. The signs are already written. And, be steadfast, not shaken, by all that is happening in the world around us. If we are Christ’s, we are of another kingdom, a kingdom that can never be shaken (Hebrews 12:28). Praise His Name !

PRAYER :- “Lord, help me to be fully established in you, so that, while winds of doctrine may blow, I will not be moved from knowing in Whom I believe.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 2 Thessalonians – Part 3

We pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling …” (1:11)

In view of the things he has just said, Paul prays this most worthwhile prayer. Paul sees the gospel as not only something which is to be believed, but also as something that is powerful and that actively works within us. God’s calling is high and holy and Paul prays that we may be accounted worthy of it. As we yield ourselves to the Lord, His word and His Spirit, He will elevate us increasingly in line with all His perfect will, fulfilling in us all the good pleasure of His goodness and demonstrate it with the power of His workmanship in our lives. The end result is that while all of this works in us, it glorifies the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a most wonderful destiny and equally wonderful that we, by giving ourselves to Him, can contribute, by the way we live, to the glory of His name. And, this is not accomplished by any of our own effort; instead, it is all a result of the grace of God. Do we pray this prayer for ourselves? Do we pray it for others?

PRAYER :- “Lord, may your grace so work in me that your name not only be glorified in myself, but also in others.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 2 Thessalonians – Part 2

It is a just thing to repay affliction to those who afflict you.” (1:6)

In sharp contrast to allowing His people to pass through trials, God will exercise stark justice upon those who perpetrate affliction and do not yield their stubborn hearts to the gospel. The punishment is terrifying. It is all the worse in that they will be removed forever from the loving and glorious face of the Lord Jesus Christ. The destinies of true believers and resistant unbelievers are totally different. In the eyes of some, this may seem unfair, but in order that God’s holiness is maintained, this punishment is absolutely just and righteous. Instead of arguing with God, people should fear and seek to align their lives in accordance with His commands. As it says in Romans 9:20, who are we to reply against God? Do we know more than He does? We think we need to be heard. But, in truth, it is God’s word that needs to be heard. It is far better to yield our hearts and receive all the benefits of the salvation that God has so freely and so graciously provided in Christ than to continue in our stubborn ways in resistance against God. We need to be most certain of our eternal destiny.

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that you are absolutely just; help me to yield to all of your ways.”

Pocket Sized Thoughts – 2 Thessalonians – Part 1

You may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.” (1:5)

Paul wrote his second letter to the Thessalonian church ‘hot on the heels’ after the first one. Evidently, some interpreted his first letter as to mean that the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ was extremely imminent. This had led some to give up their work, neglect their families and spend a large amount of time aimlessly watching for the Lord’s return. So, in 2 Thessalonians, Paul corrects these false notions by stating that certain events must happen before the Lord’s return. In addition, Paul says that instead of being inactive, we must be diligent in every aspect of life in anticipation of the Lord’s return. Paul gives thanks that their faith has grown, their love has increased but also because they have shown great patience under every form of trial. This patience plainly declares the righteousness of God’s judgment; it vindicates Him. If we, like most of the world, shun patience and react strongly against trials, then God’s righteous justice against sin will not be put into so sharp a focus. By allowing His people to go through certain difficult and painful things, they are witnesses to the world that another kingdom, is coming. Do we live in such a way that our lives declare the righteousness of God in His judgment against all the sin of the world?

PRAYER :- “Lord, thank you that my life can be used to clearly demonstrate Your righteousness and justice in all things.”

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.”