1 Thes. 5:18 - "…in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." NASU
Tomorrow is the day that has been set aside for us to give thanks for all the blessings we have been given from God. I am sure we do not wait until this one day of the year to give thanks.
I have had people say to me for years they want the Will of God to be done in their lives.
I would say to them be "thankful" and you will be doing the Will of God.
They always got this strange look on their faces and would say, "Yeah, I am thankful but you know I really want to do the Will of God."
I would always inform them according to the Apostle Paul if you will be "thankful" in everything you will be doing the Will of God.
Instead of me answering that question since I have never had one of my children die I quote a man who was familiar with the death of a child. He lost 10 children in one disastrous day. Job's wife even wanted him to curse God for what had just happened to their family.
Job 2:9-10 - Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!" But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips. NASU
Job had just lost his 10 children, all his animals, or in other words, his wealth. But Job's ATTITUDE guides his BEHAVIOR.
He doesn't sin by saying things that he would later regret.
Job wasn't "thankful" for the death of his children and the loss of his wealth, but his attitude was he would accept good from God and now when adversity comes into his life he would accept it as well.
Many times in life we have to accept things that we don't like.
We must wait upon the Lord and in time once the pain has decreased some we will start to allow God to give us the answers to the trials we faced.
Job's attitude guides his behavior and it says, "In all of this Job did not sin with his lips." In other words, he didn't curse God and ask to die.
I want to do the Will of God and one way I can do His Will is by giving thanks.
If you do a little inspection of your life you will find you have more to give thanks for then you might realize.
Develop an attitude of Thankfulness and you will never regret it.
Think On This:
It isn't what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart.
Many times we don't get all we want, but we should be thankful we don't get what we deserve.
Gary A. Serago
Minister of God's Word
1 Corinthians 2::2 - "For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." NASU
He was going to learn about Him by studying the Old Testament. In Paul's day, the writings were not called the Old Testament. They were called The Law and The Prophets.
Matt. 5:17 - "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill."
After Jesus' resurrection but before His ascension when talking with His disciples He names the Law, the Prophets and adds the Psalms as a way of description. Many years later the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms will become known as the Old Testament.
Lk 24:44-45 - Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."
When you read the writings of Paul you will find him quoting numerous scriptures from the Old Testament, which indicates he was studying the scriptures because he wanted to know all he could about Jesus Christ.
I did a very quick scan of the book of Romans and I identified 38 different quotes from the Old Testament scriptures. Paul studied the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms because he was determined to know Jesus Christ.
Here is what Paul has to say about the Old Testament in the book of Romans 15:4 -"For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."
You are never hopeless if you are reading God's Word.
What greater goal could you have for yourself?
I have started to study the book of Ecclesiastes in my personal life and the main theme of this book is really simple and straight to the point. Everything we do is meaningless except to have a loving relationship with God.
Solomon says it this way: "Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person." NLT
I would like to explain the word "fear" as it doesn't have the same meaning as the definition of fear that generally comes to our mind when we hear it. It is not the "fear" you would have if someone were robbing you at gunpoint or you encountered a rattlesnake on a path where you are walking.
The Hebrew word is "yare" and it means "to revere or show reverence". When I was young we were taught to take off our hats when the National Anthem was played. If you didn't have a hat on you were to put your right hand on your heart, stand still, and don't talk to show reverence.
The older I become the happier I am that I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ and I believe the best thing we can do is show Him reverence by learning as much as we possibly can about Him.
Think About These:
Our goal should be Service, not success.
If God is kept outside, something must be wrong inside. Fix it.
Gary A. Serago
Mark 8:36 - "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? NASU
Did you understand Jesus' question? Did you put yourself in this scriptural context?
Okay, let me help you have an understanding of Jesus' question.
You are the one who has gained the whole world. You have more money, more property, more mansions, more oceanfront properties, more cabins in the mountains, more businesses, more yachts, and more wealth than anyone has ever had because you have it all.
You, my friend, have gained the whole world. Please stop and contemplate on this idea. You have gained the whole world. You are the richest person that has ever lived.
Do you want to drive your Corvette, your BMW, your Maserati, your Lamborghini, your Dodge 426 Hemi Challenger or any other car because you can? You would be able to own any car your heart desires.
Where would you like to eat tonight and every night? You can eat at the most expensive restaurants in the world. You can fly to each one every night in your private jet.
Would you like to have dinner on your yacht in the Mediterranean or the Caribbean Sea tonight? You very well could because you have gained the whole world.
And yet, if you have all of the above and forfeit your soul you are the biggest loser of all time.
I am already in what is considered my golden years. Quite a few of my classmates have already preceded me in death. My mother and father, all my aunts and uncles on my dad's side are deceased. I only have one aunt on my mom's side still alive.
As I walk towards death I do it with confidence and the reason I say that is I know Jesus Christ. I have done what He has asked me to do. I have confessed His name and have been baptized for the forgiveness of my sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
Here is another reason I walk towards death with confidence:
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. (Revel. 1:17-18).
Jesus was dead and is alive forevermore. He also has the keys to death. When death takes me Jesus is going to unlock the hold it has on me and I will be alive forevermore with Him.
So let me ask you this question: "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?
You don't have to forfeit your soul. You can live forevermore with Jesus if you so desire.
The choice is yours. Make the right one my friend.
Think About This:
The person who expects to go to heaven must take the time to study the route that will get them there.
Gary A. Serago
Minister of God's Word
Luke 23:39-43 - One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!" But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?"And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!" And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise." NASU
I remember reading a quote in a book that goes like this: "It doesn't matter how you start. It only matters how you finish." Well, my early years were used for me. I did what I wanted to do and went where I wanted to go. Little did I know at the time the devil was playing me for the fool I was. I was on a fast track to hell.
I was at a class reunion a few months ago when one of my classmates had learned that I gave my life to Christ. He said this with all sincerity, "I am really glad you changed." In other words, he was saying, "I am really glad you gave your life to Christ."
He may be really glad but I am over the moon ecstatic that I became a Christian. I was like the criminals on the cross. I was headed to hell and needed forgiveness. I am happy that I was like the one criminal that realized he needed Jesus and not like the one that didn't realize his need for Him.
My start in my early years not so good, but it is my finish where I want to shine for the LORD.
If your start hasn't been so great, don't worry about it. Make the remaining years of your life count for the LORD.
How did he know Jesus had a kingdom?
I will give you my two cents worth because he had heard either John the Baptist or Jesus preach a sermon about the kingdom, or maybe he heard both of them.
Matt 3:1-2 - Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Matt 4:17 - From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
He may have heard one or both of them. We know he didn't listen to them when he first heard them, but now at the end of his life, he is ready to accept the truth and become a member of the Kingdom of God.
Maybe you haven't listened to the gospel in your early days. It doesn't matter how you start it matters how you finish.
Finish strong! Give your life to Christ! He can do more with it than you can.
Here is what Jesus said about entering the Kingdom: John 3:5 - Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Jesus is telling everyone to be baptized or immersed for this is how one is born of the water and the Spirit (read Acts 2:38).
The criminal was displaying repentance and a confession of his faith in God which was what was needed under the old covenant.
We are baptized into the death of Christ and Christ wasn't dead at this point.
Romans 6:3 - Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
I hope you will allow God to extend one of His greatest attributes to you and that would be the forgiveness of your sins.
Think About This:
There is one thing for which you should be thankful - only you and God have all the facts about yourself.
Gary A. Serago
Minister of God's Word
Gary A Serago.