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How do You Show Your Devotion?

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Psalm 73:21-28 – Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a ******* from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.


These words by the psalmist Asaph, a Levite and a leader of the choir of King David, are significant. Not simply because of the beautiful way in which they express the believer’s dependence on God, but also because they come at a point in Asaph’s life where he had almost fallen on account of the envy he felt towards those around him who did not believe in God. Some pastors will teach that if you are a Christian God will bless you and keep you from all harm; others will say that if you are a Christian you will be persecuted for your faith. Asaph had no trouble discerning that those being blessed were wicked while he, a righteous man, experienced only trouble:



Psalm 73:12-14 – This is what the wicked are like – always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hand in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.



It is often difficult to discern by behaviour alone who is saved and who is not. In fact, it is impossible. In one of the examples given by Jesus He says that:



Matthew 7:21-23 - Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.


Indicating that it is not our acts alone that make us Christians, Jesus tells His disciples that even some of those who have cast out demons and worked wonders in His name will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus says that they would actually be considered workers of iniquity. Further insight into what makes a person saved may be obtained from one of Jesus’ parables :



Matthew 25:1-12 - Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.


Notice that all ten of these women exhibited the outward signs of people who had accepted an invitation to a wedding reception; they even brought lamps and stayed up past midnight just to be sure of meeting the bridal party. However, five of the women were prepared, bringing with them what was required to ensure that they would accompany the bride groom to the banquet. The other five merely made a token appearance and their lack of devotion to the cause ultimately resulted in their missing it all together.



The apostle Paul expresses this devotion very elegantly



Philippians 3:8 - Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.


Paul did not merely act like a Christian, he considered everything other than Christ rubbish. This is the same attitude expressed by the men in an other of Jesus’ parables:



Matthew 13:44-46 - Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.


The kingdom of heaven is attained by those who are willing to sacrifice all earthly treasure in order to gain it, who do not concentrate on getting ahead in this world through a presumed affiliation with the next. Perhaps the best understanding of this commitment comes from the verses we read at the beginning of this message:



Psalm 73:25-28 – Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a ******* from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

- Peter Rhebergen

Amen!
 
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Great article Coconut!
Matthew 25:1-12 - Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Notice that all ten of these women exhibited the outward signs of people who had accepted an invitation to a wedding reception; they even brought lamps and stayed up past midnight just to be sure of meeting the bridal party. However, five of the women were prepared, bringing with them what was required to ensure that they would accompany the bride groom to the banquet. The other five merely made a token appearance and their lack of devotion to the cause ultimately resulted in their missing it all together.
I would like to add that in the scripture listed above Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is likened ten virgins not just five. Jesus also said that you must be born again to enter the Kingdom. So all ten virgins were born again, five readied and looking for the grooms return and five unprepared.
John 3:3-8
3*Jesus replied, “I assure you, unless you are born again,* you can never see the Kingdom of God.”
4*“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”
5*Jesus replied, “The truth is, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.* 6*Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven. 7*So don’t be surprised at my statement that you* must be born again. 8 Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
 
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I had never noted that point, thank you for sharing it Brother.


But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all [men].
See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Quench not the Spirit.
Despise not prophesyings.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
Brethren, pray for us.
Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.
I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Amen. 1Th 5
 
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