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March 2010

Godsgrazingfield Devotions   March 2010

Barn In Evening
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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                         March 1, 2010

Good Morning!
Jesus is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.

THE PASOVER:
Luke 22:14. “And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16. For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18. For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 19. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”

Jesus had made His entry into the Holy City on the same day on which the paschal lambs were also brought in for the slaughter. In Exodus 12, the Passover was instituted. v:5, “take a lamb without blemish,” v:6, “shall kill it in the evening…” v:7, “take the blood and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post,…” v:8, “they shall eat the flesh in the night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread: and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.” v:14, “and this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.”

As the deliverance in Egypt found in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice its fulfillment and substantial antitype, so likewise did the divinely-ordained Passover in the Lord’s Supper. Our Lord’s desire to partake of this last Passover doubtless arose from His heartfelt longing for the coming of that hour in which He should be able, as the Lamb of God, to make an end of our state of condemnation, and nail to the cross the handwriting that was against us (Colossians 2:14).

After our Lord had given thanks, He “broke” the bread. Then He declares, “This is my body, which is broken for you.” This is symbolic of that which should soon occur to His own body. “Likewise He took the cup,” after renewed thanksgiving and blessing, then presented it to His disciples, and invited them to drink of it. He calls the cup His blood, even as He designated the bread, His body; and, both elements unite and represent the whole Christ, inasmuch as He gave His life, which is “in the blood,” unto death, as an atoning sacrifice for us.

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Numbers 20  21  22 ----- Mark  7 :1-13 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                       March 2, 2010

Good Morning!
Jesus took the form of a servant and He lived the life of a servant.

JESUS WASHES HIS DISCIPLES FEET:
John 13:1 “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. 2. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; 3. Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; 4. He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

The phrase “having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them to the end,” has such a significant meaning. Those whom His Father had given Him were more the objects of His affection than the holy angels around the throne of God, and His love increased as the end drew near. How He loved them, when He took their sins with Him to the cross, and cast Himself upon the altar for their transgressions. How He loved them, when His own blood did not seem too high a price to be paid for them, although it was they who were the transgressors. He loved them to the end; and to this day He loves them that are his own in similar manner.

This little group of men, the greatest fellowship the world had ever known, seated at the table with the greatest host the world had ever had, had come with worldly ambitions on their mind. It is remarkable that at such a season this dispute could have arisen at all. Having undoubtedly broken out on more than one occasion (Mark 9:33-34). Jesus, knowing that he could not get their minds on heavenly things as long as there was strife among them concerning which one of them was the greatest, decided to teach them a lesson on humility, this he did in the midst of the feast. He took off the seamless garment which the soldiers would cast lots for.

In this attire he was to appear, and literally to act after the fashion of the humblest slave, “after that he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the Disciples feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” All of its glory, He was heaven, was God manifest (made known) in the flesh. The Almighty became a servant. The master stooped to serve, to wash his Disciples feet.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

Numbers  23  24  25  ---- Mark  7 :14 -- 37 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                          March 3, 2010

Good Morning!
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me.” (Psalm 139:23-24).

“IS IT I?”:
Mark 14:18 “And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me. 19. And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I?”

The peace of the disciples was at an end, after this shocking news. They can not leave the matter until they know who would do such a shocking thing. And they did not seek the guilty one at a distance, but in their own hearts. They did not begin to suspect Matthew because he was once a publican, nor did they point their fingers at James and John because Jesus had called them, “Sons of thunder,” and did Jesus not rebuke Peter by telling him to “get behind me Satan?” No. But each of them remembered the Lord’s words that some will say, “Lord, have we not eaten and drunk in Thy presence? Have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name done many wonderful works? And He shall say, depart from Me I never knew thee” (Matthew 7:22) (Luke 13:26).

The disciples were well aware of this; and hence, on the Lord informing them, that there was one among them, who was accused, they wanted to know, “Lord is it I?” Let us follow their example in this and not look across the aisle or behind us for the guilty party. “Lord,” they ask, one after the other, deeply concerned, and grieved, “Is it I? Is it I?” “Am I capable of committing this terrible deed?”

And we, who are so quick to look for faults in other people need to hear what Paul says “If we judge ourselves, we shall not be judged” (1 Corinthians 11:31). Let us start our search within our own hearts, and not exclude ourselves from those whom we regard as being possibly the one in question. For among those who are respected, and reputed as blameless characters, among churchmen and those who are apparently devout, any even among those who frequent the Lord’s Table, may be found such as are rushing onward to destruction.

In congregations where the Gospel is preached, Satan entraps individuals in the snare of religious self-deception, as well as in the pits of infidelity, and ungodliness. It would do us well that when we approach God’s altar if we said, “Lord, is it I?’

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

Numbers  26  27  28  ----- Mark   8 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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 GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                       March 4, 2010

Good Morning!
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning?” (Isaiah 14:12)

JUDAS ISCAROT:
Psalms 41:9 “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”

About the same time that the Word became flesh in Bethlehem, and the angels of God sang their anthem of worship at His appearance, there was joy also in the cottage of Simon of Carioth, in the tribe of Judah, for they likewise had a son, though only a mortal, been born. His parents, thankful and hopeful, called the boy “Judas,” that is praise of God; and thus recognized the Almighty who had graciously given them a son. We know so little about Judas’ early life, but we do know that he fell under the persuasion of the one born in Bethlehem, who called, and chose Judas to become one of His Apostles.

The question is, “How can one so chosen, and heavenly endowed, fall so far as Judas fell?” There was a time when “the candle of God shone upon his head, and when the secret of God was upon his tabernacle” (Job 29:3-4). Judas swore allegiance to the banner of Jesus, the Friend of sinners, with youthful enthusiasm, though with an unbroken will; and the Searcher of Hearts, perceiving the promising talents of the young man—who was really zealous for the cause of God in a certain degree—confidently admitted him into the circle of His nearest and most intimate disciples.

The Lord appointed him as the treasurer of the little group. But yet amid such holy sentiment, an evil root remained, which was the love of the world, and especially of its gold and empty honor. The compassionate love of Jesus left no means untried to accomplish the cure; but alas, Judas did not yield to His tender and unwearied mercy. Judas allowed the worst part of him to overcome the better part. The period arrived in which Judas actually laid his thievish hand, for the first time, upon the fund entrusted to him. And after he had once broken through the barriers of his moral conscience, the next and every subsequent embezzlement became easier and less objectionable. For a considerable time Judas thought himself safe in the disguise of his conscious hypocrisy, until the anointing of Jesus by Mary in the house of Simon the leper at Bethany. Though the words of Jesus, the hypocritical disciple became fully aware that the Lord saw through him, and knew of his crime.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

Numbers  29  30  31 --- Mark  9 :1 -- 29 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                      March 5, 2010

Good Morning!
He that does not decide for the Lord today may tomorrow be found opposed to Him, and carrying the banner of Satan.

JUDAS ISCARIOT:
John 13:26 “Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.”

Judas had hastened away from the company at Bethany (Matthew 26:14-16). He now felt himself more at home, and more in his element among the adversaries of Jesus that in the company of fellow disciples. The bargain of the thirty pieces of silver was concluded. However, he knew only half of what he was doing. He had plunged himself into a vortex against which he was unable to control. He no longer guided himself; another (Satan) dragged him away behind him. We nevertheless soon see him again seated in his old place among the twelve. We meet the Son of Perdition in the last social evening circle at Jerusalem. And we see the Lord again trying every thing to save the soul thus sick unto death. We say to Judas, “Reveal thyself, Judas; throw down the mask, and escape eternal perdition, before the door of mercy is closed. There is still time.” But Judas resists, and envelopes himself still more deeply in his disguise; for another voice still more powerful pervades his soul, and drowns every better feeling within him.

The moment Jesus handed Judas the sop, the disciples shudder, and Judas stands, trembling, his eyes wandering, and asks, “Master, is it I.” The Lord answered, “thou sayest it.” That moment, the evil will of Judas overcame the last and most powerful attraction of mercy, and the root of sin in his heart came to full bloom. The day of salvation closed; the hour of visitation of divine mercy expired, and Satan triumphantly entered into him. Judas realizing that the Lord was aware of his motives, rushed away in the night to betray his Lord and to forfeit eternal life.

O Judas, Judas! Happy would it have been were thou the only one of thy kind! But the name of thy brethren, even in the present day, is legion. From the camp of the world comes the infernal war-cry, “Away with Jesus and the doctrine of the cross!” The traitor, Judas, is again visible on the stage, full of deadly hatred to God. The germ from which a Judas may spring lies dormant in all of us.

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Click the links below to read today"s Bible Verses online  

Numbers  
32  33 34  ----- Mark  9 :30 -- 50 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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 GOD'S GRAZINGFIEL DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts              March 6 & 7, 2010

Good Morning!
Adopted into the service of the sanctuary, how beneficial and inspiring are songs of praise and worship, how uplifting and soothing they are to our soul.

JESUS SINGING:
Matthew 26:30 “And when they had sung an hymn, they went to the mount of Olives.”

The Passover feast had ended, the traitor had left into the darkness, but before leaving its Holy Chamber, our Lord begins to sing, along with His disciples, the great song of praise, which consisted of Psalms 115-118. It is the first, and only, time we find our Savior singing. The Lord thereby, forever, consecrates vocal music in His Church. Singing is the language of feelings, the exhalation of an exalted state of mind, the voice of an enraptured soul. Singing is heaven’s valuable gift to earth.

Who among us has not experienced its power to raise us high above the fogy atmosphere of daily life; and to transport us so wondrously into the precincts of Heaven? Singing expands and melts the heart—helps banish sorrow, and bursts the bonds of grief. And even greater things than these are experienced when the Spirit from above mingles His breath with it. Can we not, at times, feel Heaven singing along with us? A thousand times singing has restored peace in the midst of strife, banished Satan and pulled down his strong-hold. Singing has caused stony hearts to melt like wax, rendering them capable of receiving the seed of eternity.

But singing was never more glorified than when our Lord sang with His chosen few on the night before His death. O, if David, who wrote the words to those Psalms, could have supposed that they would experience the high honor of being sung by the gracious lips of Him who was the supreme object of his songs, and the sole hope of his life. He would have let his pen drop in joyful astonishment from his hand. But what a seal of approval does the Lord put upon these Psalms (115-118) as to the real unction of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21) upon David, by applying them to Himself, while thus singing them in the most solemn hour of His earthly life. Would He have sung them, especially at his moment, if they had not contained the pure Words of God? The Lord singing them, therefore, is a powerful proof of the Divine Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. The Lord Jesus beheld His own Image in the mirror of the words of prophecy, especially these Passover Psalms in particular.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

Numbers  35  36  --------- Mark  10 :1 -- 31 
Deuteronomy  1  2  3 ----  Mark  10 :32 --- 52

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIEL DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts             March 8, 2010

Good Morning!
At every step Jesus perceived Himself as being sent by the Father to close up the chasm which sin had caused between God and the creature.

THE WALK TO GETHSEMANE:
Matthew 26:31 “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. 31. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.”

After the singing Jesus went out to the Mount of Olives. He proceeds upon the path that was laid out for Him, and how much is laid upon Him, the guilt of thousands of years of sin, the worlds future—the salvation of millions. He goes in order, in His own person, to plant the seed-corn of a new heaven and a new earth. Just think, where we would have been had not He walked this path for us? Our future state would have ended in unquenchable fire. He knew this. That’s why He walked it.

Jesus knew the terrible consequences that His death would have upon His Disciples. He knew that they would be scattered and for the three days He lay in the tomb they would seem to lose all hope. Then the promise, “But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.” Galilee is therefore the rendezvous, the land of reunion and meeting. Once there, He has no further cup of agony to drink, and His followers will no more be offended in Him. He is then no longer the Man of Sorrows, but is clothed in majesty and the victor’s glory. There, in Galilee, He meets His beloved friends, and greets them with salutation of peace. “I will go before thee into Galilee.” Even for us, there is something in these words, if we are able to read between the lines. “After I am risen again.” Assuredly, that resurrection for which we wait, will not tarry—the final elevation of His kingdom from its deep reproach—the manifestation of Him, on whose head are many crowns.

Perhaps the day will soon appear when He shall have made His foes His footstool, and having gathered His elect from the four corners of the earth, and bound and shut up Satan in the bottomless pit—then we shall also gather in the Galilee of peace and joy, where we shall behold Him face to face, whom, having not seen, we love, and shall greet Him with songs of rejoicing and rapture. That Galilee, on the shores of which many weary pilgrims daily cast anchor--that Galilee, where Jesus wipes the tears from their eyes--that Galilee, where the songs of praise rises continually.

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Deuteronomy   4  5  6   ------  Mark  11 :1-18 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                      March 9, 2010

Good Morning!
Jesus comforts His disciples with the hope of heaven.

THE CONVERSATION ON THE WAY TO GETHSEMANE:
John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  2. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

As Jesus and His disciple make their way to the Mount of Olives gloom seems to settle over the disciples, and Jesus, to raise and brace up their spirits for coming hours, opens up His heart to them. This discourse is the longest conversation by Jesus recorded in the New Testament. It consists of 4 chapters John 14, 15, 16, and 17.  These are words we also fall back upon when we are troubled or when sorrow grips our heart. They have lifted thousands, yea, millions out of the depths of depression.

“Let not you heart be troubled; ye believe in God.” Believe in God first, but let us not forget the second clause, “Believe also in Me.” It is only the belief in God and in Jesus the Christ that we discover the peaceful secret—it is only when we cast ourselves into the Everlasting Arms of love and mercy that we find rest for our souls. Troubles must come, and pressure must come, and sorrowful days must come to all of us; but the faith which the Lord commends, can keep us steady and strong and peaceful in the midst of trouble.

In the conversation Jesus talks of a future life and reveals that his home in heaven has many mansions and that He is going there to prepare a place for his own (this includes us). As He prepared a place (earth) for us to be born and live on, and what He did for this earth He is doing for the New Earth, and as body mind and spirit have found everything ready here, so spirit, mind, and body will find all they need there. Return, Reception, and Reunion. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” It is clear here that what Jesus here promises is a return to (I’m coming again), a reception of (to receive you unto myself), and a reunion (that where I am, there ye may be also) with, His disciples. This is a hope which every believer may cherish in view of his own death or the death of a loved one.

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Deuteronomy  7  8  9  -----   Mark  11 :19--33

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                March 10, 2010

Good Morning!
In Gethsemane we see how at one time to His Father, and at another to mere human beings, Jesus turns for comfort to His desponding soul, and does not find what He seeks, and is compelled to return disappointed.

GETHSEMANE—CONFLICT AND VICTORY:
Matthew 26:37 “And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.”Hebrews 5:7 “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;”

We must remember that it is the Eternal Father Himself who presides in Gethsemane; but we exclaim with Job, “Behold God is great, and we know him not, …” (Job 36:26a). If we could have looked behind the dark clouds we would have seen the Father above watching as Abraham climbed the sacrificial mountain in gloom with his son and was hid from Abraham’s sight. And now the Father’s only and supremely beloved Son appears before Him in a position which might melt the flinty rock to pity; but compassion seems a stranger to Him, who said to Zion, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee” (Isaiah 49:15).  Yet in this scene before us we are tempted to cry out with David, “Hath God forgotten to be gracious, and is his mercy clean gone forever?” (Psalms 77:8-9).

Again and again does the Son cast Himself on His Father’s bosom, with great supplications—but His ears listen in vain for a favorable response from on high. There is nether voice, nor response, nor attention—it is as if the Eternal had in wrath retracted His words, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, thou shalt glorify me” (Psalms 50:15), and had no longer a heart for Him, who lay in His bosom before the foundation of the world. The cup of horrors does not pass from the trembling hand of the sufferer; on the contrary, its contents become bitterer moment by moment. Louder and louder sounds the cries of the agonizing Savior; but the Holy One is silent, and heaven seems barred with a thousand locks. At last a Holy Angel appears; but why an Angel only, instead of the immediate and consoling vision of the Father?—A created being sent to strengthen the Creator.

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Deuteronomy   10  11  12 -----  Mark  12 :1 -- 27 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                March 11, 2010

Good Morning!
In Gethsemane Jesus had placed upon Him the deep feeling of guilt which the vilest of sinner faces when he comes into the presence of God.

JESUS IS MADE TO FEEL LIKE A SINNER: HE MUST EXPERIENCE GUILT:
Mark 14:34 “And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.”

To understand the battle in Gethsemane we must Look Beyond The Physical Aspects—the things that could be seen and heard—the Savior prostrate on the ground—the great drops of blood that dropped from his face—the sound of His voice crying out to His Father—the angel descending to strengthen Him—His pleading voice to His disciples to watch with Him. These physical aspects of Gethsemane have been equaled and even surpassed by thousands of His followers who went to their deaths with unflinching fortitude. Christianity would be forever destroyed, if the Holy Scriptures compel us to regard the cup which Jesus drank, as essentially the same as that of which Job, Jeremiah, Paul, and many others partook. Jesus’ cup contained something far more dreadful.

The key that unlocks the mystery of Gethsemane is found in 2 Corinthians 5:21 “God hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God.” As long as Christ’s position as mediator is not acknowledged, the events in Gethsemane will continue a sealed mystery. Every attempt to explain them otherwise than by the fundamental views of His vicarious (felt or undergone as if one were taking part in the experience or feelings of another) mediation, will forever be to no avail. Only through this light is everything made clear and intelligible concerning the appalling scenes in Gethsemane.

The redeemer as mediator (one that reconciles differences between disputants) would be able to suffer the punishment due to our sins only by having a consciousness of them (2 Corinthians 5:21).  The personal feeling of guilt-- that worm in the marrow of life—certainly renders punishment what it is, and forms its peculiar essence (the inherent idea imparted or expressed) and focus (the center of attention). In Gethsemane Jesus had placed upon Him the deep feeling of guilt which the vilest of sinner faces when he comes into the presence of God. Adam was the first to have the feeling of guilt when he disobeyed the commandment of God. Simon Peter felt this when Jesus came to where he was washing his nets (Luke 5:8).

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Deuteronomy  13 14 15   ---- Mark  12 :28 -- 44  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                       March 12, 2010

Good Morning!
Even the Heavenly peace of God’s presence was part of the things which was necessary for Jesus to sacrifice as the ransom for our souls.

JESUS EXPERIENCED THE CURSE OF SIN:
Genesis 3:24 “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims,”

Besides the abominable nature of sin (Guilt), the Lord experienced its curse, which is separation from God. In this we perceive the explanation of the cause of the terrors of Gethsemane. He feels Himself as a culprit (one guilty of a fault or crime) before God. All that is implied in being separated from God, deprived of God’s favor, estranged from His affection, and “a child of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). He feels as deeply, inwardly, and vitally, as if He Himself were in that situation.

Jesus descends to the depths of such feelings and into those infernal horrors where the prophetic lamentations in Psalms 22 find their fulfillment. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me” (v. 1), “O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not (v. 2); “Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help” (v. 11); “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death” (v. 15); “But be not thou far from me, O LORD” (v. 19):

In Gethsemane Jesus’ soul is unconscious of God’s gracious presence, and tastes only the pain and distress of abandonment. Instead of intimate nearness, He experiences only a feeling of distance on the part of God. But He is not to be spared theses bitterest drops in the cup. Can we therefore, feel surprised that when His sufferings came to this state of inward abandonment, that the cry arose about the possibility of the cup being removed should, with stronger effort, be asked?

When God withdraws, Satan comes. The infernal powers have been let loose upon the Divine Redeemer. They are permitted to array against Him all their cunning, might, and malice. They were at liberty to drive the soul of The Holy One to despair if possible. It is certain they assailed Him in the most fearful manner, and strove to induce Him to suspect the conduct of His Father towards Him, and tortured Him with insidious dissuasions from the work of human redemption.

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Deuteronomy  16 17 18   ---  Mark  13 :1 --20 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                    March 13 & 14, 2010

Good Morning!
After coming off victorious from His spiritual conflict in Gethsemane, our Lord prepares to enter upon the thorny path of bodily afflictions.

THE SUDDEN ASSULT:
Mark 14:43 “And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.”

Scarcely has the Savior risen from the ground when a new cause of alarm awaits Him. Before His disciples are aware of what is transpiring, lanterns and torches are seen amid the bushes of the garden. It is truly an infernal host with which we have here - the bodyguard of Satan, composed of Priests, Pharisees, Scribes, members of the temple guard, and led by the traitor Judas. Our Lord had just said to His disciples, “Arise, let us be going.” He does so in order that they should all be present at His arrest, that, as eye-witnesses, they might afterward inform the world how their Master had voluntarily delivered Himself up into the hands of His enemies, and not as one who was vanquished by them.

Our Lord approaches the armed band and asks them the simple question, “Whom seek ye?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they say. The Lord, with the sublime composure of the divine Mediator said to them, “I am He!” Great and significant expression! It was never uttered by the Saviour without being accompanied with the most powerful effects (John 8:58, 59). What occurs on His making use of the words on the present occasion? On hearing them the whole band of officials start, give way, stagger backward, and fall to the ground as if struck by an invisible flash of lightning, or blown upon by the breath of Omnipotence. That which thus powerfully affected them was, undeniably, the deep impression of the Deity of JESUS, by which they were for a time overpowered. How could one get up from the ground and take hold of such a One so endowed?

His majestic, though simple declaration, called forth in them, in its full strength, the conviction of His superhuman Glory. But this mental emotion would not alone have sufficed to stretch the whole troop bodily, as by magic, in the dust, if an act of divine omnipotence had not accompanied it. The murderous band lies at His feet, prostrated by a single expression from His lips. One day all will bow before Him.

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Deuteronomy  19 20 21  -- ---  Mark 13 :21- 37 

Deuteronomy  22 23 24   ----- Mark  14 :1---26

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                      March 15, 2010

Good Morning!
All the contents of the cup would have been otherwise measured out to us by divine justice on account of our sin.

THE SWORD AND THE CUP:
Luke 22:49 “When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?”
John 18:10 “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. 11. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

How horrible to see the Lord of Glory fallen upon and surrounded like a robber and a murderer! The disciples witness it; but the sight renders them beside themselves. If, at the traitor's kiss, their blood congealed with horror, it now begins to boil in their veins. They cannot bear that it should come to such a pass. “Lord,” say they, as with one voice, “shall we smite with the sword?” While speaking, they themselves give the answer; and before their Master has time to say a word, Peter's sword is unsheathed, and the first blow in defense is struck. The confusion caused by Simon's thoughtless assault is indescribable. The whole scene suddenly changes. The troop, drawing their swords, now prepares also for the conflict, and the sacred soil of Gethsemane is on the point of being transformed into a battlefield.

Scarcely had the blow been struck, when the Saviour stepped forward, and while turning to the armed band, rebuked the storm in some measure, by these words – “Suffer ye thus far”: - that is, “Grant me a short time, until I have done what I intend.” But how they are astonished on seeing the Lord kindly inclining to Malchus, and touching his wounded ear with His healing hand, when the blood instantaneously ceases to flow, and the ear is restored uninjured to its place!

“The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” We know what was in the cup. In the cup was the entire curse of the inviolable law, all the horrors of conscious guilt, all the terrors of Satan's fiercest temptations, and all the sufferings which can befall both body and soul. It contained likewise the dreadful ingredients of abandonment by GOD, infernal agony, and a bloody death, to which the curse was attached – all to be endured while surrounded by the powers of darkness.

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Deuteronomy   25 26 27  ------ Mark  14 :27 --- 53 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                March 16, 2010

Good Morning!
Jesus yields Himself up to His adversaries, and suffers them to do with Him just as they please.

JESUS BOUND BEFORE ANNAS:
John 18:12. “Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, 13. And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. 14. Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

With what feelings the holy angels must have witnessed their Lord being thus taken prisoner - they whom the Savior's humiliation never for a moment prevented from being conscious of His real character and dignity; and who, wherever He went, perceived in Him the Lord of glory and the King of kings, before whose throne they only ventured to approach with veiled faces! Let us hear the words of Jesus, “Are ye come out as against a thief, with swords and staves to take me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me, nor stretched forth your hands against me.”

No power on earth would have been able to overcome Him, had He not, when His hour was come, voluntarily yielded up Himself in free submission to His Father's will. Until He had completed His ministerial office, no enemy dared to touch Him. Nor had they been able to discover anything in Him which might have enabled them to prosecute Him. The invisible barrier is now removed. “This is your hour and the power of darkness.” His meaning is, “By an act of the divine government the chain of Satan has been lengthened, that it may do with me as it pleases.”

The LORD JESUS suffered His hands to be bound, like a captive robber, by a troop of rude mercenaries, in the name of public justice. Think of those hands being bound which were never extended except to heal and aid, to benefit and save, and never to injure, except it be considered as a crime to lift mankind from their wounds. JESUS bound! What a spectacle! Can we trust our eyes? Omnipotence in fetters, the Creator bound by the creature; the Lord of the world, the captive of His mortal subjects! How much easier would it have been for Him to have burst those bonds than Samson of old! However He rends them not but yields Himself to them.

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Deuteronomy  28  29  -------  Mark  14 :54--72 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                      March 17, 2010

Good Morning!
“For the transgression of my people was He stricken.”

THEY HUMILIATED MY LORD:
John 18:22 “And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?”
Matthew 26:67. “Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, 68. Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?”

While the Lord is speaking, one of the servants of the high priest rises up and smites Him on the face, while saying, “Answerest thou the high priest so?” From this circumstance, we may perceive what is intended with respect to JESUS. This first maltreatment gave the signal for all that followed. It did not escape the servant how completely his master (Annas) was embarrassed by the simple reply of the accused; and this rude blow was the only means which presented itself of rescuing him from his painful and disgraceful dilemma. The fellow well knew that it would be allowed him - nay, that he would only rise by it in the favor of his master.

For this very crime alone, which must not be placed to the account of a single individual, but to our corrupt human nature, to the guilty race of Adam, it was fit that hell should open its mouth and swallow it up, as the pit formerly did Korah and his company. But JESUS came not to hasten our perdition, but to prevent it. We therefore do not behold the wicked man scathed by lightning from heaven, nor his hand withered, like that of Jeroboam (1 Kings 13:4), on his stretching it out to smite.

How often are we treated in a similar manner when the truth which we proclaim to the men of the world cannot be countered? We are then called bold, presumptuous, and obstinate. What is left for us, in such situations, except to make use of our Master's own words, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me?” How overpowering was this speech to both master and servant!
The blow on the cheek, with its accompanying brutal language, was only a clear proof that the miserable men felt themselves unable to bring anything of a culpable nature against the Lord. By acting thus, they only smote themselves in the face, since by their conduct they made it evident how deeply and painfully they had felt the truth.

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Deuteronomy 30  31  ----- Mark 15 :1 -- 25 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                      March 18, 2010

Good Morning!
Let us join ourselves in spirit to Simon Peter. If anyone was ever ardently attached to the Saviour, it was he; but he, like us, was only partially conscious of what was in his own heart until the appointed feathered watchman crew the third time.

WHEN JESUS LOOKED, SIMON PETER WEPT:
Luke 22:60. “And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

In addition to all His other sufferings, our Lord had also to endure that of being denied by one of the little company of His confidential disciples, on whose fidelity He ought to have been able to reckon under all circumstances. Simon Peter had spoken openly and loudly of never denying his Master, avowing allegiance at all cost, even of going to death with Him; but Peter did not know what was lurking in his own heart, and Satan took advantage of his weakness. As Jesus stands bound before Annas, Peter repeatedly denied he even knew the Lord. “I know not the man.” But the more he denied the more his Galilean accent came out.

Just as Peter had filled up the measure of his sin by a formal repudiation of his Master, the cock crows. God only knows what with what clamor Satan deafened the disciple’s ears so that the first cry of the feathered watchman did not penetrate into them. An awakener of some kind is appointed to every one of us. Wherever we may be, there are voices which call us to repentance. It is written upon every tombstone, in every illness that comes upon us, and every danger we face is a call to repentance, as well as that secret uneasiness which incessantly steal through our soul.

The third time the sound of the crowing of the cock reached our Lords ears, “The Lord turned himself.” The sound announced to Him His disciple’s fall, and His eye and compassionate heart go in search of him. Such is Jesus the Savior. He embraces His followers with more than natural tenderness it is a love beyond human understanding. Even amid His own suffering He turned and looked upon Simon Peter, and the look found and melted every fiber of Peter’s soul. O there is inexpressible power in the look of the Lord. The Lord’s look did not fail of its effect upon Peter, the rest of the verse tells it all. “And Peter went out and wept bitterly.”

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Deuteronomy   32  33  34  ---   Mark  15 :26--47  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts               March 19, 2010

Good Morning!
Pilate knew that the blood was innocent, but he knew not the cleansing power of it.

JESUS BEFORE PILATE:
Luke 23:1 “And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.
3 And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it. 4. Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.”

THE DAY HAS JUST DAWNED--the most momentous, decisive, eventful day in the history of the world. It greets our Lord with dreadful consequences. We find the Holy City in unusual circumstances. A spectacle like that which now presents itself, had never before been witnessed. And who is this that they are dragging before the Roman authorities? It is the very man who was recently received into the city, by the same people, with loud hosannas, and was exalted and celebrated as no one had been before. He now meets us as the off-scouring and refuse of the same people.

They bring the Lord JESUS to Pilate, the Roman governor. The Almighty permits circumstances so to connect themselves together that the whole world, in its representatives, must participate in the condemnation of the Just One. Hence His death becomes the common crime of our race, and every mouth is stopped before the judgment seat of GOD. They conduct the Lord to Pilate; and thus what the Saviour had before so distinctly predicted when announcing His passion, was literally fulfilled: “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and deliver him up to the Gentiles.”

What a marvel that he should submit to be arraigned before a mortal. The scene will one day be reversed. Pilate will then have to answer at His bar. The accusers also will then have to give account of their accusations. We shall all do well to keep that solemnity evermore in mind. How Pilate’s heart must have sank as they cried. “Crucify him.” “Crucify him.” Pilate, “I find no fault in him.” “But I’ll chastise him.” “I find no reason he should die.” “But I’ll allow him to be crowned with a crown of thorns.” “I don’t want anything to do with him.” “So I’ll wash my hands and give him to you to be crucified.” “I am innocent of the blood of this just man. Then answered all the people, and said, his blood be on us, and on our children.”

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Joshua  1  2  3    ------  Mark  16  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

20. 21. ***************************************************

GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                           March 20 & 21, 2010

Good Morning!
The day is not too far distant when the King of Glory will have exchanged the robe of mockery for the starry mantle of divine Majesty, the crown of thorns for a crown of glory, and the reed for the scepter of universal dominion.

BEHOLD YOUR KING:
John 19:1 “Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. 13. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!”

Heaven's pearly gates were once thrown open and a Holy One descended into the world - such a One as the sons of men had never seen since the fall. He was glorious beyond compare, and came to verify the dream of Jacob's ladder which connected earth with heaven. Love was His banner, compassion the beating of His heart. He sojourned three years among mortals, shedding light on those who were stumbling in darkness, filling the homes of the wretched with temporal and spiritual blessings, inviting the weary and heavy laden to come to Him, in order to give them rest, and irradiating the darkness of the vale of death with promises upon promises, with so many golden lights from heaven. “I came not,” said He, “to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give my life a ransom for many.” He testified that He came to redeem His people from their sins; that He would not leave them comfortless but bring them to the Father, and elevate them to be fellow-heirs with Him in His glory.

O what blessings must such a Guest have brought with Him to a world lying under the curse! Even the angels around the throne might have envied the pilgrims in this vale of death by reason of this visit. And as regards the children of men “Doubtless,” you say, “they received Him with exultation, melted into tears of rapture, conducted Him in triumph, and knew not what they should do to manifest their gratitude to their heavenly Friend and Deliverer.” Truly, one might have supposed that such would have been the case. “What, and was it not so?” My friends lift up your eyes and look toward Gabbatha. You exclaim, “Who is yonder sufferer?” O, my friends, whom do you, take Him to be? Look Him narrowly in the face, and say if wickedness could have vented itself worse than it has done on this Person? Alas! They have made of Him a carnival king; and as if He were unworthy of being dealt with seriously, they have impressed upon Him the stamp of derision. Look at the mock robe about His shoulders, the theatrical scepter in His hands, and on His head, which is covered with wounds and blood, the dreadful crown of thorns.

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Joshua  4  5  6    --------  Luke 1 :1 --- 20
Joshua   7  8  9  ---------- Luke 1  :21 – 38

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts               March 22, 2010

Good Morning!
Alas for Pilate! Had he but known who it was, and all that he gave up in thus delivering Him!

THE WAY TO THE CROSS:
John 19:16 “Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. 17. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:”

The act of Pilate delivering the Lamb of God into the hands of those who was to carry out the sacrificial act at Calvary meant the end of the law and its sacrificial acts. The old priesthood came to an end, the sons of Aaron can close the doors of the temple, the types and shadows have done their duty, now that the real Lamb has appeared. Annas lay aside your robe, the miter from your head, and the breastplate, and all ye ministers of the sanctuary your duties are at a close, another has taken your place.

According to the Roman custom, all who were condemned to the punishment of the cross were compelled to carry that instrument of their death to the place of execution, and even the divine sufferer is not spared this disgrace and toil. Without mercy they lay on His wounded back the instrument of torture; and, after having given Him for His escort two grievous criminals, similarly burdened and condemned to the same death, they open the gate of the courtyard toward the street in order at length to satisfy the people who had been impatiently awaiting the cruel spectacle.

Had He shrunk back from this fatal path, His road to suffering would have represented to us that on which, when dying, we should have left the world. Instead of soldiers, the emissaries of Satan would have escorted us; instead of the accursed tree, the curse of the law itself; instead of fetters, the bands of eternal wrath would have encircled us and despair have lashed us with its fiery scourge. Now, on the contrary, angels of peace sent by Eternal Love will at length bear us on a path of light, illumined by heavenly promises, to Abraham's bosom.

We silently join this procession in spirit, singing the wonderful old hymn.
“Must Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free?
No, there is a cross for every one, and there is a cross for me.”

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Joshua  10  11  12  ----  Luke 1 :39 --- 56 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts              March 23, 2010

Good Morning!
The cross is the tree of life, “the leaves of which are for the healing of the nations.”

SIMON OF CYREN BECAME THE FIRST TO BEAR HIS CROSS:
Mark 15:21 “And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.”

We left the Saviour at the close of our last devotion on the road to the fatal hill. JESUS is carrying His cross. When did He ever show so plainly in His outward circumstances that He bore the curse, as now? If the voice of GOD had sounded directly down from heaven, and said, “This Just One is now enduring the sentence pronounced upon you,” it could not have afforded us more certainty than by this living figure of bearing the cross.

The cross is the scaffold where, according to Romans 3:25, GOD resolved to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of GOD. It is the Moriah where for the benefit of a sinful world the curse pronounced in paradise is endured in the sacred humanity of the great Surety. It is the altar of burnt-offering on which the Lamb of GOD submitted to the sum total of that punishment which ought in justice to have fallen upon me; and the dying bed, where death is permitted to seize upon and slay another, in order that it might forever lose his claim upon me. Such is the mysterious cross which we see borne toward Calvary.

We find the Holy Sufferer outside the gates of Jerusalem. “Wherefore, Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” Here CHRIST is represented as the true antitype of the Old Testament sin offerings. Now a new figure presents itself to our view - the sinner with the cross of JESUS. This was Simon, born at Cyrene in Africa. He was stopped and compelled to bear the Lord's material cross. Later his two son’s Alexander and Rufus bore the spiritual cross.

In a spiritual sense, we become like Simon of Cyrene. We enter into the most vital, fervent, and blissful fellowship with the cross of CHRIST. We are everywhere and continually occupied with this cross, and it becomes the sign by which we are known. Finally, however, we become reconciled to the wondrous burden, and finally bear it with delight.

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Joshua  13  14  15  ----- Luke 1 :57- 80 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

24. *************************************************

GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                 March 24, 2010                                  

Good Morning!
Once a year the High Priest entered into the Most Holy Place with the sacrificial blood in his hands, approached the Throne of Grace, and sprinkled the atoning blood. Now Jesus Himself approaches the altar of sacrifice bearing His own blood.

THE MOST HOLY PLACE--GOLGOTHA:
Mark 15:22 “And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. 25. And it was the third hour (9:00 A.M.), and they crucified him.”

JESUS of whom the whole Old Testament priesthood, according to the divine intention, was only a typical shadow, conceals Himself behind the thick veil of an increasing humiliation and agony; that bearing in His hands His own blood, He may mediate for us with GOD His Father. He realizes and accomplishes all that Moses included in the figurative service of the tabernacle. The precise manner in which this was accomplished we shall never entirely understand with our intellectual powers; but it is certain that He then finally procured our eternal redemption.

The executioners then take the Lamb of GOD between them, and begin their horrid occupation by tearing, with rude hands, the clothes from off His body. After having unclothed the Lord, and left Him, by divine direction, only His crown of thorns, they lay Him down on the wood on which He is to bleed; see Him lie! His holy arms forcibly stretched out upon the cross-beam; His feet lay upon each other and bound with cords. Thus Isaac once lay on the wood on Mount Moriah. But the voice that then called out of heaven, saying, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad!” is silent on Calvary. The executioners seize the hammer and nails. But who can bear to look upon what further occurs! The horrible nails from the forge of hell, yet foreseen in the sanctuary of eternity, are placed on the hands and feet of the righteous JESUS, and the heavy strokes of the hammer fall.

They have pierced the hand-writing that was against us, and have nailed it to the tree; and by wounding the Just One, have penetrated through the head of the old serpent. Those pierced hands bless more powerfully than while they moved freely and unfettered. And believe me, there is no help or salvation, save in these hands; and these bleeding feet. The moment the cross is elevated to its height, a crimson stream falls from the wounds of the crucified JESUS. We sprinkle it upon the door-posts of our hearts, and are secure against destroyers and avenging angels.

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Joshua  16  17  18  ---- Luke  2 :1 --- 24 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

25. **************************************************

GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                    March 25, 2010

Good Morning!
No human hand ever wrote anything more true and well-founded than the inscription which Pilate, under divine direction, wrote and placed on the cross.

THE INSCRIPTION OVER HIS HEAD:
Luke 23:38 “And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

LET US LIFT UP OUR EYES to the inscription, which beams from the cross of the divine Sufferer. We there read, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews,” written in three different tongues - Greek, Latin, and Hebrew - the three theological languages, that all the world may read and understand. Pilate had so ordered it, induced partly by an obscure and reverential presentiment, and partly in order to give the hated Jews a final blow. No sooner had the latter read the inscription, than they angrily hasten to the governor, and say to him in an imperious tone, “It must not be as thou hast written. Down with that inscription from the cross of the blasphemer. Write that He presumptuously said that He was the King of the Jews.” But Pilate briefly and resolutely replied, “What I have written, I have written!”

And thus, Pilate, it ought to be. What thou didst write was not from arbitrary choice, for Another guided thy hand. Thou has prophesied as did Balaam of old; and with thy inscription, art ignorantly and involuntarily become a witness for the truth. The Lion of the tribe of Judah bleeds; but His blood is the enemy's overthrow. He falls into the hands of His adversaries; but this is the means of rescuing us out of their hands. He suffers Himself to be fettered by the bands of Belial; but His chains beget our liberty. He empties the cup of wrath; but only that He may fill it with blessings for us. He suffers Himself to be wounded in the heel, but at the same moment breaks the head of the old Serpent, and conquers the enemy, like Samson, by His fall. Such are the achievements of the dying JESUS.

Yes, He is a King! But where is His kingdom? He is founding it while hanging on the cross, and of His kingdom there shall be no end. “Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.” But He is more that that, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Yes, He is our King. He reigns from the cross. From thence to this hour He carries on the government in the city of peace.

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Joshua  19  20  21  ----- Luke  2 :25 -- 52 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

26. ***************************************************

GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts               March 26, 2010                                  

Good Morning!
Let us rejoice that the most desirable and indispensable of all blessings, the forgiveness of sins is acquired so fully and legally for us. What do all the treasures in the world avail, if we do not know that our names are written in heaven, and that we have an inheritance there?

“FATHER, FORGIVE THEM:”
Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

Judas betrays Him. Peter denied Him. They buffeted Him. They spit upon Him. They plucked out His beard. They scourged Him. They placed on His head a crown of thorns. They bowed their knees in mock submission. They mocked Him. They placed upon His shoulder a cross. They nailed Him to a cross. They gambled for His garments. They railed upon Him. They gave Him vinegar to drink. Through all this Jesus was silent. Profound silence conceals His thoughts from us.

But, now, His lips are moving. He is about to speak. What shall we now hear? Look, He opens His mouth. But - can we believe our ears? “Father,” says He, “forgive them!” Surely not the servants of Satan who have nailed Him to the cross - the heartless brutes, who are even still rending Him with their poisoned lips? Yes, it is even they to whom His intercession refers. It is for them He requests mercy and forgiveness. We bow our heads and adore Him. What language, “Father, forgive them!” and, in these words, what an act, greater than the most splendid miracles with which He marked His radiant path through the world. CHRIST was admirable in His transfiguration on Mount Tabor; but here He shines in superior light.

“Forgive them!” Is it possible! With these words, as sincerely as they sound, He covers the guilty heads of His murderers with the shield of His love, in order to secure them from the storm of the well-deserved wrath of Almighty GOD. O what hope beams on Calvary for a sinful world! There are those who even dare not pray for themselves, because their consciences testify that such worthless creatures as they are cannot reckon upon being heard. What a prospect is here opened to people of this description! And, if no heart beats for them on earth, the heart of the King of kings may still feel for them. If among their friends, not one is to be found to intercede for them, yet possibly the Lord of Glory is not ashamed of bearing their names before His Father's throne.

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Joshua   22  23  24  ------  Luke  3   

James & Mary Lee Thornton

27. 28. ****************************************************

GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’ First Thoughts               March 27 & 28, 2010                                  

Good Morning!
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.” Joel 2:32a.

A CALL THAT ACTIVATED A PROMISE MADE HUNDREDS OF YEARS BEFORE HE WAS BORN:
Luke 23:39 “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord (a title of Majesty), remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

Jesus did not die alone, there were three crosses, there were three men, how similar they were in some ways--their agonized bodies, sagging on pierced hands, the awful thirst, the naked spectacle for all to see. So similar yet how vast a difference in those three crosses. First there was the cross of rebellion, then there was the cross of repentance, finally there was the cross of redemption. Men today still rail on him, casting doubt on his Messiaship. Jesus did not answer the one who railed on Him. I find no instance in the Bible where anyone was ever recovered from the sin of rebellion.

But on the other side of Him an agonizing body, a troubled mind, a repentant heart, calls out to Jesus. “And he said unto Jesus, Lord remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Someone has said, “God enters through a breach.” That day the repentant thief was to be the first to experience the saving grace of the cross. And was carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22). Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Paradise was like unto a palace garden. There the repentant thief would await the resurrection, basking in the sumptuous glories of the Lord.

The day ends with one agonized soul descending into outer darkness and the powers of darkness receive him. The one to the right, on the contrary, soars heavenward, at the side of the Prince of Peace, and received into His triumphal chariot, passes amid the acclamations of angels through the gates of paradise, being the first-fruits of the sufferings of the Divine Surety.

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Judges  1  2  3  ----- Luke 4 :1-- 30 
Judges  4  5  6  ----- Luke 4 :31 - 44

James & Mary Lee Thornton

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GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                     March 29, 2010                                  

Good Morning!
Without God removing His presence the human body could not die. Jesus suffered a real death by God temporarily removing Himself from the temple of flesh.

FORSAKEN BY GOD:
Mark 15:34 “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Luther, when he plunged himself in profound meditation on this most puzzling and affecting part of the whole of our Savior's sufferings. He continued for a long time without food, and sat wide awake but as motionless as a corpse, in the same position, on his chair. And when at length he rose up from the depth of his meditation, as from the shaft of a mysterious mine, he broke into a cry of amazement, and exclaimed, “GOD forsaken of GOD! Who can understand it? Yes, who is there that is able?”

At the sixth hour (12:00 noon) darkness settled over Golgotha’s hill and continued until the ninth hour (3:00 PM) (Luke 23:44). The Lord withdrew Himself from the eyes of men behind the black curtain of appalling night, as behind the thick veil of the temple. He hung there full three hours on the cross, His thorn crowned head drooping on His breast, involved in that darkness. He is in the Most Holy Place. He stands at the altar of the Lord. He performs His sacrificial functions. He is the true Aaron, and at the same time the Lamb. We know that the grave of our sins was then dug; the handwriting that was against us taken out of the way; the curse which hung over us blotted out; and the wall which separated us from our GOD removed.

“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” But His heavenly Father did not suffer the cry of His Son to remain without His response. He immediately dispelled the darkness, and restored to the sun its full mid-day splendor. The being thus forsaken essentially belonged to the cup which our great High Priest was obliged to empty for us. Hence there can be no idea that those who are united to CHRIST by the bonds of a living faith can be really forsaken of GOD. Even as for us no somber cloud any longer darkens heaven, and as we at all times behold the face of GOD unveiled, and every moment may enjoy free access to His throne of grace, so GOD will never more depart from us, whatever else may forsake us.

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Judges  7  8 ---- Luke  5 :1--16 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

30. ****************************************************

GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                     March 30, 2010                                  

Good Morning!
At the very moment when all seems lost, Jesus’ words declare that all is won and accomplished! He dies in the crown of triumph.

IT IS FINISHED:
John 19:28. “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

THESE ARE THE GREATEST and most momentous words that were ever spoken upon earth since the beginning of the world. Who does not find in them a cry of victory? It is a shout of triumph, which announces to the kingdom of darkness its complete overthrow, and to the kingdom of heaven upon earth its eternal establishment. How wonderful! But what was it that was finished at the moment when that cry was uttered?

The mysterious portrayal of the Messiah, as it passes before us in increasing brightness and completeness in the writings of Moses and the prophets, is fully realized in its smallest and minutest detail in the person of JESUS. If you ask for the wondrous Infant of Bethlehem described by Micah, “whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting;” or for the Child born, and the Son given, with the government upon His shoulder, whom Isaiah brings before us; or for the meek and lowly King mentioned by Zechariah, who makes His entrance into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass - it meets you bodily in JESUS CHRIST.

Do you seek for the Seed of the woman, who with His wounded heel bruises the serpent's head; or the second Aaron, who should actually bring about a reconciliation between GOD and a sinful world - look up to the cross, and there you will see all combined in One. At the moment when His heart ceased to beat, the words, “It is finished!” revealed the entire fullness of their meaning. He had now reached the final completion of His work of redemption.

O that we were solemnly conscious how much was done for us there! Great was our guilt; we were condemned to death, and the curse lay upon us; but all is done away in the words, “It is finished!” If He has paid the ransom, how can a righteous GOD in heaven demand payment a second time? Know you not the assertion of the apostle, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus!”

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Judges  9  10 ------  Luke 5 :17- 39 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

31. ******************************************************

GOD'S GRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTION

Today’s First Thoughts                     March 31, 2010                                  

Good Morning!
Through the waters of Baptism the blood of Jesus Christ washes away our sins.

THE WOUND OF THE SPEAR:
John 19:34 “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.”

How deeply significant does the scene on Calvary appear which we are now contemplating! The persons who are acting there do not indeed know what they are doing. But this does not prevent them from being led by the hand of Divine Providence. They, therefore, proceed to Pilate, and request him to cause the legs of the three criminals to be broken, as was customary, then to be taken down, and afterward buried. The governor does not hesitate to grant their request, and sends, at the same time, another guard to the place of execution to break the legs of the malefactors, and to convince themselves of their being really dead.

They begin with the two malefactors, but when they came to the Lord JESUS, every sign of His being already dead was so apparent, that the breaking of His legs was thought needless, especially as one of the spearmen pierced His side with his spear, which alone would have sufficed to have caused His death, had the divine Sufferer been still alive. In the abstract, this occurrence appears of extremely trifling importance; but the Evangelist John who so expressly states it, regarded it with other eyes as to the fulfilling of scripture.

In the twofold fact of the Savior's limbs not being broken, and of His side being pierced by the spear, he recognizes a divine interposition by which two ancient prophecies were fulfilled. “For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced” (John 19:36-37). How highly the evangelist estimates them as a means of strengthening our faith, he proves very impressively by the words, “And he that saw it, bare record, and his record is true, and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe” (John 19:35).

In the water and the blood he sees represented the most essential blessings of salvation for which the world is indebted to CHRIST. But water alone would not have saved us. It took the shed blood of Jesus Christ to wash away our sins.

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Judges  11  12  -----  Luke  6 :1--26 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

 

 

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