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April 2011

GODSGRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTIONS  April 2011

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                     April 1, 2011

Good Morning!
All I can do is ask for God not to give me what I deserve, that is judgment, but rather give what I don’t deserve; mercy.

THE BIBLE MEANING FOR MERCY:
Psalms 57:1. “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”

Let’s think for a moment about what it means to plead for mercy. What does the word mean to you? In the Bible mercy means “compassion to one in need or helpless, in distress, or in dept and without claim to favorable treatment.” Let us look at that definition again. 1. Compassion to one in need.
2. Compassion to one in helpless distress. 3. Compassion to one in debt. 4. Compassion to one without claim to favorable treatment.

We need to see ourselves as helpless in distress. In the trials we’ve been facing, there is nothing that we can do to make them better. God allows us to become helpless because that’s when we realize we need mercy. We learn about God’s strength when we are weak and helpless. Are you in debt? Most all of us are, or sometimes get in debt. Some have huge financial debts hanging over their heads. But that’s not the debt God is primarily concerned with. He wants us to see the great debt we owe to Him. We owe Him debts of obedience, love, and the ultimate debt that, although we deserve judgment, He’s given us mercy and forgiveness.

Just in the same way that there is no way that we can pay the huge national debt of our country, we need to see the greater debt we owe, we need to see the great debt we owe Him for the death of His Son who paid that debt for us. The thousands and thousands we owed our creditors is nothing in comparison with what we owed Him, and that debt has been paid at Calvary. THAT’S MERCY. We’re without claim to favorable treatment. We don’t have any right to ask Him for anything except mercy. We don’t deserve favorable treatment. We deserve the scourging, the nails, the crown of thorns, the cross, the separation from God that Jesus endured. When we consider our account before Him, we don’t have a justifiable support for asking for anything except mercy.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

1 Samuel  9 10 11  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                            April 2 & 3, 2011

Good Morning!
Let us look at the people who had gathered themselves around David while he was hiding the cave of A-dul-lam.

PEOPLE IN DISTRESS:
1 Samuel 22:2. “And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him (David); and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.”

“Every one that was in distress, in debt, discontented,” that’s us. We’re in distress, in debt, and discontented. Those are the kinds of people God loves to gather to Himself, and to pour out mercy on. Do we see ourselves as a person in need? How needy are you? We think of ourselves as independent, “I take care of myself.” Remember the song, “I did it my way.” The problem with that way of thinking is that it is a hindrance to our receiving what we desperately need: God’s compassion.

Mercy is such an essential part of God’s character that it is even one of His Names. He’s the Father of Mercies. Paul describes Him: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). “It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” (Lamentations 3:22).

Is the God of all comfort comforting you?

Do you appreciate His mercy? (Lamentations 3:22)

Do you see His hand in the trials you are going through? (Genesis 45:7-8)

Can you sing praises to Him from your cave? (Acts 16:24-25)

When God places us in the cave let us turn our thoughts towards Him in prayer and praise and search our hearts for anything that shouldn’t be there. We could ask ourselves, “What do the caves in our life tell us about our heart?” The things that come out of us, our words, our deeds, even our thoughts towards those who may have wronged us, all these things lay our hearts open to reveal what is in it.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

1 Samuel  12 13  ---------  1 Samuel    14 15

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                              April 4, 2011

Good Morning!
What do the caves in our life tell us about our heart?

LET US REMAIN HUMBLE AND CONTRITE BEFORE GOD:
Psalms 57:1. “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”

When David wrote this Psalm, he was probably in the cave of Adullum. As he was sitting there in the dark, both literally and figuratively, I’m sure he didn’t know what would happen in his future. His sling and harp and good looks could not deliver him. He didn’t have any guarantee that he’d even make it out of that cave. I can imagine that it probably seems the same way to many of us. Is this cave going to be my final resting place?

I think of John the beloved disciple, cast on the Isle of Patmos, away from friends and those he loved, a prisoner, a slave, lonely, and without human help. He was the one who was so close to the Lord, leaning on His breast at the last supper. Yet it was in the cave, so to speak, of Patmos that John received the Revelation of Jesus Christ. It was there that he saw heaven in all of its glory. So it is with us, it’s in the dark cave that Jesus reveals Himself to us.

John was one of “the son’s of thunder,” wanting to call fire down on a city that rejected Jesus. But after his “cave” experience at Patmos he wrote 1st 2nd and 3rd John and his main topic was, “Little children love one another” 1 John 3:11. What a change the “caves” of life’s experiences have wrought in our own lives.

Although David didn’t know whether he’d make it out of this cave or not, we know the end of the story. In actually, the cave of Adullum is only about two miles south of Gilboa, the place where God brought Saul to his death. Think of that. The very place that seemed like it might end up being his grave was so near the place of his exaltation. He just was not aware of it… and God didn’t reveal it to him at the time.

The same way, we don’t know what’s just ahead of us because God isn’t revealing that to us either, so that we will remain humble and contrite and close to Him.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

1 Samuel  16 17 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 April 5, 2011

Good Morning!
Why not take time right now to thank God for His mercy to you.

THE SON OF GOD WAS BORN IN A CAVE:
1 Samuel 57:3. “He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.”

The cave of Adullum is only thirteen miles west of Bethlehem, where our ultimate victory and triumph was assured. In a stall in a cave “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature” was born. In a “cave” at Bethlehem, in ignominy and obscurity the Son of God was brought into the world as a helpless baby. And only a few miles away, the King would put in motion a plan to kill Him.

The one through whom God’s mercy would flow to you and me experienced all the temptation and trial that we do, and ever so much more, and was yet without sin, He was “despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Today you and I can beg God for mercy and rest confident that He hears us because His Son was cruelly punished for our helplessness, our debt, our discontent. Why not take time right now to thank God for His mercy to you.

Now we can see that although not all things are good, God can use those circumstances to our advantage. God did not tell us that, all things would be good. He told us He makes “all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

David was soon breathing the free air of the desert, and looked back with a shudder of horror, but with an overwhelming sense of thankfulness (Psalms 57:3). Some of us can take up these words in their literal sense. You remember when the icy breath of death seemed to chill your blood; the gate of death seemed just ready to roll back on its noiseless hinges, and shut behind you. But God locked it fast.

The good Shepherd led you through the dark cave, out into the sunshine. You are living, to praise him. Others have no such special experience. But what is life but a series of escapes? What is health but the perpetual warding off of death; safety, but hourly deliverance?

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

1 Samuel   18 19 20  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                              April 6, 2011

Good Morning!
Psychologists say that the most stressful events in our lives are the deaths of loved ones, job loss, injury, illness, financial problems, and separation, and when a friend hurts you. That’s when we seek a place of silence to think things over.

WE NEED THESE SILENT RETREATS:
Psalms 57:4. “My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.” (David from the cave
A-dul-lam)

From what I have read, a silent retreat also would follow the example of some of the Bible’s greatest spiritual seekers. In the Old Testament, Samuel became quiet so he could hear God. Elijah climbed a mountain to listen for God’s gentle whisper. Habakkuk stood guard at his lonely post to wait for the Lord’s instructions. The Scriptures tell us that after his conversion the apostle Paul went alone into the desert of Arabia. And of course, the Bible reminds us that Jesus often stepped away from crowds of followers to spend time alone with his heavenly Father.

Digging, I thought, is hard work. “Dig,” he said suddenly, “Read the Scriptures, and be patient. Let the Word soak into your life” (Words from my old Pastor). I needed to persevere and keep digging. I needed to read my Bible not just when I was discouraged or sad but every day. I needed to continue my prayers of thanksgiving and praise, not just grumble about my problems and wants.

It’s sometimes necessary to fight for faith, the way soldiers grapple on a battlefield, trusting God for the victory when it takes all we’ve got to get through a single day.

I’ve found this to be true. We may be called to walk through difficult seasons that feel as if they’ll never end. We can nearly succumb to exhaustion or depression. Other people may turn out to be the source of our problems, or we may find that we’ve brought them on ourselves through our own poor decisions and wrong choices. In the end, the only thing that really matters is that we plant our feet firmly on the ground of faith. Don’t be afraid, the Bible says, but hold fast “and stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you today: . . . The Lord shall fight for you” (Exodus 14:13–14). When God does the fighting, he will take the field and win the day. Life is filled with mystery, and it always will be, and we have to learn to trust him, to take the bitter with the sweet and believe that both came from his hand.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

1 Samuel   21 22 23

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion                                           

Today’s First Thoughts                                                   April 7, 2011

Good Morning!
You may have noticed that sometimes the greatest trial comes immediately after God has given us a great spiritual blessing, or allowed us prosperity.

I KNOW IN WHOM I PUT MY TRUST:
Psalm 57:1. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.        

In the second part of this verse David is telling God that the hope of his innermost being (my soul) is clinging to Him. The body may be tired, weary, helpless, forlorn, distressed, and heartbroken, but my innermost being (my soul) has not lost faith in You. “I will take refuge in Thee until all this is over with.” “In the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge.” This analogy is used in the Bible many times denoting God’s protection of those who are His own (Ruth 2:12; Psalms 17:8; 91:4; Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34)

My kin folks always had chickens and an old milk cow for milk, and a hog to raise. In the spring the hens would raise little chicks, and at any sign of danger she would begin clucking vigorously and the little chicks would immediately run to her and she would spread her wings and they gathered under her wings which she would close up around them. There she would hover over them to shield them from the danger.

When the storm came and the rain poured down the mother hen would hunker down and the little chicks would weather the storm under her wings. Every once in a while you could see a small head pop out through the feathers only to be pulled back into the shelter. The mother hen would risk her life for her baby chicks. She never ran off and left them no matter what came but would shelter them under her wings. This is what David referred to in this verse.

I have mentioned that David’s “cave” experience came shortly after he had gained great exaltation and ennoblement in the house of King Saul. Elijah won a great victory over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, God sent rain to the drought stricken land at his request in prayer then outran the chariot of Ahab all the way to Jezreel. This was Elijah’s greatest moment in the eyes of the people (1 Kings 18). Can we imagine Elijah’s feelings when he lay down somewhere along the wall outside Jezreel? Things can’t get any better than this. This has been a great day. Then out of the darkness a messenger arrives with a message from Jezebel, which stated she would have his head before morning.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

1 Samuel    24 25

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                   April 8, 2011

Good Morning!
God may allow an irritant to come into our lives. How do we handle the situation?
Do we use prayer and praise to cover the thing that irritates us? God wants to form a pearl.
Yield to Him and let the process take place in your life.

THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE: Formed under great stress.
Psalms 57:4. “My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men whose teeth are spears and arrows, their tongue a sharp sword.

The word “Pearl” has become a metaphor for something very rare, very fine, very admirable, and very valuable. Natural pearls form under a set of accidental conditions when a microscopic intruder (like a grain of sand), or parasite enters inside the shell of a mollusk (shell fish, oyster, or clam) and settles there. The shell-fish, being irritated, secretes calcium carbonate and other elements to cover the irritant. This process is repeated many times, layer upon layer. Sometimes over many years. Quality natural pearls are very rare jewels. Some valued in the millions of dollars. Giant pearls from clams have been found that weighed 14 pounds.

In contradiction to most of what we read about in Christian self-help books, we don’t get the results of a pearl-like faith without the process of pearl making. What you are experiencing is this precious process that James spoke of to his suffering readers. James 1:2 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience (steadfastness). 4 But let patience (steadfastness) have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire (complete), wanting nothing.

The trying of your faith produces patience (steadfastness). We all want a faith that is mature, complete and whole. We sincerely desire a faith that stands strong in the storm, a faith that tells of the great value in knowing and loving God. But that kind of faith cannot be bought at the local store. That kind of faith grows only in the environment of trial. That’s what James is saying to us. Trials, in themselves, are not joyous; they’re joyous only because they are effective. God in His kindness knows exactly how much sand to slip into the shell of your heart. God is testing your faith, and that testing will produce steadfastness and will cause your faith to be mature, complete, and whole.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

1 Samuel   26 27 28

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion                    

Today’s First Thoughts                                      April 9 & 10, 2011

Good Morning!
Remember that although your faith in the storm might seem meaningless, it’s not. What we do for Him, how we suffer in faith, is never senseless.

YOU ARE A PEARL IN THE MAKING:
Psalms 57:6. “They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.

Amy Carmichael, Christian missionary in India for 56 years without furlough, rescued more that a thousand children from neglect and abuse. The world in which she lived was often dangerous and stressful. Amy spoke of dark days “when the sky turned black for me because of what I heard and knew was true. Sometimes it was as if I saw the Lord Jesus Christ kneeling alone, as He knelt long ago under the olive trees. And the only thing that one who cared could do was to go kneel down beside Him, so that He would not be alone in His sorrow over the events in this world.”

Because Amy Carmichael’s life was one of Christ-centered suffering, she was able to write,

“Hast thou no scar?

No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?

I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,

I hear them hail thy bright ascending star,

Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?

Yet I was wounded by the archers, spent,

Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent

By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned:

Hast thou no wound?

No wound, no scar?

Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,

And, pierced are the feet that follow Me;

But thine are whole: Can he have followed far

Who has no wounds, nor scar?”

Hebrews 11:32-34 speaks of people who were more than conquerors by their faith, yet verses 35-39 speaks of those who arrived at the gate full of scars.”

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

1 Samuel   29 30 31 ------  11 Samuel   1 2 3

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                              April 11, 2011

Good Morning!
When we suffer, we don’t suffer like the world, for we have hope, that even if this affliction never leaves us here on this earth, we won’t be here, forever.

GOD’S LOVE FOR US TRANSCENDS ALL GRIEF:
Psalms 57:1b. “My soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”

As we draw near to the Lord and find refuge and protection under the shadow of His wings, we will find ourselves immersed in His love. We know that love is not just an attribute of God; it is rather, who He is, and what He is. God Is Love (1 John 4:8, 16). It’s His nature to love you.

One of the most important word describing God’s love found in the Old Testament is ‘hesed,’ a word that’s used 240 times and speaks primarily of God’s lovingkindness. The English Standard Version usually translates this word as “steadfast love,” while the King James Version uses “mercy” or “kindness.” Other definitions of ‘hersed’ include grace, faithfulness, goodness, and devotion. This is one of those words that doesn’t have a one-to-one translations into English.

TAKE REFUGE IN THE STRENGTH OF GOD’S LOVE:
Romans 8:35. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36. As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Will His near presence be enough for you and me? I’m confident that it will. It will because He has promised us His powerful and faithful lovingkindness.  He’ll keep us safe until the storms of destruction pass by (Psalms 57:1). And pass us by they will.

No one is able to pry His hand open or keep you from His love. You will persevere because of His invincible love.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

11 Samuel   4 5 6

 James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                               April 12, 2011

Good Morning!
Throughout the first six verses of Psalms 57 we see a mixture of fear and begging God for mercy, intermingled with a confidence that God will see him through this cave experience. Then his mood changes to one of praise. Let us listen to the sound that echoes from out of the cave.

DAVID IS MOVED TO PRAISE GOD:
Psalms 57:7. “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. 8. Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. 9. I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations. 10. For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds. 11. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.”

In Psalms 57 we see David’s progression from pleading to God for mercy, to finding refuge from storms of destruction and treacherous men, and finally on to his confident assertion, “MY HEART IS FIXED, (steadfast) O GOD, MY HEART IS FIXED: I WILL SING AND GIVE PRAISE.” How did David arrive at this new place of safety and refuge? He’s not out of the cave yet, Saul is still after him.

As the Psalm progresses, the turning point for David seems to be in verse five, “Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.” In verse four, David was praying and lamenting the present conditions of his soul. “My soul is among lions,” he said. Then in verse 6, he speaks in the past tense, “They set a net (a trap) for my steps; my soul is bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves.” That’s the turning point, when David came to the realization that God was watching over him and taking care of him, light exploded in that dark cave and, he exclaimed, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.”

“MY WHOLE HEART SINGS!” Can we imagine what was taking place in that dark dismal underground cavern? David surrounded by his loyal followers, all in a somber mood, then suddenly David begins to worship God with all his might. “Get out the music, beat the drums, clap the loud sounding cymbals, wake everybody up, awake, awake, let us sing and give praises to God.” “I will get up early.” “I will awake before dawn, be thou exulted, O God, above the heavens.”

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

11 Samuel   7 8 9 10

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                              April 13, 2011

Good Morning!
We also have a resource of strength. Let your mind dwell on God’s love, think on His mercy to us. Let praise begin to form in our mind and let it roll out of our mouth, until even those around us are affected by it. Make up your mind to exalt God above the heavens.

MY HEART IS STEADFAST:
Psalms 57:7. My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.

None of us have been in the condition of Paul And Silas in the Jail at Philippi, their backs were beaten with many stripes, feet locked in the stocks, not knowing what awaited then on the morrow, yet in the midst of their pain and debasement their hearts were fixed, “They sang praises to God at midnight, and the prisoners heard them.” Someone else heard them and sent an earthquake and shook the jailhouse until all the prisoners were loosed. You can imagine how out of place such heartfelt worship would have seemed to David’s men, and also to the other prisoners at Philippi? In some ways it must have seemed to them as though they were they were singing praises from the grave.

I’ve heard the sound of praise from hospital rooms, in rest homes, and countless other places, from those who were experiencing the joy of God’s lovingkindness. I will encourage you that David from a cave, Daniel from a lion’s den, Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego from a fiery furnace, Paul and Silas from a jail-cell, and millions of other believers through the ages have responded to afflictions and suffering with joyful song. Why? Is it because they are insensible to their circumstances? No, not at all. It’s because they are aware of a more profound truth: God’s steadfast love and faithfulness is great to the heavens. And they are assured that God will hide them in the shadow of His wings until this temporal trial passes by.

Do you feel as though your heart’s been beaten with many stripes? Have you been humiliated by the ungodly, accused falsely, or shackled to a dark dank prison wall? Let the wings of your heart take flight as you offer your prayer to the God of the heavens and sing praises to the one who is worthy. Experience the wonderful transformation that occurs when your heart has been lifted to your Father in humble supplication.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

11 Samuel  11 12   

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                April 14, 2011

Good Morning!
You may at some time or other have the opportunity to get even with someone who has hurt, or done you wrong. The way you handle that opportunity will reflect how much of the Lord you have in your heart.

THE SCENE IN THE CAVE:
1 Samuel 24: “And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave. 4 And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily. (David To Saul) 12. The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.

David and his men, keeping close to the walls and hiding behind angles, might well be unobserved by Saul at the mouth. How vividly the whispered eagerness of the outcasts round David is reproduced! They think it would be ‘tempting God’ to let such a chance slip. They put a religious twist on their advice. It would be almost wrong not to kill Saul, for here was the hand of God evidently fulfilling a prophecy.

So they would watch David stealing down quietly to the place where the unconscious king was crouching, and getting close behind him, knife in hand. How disgusted they must have been when the blade, that flashed for a moment in the light at the cave’s mouth, was not buried in Saul’s great back, but only hacked off the end of his robe spread out behind him!

We could wonder what would have happened if Saul had come into the cave while David was feeling like he was in the first few verses of Psalms 57, when he was low in spirits and disgusted with the way he had been treated. But thank God for the songs of praise which went up from the cave before Saul entered, it more than likely saved his life. David’s heart was changed and he was returned to his old sweet self because of that period of praise and worship. We can get a good lesson from this. When we are down and in the ‘cave mode’ we are likely to do things different than we would when we are in an attitude of worshipful praise. David felt remorse for cutting off a corner of Saul’s robe.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

11 Samuel   13 14  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                              April 15, 2011

Good Morning!
David was at perhaps the very lowest ebb of his life and he needed courage.

THE SECRET OF COURAGE, “THE LORD HIS GOD:”
1 Samuel 30:6. “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.

David had long been a wandering outlaw, and had finally been driven, by Saul’s persistent hostility, to take refuge in the Philistines’ country. But, naturally, the Philistine soldiers doubted their ally, and he was obliged to take himself and his troops back again to their temporary home in Ziklag. When he came there it was a heap of smoking ruins. Everything was gone; property, cattle, wives, children—and all was desolation. His turbulent followers rose against him, a mutiny broke out—a dangerous thing amongst such a crew—and they were ready to stone him. And at that moment what did he do? Nothing. Was he cast down? No. Was he agitated? No. ‘But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.’

It is not by accident that we read ‘the Lord his God.’ For, if you will remember, the very keynote of many of the Psalms which are ascribed to David is just that expression, ‘My God,’ ‘My God.’ So far as the very fragmentary records of Jewish literature go, it would appear as if David was the very first of all the ancient singers to understand that thought that he stood in a personal, individual relation to God, and God to him. And so it was his God that he laid hold of at that dark hour.

Think, too, of the contrast of the thoughts and emotions suggested by ‘My God,’ and by ‘the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob.’ Great as that name is, it carries the mind away back into the past, and speaks of a historical relation in former days, which may or may not continue in all its tenderness and sweetness and power into the present. But when a man feels, not only ‘the God of Jacob is our Refuge,’ but, ‘the God of Jacob is my God,’ then the whole thing flashes up into new power. The man who contents himself with the generality of a Gospel for the world, and who can say no more than that Jesus Christ died for all, has yet to learn the most intimate sweetness, and the most quickening and transforming power, of that Gospel, he only learns it when he says, ‘Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.’

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

11 Samuel   15 16

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                     April 16 & 17, 2011 

Good Morning!
He is not poor who has God for his, nor does he wander with a hungry heart who can rest his heart on God’s; nor need he fear death who possesses God.

WHEN WE LOSE EVERYTHING BUT GOD:
1 Samuel 30:3. “So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.
4. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 6. but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.

Here is one of the many eloquent ‘buts’ of the Bible. On the one hand is piled up a black heap of calamities, loss, treachery and peril; and opposed to them is only that one clause: ‘But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.’ There was only one possession in all the world, except his body and the clothes that he stood in, that he could call his own at that moment. Everything else was gone; his property was carried off by raiders, his home was smoldering embers. But the Amalekites had not stolen God from him. Though he could no longer say, ‘My house, my city, my possessions,’ he could say, ‘My God.’ Whatever else we lose, as long as we have Him we are rich; and whatever else we possess, we are poor as long as we have not Him. God is enough; whatever else may go.

The Lord his God was the sufficient portion for this man when he stood a homeless pauper. He had lost everything that his heart clung to; wives, children; Abigail and Abinoam were captives in the arms of some Amalekites; his house was left to him desolate; his heart was bleeding. ‘But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God’ and the bleeding heart was stanched, and the yearning for some one to love and be loved by was satisfied, when he turned himself from the desolation of earth to the riches in the heavens. He was standing on the edge of possible death, for his followers were ready to stone him. He had come through many perils in the past, but he had never been nearer a fatal end than he was at that moment. But the thought of the undying Friend lifted him buoyantly above the dread of death, and he could look with an unwinking eye right into the fleshless eye-sockets of the skeleton, and say, ‘I fear no evil, for Thou art with me.’

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

11 Samuel   17 18  ------  11 Samuel   19 20

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                              April 18, 2011

Good Morning!
David had been running and hiding from Saul for many months, seeking shelter in an unknown number of places, many of them among enemies, and when it seemed that he could go no further, and with his life in jeopardy, unknown to him God was working behind the scenes. This is one of those places where there are two scenes being played out at the same time.

GOD IS THE GREAT ENCOURAGER:
1 Samuel 30:6. “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”

Unknown to David Saul was having greater stress at the same time and to make matters worse God had forsaken him so he had no encouragement. Let us listen to Saul in his misery, “I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me” 1 Samuel 28:15. What unhappiness is certain if we dismiss God from ruling our lives! It is an awful picture, and it grimly teaches lessons that we shall be wise to write deeply on our hearts. So what did Saul do? Let us follow his footsteps.

1 Samuel 28:4 “and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa. 5 And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. 6 And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. (So Saul seeks a witch) 7 Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her.” Then Verse 20, “Then Saul fell straightway all along on the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel: and there was no strength in him; for he had eaten no bread all the day, nor all the night.”

Saul’s life along with his kingdom would come to an end the very next day and David would become king in his place. So it is with our own life if only we could see what else was taking place at the same time that we are so trodden down, God may be bringing about something, unknown to us that will solve all our problems. When David was so troubled and fearful that “He encouraged himself in the Lord,” little did David know that within three days Saul would be dead and he would be a king.

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

11 Samuel   21 22  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion                    

Today’s First Thoughts                                                April 19, 2011

Good Morning!
What does Jesus want us to be doing while we wait for His return?

FINDING WORTH IN THE WAIT:
Luke 19:13. “Occupy till I come.”

What did Jesus have to say about the value of waiting?  We find instructions to “occupy till I come.”  He does not mean to just be somewhere. In this parable Jesus encourages us to find something worthwhile to do while we wait for His return. Have you ever wondered why we have been left waiting on this earth when a greater life with God lies ahead?  Why don’t we just go straight to heaven after we accept Jesus in our hearts?   The answer is clear in Jesus’ last instructions to His disciples in
Acts 1:8, “You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  We have been left on this earth to lead others to Christ.  Witnessing makes the wait worthwhile.

You might ask, “Pastor, what do you mean you want us to witness?  Isn’t that what we pay you for?”  According to the Bible, it is the pastor’s job to equip the people of God so they can do the work of evangelism.  Imagine what would happen if everyone in our church became an active evangelist.  There wouldn’t be enough space next Sunday morning for all the visitors!  Witnessing is not only the job of the pastor; it’s your job.

Jesus’ last words to His disciples were, “You shall be witnesses to Me.”  Remarkably, these were not only the last words of our Lord; they were also the first words Jesus said upon entering public ministry.  He said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

As you wait for Christ’s return, make witnessing a priority in your life?  Nothing can compare to being God’s instrument to lead one person out of the kingdom of Satan into the glorious life of heaven.  If you have never had that experience, or you would like to be more effective in your witness, God can use you starting today.  Pray with me, Lord, I want to be busy working for You while I wait for Your return.  Use me, and help me to be the kind of person that can attract others to You by my life, my conduct, and my words.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

11 Samuel   23 24

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 April 20, 2011

Good Morning!
For every person in the journey of life the road will lead in many different directions. We can never know in advance which way it will turn, for we do not have a map that shows all the details for us. We must walk on until we come to the sharp curve, the dip, or the steep uphill climb that has been set in the path of each of us. Then we look to God for grace to help meet that moment of difficulty. 

MANY TRAVELERS, MANY ROADS:
Psalms 23:4. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

I love the word pictures of the Bible characters in their journey through life. Each was written to help us in our journey through our life. John Bunyan paints a classic masterpiece in Pilgrims Progress as he describes Pilgram’s journey towards the celestial city. Life is a journey, and we all must walk the path. In the words of the old song, “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.”

Many of the Psalms are written for us pilgrims on the path. As we read Psalms 121, we can hear the psalmist crying out, “Lord, I need guidance for my journey, I’ve lost my way. Can’t you show me the right way to go?” In this Psalm of eight verses, we’re encouraged to trust God even for things we haven’t asked for. The Psalmist’s confidence is rooted in his vision of how great God is, Maker of Heaven and Earth. He lifts his eyes to the hills above the valley and sees the One Who is not only the destination, but also the strength for every step of it.

Psalms 121 is one of those ‘Songs of Degrees (Ascent)’ there are fifteen of them, beginning with Psalms 120. In those ancient days the Israelites would travel from the surrounding towns and countryside to Jerusalem. They were eager for good times in the Holy City, seeing old friends and worshiping in the temple. As the travelers walked up the natural incline towards Jerusalem, they would sing one of theses joyful songs of accent at each level of the climb. If you read them in order you can see and feel each new stage of the climb, moving onward towards the temple.

Has your family ever enjoyed a sing-along while on a trip in the car? Have you sung on the way to Church, preparing your hearts for worship? I hope you have. These Psalms are the music for the uphill journey.

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

1 Kings   1 2 3  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion    

Today’s First Thoughts                                              April 21, 2011

Good Morning!
There is something grand and majestic about mountains. They set the landscape and the people in perspective; they make us look so small in comparison. Something about the majesty of mountains invokes the majesty of God.

I NEED YOUR HELP, LORD:
Psalms 121:1. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
2. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” KJV

The Bible tells us about ‘mountain-top’ experiences. Many great things happened on mountain-tops; the sacrifice of Isaac on Mount Moriah, the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Herman, Elijah’s showdown with the  prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, then most important the crucifixion of Jesus on Mount Calvary. There are many other places in both the Old and the New Testament that describe the mountains as a place of blessings.

Almost all translations of the Bible puts a hyphen in between the two phrases of Psalms 121:1 “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills-from whence cometh my help?” First the writer makes a statement, “I will lift up mine eyes to the hills.” Then he breaks off and asks a question, “From whence cometh my help?” What a difference a dash makes. The traveler looks at the hills ahead, then he looks inward. As he looks inward, he asks himself the question, “Where am I going to find help? This traveler feels all the hesitance and concern many of us do before we set out on a long journey.

Traveling has a measure of insecurity about it. What if something terrible happens while I’m on the road? Who can I turn to? We call this, ‘talking to ourselves.’ In Psalms 121 the traveler is talking to himself. He feels a little anxious about the hills that lie ahead, “will anyone help me if something happens?” He looks around, he looks within, and then finally, he looks above. In the second verse we find the solid foundation of this Psalm: “My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” At last the psalmist comes to the point that provides the heart of his song. He is telling himself, “I’ve looked to the mountains, and I find no help. I’ve look within, and I find no guidance. But finally I’ve look up, and I realized the source of my help. It comes from no one but God. What a lesson for us travelers on this earth, “My help comes from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”

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1 Kings   4 5

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                   April 22, 2011

Good Morning!
After creation God is intimately involved in the work of His hands.

WE CAN LOOK ABOVE FOR HELP:
Psalms 121:2. “My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”

The Lord is described here as the God who made heaven and earth. These words were not written just to take up space or as a poetic expression. No not at all. These words were chosen deliberately. The idea of being loved by a Creator who hung the stars in space and set the earth on its course is a powerful source of encouragement. If He can guide the stars and the planets, surely He can guide our little steps. That’s why we find this phrase so often used in blessing the people.

Psalms 115:15. “Ye are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth.”

Psalms 134:3. “The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.”

Psalms 146:5.“Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:

Psalms 145:6. Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:”

The power of this statement is wrapped up in the idea that since God is the creator of all things and since all things are His handiwork, His power is not to be questioned. The Creator has made everything we can see or touch or imagine; when we cast our hopes on Him, we’re not only coming to a God who cares, but to a God who can. God is not merely the Creator of all things, He is the sustainer of all things.

Colossians 1:16. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

On that day when your journey brings you to the dark defile, you’ll be filled with a sense of helplessness. You’ll cry out, “Lord I need help.” In your moment of deep anxiety remember this: the One to Whom you are praying is the one Who made heaven and earth. He is the Creator God. He is the Sustainer God also. In your moment of despair, take a deep breath and a new look, in the perspective of the One who created and sustains every atom of the universe. He’s up to the challenge, don’t you think? That thought renews our strength to carry on.

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

1 Kings   6 7

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

23. 24. ******************************************************* 

God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                     April 23 & 24, 2011

Good Morning!
We can’t see God, but you need to know that He sees you--always. He knows you. Aren’t you glad that God knows who you are? The God who made heaven and earth knows you by name. He knows the very hairs of your head by number. Jesus assures us of that Matthew 10:30. That’s very intimate knowledge.

THE LORD IS INSTINCTUALLY AWARE OF US AT ALL TIMES:    
Psalms 121:2. “My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
3. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
4. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.”

In the first verse of this Psalm the writer asks himself, “From whence cometh my help?” In he second verse he tells himself that his help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and the earth. Then he continues in the rest of the Psalm to exclaim the Lord’s watchful oversight of all of us pilgrims. As he writes the ‘I’ and ‘my’ of the first two verses changes to ‘you’ and ‘thy’ and ‘thee’ in the rest of the Psalm indicating he was writing this, not only for his benefit, but for our benefit as well.

I read where a minister was working far into the early morning hours, burning the mid-night oil, trying to finish various problems and prepare a morning sermon. It happened that his Bible was lying open to Psalms 121. As he read the third and fourth verses where the Lord does not slumber and sleep. It was as if the Lord was saying to him “There is no need for both of us to stay up all night. I’m going to stay up anyway, so you go on to bed and get a good night’s sleep.”

How many of you have paced the floor at night because of your kids, a financial problem for which you did not know the answer, a sickness or other problems in your life? We all worry and wonder who is taking care of things. Then you read in your Bible that the God in whom you trusted, the One you ask for help, never sleeps. He never takes a day off; He’s never out of town. You don’t even need a secret cell phone number or e-mail address. God is right there watching over you.

Ron Mehl has written a book, “God Works The Night Shift.” Isn’t it a great thought? God is always there, no matter when it is that you need Him. In the loneliest, darkest hour of the night, He is there because He doesn’t slumber or sleep. 

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

1 Kings  8 9  ------  1 Kings   10 11

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                April 25, 2011

Good Morning!
Now we come to another promise in this Psalm 121, and we remember the traveler whose eyes have looked up toward the horizon before his dangerous journey. He feels reassurance that God is watching over him by night and shading him during the noonday heat. Can you imagine a more devoted God than that?

GOD IS THE TRAVELERS SHADE ON THEIR RIGHT HAND:
Psalms 121:5. “The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. 6. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.”

The word shade is very important. Sunstroke is a serious issue. If you have ever visited Israel you know how oppressive the heat can be. I was on the Sea of Galilee on the Fourth of July one time on a barge-like boat and the temperature was 122 degrees and there was no shade, oppressive, and stifling, to say the least. How we would have liked to have some shade. The Psalmist realized how much we need the shade of God’s Right Hand. The Right Hand of God has always stood for His strength and power. God protects you round the clock, with mighty power.

Then, when the day is over, He’ll protect us by night, “nor the moon by night.” We all have heard the phrase “moonstruck.” In ancient time there were all kinds of superstitions concerning the moon. Matthew 17:15 tells about a man who brought his son to Jesus for healing describing him as “lunatick.” The Greek word for this expression original meant “moonstruck” and reflects the ancient superstition that these kinds of seizures were caused by changes in the moon. People believed that the moonlight brought dangers, and the moon could be as deadly as the sun.

Maybe we are a little beyond primitive lunar superstitions, maybe not. In any case people still suffer from night fears. Nearly every child has begged for a night-light. Aged people often come to fear the night as well. The darkness and loneliness of it hold special terrors for them. Suffer from insomnia and the long dark night becomes even longer—a difficult time to endure.

For all of us who have struggled, or been struck by fear, whether of the sun or the moon or anything else on the horizon, the message is this: God is great. He will provide safety for you in the heat of the day, and in the terrors of the night He will never leave your side.

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

1 Kings  12 13  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 April 26, 2011

Good Morning!
It’s foolish to believe things have gotten out of God’s control; it simply can’t happen.

THE SOUL OF MAN SHALL NEVER DIE:
Psalms 121:7. “The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.”

There are two promises in this verse. First the Lord preserves us from evil. God has promised to help us make it through when evil and danger rears its head against us. Think about the worst that can happen, the most evil thing that can befall you. Nothing is outside God’s control. Every kind of disaster you can name is subject to God who preserves you. Bad things do happen, but they happen within His guidance and supervision. You must remember Satan is on a leash like a bad dog, and God is holding the leash.

The second promise, The Lord preserves our existence. “He shall preserve thy soul.” Our fellow traveler in this Psalm reassures us that God will keep our souls from all harm. Our soul is our life. God in the beginning breathed into Adam’s nostrils and he became a living soul Genesis 2:7. In other words the Psalmist says God is going to keep your life. Life doesn’t end when you draw your last breath. There is much more to life than “birth to tomb” mentality. As we grieve at the funeral of our loved ones in Christ, we need to understand that we have only come to a punctuation mark in their life. And that’s what it is, but that mark is not a period, as some assume, but merely a comma.

We need put no question mark on that one. You are an eternal creature. And God is the keeper of your existence, guarding your soul through this earthly life and on into eternity as well. The traveler looks at the road ahead of him, the hills, the curves, the pitfalls, and then he remind himself that this is one short journey in this world, set within a joyful journey in God’s eternal world.

“The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.”

Put you trust in him today.

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1 Kings    14 15  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion                   

Today’s First Thoughts                                                April 27, 2011

Good Morning!
God watches over you and preserves you in your daily routine and eternally.

THE LORD PRESERVES US EVERY DAY. I LOVE THAT PHRASE:
Psalms 121:8. “The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”

Let me assure you that God does care. Sometimes when we arise in the mornings and look at the day’s schedule we sigh and feel like a slave to the world’s demands. Do you ever feel that way? Go out, come in, go out, come in; know what I mean? All the days begin to look alike, as they entangle themselves into urgent appointments; this meeting that appointment, take the kids here and there, meet this person then off to another place. Then get up the next morning and start all over again. You look at the next day and say this is just like the day before, and in your darker moments you begin to wonder, is God involved in all of this? Does He really care about the routine treadmill of my life?

“Lord of all pots and pans and things, since I have no time to be a saint, by doing lovely things, or watching late with Thee, or dreaming in the daylight, or storming heaven’s gates, make me a saint by getting meals and washing up the plates.” (Author unknown, obviously written by a woman working at home). God uses the kitchen filled with pots and pans or the desk filled with memos, our ordinary daily routine, as a place of testing and training for Sainthood.

The Lord preserves us eternally. The Psalmist says, “He will preserve thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” God’s care extends not only to every place and to ever setting, but it also spans all of time and eternity. As we age we begin to see time as our enemy. It accelerates faster and faster until it frightens us. If time is cold and uncaring, we think, then God must be to—but don’t ever think such a terrible thought, for it is not so. God cares for us in time and in eternity. Time is only God’s instrument to teach us wisdom and bring us into His favor and get us ready for eternity

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

1 Kings   16 17 18  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion                    

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 April 28, 2011

Good Morning!
“The Lord keeps thee both now and forevermore.”

THE KEEPER OF OUR LIVES:
Psalms 121:8. “The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”

A very religious Jew keeps certain things in his home in keeping with the traditions of his faith. On the outside and on the inside of his door there is a small metal container called a ‘mezuzah’ with small pieces of parchment on which are written words from Deuteronomy chapters 6 and 11. It is a sacred remembrance for him, in a physical way the words which tells us that we are to train up our children in the way they should go and that we are to teach them as they go out and as they come in. So there at the doorway is the ‘mezuzah’ and as the Jew leaves his home to travel to his place of work, he touches this little metal box with his right hand and repeats aloud some of the words contained within it, asking God to preserve him as he goes out and comes in. His final words will always be, “The Lord keep thee both now and forevermore.”

Eugene Peterson writes about God’s watchful care over us.

“The Christian life is not a quiet escape to a garden where we can walk and talk uninterruptible with our Lord, nor a fantasy trip to a heavenly city where we can compare blue ribbons and gold metals with others who have made it to the winner’s circle—No, the Christian life is going to God. In going to God, Christians travel the same ground that everyone else walks on, breaths the same air, drinks the same water, shops in the same stores, reads the same newspapers, are citizens of the same government, pay the same price for groceries and gasoline, fears the same dangers, are subject to the same pressures, get the same distresses, and are buried in the same ground.

The difference is that each step we walk, each breath we breathe, we know we are preserved by God, we know we are accompanied by God, we know we are ruled by God, and therefore, no matter what doubts we endure or what accidents we experience, the Lord will preserve us from evil, He will keep our life.”

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

1 Kings   19 20

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                  April 29, 2011

Good Morning!
In the next few days we will look to see why the first Church at Jerusalem grew so rapidly.
Acts 2:40-47 is a key passage for determining what the Church did and how it is to operate
now in the local assembly. The Church grew from 120 souls on the morning of Pentecost to over
3,120 by noon.

THE FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH:
Acts 2:40. “And with many other words did he (Peter) testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

First we want to look at the establishment of the first Church of Jesus Christ. In the first few chapters of the Book of Acts we have the original things to study for Church growth; doctrine, fellowship, sharing, communion, and worship. As a result of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost and Peter’s preaching on the day of Pentecost 3,000 people became followers of Jesus Christ. They “were baptized” and “added” to the 120 original disciples. Luke summarized Peter’s preaching, testifying, and exhortation by saying, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” Peter focused on the death and resurrection of their Messiah, and the fact that they could be forgiven by God for what they had done.

These showed the profession of their faith by being baptized on the spot. Conversion was followed immediately by baptism was the practice in the early Church. When the revival broke out in the city of Samaria Philip immediately baptized them (Acts 8:12), the Ethiopian eunuch, converted by Phillip, got down out of his chariot and was baptized when he believed (Acts 8:36-38), when Cornelius’ household received the Gospel from Peter, and the Holy Ghost came on them, they were immediately baptized (Acts 10:47-48).

At Pentecost, the 120 no doubt divide up the 3,000 unto smaller groups and used the many pools in and around Jerusalem to baptize the large crowd. It was around 9:00 A.M. when the Holy Spirit fell on the 120, so Peter’s sermon was probably finished by noon, and the baptisms by the end of the day. Baptism was the outward profession of the faith they had confessed just hours earlier.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

1 Kings   21 22  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                               April 30 & May 1, 2011

Good Morning!
Every person in the new Church in Jerusalem was a baptized believer, and every believer was taught the words of Jesus.

THE PRACTICE OF A VITALIZED MEMBERSHIP:
Acts 2:41. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 4. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

It was those who “gladly received (Peter’s) word” who were baptized, and then added to the Church roll. And these weren’t just names added to a membership roll to swell the membership records. These were converted souls, baptized believers. If you weren’t a baptized believer in Christ you weren’t a member of the Church. How unlike today. Many Christian Churches are filled with people who are not Christians. They’ve made no profession of faith followed by baptism. They may have grown up in the Church, or even walked down the aisle and shook a preacher’s hand, but they do not have a real life changing relationship with Jesus Christ.

They may be members of the outward, professing Church, but they are not members of the confessing Church, the baptized body of Christ. Did they keep a membership roll in the early Church? We don’t know for sure. But they must have kept some kind of records since they knew how many were saved at Pentecost. Another thing we have so many names of those who were involved in the work of the early Church that did not appear in the Four Gospels.

The first activity Luke records about the early Church: “They continued steadfastly in the Apostle’s doctrine.” In other words, Jerusalem was a teaching Church. What was the Apostle’s doctrine? It was everything they had learned by first-hand observers of the life and ministry of Jesus. In the Great Commission, Jesus told His disciples to teach new converts “all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). So they were passing on to the new converts in Jerusalem everything Jesus had taught them. To be edified (built up), the New Testament Church must be a teaching Church. The Apostle’s Doctrine is the bedrock (foundation) of the Church.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:

11 Kings   1 2 3 ----  11 Kings   4 5

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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