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May 2011

GODSGRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTIONS May 2011

Valley

Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil

         Today is Sunday, June 25, 2017

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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.

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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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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                      May 2, 2011

Good Morning!
The Early Church not only had a mutual affection to each other but also a mutual conversation with each other, they were much together.

THE EARLY CHURCH OPENED THEIR HEARTS TO ONE ANOTHER:
Acts 2:42. “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

To open your heart to others means to share your life with them. The Christian life is not to be lived in isolation from others any more that a foot or arm or leg could function in isolation from the rest of the body. The word “saint” is only found in the singular once in the New Testament (Philippians 4:21). It occurs sixty times in the plural from Acts to Revelation. There is more that fellowship with Christ in the Church; there is fellowship with one another (1 John 1:3). Hebrews 10:24-25 exhorts us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but to provoke (strengthen) one another by our fellowship with one another. We need to share our hearts and lives with one another face to face.

Luke tells us they met “from house to house” (Acts 2:46) to share meals together. These meals were probably similar to what we call potluck suppers today—people bringing dishes and sharing them together. No doubt many of the people joining the Church were in Jerusalem for Pentecost. Perhaps they stayed longer than they would otherwise have and needed places to stay and food to eat. So they pooled their resources and provided for everyone in their homes. Many of you older saints probably remember when the Church was smaller and not so affluent and the evangelist stayed in the homes of the Pastor or some of the Saints. Some of you may have given up your bed to let them have a place to sleep.

The Church also “continued steadfastly in …prayers,” prayers of praise, thanks, petitions, confession, in varied form, worshiping and seeking God continually. They met “in the Temple” (Acts 2:46) that was their place of gathering for joint-fellowship with God and it is still the best place for joint-fellowship and worship. Worshiping God was their daily business and is to be our daily business, and, where there is opportunity, the oftener it is done publicly the better. They abounded in thanksgiving and were “continually praising God” (Acts 2:47). This should have a part in every prayer, and not be crowded out. All who receive the Holy Ghost will have much to praise him for.

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

11 Kings   6 7

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                    May 3, 2011

Good Morning!
We know as time passed the Jewish leadership turned against the early Church, but for a time, the Church enjoyed great favor in Jerusalem.

THERE WAS TREMENDOUS GROWTH IN THE FIRST CHURCH:
Acts 2:46. “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47. Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

The Lord blessed the Early Church; people were coming to the Lord daily. From all over Jerusalem (Acts 5:28) people were saying, “I want to be a part of this new community of faith; I want to be a follower of Jesus, the Messiah.” New converts were being brought to the Apostles for baptism and they would be assimilated into the body of Christ. Let us look at how the Church grew.

There were 120 members Acts 1:15, then 3000 members Acts 2:41, daily conversions Acts 2:47, then 5000 men, not counting wives and children Acts 4:4, multitudes of men and women Acts 5:1, numbers increasing greatly Acts 6:7, a great company of priests Acts 6:7, converts in Judaea, Galilee, and Samaria were multiplied Acts 9:31, many new believers Acts 9:42, a large number believed Acts 11:21, a great number of Greeks and leading women Acts 17:4, many new believers Acts 17:12, Almost all of Asia believed Acts 19:26, many thousands of Jews believed Acts 21:20.

Some have estimated that there were as many as 100,000 new believers in and around Jerusalem by the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and near a million in the Roman Empire by the time of the death of Paul and Peter. The early Church obviously turned their world upside down for Jesus Christ (Acts 17:6). They taught the doctrine of Jesus Christ and Him crucified and raised from the dead, paying the price for the sins of the world. They had great fellowship with one another, remembered Jesus in communion, communicated with Him in prayer, and exalted Him in worship.

 When the 21st century Church focuses of Jesus that way, we will turn our world upside down as well.

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

11 Kings 8 9

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                     May 4, 2011

Good Morning!
We want to look at how God blessed the ministry of Simon Peter.

THE LIFE GOD BLESSES:
Acts 3:1. “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. 2. And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 3. Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. 4. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. 5. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. 6. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 7. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

Some of God’s blessings come to us out of grace as gifts to undeserving children. These blessings continue, however, as we make ourselves available to be used by God. That’s what Peter did following Pentecost. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he lived the kind of life God loves to honor and bless. In spite of the many mistakes that Peter made in his early life before being filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, God richly blessed the remainder of his life. It seems that Peter had a very public ministry in and around Jerusalem and Samaria (Acts 8:14). God worked many miracles, signs and wonders, that were seen and experienced by the multitudes in Jerusalem. But in this devotion we’ll see a different side of Peter—his ministry in a private, personal setting, ministering to the needs of only two people. And we see God blessing him for his willingness to serve where he was needed at the moment.

In Acts 9:32-33, Peter had left Jerusalem because of the great persecution of the Church leaders, and was traveling throughout Judea and Samaria on an itinerant preaching ministry. He was an active person, constantly on the go, so it is easy to imagine him going out on this type of preaching tour. The question for us is not, what does God want me to do in the “future?” It’s what does God want me to do today? Do that, and the “future” will take care of itself in due time. Peter did “today” what was needed to be done. He took the opportunities that were before him and made the most of them.

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

11 Kings   10 11 12

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                    May 5, 2011

Good Morning!
Peter, in his preaching tour, came to the town of Lydda where some saints had fled, no doubt, because of the persecutions in Jerusalem (Acts 8:4). Peter met a man who had been bedridden for eight years due to a form of paralysis.

JESUS CHRIST MAKETH THEE WHOLE: ARISE, AND MAKE THY BED:
Acts 9:32. “And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda. 33. And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. 34. And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. 35. And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.”

Peter’s life after Pentecost was marked by humility. Peter made clear to Aeneas that he, Peter, was not the one healing him. He directed all the glory to Jesus Christ, not himself. Beginning at Pentecost until his death in Rome, Peter was simply an instrument of Jesus Christ. And that is another characteristic of the people God uses. It is a seemingly contradictory statement: “To increase, you must decrease” (John 3:30). Peter focused Aeneas’ attention on Jesus Christ. Peter wasn’t the healer; he was the announcer of the healer. It would do us all good to use the pattern of speech Peter used; “Jesus Christ helped me, saved me, healed me, comforted me, provided for me.” That kind of humility and honesty is something God blesses.

Aeneas’ healing was immediate. It followed the pattern found in the entire Bible. It was instantaneous. When blind people were healed, they saw. When lame people were healed, they leaped and walked. When deaf people were healed, they heard. Peter didn’t tell Aeneas that he would be healed if he had faith or that it would happen over time. He said, “Jesus Christ maketh thee whole, arise,” and he was healed.

The results of Aeneas’s healing was, “And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.” We never know what the results are going to be when we are faithful to speak out for the Lord and one person is affected. It is like a ripple effect. It was that way with Aeneas, when he was healed, many in the area (verse 35 says all) turned to the Lord. A Whole community was impacted because of God’s blessing through Peter.

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

11 Kings  13 14  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                                      May 6, 2011

Good Morning!
Dorcas, who was a highly respected Christian in Joppa, had become sick and died. Just as the sisters of Lazarus sent for Jesus (John 11), so the friends of Dorcas sent immediately for Peter when they heard that he was in Lydda, which was close by.

THE LIFE AND DEATH AND RESTORATION TO LIFE OF DORCAS:
Acts 9:36. “Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. 37. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. 38. And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. 39. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. 40. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. 42. And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.”

Dorcas was “full of good works and charitable deeds.” We don’t know all that she did; many of the cloaks and other garments she made with her own hands were given to those in need. Perhaps some of the widows who came to weep for her were wearing something she had made for them. She was like the woman of Proverbs 31, industrious and cared for those around her, she was a model of good works. When she took sick and died the whole community of believers was grieving. They had heard what happened to Aeneas in Lydda and put off burying her until Peter could be summoned. They washed her and laid her in an upper room waiting for Peter.

When Peter arrived, he asked everyone to leave the room where Dorcas was laid. He did this because it was the pattern he had learned from Jesus (Mark 5:40). I think Peter wanted to be alone with the Lord, knowing he had no ability in himself to raise Dorcas from the dead. If we don’t live in dependency on the Lord, nothing is going to happen in the long run in our lives.

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

11 Kings   15 16

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                               May 7 & 8, 2011

Good Morning!
(The next several days the devotions are taken from the book of John)
The gulf that separates the Creator and the creature, the gulf between the Being we call God and all other beings (men and angels), is a great and vast and yawning gulf.

GOD BECAME (made known) FLESH: (A few devotions from the book of John)
John 1:14. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

We are told in John 4:24 “God is a Spirit:” We are also told in John 1:18 “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” I point out that within these statements of a few simple words is one of the deepest mysteries of human thought. How God could bridge this great gulf is indeed one of the most profound and darkest mysteries to which human thought can be directed. How is it possible that God could join the Creator to the creature?

Mankind is only one order of God's beings or creatures. So, we wonder: “How could the Infinite ever become finite? And how could the Limitless One deliberately impose limitations upon Himself? Why should God favor one order of beings above another in His revelation?” In the book of Hebrews we learn to our amazement that God took not upon Him the nature of angels, but He took upon Him the seed of Abraham. Now, Abraham certainly was not equal to an angel. We would suppose that God in stepping down would step down just as little as possible. We would think that He would stop with the angels or the seraphim—but instead He came down to the lowest order and took upon Himself the nature of Abraham, the seed of Abraham.

The Apostle Paul throws up his hands in wonder at this point. Declared to be one of the greatest intellects of all time, throws up his hands and declares “without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:16). The mystery of God manifest in the flesh. God becoming flesh and walking among men is the greatest of mysteries. Yet this mystery is revealed to men who will seek to understand it.

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

11 Kings   17 18  --------  11 Kings  19 20  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                      May 9, 2011

Good Morning!
We can surely know this, that the Incarnation required no compromise of deity. When God became incarnate there was no compromise on God's part.

HE WAS STILL ALL GOD EVEN AFTER BECOMING FLESH:
John 1:14. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

The holy God who is God, and all else not God, “our Father who art in heaven,” could never compromise Himself. The Incarnation, the Word made flesh, was accomplished without any compromise of the holy Deity. The living God did not degrade Himself by this condescension. He did not in any sense make Himself to be less than God. He remained ever God and everything else remained not God. The gulf still existed even after Jesus Christ had become man and had dwelt among us. Instead of God degrading Himself when He became man, by the act of Incarnation He elevated mankind to Himself. Thus, we do not degrade God but we elevate man, and that is the wonder of redemption.

I have always been fascinated by the Genesis passage which tells us that God came and walked in the garden in the cool of the day, calling for Adam. But Adam was not there. I do not think we are reading anything into the account by assuming that God's meeting with Adam in this way was a common custom at that time. We are not told that this was the first time that God had come to take a walk with Adam in the midst of bird song and in the fading light. God and man walked together and because the Creator had made man in His own image there was no degradation in His communion with man. But now Adam is in hiding. Pride and disobedience, doubt and failure on Adam’s part, sin has broken off the communion and fellowship of the Creator with the created. The holy God must reject the fallen man, sending him from the garden and setting up a flaming sword that he might not return.

Adam had lost the presence of the Creator God and in the Bible record of the ages that followed, God never dwelt with men again in quite the same way. Then, in the fullness of time, He came again to men, for “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” They called His name Immanuel, which means God with us. In that first coming of Jesus the Christ, God again came to dwell with men in person.

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

11 Kings    21 22

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                    May 10, 2011

Good Morning!
If we had only the Old Testament description of God we would have only a parcel view of Him. Jesus Christ came to show the world what God is like.

GOD WAS REVEALED IN JESUS CHRIST:
John 1:18. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

God's Word is just too big for the translators. They come to this phrase in the Greek: “The Son hath declared Him.” In the English of the King James Version it is just declared. In other versions they skirt it, they go around it, and they plunge through it. They use two or three words and then they come back to one. They do everything to try to say what the Holy Ghost said, but they have to give up. Our English just will not say it all. When we have used up our words and synonyms, we still have not said all that God revealed when He said: Nobody has ever seen God, but when Jesus Christ came He showed us what God is like. I suppose that our simple and everyday language is as good as any.  Jesus has revealed God, He has shown us what God is like. He has declared Him. He has set Him forth. He has revealed Him. In these ways the translators shift their language trying to get at this wondrous miracle of meaning.

That man walking in Galilee was God acting like God. It was God, limited deliberately, having crossed the wide, mysterious gulf between God and not God; God and creature. No man had seen God at any time. “The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father ...” (John 1:18) He is in the Father's bosom. It is stated in present, perpetual tense; the continuous tense, I think the grammarians call it. It is the language of continuation. Therefore, when Jesus hung on the cross He did not leave the bosom of the Father.

When Jesus hung on the cross and cried “My God why hast thou forsaken Me,” the Godhead was never divided. It was the human body which God had given Him; it was the sacrifice that cried, the lamb about to die. It was the human Jesus. It was the Son of Man who cried. Believe it that the ancient and timeless Deity was never separated; He was still in the bosom of the Father when He cried, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). So the cross did not divide the Godhead nothing can ever do that, One forever, indivisible, the substance undivided.

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

11 Kings   23 24 25  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                              May 11, 2011

Good Morning!
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

JESUS CHRIST IS FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH:
John 1:14. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Today we want to look at the last phrase in this verse, “full of grace and truth.” Many years ago Alexander Patterson wrote a great and compelling book titled The Greater Life and Work of Christ. I think it has been out of print for some years but it deserves to be reprinted. In his volume, this great preacher attempts to go back into the basic foundation of things and to encourage Christians to believe and trust and exalt Jesus Christ for being much more than the Redeemer of mankind. I agree with him completely that Christ Jesus is not only Redeemer, but the Sustainer, the Creator, the Upholder, the One who holds all things together, the adhesive quality of the universe. To those who believe, Christ Jesus is the medium through whom God dispenses grace to all of His creatures, including those to be redeemed and those who do not need to be redeemed.

It is true that there are orders upon orders and ranks upon ranks of angelic creatures that do not need to be redeemed. Yet, it is also true, that they live by grace as well as the lowest sinner who is converted. Through the Apostle John, the Holy Spirit tells us that the eternal Son, the Word who became flesh, is “full of grace and truth.” Everything God does is by grace, for no man, no creature, no being deserves anything. Salvation is by grace, the Creation is by grace, all that God does is by grace and every human being has received of His fullness.

What have you received of His grace and mercy? Even though you may still be unconverted and going your own way, you have received much out of the ocean of His fullness. All that you have is out of His grace. Jesus Christ, the eternal Word, who became flesh and dwelt among us, is the open channel through which God moves to provide all the benefits He gives to saints and sinners. When we faithfully witness and present Christ to men and women in our day as Lord and Savior, we should remember that they are already receiving benefits of grace, and we are only presenting Jesus Christ to them in a new office—that of Redeemer.

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

1 Chronicles  1 2 3

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                             May 12, 2011

Good Morning!
Jesus came to tell us and to show us that God loves us and that He constantly cares for us.

JESUS BROUGHT GRACE TO A SIN TOSSED WORLD:
John 1:16. “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.”

Moses was not the channel through which God dispensed His grace. God chose His only begotten Son as the channel for His grace and truth, for John witnesses that grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. All that Moses could do was to command righteousness. In contrast, only Jesus Christ produces righteousness. All that Moses could do was to forbid us to sin. In contrast, Jesus Christ came to save us from sin.

Moses could not save but Jesus Christ is both Lord and Savior. Grace came through Jesus Christ before Mary wept in the manger stall in Bethlehem.

It was the grace of God in Christ that saved the human race from extinction when our first parents sinned in the garden. It was the grace of God in Jesus Christ yet to be born that saved the eight persons when the Flood covered the earth. It was the grace of God in Jesus Christ yet to be born but existing in pre-incarnation glory that forgave David when he sinned, that forgave Abraham when he lied. It was the grace of God that enabled Abraham to pray God down to ten when He was threatening to destroy Sodom. God forgave Israel time and time again. It was the grace of God in Christ prior to the Incarnation that made God say, “I have risen early in the morning and stretched out my hands unto you!” The Apostle John speaks for all of us also when he writes of the eternal Son and reminds us that “we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

It could have been very easy for God to have loved us and never told us. God could have been merciful toward us and never revealed it. We know that among humans it is possible for us to feel deeply and still tell no one. It is possible to have fine intentions and never make them known to anyone. Jesus Christ came to tell us what the silence never told us. He came to tell us what not even Moses could tell us. He came to tell us and to show us that God loves us and that He constantly cares for us. He came to tell us that God has a gracious plan and that He is carrying out that plan. Before it is all finished and consummated, there will be a multitude that no man can number, redeemed, out of every tongue and tribe and nation. He has declared it all. He has given us grace upon grace.

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

1 Chronicles   4 5 

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion                    

Today’s First Thoughts                                           May 13, 2011

Good Morning!
All of the mercy God is capable of showing, all of the redeeming grace that He could pour from His heart, all of the love and pity that God is capable of feeling—all of these are at least suggested here in the message that “He came!”

GOD CAME:       
John 1:11. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”

In earlier verses in John's Gospel record, we have read in remarkably brief and simple words of the eternal past and of the eternal Son. We are told that from the beginning He was God; that He made all things, and that in Him was Light and that in Him was life. Surely, these powerfully simple words and phrases are at the root of all theology. They are at the root of all truth. How thrilling it is for us, then, to receive the message in these two words, “He came.” They are the confirmation of the Incarnation, God came in the flesh! I am struck with the wonder and the significance of the limitless meaning of these two words, He came. Within them the whole scope of divine mercy and redeeming love is outlined.

All of our hopes and dreams of immortality, our fond visions of a life to come, are summed up in these simple words in the Bible record: “He came!” I am impressed with the fact that these two one-syllable words occupy only seven spaces in a printed line. But what these two words tell us is more profound than ten thousand pages of philosophy, and I am not using the superlative carelessly in this context. The coming of Jesus Christ into this world represents a truth more profound than all of philosophy, for all of the great thinkers of the world together could never produce anything that could even remotely approach the wonder and the profundity disclosed in the message of these words, “He came!”

These words are wiser than all learning. Understood in their high spiritual context, they are more beautiful than all art, more eloquent than all oratory, more lyric and moving than all music—because they tell us that all of mankind, sitting in darkness, has been visited by the Light of the world! Oh, I am sure that we are all too passive about what this really means! When we sing "The Light of the world is Jesus," there should be a glow on our faces that would make the world believe that we mean it.

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

1 Chronicles   6 7

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                      May 14 & 15, 2011

Good Morning!
Let us think about His world to which He came—for it is Christ's world. The world we buy and sell and kick around and take by force of arms—this world is Christ's world. He made it and He owns it all.

THE PEOPLE IN HIS OWN WORLD DID NOT RECEIVE HIM:
John 1:11. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Jesus Christ, the eternal Word, made this world. He made the very atoms of which Mary was made; the atoms of which His own body was made. He made the straw in that manger upon which He was laid as a newborn baby. I have given much thought to this sweetest and tenderest of all the mysteries in God's revelation to man. I confess that I would have liked to have seen the baby Jesus. That is not a possibility—for death has no more dominion over Him, and He is glorified yonder at the right hand of the Majesty on high. But that same Jesus, now ascended and glorified, was that baby Jesus once cradled in the manger straw. Taking a body of humiliation, He was still the Creator who made the wood of the manger, made the straw and was Creator of all the beasts that were there. In truth, He had made the little town and all that it was. He had also made the star that lingered over the scene that night. It was His world to which he came.

Yes, He came in the fullness of time, and His own world, the world of nature, received Him. But His own people received Him not! It is my own feeling that when Jesus came, all of nature went out to greet Him. The star led the wise men from the East. The cattle in the stable stall in Bethlehem did not bother Him. His own things in created nature received Him. He had come into His own world, where even the winds and waves obeyed His least command. We call those events miracles, but really it was just God Almighty acting like God in the world that received Him.

But when we come to consider the people, proud humanity with all of its sin and sicknesses and death—that is another story!

Our apologies must be for humanity—and for our sins. Take away the sin and there would be no more sickness and disease. There would be no patients in the mental asylums. Crime would be a thing of the past and you could go to bed at night and leave all the doors unlocked.

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

1 Chronicles 8 9 10   --------  1 Chronicles   11 12 13

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                    May 16, 2011

Good Morning!
His own people received Him not—and the question follows, “Why?”

John 1:11. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”

In the fullness of time, it was the nation of Israel, the Jews, to whom Jesus came. Of all the people on the earth, the nation of Israel surely was the best prepared to receive Him because they were the children of Abraham, called to be a chosen people in an everlasting covenant with God the Father. Israel had the revelation of God. The Israelites knew all the traditions of worship and faith. They had the prophets. They had the temple worship and the observances of the holy days. Yet having all of these, they failed to recognize Jesus as Messiah and Lord. There is no doubt that theirs was the greatest moral blunder in the history of mankind, for He came to His own people and His own people rejected Him! Oh, the blindness of it all when the Jews turned Him away. The Bible is very plain in warning us and telling us of that kind of spiritual blindness.

First, I think it would have meant probable financial loss for many to step out of their situations in life and follow Jesus. The rich young ruler who came to Jesus to ask questions is a good example of that position. He was interested in the teachings of Jesus and asked what he should do. Jesus gave him a test of discipleship, urging him to dispose of his properties and join the disciples in following Him. But the young man made his choice and went away sorrowing, for he had great possessions. I am afraid that humanity's choice would still be the same today—people are more in love with their money and their possessions than they are with God.

Second, for many of those men and women who considered the claims of Christ in His day, following Jesus would have called for abrupt and drastic changes in their pattern of living. They could not tolerate the thought of allowing the selfish and proud aspects of their lives to be disturbed. I think a third factor was their almost complete disdain for the inward spiritual life which Jesus taught as a necessity for mankind. When Jesus insisted that it is the pure in heart who will see God, that it is the humble mourner who will be comforted and that the meek will inherit the earth—all of this meant a great housecleaning inwardly. In our day history repeats itself—many who want to follow the Christian traditions still balk and reject a thorough going spiritual housecleaning within their beings.

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

1 Chronicles  14 15 16

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 May 17, 2011

Good Morning!
Diamonds are made from native carbon which has been placed under tremendous pressure which in time brings about the process of crystallization. If we will just let our imaginations soar a bit, we can properly say that the Holy Ghost has taken this redemptive nugget and has placed it under the emotional pressure of God, so unbelievably strong and powerful that it has been crystallized into this shining diamond of truth.

DIVINE LOVE INCARNATE:
John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If we were to judge John 3:16 on the basis of its value to the human race, we would have to say that it is probably the most precious cluster of words ever assembled by the mind of an intelligent man; a twenty-five-word summarization in which is contained the eternal Christian gospel, the message of genuine good news! When we begin to grasp the radiance and significance of this text, we sense that it is as though God has compressed all of the deepest and richest meaning of the Scriptures into one brief, glorious segment of truth. To measure its value to mankind, it would prove to be more precious than all of the books that have ever been written by men. All of them put together could not compare in value to what these twenty-five words mean to the human race. That is how highly I value the declaration of John 3:16.

One of the noble old commentators of the nineteenth century, Allicott, said something like this when he came to John 3:16 in his textual comments: “I do not intend to say very much about this text. It is a favorite of younger preachers, but old men feel it is better felt than talked about. I have never had the courage to prepare and preach a sermon with John 3:16 as my text. I suppose I have quoted it as many as 15,000 or 20,000 times in prayer and in testimony, in writing and in preaching, but never as a sermon text.”

So, I approach it. I approach it as one who is filled with great fear and yet great fascination. I take off my shoes, my heart shoes, at least, as I come to this declaration that God so loved the world. This is more than a thought—it is a divine message, worthy of enunciation by an archangel. It can be restated and that is all that I can hope to do with it. Let us bow our heads as we read John 3:16.

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

1 Chronicles   17 18 19

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 May 18, 2011

Good Morning!
“What good is it to be a human being? No one cares about me. I matter to no one except the little mortal circle around me and when they go, I will matter to no one!”

GOD LOVES US AS INDIVIDUALS:
John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

This verse has been called “The Gospel In A Nutshell.” Never was more said in twenty-five words in any language than what is recorded in John 3:16. This is more than a thought—it is a divine message, worthy of enunciation by an archangel. It can be restated and that is all that I can hope to do with it. I can restate it in a more personal application, for it has this significance to me: it tells me that I mean something to God. It tells me that I am precious to Him. God wants to reveal Himself to us in personal terms. He wants to show us that in loving the world He loves each one of us individually because we mean something to Him. We matter to Him. God himself is emotionally concerned about each of us. It means that you matter to God. It is a statement that you mean something to God.

GOD DEALS WITH INDIVIDUALS: This is an assurance for everyone who will listen: “You are an individual and you matter to God. His concern is not for genus and species but with the individuals He has created.” When the eternal Son of God became the Son of Man and walked on the earth, He always called individuals to His side. He did not preach to the multitudes as though they were a faceless crowd. He preached to them as individuals and with a knowledge of the burdens and the needs of each one. The individuals mattered to Him. He was emotionally (love) concerned with the individual beings.

In the light of His love, let us always remember that every individual has eternal significance and meaning in the heart of God and that He is concerned with the individual. This is still God's day of grace and mercy and willingness to forgive, and there is not a human being anywhere who has been written off and cast out as being “no good and absolutely hopeless.” God says plainly that there is none righteous and that we must be saved and that we will perish if we do not repent. But in the sense of being hopeless and beyond forgiveness and impossible of conversion there is not one.

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

1 Chronicles   20 21 22

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion                                     

Today’s First Thoughts                                                   May 19, 2011

Good Morning!
We are assured that God sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world, He sent Him in order that the world might be saved.

WHY GOD SENT HIS SON:
John 3:17. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

We live in a day of temptations, and the world is so much with us, getting and spending. But even for our kind of world, even for the human race in its present condition, there is no message, no hope, no word of authority and promise that can compare to God's proclamation of love and forgiveness. Now, when the Word says that God sent His Son into the world, it is not talking to us merely about the world as geography. It does not just indicate to us that God sent His Son into the Near East, that He sent Him to Bethlehem in Palestine.

But this message does not have any geographical or astronomical meaning. When it speaks of the world here it does not mean that God so loved the snow-capped mountains or the sun-kissed meadows or the flowing streams or the great peaks of the north. What it really means is that God sent His Son into the human race. Just think of the kinds of people God sees all at once. He sees the crippled and the blind and the leprous. He sees the fat, the lean, the tall and the short. He sees the dirty and the clean. He sees some walking safely along the avenues with no fear of a policeman but He sees also those who skulk in back alleys and crawl through broken windows.

He sees those who are healthy and others twitching and turning in the last agonies of death. He sees the ignorant and the illiterate as well as those gathered under the elms in some college town, nurturing deep dreams of great poems or plays or books to astonish and delight the world. People! He sees the millions of people: people whose eyes slant differently from yours and people whose hair is not like your hair.

Their customs are not the same as yours; their habits are not the same. But they are all people. The thing is their differences are all external. Their similarities are all within their natures. Their differences have to do with customs and habits. Their likeness has to do with nature. Brethren, let us treasure this: God sent His Son to the people. He is the people's Savior. Jesus Christ came to give life and hope to people like your family and like mine.

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

1 Chronicles   23 24 25  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                    May 20, 2011

Good Morning!
“For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist:” Words of Jesus.

JOHN WAS A MAN SENT FROM GOD:
John 1:6. “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.”

How do you suppose the Christian church, as we know it today, would be inclined to deal with John the Baptist if he came into our midst? Our generation would probably decide that such a man ought to be downright proud of the fact that God had sent him. But John the Baptist gladly stepped down—allowing Jesus the Christ to displace him completely. This was his example: instead of insisting on recognition as a man sent from God, he pointed to Jesus as the true Light and said in genuine humility, “I am not worthy to unloose his shoe's latchet” (John 1:27). That was John, and when his ministry was over, Jesus came. It was then that John said to all who would listen, “Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:29). He directed all the eyes away from himself to Jesus. And then John the Baptist just faded out of the picture.

Actually, John the Baptist would never have fit into the contemporary religious scene in our day—never! He did not keep his suit pressed. He was not careful about choosing words that would not offend anyone. Something tells me that John the Baptist did not quote beautiful passages from the poets. They sure would not like his diet (Locust and wild honey). The writers Matthew and Mark tell about John the Baptist, but they give us no pedigree. Luke writes about him, giving us his family history, telling who his parents were, as well as the wonder of his birth. But John presses in farther, rising higher as John always seems to do, penetrating through to the essential greatness of the Baptist as a man sent from God. The evangelist had special discernment and penetration of vision. Others might say of John the Baptist that he was the greatest, that he was the wisest, that he was the strongest or that he was the most eloquent. But the Apostle John witnesses that this was John's greatness—he was a man sent from God!

In this, I say, he took note of the real mark of excellence, for John the Baptist could not have had any higher honor. For John it was not only an unspeakably high honor, but for the world it constituted a treasure, as well.

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

1 Chronicles  26 27

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion                                           

Today’s First Thoughts                                          May 21 & 22, 2011

Good Morning!
It is remarkable that the first of Moses’ miracles was turning water into blood, while the first of Jesus’ miracles was turning water into wine.

THEY HAVE NO WINE:
John 2:3. “And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

It is not known why Mary told this to Jesus. It would seem that she had a belief that he was able to supply it, though he had as yet worked no miracle. Most likely Joseph had been dead for some time and her son Jesus was the one she relied upon to fix, or repair anything around the house, and in some manner supply the needs of the family, which He always seemed capable of doing. She most likely did not expect Him to work a supernatural thing to get more wine. But it does show she had total confidence in His ability to get more wine some way.

His answer to her sound to us harsh, but they were spoken in a tender manner, and were not intended as a reproof. It is clear that he did not intend to refuse to provide wine; and therefore, to compose the anxiety of Mary, and to prevent her being worried about it. Instead of being offended Mary simply turned to the servants and said, “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” There were six waterpots that held 7-9 gallons sitting close by and Jesus said to the servants “Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.” (To the top, 50 gallons) So full that no wine could be poured in to give the appearance of a mixture. Farther, vessels were used for this miracle in which wine had not been kept. These pots were never used to put wine in, but simply to keep water in for the various purposes of ablution. A large number was used on this occasion, because there were many guests.

“Draw out now.” This command was given to the servants. It showed that the miracle had been immediately wrought. As soon as they were filled the servants were directed to take it to the governor of the feast. Jesus made no parade about it, and it does not even appear that he approached the water-pots. He willed it, and it was done. This was a clear exertion of divine power, and made in such a manner as to leave no doubt of its reality.

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

1 Chronicles   28 29    ------ 11 Chronicles  1 2 3 4

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                  May 23, 2011

Good Morning!
God always has His Witnesses. “But the servants which drew the water knew.”

THE BEST WINE UNTIL LAST:
John 2:9. “When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10. And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

“And knew not whence it was.” This is said, probably, to indicate that his judgment was not biased by any favor, or any want of favor, toward Jesus. Had he known what was done, he would have been less likely to have judged impartially. As it is, we have his testimony that this was real wine, and of so fine a body and flavor as to surpass that which had been provided for the occasion. Everything in this miracle shows that there was no scheme or understanding between Jesus and any of the persons at the feast.

“When men have well drunk.” This word does not of necessity mean that they were intoxicated, though it is usually employed in that sense. It may mean when they have drunk sufficient, or to satiety; or have drunk so much as to produce hilarity, and to destroy the keenness of their taste, so that they could not readily distinguish the good from that which was worse. But this cannot be adduced in favor of drunkenness, even if it means to be intoxicated.

We should not be deceived by the phrase “good wine.” The wine referred to here was doubtless such as was commonly drunk in Palestine. That was the pure juice of the grape. It was not brandied wine, nor drugged wine, nor wine compounded of various substances, such as we drink in this land. The common wine drunk in Palestine was that which was the simple juice of the grape. We use the word wine now to denote the kind of liquid which passes under that name in this country always containing a considerable portion of alcohol not only the alcohol produced by fermentation, but alcohol added to keep it or make it stronger. But we have no right to take that sense of the word, and go with it to the interpretation of the Scriptures.

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

11 Chronicles  5 6 7

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                               May 24, 2011                                

Good Morning!
After the wedding at Cana Jesus began his ministry at Capernaum, to which He and His family moved their residence to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 9:1-2.

JESUS TOOK UP RESIDENCE IN CAPERNAUM:
John 2:12. “After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples,”

Capernaum was one of the most honored cities in the world. For three-and-one-half years Capernaum was home to God as He walked among men. Matthew 4:13. “And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 14. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 15. The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16. The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 17. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Capernaum was a thriving city on the northern coast of the Sea of Galilee. It was the home of at least five of the Apostles and possibly more. Capernaum witnessed more of His miracles and ministry than any other place. More of His teachings sounded forth from its synagogue and hillsides that any other city. For three-and-one-half years Jesus was its most famous resident. Capernaum welcomed Him and flocked to hear Him and to touch Him, and from Him receive healings and miracles.

Yet Jesus was disappointed in Capernaum because of the lack of change in their way of life. Jesus pronounced a most scathing woe upon Capernaum. “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.” (Matthew 11:23)

Today all the houses are gone: the good Centurion’s house, that of Matthew the publican, that of Simon Peter, the temporary home which sheltered the Master and his loved ones. All are unrecognizable, a confused mass of ruins, all save only the white synagogue where He taught. Destroyed because of a lack of repentance.

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

11 Chronicles  8 9 10

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                May 25, 2011

Good Morning!
It is not often that we see the meek and gentle Shepherd get riled up and take drastic action against the evil He came in contact with.

JESUS DRIVES THE MONEY-CHANGERS OUT OF THE TEMPLE:
John 2:13. “And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, 14. And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15. And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; 16. And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.

“Found in the temple.” This took place at the beginning of his public ministry; and again at the close (Matthew 21:12). On each occasion he showed that his great regard was for the pure worship of his Father; and one great design of his coming was to reform the abuses which had crept into that worship, and to bring man to a proper regard for the glory of God. If it be asked how it was that those engaged in this traffic so readily yielded to Jesus of Nazareth, and that they left their gains and their property, and fled from the temple at the command of one so obscure as he was, it may be that their consciences reproved them for their impiety, and they could not set up the appearance of self-defense.

Jesus on all occasions had a most wonderful control over men. None could resist him. There was something in his manner, as well as in his doctrine, that awed men, and made them tremble at his presence. On this occasion he had the manner of a prophet, the authority of God, and the testimony of their own consciences, and they could not, therefore, resist the authority by which he spoke. It was customary in the nation to cherish a profound regard for the authority of a prophet; and the appearance and manner of Jesus-so fearless, so decided, so authoritative-led them to suppose he was a prophet, and they were afraid to resist him.

Though Jesus thus purified the temple at the beginning of his ministry, yet in three years the same scene was to be repeated (Matthew 21:12). And from this we may learn, how soon men forget the most solemn reproofs, and return to evil practices. In the very temple, under the very eye of God, these men soon returned to practices for which their consciences reproved them, and which they knew God disapproved.

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

11 Chronicles   11 12 13 14

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                              May 26, 2011

Good Morning!
The Bible record plainly tells us that only one of the seventy members of the Sanhedrin at that time bothered to seek an interview with Jesus of Nazareth, and that was Nicodemus. He crossed over the great gulf that separated them in that day.

NICODEMUS SEEKS JESUS BY NIGHT:
John 3:1. “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”

We have every indication in the Scriptures that the account of Nicodemus seeking out our Lord Jesus Christ prior to His death and resurrection is of the greatest importance in the realm of the Christian faith. The Holy Spirit is sometimes very limited in the amount of words it uses to describe an incident. Yet through the Apostle John, the Holy Spirit has devoted a total of twenty-one verses to this story of Nicodemus visiting Jesus; we learn what he said to Jesus and what Jesus said to him. “Ye must be born again,” is a phrase of the most vital importance to our faith.

We are made aware that Nicodemus was a ruler in Israel, being one of the seventy members of the powerful Sanhedrin, a tribunal not quite equivalent to our own Supreme Court, but very much like it, with some executive as well as judicial authority. Members of the Sanhedrin were from the privileged families of Israel. The high priest was the president. Former high priests still living were members. Some elders and legal assessors were members, along with powerful scribes of the day. It is interesting, too, that members of the Sanhedrin could be either Pharisees or Sadducees, which coincides in a sense with the fact that the Supreme Court justices in our own day may be either Republican or Democrat.

Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, evidently feeling his way. He surely knew something about what it would cost him to show any serious interest in the person or the ministry of this Jesus of Nazareth. He knew that the disciples of Jesus had abandoned all, left all behind. Their faith in His cause did not come without costing each of them something. think it must be apparent to us that Nicodemus, a ruler in Israel, would have known what it might cost him to inquire of Jesus about the things of faith and of God's plan and of eternal life. He was feeling his way.

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

11 Chronicles  15 16 17

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                               May 27, 2011

Good Morning!
Christ teaches Nicodemus the necessity of being born again.

YE MUST BE BORN OF THE WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT:
John 3:3. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

As far as we know, of the total of seventy ruling men in the Sanhedrin at the time we are speaking of, only one crossed over and came to Jesus asking questions about eternal life and the kingdom of God. Why was Nicodemus that one? He was separated from Jesus Christ by the same wide gulf of religious tradition and practice that separated Jesus from the other sixty-nine rulers in Israel. Nicodemus was in a high ruling position and Jesus was a common carpenter turned teacher.

By their very nature, men of the Sanhedrin majored in religious bigotry while Jesus surely was anything but a straight-laced bigot. The religious philosophy of Jesus was as broad as all of Palestine and to that you could add the Mediterranean also.

Beside the pride of high position, Nicodemus would have inherited the sharp prejudice that every educated Jewish member of the ruling Sanhedrin would feel for lowly carpenters and unschooled fishermen. Why would Nicodemus knowingly seek to cross that gulf? What mysterious power could lay hold of the mind and conscience of the man Nicodemus and none of the other sixty-nine? Could it be that as a man, he was simply more sensitive to the voice of God and the inner strivings of God in his being?

Although he was a strict Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin, cursed we might say with the pride of high position and religious prejudice and bigotry, he still revealed a receptivity to spiritual impulses. I want to keep that kind of spiritual receptivity alive within my own soul. I would rather lose a leg and hobble along throughout the rest of my life than to lose my sensitivity to God and to His voice and to spiritual things. I want to keep that within me, within my soul!

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

11 Chronicles  18 19 20

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                     May 28 & 29, 2011

Good Morning!
John upon hearing of the successful ministry of Jesus and the great multitudes which came to hear Him, and to be baptized of Him, condescended to the news by rejoicing in the fact because he remarked that he was only the friend of the Groom.

THE FRIEND OF THE BRIDEGROOM:
John 3:22. “After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. 23. And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.” John 3:26. “And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. 29. “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. 30. He must increase, but I must decrease.

“All men come to him.” John’s loyal disciples were concerned when they heard that most of the multitudes which had formerly come to John now flocked around Jesus, so they came to John to tell him about it. This was the source of their difficulty. It was that Jesus was gaining popularity; that the people flocked to him; that they feared that John would be forsaken, and his followers be diminished in numbers and influence. He had even taken over the one distinct thing left to their master, the rite of baptism.

How did he take this news? In the silence that was now gathering around him, he heard but one Voice, that of the Bridegroom. For it he had waited and worked. And now he was content: his “joy was now fulfilled.” “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  These were his last words publicly spoken and recorded. John’s life and work had been one of suffering and self-denial and it was about to end in loneliness and sorrow. This evinced John's humility and willingness to be esteemed as nothing if he could honor Christ. It shows us, also, that it is sufficient honor for man if he may be permitted to point sinners to the Lord Jesus Christ. No work is so honorable and joyful as the Ministry of the Gospel; none are so highly honored as those who are permitted to stand near the Son of God, to hear his voice, and to lead perishing men to his cross. In his answer John showed total condescension towards Jesus.

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11 Chronicles 21 22 23 24  -------  11 Chronicles 25 26 27 28

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                    May 30, 2011

Good Morning!
Millions of sermons have been preached about Jesus and the woman of Samaria

JESUS’ CONVERSATION WITH A WOMAN AT JACOB’S WELL:
John 4:3. “He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. 4. And he must needs go through Samaria. 5. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

“He must needs go through Samaria.” It was the closest way back to Galilee. And another thing the prejudices the Jews held towards the Samaritans would not influence the conduct of Jesus. “Jesus being wearied.” It was most likely noontime, and they had been walking all day, this showed His humanity, being tired. While Jesus sat on the well the disciples went into town to buy food. John, the narrator of this story, must have remained with Jesus because the details are so explicit.

“There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.” This would be a natural thing on the part of a thirsty person. She had recognized Jesus as being a Jew either by His dress, (a seam-less robe) or by his Galilean speech (Mark 14:70). “How is it that thou, being a Jew asketh drink of me?” “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well?” John 4:10-12.

“From whence then hast thou that living water?” Jacob’s well is deep, about 100 feet deep, hewn out of stone. But the woman of Samaria had missed the point Jesus was making to her. He was offering her living water which would be in her springing up into everlasting life. Jesus was offering her a drink from a well which would be in her soul, not merely quenching natural thirst on this side of time but water spring up to life eternal. Her reaction, “Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.”

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

11 Chronicles  29 30 31 32

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                               May 31, 2011

Good Morning!
In this interview with a woman of low reputation Jesus gently leads her into a higher plateau of spiritual understanding. This is a guide for all soul-winners.

WE MUST WORSHIP GOD IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH:
John 4:24. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.”

To this woman Jesus’ answer must be much simpler and plainer than to Nicodemus, who was a teacher in Israel. His answers lead her to faith in Him. And she was the first He gave the revelation of who He was. “Go call thy husband.” We may admire the manner which our Saviour took to lead her to perceive that he was the Christ. His instructions she did not understand. He therefore proceeded to show her that He was acquainted with her life and with her sins. His object, here, was to lead her to consider her own state and sinfulness-a delicate and yet pungent way of making her see that she was a sinner. By showing her, also, that He knew her life, though a stranger to her, He convinced her that He was qualified to teach her the way to heaven, and thus prepared her to admit that He was the Messiah, John 4:29.

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Higher teaching than this could not be uttered. It was the climax of the lesson of that day. And still is today.

The results of the conversation with Jesus. The woman left her unfilled water-pot and hurried into the city with great enthusiasm she exclaimed to the men, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto Him.”

In response to the disciple’s puzzlement of His answer to His lack of appetite, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

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

11 Chronicles  33 34

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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