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July 2011

GODSGRAZINGFIELD DAILY DEVOTIONS  July 2011

Spring In Nazarus

                           Springtime In Nazareth

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                  July 1, 2011

Good Morning!
Thomas, come life, come death, was resolved never to forsake his Lord, bound as he was to Him by a bond of deep and enthusiastic love.

THE LOYALTY OF THOMAS:
John 11:15. (Jesus to his disciples,) “nevertheless let us go unto him (Lazarus).” 16. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

I am so thankful for John’s Gospel, among many other things, I am thankful for his picture of Thomas. Nothing is told of Thomas in the other Gospels except that he was one of the twelve. John preserves for us three incidents in which Thomas speaks, with the results we have as vivid a mental picture of him as any of the Twelve. In a since we may say that the real picture of Thomas is portrayed in this verse. From this verse we learn that Thomas was a man of un-shrinking devotion and loyalty. It is this loyalty of his that shines forth in this incident. The other disciples were hesitating. The dangers of Judea were frightening them. But Thomas never wavered in his mind. He had no shadow of doubt as to what he should do.  If Jesus went back to Judea he was going with Him.

For devotion and loyalty and heroic love I know of no one to excel Thomas. Elisha in answer to Elijah’s appeal to him to leave him, “as the Lord liveth and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.” “Entreat me not to leave thee,” said Ruth the Moabitess to Noami her mother-in-law; “whither thou goest I will go; where thou lodgest I will lodge; where thou diest I will die, there will I be buried; the Lord do so to me and more also if aught but death part thee and me.” Those are moving and pathetic instances of loyalty, but not more moving and pathetic than the loyalty which Thomas was ready to dare anything for his Master.

Thomas had that one thing needful, for he had a supreme love for Jesus. “Let us also go,” said this man of devoted heart, “that we may die with Him.” Thomas loved Jesus better than anyone or anything else in the world. When Thomas gave himself to the service of Christ, he gave himself absolutely, altogether, and forever. When he enlisted amongst Jesus’ followers, it was with the mental resolve he was His “UNTIL DEATH.”

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

Psalm   79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86   

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                             July 2 & 3, 2011 

Good Morning!
Jesus used the occasion of Lazarus’ death to teach us a lesson about three of the most misunderstood words in the human language, death, life, and resurrection.

DEATH, LIFE, RESURRECTION:
John 11:23. “Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

All three of these mysterious words are in the answer Jesus gave to Martha concerning her brother Lazarus. They are the three things upon which men yearn to understand. To know the truth about these things will set you truly free. Jesus said to Martha, “Thy brother shall rise again.” Martha responded, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” But to Martha the resurrection was so far away, between today and the last day there are so many tomorrows, it seemed so long. What comfort was in the thought for those who wanted their loved ones now? Then came the greatest words in the human language, words which have come down through the ages to bring healing to broken hearts.

“I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” Martha regarded the resurrection in the last day, not as a spiritual fact, or as one having spiritual bearing, but as a mere matter of destiny, like birth and death, a distant mysterious event. Jesus draws it near, takes it out of time, brings life into it, and put it in the realm of faith, and connects it to Himself.

“I Am the resurrection.” In turning Martha’s attention to Himself, Jesus substituted a present thing of trust, for a future object of hope. Martha can only think of that remote time when she and her brother will be reunited. Jesus says, “I Am the resurrection,” here and now. In Me the dead live. What our Lord wished Martha to understand was that at that very moment, though the body was in the tomb, Lazarus was alive because he was in touch with Himself. “He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” Our deceased loved ones are alive in Jesus.

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

Psalm   87 88 89 90 91 92 93    

Psalm   94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103       

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                      July 4, 2011

Good Morning!
The cross was always in the background of Jesus’ life, but the raising of Lazarus from the dead brought increasing hostility towards Him by the council in Jerusalem, along with the determination to put Him to death.

THE SHADOW OF THE CROSS:
John 11:47. “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 48. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. 49. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50. Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 53. Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.

The chief priests and the rulers hastily came together in the house of Caiaphas to consider what was to be done. They were at a loss of what to do. It was Caiaphas who dropped the first suggestion of dealing with Jesus. To Caiaphas belongs the distinction of having first suggested the death of Jesus. And more than that it was Caiaphas who brought up the suggestion in a form of words that enabled men to act upon it, with the feeling that they were not indulging their own passions, but with the feeling that they were carrying out a great moral principal, the saving of the nation. These men were the principal religious men of that day.

It is a sin which we can easily fall into in our day, the sin of quoting some admirable phrase, something that is true in science or in law, or a political precept, or even a spiritual principal, in justification of some particular action or line of action, which for us is wrong, and nothing but wrong. Caiaphas was only able to find his justification in a proverb, but we generally can find something in the Bible, even if we have to take it out of its proper context. The lesson to be drawn from the fact that they were religious men who put Jesus to death is lessons which we must apply to ourselves in our secret devotions.

The question for us to ask ourselves is not, “Are we a religious person?” We all have a religion—the results of our family ties, early training, environment, teaching, circumstances, moral events in our life and our attitude towards those events. The question for us to ask ourselves is, “How do we stand towards Christ Jesus?” We all are judges of Him by our attitudes and actions towards Him. If we judge Him to be worthy of our love and devotion He will be the joy of our life.

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

Psalm   104 105 106    

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                  July 5, 2011  

Good Morning!
This journey to Bethany was only two miles and 5 days from Golgotha.

“THE ODOR OF THE OINTMENT”:
John 12:1. “Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. 2. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. 3. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

Any gathering of Jesus’ friends in Bethany would have been incomplete without Lazarus and his sisters. Each is present, and each contributes their part to the feast. Martha serves as usual, Lazarus is silent as always, yet witness by his presence as a living guest to the glory of Jesus, while Mary makes the day memorable by her act of devotion. Judas had reached the point of criticism, the disciples seem to agree with him. But Jesus silences the critics by his acceptance of Mary’s offering.

Those were the days of darkness. The cause of Jesus seemed to be failing. He was going up to Jerusalem to keep the feast in the midst of His enemies. Our Lord had sought to prepare His disciples for the coming trial, but they were too expectant of His coming kingdom to listen. Mary seemed to hear in her own way, but could not understand all that He meant. But she did know that He was surrounded with enemies. And if He is in danger, then now is the time to declare her adoration and her faith. So that quiet evening, while He is resting in Bethany before going up to Jerusalem, she bring her one precious possession and pours it on the feet of her Lord.

“And the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.” This act of Mary was the finest of all virtues, loyalty in the hour of danger, to Jesus and her brother Lazarus, devotion and utter assurance of faith in the face of seeming defeat. Mary’s act was meant for Jesus only. The love and gratitude of which it spoke were for her Master and friend alone. But she could not prevent the odor of it spreading all over the room, and refreshing the disciples also with its fragrance. She ministered to more than Jesus. The same is true of our own offering to Him; it becomes a blessing to all who hear of it.

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

Psalm  107 108 109 110 111 112 113    

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 July 6, 2011   

Good Morning!
“Yet for your sake he became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.”

POVERTY:
John 12:5. “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 7. Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. 8. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.
2 Corinthians 8:9. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

Our Lord understood the word ‘poor’ better than many of us do. For Him it meant not just being broke, but a lifelong experience. To be born in a manger, and brought up in home work-shop, to earn His bread by the sweat of His brow at a laborers bench, to choose workmen for His friends, to wander without home or shelter, to borrow His very grave at last—this was the life He chose, He who, though He was rich (inconceivably rich), for our sake became poor.

And even in His acceptance of the precious ointment Jesus identifies Himself with man’s low position in life. It might have been sold and given to the poor. ‘The poor,’ He seems to say, ‘I am the poor.’ He claims in His own person to be the image and representative of all human need and hardship, just as He felt and took upon Himself the anguish and sorrow of the whole world as He bore its sin to Calvary.

‘The poor ye have always with you.’ Yet even as He spoke He must have realized  those multitudes for whom existence is one ‘long doing-without.’ He must have seen the vast armies of poverty passing in sad procession from the cradle to the grave. He who knew what was in man regarded wealth, not poverty, as one main hindrance and drawback to soul. He looked upon the state of the humble as actually a privilege in disguise. Remember the story of the rich-man and Lazarus. Also Jesus made the remark, “How hard it is for a rich-man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

“Would you on Me heap out your love?

On want and sin your love bestow.

Have not I said it?”

What you do to these poor, ye do to Me.”

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

Psalm    114 115 116 117 118  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                    July 7, 2011  

Good Morning!
It is only the Christian who truly sees Jesus; to others He is but a literary figure to be read about, or an historical person, or a mysterious influence; they have no real vision of what He is.

“SIR, WE WOULD (LIKE TO) SEE JESUS:”
John 12:20. “And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: 21. The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.

The Passover was at hand and the final act in the drama of the life of our Lord was coming on stage to be played out. Thousand were flocking to Jerusalem from many lands and of that number there were a few proselytes (converts to the Jewish faith) who also came to the feast. We may assume that they were men of earnest mind, who having found no spiritual satisfaction in the paganism of their own nation had been led to believe in the God of Abraham. These Greeks had a noble spirit they were already seekers after God, true to the light they had received, and therefore ready for fresh light.

As they journeyed they no doubt heard the news of the Teacher from Nazareth, who for three years had become the center of attention with His teaching and mysterious powers of healing, His claim to forgive sins, His assertions that He was the way, the truth, and the life, His audacity in having dared to supersede the very laws of Moses. As they discussed among themselves, what He had said, what He had done, how He had shed a new and fuller light on the law and the prophets, they were inquisitive.

The amazing scenes they witnessed when they reached Jerusalem, Jesus himself entering the city gates amid the hosannas of the people drove them to further action. They must meet Him. Phillip in turn brings them to Jesus. What became of these Greek inquirers? We are not told. What effect the interview had upon them, the Gospel never tells us, but no one who ever comes in contact with Him goes away unaffected. It should be the inquiry of every person, “Sir we would like to see Jesus.” For in seeing Him, being in direct touch with Him, in realizing what He means and all He is to us, thus, and thus only, can we see the Father and be satisfied.

“Everyone who seeketh the Son and believeth on Him should have eternal life.”

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

Psalm  119    

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                      July 8, 2011   

Good Morning!
Death, says Jesus Christ, is nothing but the gate through which one passes into immortal life.

LIFE THROUGH DEATH:
John 12:24. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

Death appears to be the seal of failure, it appears to be an end, it appears to be a curse. Death, says science, is but the law of Nature. Death says Jesus Christ, is nothing but the gate of life. We ask the question, “What was the secret, the hidden source of Paul’s joyous attitude towards the thought of death? What made him so sure that ‘to die is gain’? It was his belief in the resurrection, of course. This belief rested, not only on what he saw on the Damascus road, not only on the reports of the twelve and the survivors of the ‘five-hundred brethren’ who had seen the risen Lord but on the overpowering conviction that death hath no sting to those who know the hidden laws of life. Jesus brings the hidden secret of the passing from death to life to light. From the external world He gives an example. ‘Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.’ The seed ‘dies;’ it does not perish entirely, but it dies as a seed, and takes new life as a plant.

The apostle Paul uses this analogy in his view of death. “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” 1 Corinthians 15:35-44

So we say with Paul, “O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

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

Psalm   120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                     July 9 & 10, 2011

Good Morning!
With unwavering, steadfast, undeviating, unfaltering, unhesitating, unswerving determination and a valiant heart Jesus meets the hour of His coming trial.

THE RESOLUTE HOUR:
John 12:27. “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.”

Beneath the Falls of Niagara there is a cave called the Cave of the Winds. Visitors are permitted to go with a guide down into it. When you are there you are conscious at first of nothing except the deafening roar of waters, the very bedrock under your feet seems to tremble, while your eyes are filled with blinding spray. But there is one thing of which you are gladly conscious, the grip of the guide’s hand, a hand with a pull in it, by which you are led through to safety and sunlight.

‘Now is my soul troubled.’ With these words we are able to look into the heart of Jesus as He looks into the darkness of the next day. That coming night was Gethsemane, the next day Golgotha. We see His humanity troubled. Is there anything more helpful to us than the scripture before us in which it is vividly brought home to us that our Lord’s triumph was not an instinct, but a virtue; that faith was not automatic to Him, but that every time He had to think out what God’s will for Him was? Sometimes He had to feel for His Father’s Hand to help and to guide Him in the darkness in which He Himself could not see at all.

“And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.” It was a moment when all Christianity hangs in the balance, a moment to decide whether to call on the Father to save Him from all the torment ahead. It was our very fight He had to fight, and our very weapons were His only weapons. No, I do not believe He used supernatural powers to conquer, He did all He did just through a valiant heart, and a great faith that followed the Father’s will. To Jesus the consciousness of God the Father was the most real thing in His life. Even when things looked blackest and when everything around Him screamed against Him, His anchor held. ‘Now is my soul troubled, what shall I say?’ And the first words that came out was, “Father.”

Somewhere at the heart of all our experiences, there is a living, loving person, one who knows us and claims us for His children, and who out of it all has the guidance and strength to give us, and the grip of a hand by which He can pull us through safely.

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

Psalm  136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144   

Psalm   145 146 147 148 149 150

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                              July 11, 2011 

Good Morning!
It is above all else that, as the Man of Sorrows, as the Crucified One, that Jesus has been enthroned in believing hearts, and has become the object of human love, gratitude and trust.

THE DRAWING POWER OF THE CROSS:
John 12:32. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
33. This he said, signifying what death he should die.”

A more unlikely prophecy than this was never heard by human ears. When the words were spoken it might well seem that the ministry of Jesus had ended in failure. He had proclaimed His divine message, and it had fallen on deaf ears; He had performed mighty works, and they credited it to Him by the help of Beelzebub. What greater thing would He do to change unbelief into faith in Him, to change indifference into devotion and hatred into love? Here is Jesus’ reply to those questions; the change would not be through works but by suffering.

It is a matter of history that this prophecy has been accomplished both as to result and by the way He proclaimed it. Jesus has drawn to Himself, if not all men, at least representatives of all races and classes of the human family. It is true that there are many factors which enter into the compelling power of Jesus Christ. We are drawn by His teachings about God, and man, salvation and duty; that teaching which has cast its light into ever nook and corner of the globe, and continues to light the darkness everywhere it goes. What the world owes to the Sermon on the Mount can never be measured, the many parables, and the prayers He taught us how to pray.

Yet, the Cross, without the Cross we would still be in our sins. Let us ask how we can make our own, the benefits of Cross. With what motive do we stand before the Cross, and what response does it bring out in us? The benefits of the Cross are that it takes away the sins of the world. The motive we come to the cross is to bring our own sins. The response we make is we throw ourselves down at the foot of the Cross, acknowledging our sins and pleading the blood of Jesus, which was shed at the Cross, over our sins.

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

Proverbs  1 2 3 4    

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                    July 12, 2011 

Good Morning!
“The Lord ate from a cheap bowl, and He washed His disciples feel with a towel girded about Him, the lowly minded God and Lord of the Universe. He did not bring a silver foot-bath from heaven to carry about with Him” (C. of Alexandria).

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

In any study of the Jesus’ teaching, the story of the last night of His earthly ministry must fill a very large place. John alone tells it fully; more than one fourth of His Gospel is dedicated to these Holy Hours. The opening sentence in the story of that last night strikes the highest note; “Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father.” His earthly ministry was closing; the Cross stood in clear vision before Him. Then John goes on, “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.”

That girded towel was the sign of a slave; and Jesus in the supreme moment of His earthly ministry, turns aside for a moment, to a menial task; with the very hands into which His Father had put all things He washes the feet of His disciples. That is greatest condescension imaginable. Why did Jesus do this? He was teaching a lesson not just to the disciples, but to all of His followers, which was the ultimate law of service. This is what He means human relations to rise to; the self-sacrificing humilities of love we must exercise towards each other.

Jesus makes this sacred by doing with His own hands what He expects us to do. ‘Know ye what I have done to you?’—it was not a precept, or an injunction, but—‘an example.’ Do to each other what I have done to you. The character of God was manifested in the life of Jesus and in no other conceivable form of manifestation could it have been so fully revealed.

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

Proverbs  5 6 7 8    

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                   July 13, 2011  

Good Morning!
“Just for a handful of silver he left us.” (Robert Browning)

THE LONELINESS OF SIN:
John 13:21. “When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. 26. Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. 30. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.”

‘And it was night.’ With this stroke of his pen John paints the picture of the utter loneliness of Judas. Within, there was light and gladness, and the richest fellowship this world had ever known. For Jesus was there, and John was leaning on His bosom, and the talk was on high and holy themes that evening. Outside was fierce hostility. Outside was dark. No man drove Judas out. It was the momentum of his own heart and life that impelled him to chose the darkness rather that the light.

One continual effect of sin, in every shape and form, in every age and country, is that it intensifies the loneliness of life. Sin isolates, estranges, separates; all sin is anti-social; that is its work. It is the work of sin to make us lonelier and more lonely till the end, Sin separates us from all that is best, and worthiest, and purest, it is the delight of sin to separate us.

John tells us plainly, Judas Iscariot was a thief, and had the bag and bare what was put therein (Pilfering and embezzlement) (John 12:6). Surely conscience, an accuser never silent, must have warned him of his greed. Greed made Judas Iscariot a thief, and in the end a traitor, guilty of the foulest deed in history. Judas sold the light of the world. He ended his life on a hangman's rope to go to a place of eternal darkness. Judas has his ideal once, but the devil entered into him, and the ideal died out; and from that hour Judas drew apart. Jesus had knelt also before Judas Iscariot and washed and dried his feet. No doubt praying and hoping that this act of humility on his part would somehow break through to Judas Iscariot and reach him. That Judas might accept the cleansing, forgiveness of God, which he so needed.

There is no bond so strong but sin will shatter it. It separates fathers from his children; it breaks hearts; it creates distances within the home till the harmonies of life are lost, and deep fellowships are impossible. Turn today to the Lord Jesus.

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

Proverbs   9 10 11 12   

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                  July 14, 2011  

Good Morning!
“Little children, yet a little while I am with you,” a term of gentle endearment (v33).As a father would speak to his children in a moment of personal crisis, Jesus addressed them as “dear children.” That simple phrase spoke volumes of the love and compassion that Jesus felt at this moment. They were His little children who needed to learn so much more, and time was exceedingly short.

LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU:
John 13:34. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

In the last few hours before His death Jesus left them a ‘new’ commandment, that they love one another. Now this is not the first time Jesus emphasized love in His teachings. But this love Jesus was speaking about here went much further than the old commandments of loving one’s neighbor as himself. As the context of Jesus’ statement shows, it is the small group of disciples to which Jesus is now confining His statement, and it is about their mutual relation with one another that He is now concerned. Their love as brethren is to be an intensification of love as the world had never known before.

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples.” This ‘love’ Jesus was saying would be a badge of discipleship, a sign, a symbol, of their devotion to Him. Their love for each other should be like a uniform worn by a service member that distinguishes the branch of service they belong to. Christians they were not to be known by distinctions of wealth, or learning, or fame; they were not to aspire to earthly honors; they were not to adopt any peculiar style of dress or badge, but they were to be distinguished by tender and constant attachment to each other.

This was to transcend all distinction of country, of color, of rank, of office, of sect. Here they were to feel that they were on a level, that they had common wants, were redeemed by the same sacred blood, and were going to the same heaven. They were to befriend each other in trials; be careful of each other's feelings and reputation; deny themselves to promote each other's welfare. To love each other as Jesus loved them was a very high expectation and one that could only be done by His help.

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Proverbs  13 14 15 16    

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                   July 15, 2011

Good Morning!
The Stoic answer to trouble, “Stifle your pain with amusements, forget it with excitement.” Jesus’ view, “Put you trust in Me.”

THE CURE FOR A TROUBLED HEART:
John 14:1. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”

The conversation in this chapter (14) was delivered, doubtless, while they were sitting at the table partaking of the Supper (John 16:33); that in the two following chapters (15 &16), and the prayer in the 17th chapter, were while they were on their way to the Mount of Olives. “Let not your heart be troubled.” The disciples were greatly distressed at what Jesus had said about leaving them. Perhaps they had indicated their distress to him in some manner by their countenance or their expressions, and he proceeds now to administer to them such consolations as their circumstances made proper. This verse is quoted many times when someone is faced with difficulties that appear too big to overcome. It is the verse we turn to for consolation at the loss of a loved one.

The disciple’s world was about to be shattered. Everything they believed about Jesus was to be severely tested. They were about to part with their beloved, tender friend. They were to be left alone to meet persecutions and trials. They were without wealth, without friends, without honors. Yet, Jesus encouraged them to be at peace despite the events through which they had to pass. The evidence of their physical circumstances was far outweighed by the reality of their spiritual circumstances.

These men were the children of Abraham, inheritors of the covenant of the Law. They were raised in a culture permeated with the precepts of the Lord, their God.

But, far more significant, Jesus encouraged them to believe in Him as well. Jesus had taught them about the oneness of the Father and the Son. His disciples could find assurance and consolation by their belief in God and their belief in Him. They were one and the same. Belief in God constituted a belief in Jesus. Also, belief in Jesus constituted a belief in the Lord God of Israel. These concepts were inseparable, since the Father and the Son are one in the essence of their eternal being.

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Proverbs   17 18 19 20  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                            July 16 & 17, 2011

Good Morning!
“For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” “And I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

THE FATHER’S HOUSE:
John 14:2. “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

The main subject of the Bible is life after death. Here Jesus gives us the best description of what we can expect after we die. Abraham had some kind of conception of heaven when, as the writer of Hebrews says, “He looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker was God.” All of Abraham’s life he lived in tents, which were movable, unstable, structures. He had visions of one day when he and Sarah would live in a real city with a solid foundation, an unmovable structure, permanent, and built by God Himself. David also had visions of the house of the Lord where he would someday dwell eternally.

Jesus assures the disciple that these visions and longings were true. They knew that God was their refuge, their dwelling place (Psalm 90). They knew that God had a house that they assumed was the temple. But they had never heard that their God had a house in which there were many rooms (2 Corinthians 5:1). Jesus was introducing a concept about the eternal God that would make them realize in these final moments just how much He loved them. Jesus had told them that He was going to leave, but would undertake the task of preparing these rooms in His Father’s house. More personally, Jesus was getting these rooms ready for them. Jesus gave very intentional affirmation about the reliability of what He was telling them. He had never lied to them.

Heaven is a society, a city, a kingdom, a communion. “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an in-numerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.”
(Hebrew 12:22-24)

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Proverbs  21 22 23 24    

Proverbs  25 26 27 28       

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                    July 18, 2011

Good Morning!
As sure as life, death, and taxes, Jesus is coming again, and His coming is for His Saints, and for the purpose of taking them home with Him.

RETURN, RECEPTION, REUNION:
John 14:3. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

Jesus conveyed the most wonderful news of all: they would be together again. When everything was ready, He would come back and get them. He would take them to His Father’s house where they would again dwell together. So the separation was not permanent, but did the disciples assume Jesus was referring to the last days? Probably not! Only after these men had witnessed Jesus’ death and experienced the amazing event of His resurrection did all this really make sense. “I go to prepare a place for you.” By his going is meant his death and ascent to heaven. The figure here is taken from one who is on a journey, who goes before his companions to provide a place to lodge in, to make reservations, and the necessary preparations for their entertainment. It evidently means that He, by the work He was yet to perform in heaven, would secure their admission there, and obtain for them the blessings of eternal life.

The Apostle Paul gives the reassurance we all take comfort in, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-8)

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Proverbs  29 30 31    

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 July 19, 2011

Good Morning!
The way which they were to tread was to obey his precepts, imitate his example, and follow Him. An old preacher, “The way to heaven is, turn right and go straight.”

THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE:
John 14:4. “And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

They should certainly know where He was going. He had told them that He came from the Father and would return there. If that was the destination, they should know how to get there. But that was far more difficult. If the disciples could ever perceive that Jesus was returning to the throne of God, it would be more difficult for them to understand how they were to follow after Him. After all, they were born of the earth, and they would return to its dust. They were not eternal. There was no road that they knew which would take them to meet Jesus.

Thomas spoke for all of them, and I might say for all of us. They had no idea what Jesus was talking about, whether Capernaum, or Jerusalem, or Nazareth, or heaven. If they did not know Jesus’ destination, how could they possibly know how to get there? Jesus gave them a very strange answer. He informed them that He Himself was the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus Himself was the only way to get to His Father’s house, where He was going to prepare a room for them.

He not only showed the way, He was the way! By this is meant that they and all others were to have access to God only by obeying the instructions, imitating the example, and depending on the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was the leader in the road, the guide to the wandering, the teacher of the ignorant, and the example to all.

“No man cometh to the Father but by me.” No man can obtain any of these things except by the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. By coming by him is meant coming in his name and depending on his merits. We are ignorant, and he alone can guide us. We are sinful, and it is only by his merits that we can be pardoned. We are blind, and he only can enlighten us. God has appointed him as the Mediator, and has ordained that all blessings shall descend to this world through him.

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

Ecclesiastes 1 2 3 4    

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                   July 20, 2011

Good Morning!
The disciples had seen Jesus Christ, the image of God, and the brightness of his glory (Hebrews 1:3), which was the same as having seen the Father.

SEEING THE FATHER:
John 14:7. “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”

Jesus told His disciples that they do know the Father. More remarkable, they have also seen Him. Thus, Jesus provided the answer to the conditions of the previous statement, which always have been and always will be eternally valid. For these men, the conditional phase of their experience with Jesus had already passed. They had already entered into a personal, verifiable experience with the eternal God because they had followed Him and believed His Word.

“Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” Nevertheless, the disciples did not yet understand that they had personally known the Father, much less seen Him. Despite the clear testimony Jesus had plainly spoken to them, Philip felt compelled to ask Jesus to show them the Father. If He would just show them the Father, then they would be satisfied. The Greek word αρκεω (arkeo) implies that the disciples would need nothing more. The proof would then be validated and the question would be laid to rest. “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me?”

For more than three years Jesus had been with them. He had raised the dead, cast out devils, healed the sick, done those things which no one could have done who had not come from God. In that time they had had full opportunity to learn his character and his mission from God. Nor was it needful, after so many proofs of his divine mission, that God should visibly manifest himself to them in order that they might be convinced that he came from him. The idea is that God, as God, or as a Father, had been manifested in the incarnation, the works, and the teachings of Christ, so that they who had seen and heard him might be said to have had a real view of God.

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

Ecclesiastes  5 6 7 8  

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                   July 21, 2011

Good Morning!
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, the source of Christian enlightment.

THE COMFORTER:
John 14:16. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

At the announcement made to the disciples by their Lord that He was going away their world seemed to cave in. Everything seemed to turn black. For in a sense they had nothing in the world but Jesus. For Him they had sacrificed fathers and mothers and home and friends and business, and every earthly prospect. In response to His call they had embarked upon a new life. It was not an easy life; it was a hard life, a toilsome life, a sacrificial life. Already they had been called upon to suffer trial and persecution for His sake. But with Jesus at their side they had never faltered. With his presence to cheer and strengthen them, they had bravely held on their way. But now He was going away, what now? They were too old to start a new life from the ashes.

Jesus then explained why He was going away. He had been as God to them. Through Him God had touched their lives and entered into their souls. But His going away did not mean that God would forsake them. If He went they would not be left alone, God would sent them another Comforter, another Helper, who would be to them all and more that Jesus Himself had been; who would bring them just the same sense of God’s nearness; who would inspire and help them just as effectually as Jesus Himself had done.

That other Comforter, this other Advocate, was the Holy Spirit who would abide with them forever. This Holy Spirit would, not only dwell with them, but would dwell within them. Then Jesus makes it even plainer, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” What Jesus was really telling them was that He was physically going to leave them, but that when the Spirit was given to them, He would return to them and be present in them.

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

Ecclesiastes  9 10 11 12     

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                   July 22, 2011

Good Morning!
“His name shall be called ... the Prince of Peace.”

“PEACE THAT PASSETH ALL UNDERSTANDING:”
John 14:27. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

In speaking these words, Jesus gave them His personal assurance of peace. In the Hebrew culture of that day, and even today in the nation of Israel, the customary farewell was ‘shalom,’ which means ‘peace.’ Jesus now bids them farewell by bestowing His peace upon them. However, this peace was dramatically different from a casual good-bye. Jesus gave them His peace. This was not the peace of the world, perceived as the absence of struggle, conflict, and war. This peace, bestowed upon them from the throne of God, was His gift to them—the indwelling Spirit Who would assure them of His presence no matter what life would bring.

Because of the extraordinary character of the Lord’s peace, Jesus encouraged them to be at rest. They were not to worry about their immediate future. A far more glorious day would come when the Spirit of the living God would take up His dwelling within them. Then, they would experience the eternal qualities of this peace. Although they would be arrested, imprisoned, beaten, and put to death, the eternal peace of their Lord would always reign in their hearts. Paul described this peace to the Church at Philippi. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:7)

“Not as the world gives.” Not as the that which men commonly pursue—pleasure, fame, wealth. These leave care, anxiety, remorse. They do not meet the desires of the immortal mind, and they are incapable of affording that peace which the soul needs.

Not as the men of the world give. They salute you with empty and flattering words, but their professed friendship is often feigned and has no sincerity. You cannot be sure that they are sincere, but I am.  “Neither let it be afraid.” Of any pain, persecutions, or trials. You have a Friend who will never leave you; a peace that shall always attend you. How desirable, in a world of anxiety and care, to possess this peace! And how should all who have it not, seek that which the world can neither give nor take away!

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

Solomon  1 2 3 4   

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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

God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                      July 23 & 24, 2011

Good Morning!
Time was running short. There was so much the disciples needed to learn, but this would have to wait until the Spirit gave them understanding. By that time, they would have passed through this valley of death. They would have experienced the resurrection of their Lord. Everything would then make sense.

THERE IS NO EVIL IN ME THAT SATAN CAN CLAIM:
John 14:30. “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.”

Satan had come before with temptations and name calling and blaspheming. But the forces of evil were now conspiring to destroy this “blasphemer.” Judas was meeting with the Jewish authorities. He did so as the agent of the Lord’s ancient enemy, Satan. The battle had now grown intense as the Lord God proceeded resolutely to complete His plan for redemption. Jesus wanted these disciples to understand that nothing could deter Him. The earthly forces of the Sanhedrin, guided by the hand of Judas Iscariot, could not stop the Lord God from achieving His purpose. The spiritual forces of Satan and all of the powers of darkness were powerless when faced with the determination of the Father to bring His Son to the cross as the only acceptable sacrifice for the sins of the world.

Jesus was aware of what lay ahead in the darkness at Gethsemane. No small part of the pain endured in the garden of Gethsemane was from some dreadful conflict with the great enemy of man. “This is your hour and the power of darkness.” Luke 22:53

“Hath nothing in me.” There is in me no principle or feeling that accords with his, and nothing, therefore, by which he can prevail. Temptation has only power because there are some principles in us which accord with the designs of the tempter, and which may be excited by presenting corresponding objects till our virtue be overcome. Where there is no such propensity, temptation has no power.

As the principles of Jesus were wholly on the side of virtue, the meaning here may be that, though he had the natural appetites of man, his virtue was so supreme that Satan “had nothing in him” which could constitute any danger that he would be led into sin, and that there was no fear of the result of the conflict before him.

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

Solomon  5 6 7 8        

Isaiah     1 2 3 4     

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                    July 25, 2011

Good Morning!
This vine is cultivated by the Father Who carefully tends its growth and health.

ALL CHRISTIAN DERIVE THEIR POTENTIAL FROM JESUS:
John 15:1. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 4. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Jesus expressed this parable in terms the disciples clearly understood. This was the seventh and final discourse in which Jesus used the phrase ‘I am’ with a word picture to help them understand His true identity. In this case, the audience was not a large crowd or members of the Sanhedrin. There were only Jesus’ closest earthly companions. Jesus described Himself as the true vine, from which all branches receive their nourishment. And my Father is the husbandman. The word vine-dresser more properly expresses the sense of the original word than husbandman. It means one who has the care of a vineyard; whose office it is to nurture, trim, and defend the vine, and who of course feels a deep interest in its growth and welfare.

God removes every one of my branches that doesn’t produce fruit. He also prunes every branch that does produce fruit to make it produce more fruit. As a part of the Father’s care for the branches growing in the vine, there is a need to get rid of the dead parts of the plant. In addition, those branches that are healthy require trimming. Sometimes they need to be cut back in order to bear more fruit. The quality of any particular branch is revealed by its fruit. If there was no fruit, the branch would be cut off. If there was some fruit, that branch would be pruned so that it would bear more fruit. 

The writer of Hebrews understood this principal, “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons;” (Hebrews 12:5)

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

Isaiah   5 6 7 8      

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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

God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                  July 26, 2011

Good Morning!
Seemingly the hardest thing a new follower of Jesus has to face is giving up their former life, which many times involves friends, family, occupation, recreation, habits, and taking on new life of devotion and service to God. But that is not all for some times they may incur hardships in following His call to ministry, missionary work, and a host of other things which a true follower of Christ must bear.

JESUS WARNS THE DISCIPLES OF THINGS TO COME UPON THEM:
John 16:2. “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

We could wonder if Jesus had told theses men when they first were attracted to him of the consequences of leaving their former occupations and homes and families would they have considered the cost too high. Some of them were men of means, and had homes and families and business which they forsook to follow a dream some unknown rabbi who had come by where they were had offered to them. How readily “they left all” to follow him (Luke 5:28, Luke 18:28) without knowing what the way of life He offered them would involve. There were times during their three years of following Him that the road seemed hard. They heard Jesus talk about counting the cost, they also heard Him say that everyone who followed Him would have to bear a cross. What a challenge it would have been for these early disciples.

I’m sure that many times they were tempted to go back before it was too late. And
many times they had the opportunity to go back, and many disciples did go back and walked no more with Him (John 6:66), but these walking with Him now to Gethsemane, remained faithful. But Jesus knew that their hardest test lay just ahead, so He tells them of persecution and even death awaited most of them because of that decision they made. This prediction came true within a few years. The apostle Paul, before his conversion, did everything in his power to destroy this new religion. Years later, Paul himself would die for the name of Christ.

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

Isaiah   9 10 11 12         

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                   July 27, 2011

Good Morning!
The 17th chapter of John contains the Lord’s Prayer. The prayer we normally call the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 is where Jesus is teaching His disciple the manner or mode of prayer.

‘THE HOUR HAS COME:’ WHAT A MOMENT IN TIME:
John 17:1. “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:”

This prayer in John 17 could be called the greatest prayer ever prayed. It is the longest prayer in the New Testament. It is a very personal prayer, addressed to His Father. Here the Lord prays for Himself, for his disciples, for the world. We want to look at each aspect of this great prayer.

“Father the hour is come.” WHAT A MOMENT IN TIME; a time when the curse would be lifted; a time when the redemption of man would be paid; the lives of thousands of lambs and thousands of rams would be vindicated the next day. Thousands of years had rolled along waiting for this hour. I say again, ‘WHAT A MOMENT.’ This was the DEFINING MOMENT of all time. All of time and eternity were now focused on THIS ONE MOMENT when the Son of Man would offer Himself as the sacrifice for the redemption of the lost human race.

For this moment Jesus came into this world. Of this moment prophets had written, looking with anticipation when the Lamb of God would truly be sacrificed. It was the moment all of heaven was looking with anxious eagerness for. “Glorify thy Son.” Jesus asks for God’s Glory to be upon Him that in turn He may thereby glorify God. ‘So sustain me, and so manifest thy power in my death, resurrection, and ascension, as to afford indubitable evidence that I am the Son of God.’ 

“That thy Son also may glorify thee:” By the spread of His gospel and the conversion of sinners; by all that Christ will do, now that He is glorified, to spread His gospel, God will be honored. The conversion of a single sinner honors God; a revival of religion is an eminent means of promoting His honor; and the spread of the gospel among all nations shall yet do more than all other things to promote the honor of God among men.

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

Isaiah  13 14 15 16   

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                  July 28, 2011

Good Morning!
A Very large part of Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is for the men God gave him.

JESUS PRAYS THAT THE FATHER MAY PRESERVE HIS APOSTLES:
John 17:6. “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 7. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 8. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.”

The opening part of Jesus’ prayer is centered on His relationship with the Father. Now, He turned to intercede for His disciples. Jesus first confirmed that He had revealed the Father’s name to them and provided a clear path of understanding between the Creator and His creation. These men belonged to a very distinct group, chosen by God Himself.

“Thine they were, and thou gavest them me.” These men God chose to designate to be the apostles of the Saviour; and He committed them to Him to be taught, and then commissioned them to carry His gospel, though amid persecutions, to the ends of the world. God has a right to the services of all; and He has a right to appoint us to any labour, however humble, or hazardous, or wearisome, where we may promote His glory and honor His name.

Throughout the Bible we find God choosing certain individuals to do great things in His service. It was God who took the initiative to call Abraham; it was God who called Moses and David from following sheep. Jesus says God made the choice after an all nights prayer (Luke 6:12-13), it is also said of the Apostle Paul that he was “a Chosen Vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake” (Acts 9:15-16).

There is a profound mystery that the human mind cannot fathom: Christ’s redemption was not an afterthought brought about when man sinned. God’s Word plainly tells us that God planned for man’s redemption before the world was even created. This mystery we will never understand, but we bow in adoration of the one Who not only planned our creation but marvelously provided for our salvation. (Ephesians 1:4-14).

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Isaiah  17 18 19 20 21     

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                  July 29, 2011

Good Morning!
Jesus’ prayer reaches down to the present age because we have believed on Him through the words of those Apostles.

JESUS’ PRAYER ENCOMPASSES ALL BELIEVERS:
John 17:20. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

In His prayer, Jesus continued to progress from His inseparable relationship with His Father to an intense intercession for His disciples. Then, He moved outward geographically and forward in time to intercede for those people who had never seen Him but would believe in Him through the disciples’ witness. This would include not only Jewish believers, but also Gentiles who would receive Jesus as the one sent from the Father and embrace Him as their Savior as well. Thus, the disciples would boldly proclaim the truth of what they had seen and heard. The Spirit would continue to move in the souls of those whom God had chosen, even down to the present age, quickening their minds and hearts and convincing them of the truth of their words about the Word of God made flesh.

Each Christian, however humble or unknown to men, however poor, unlearned, or despised, can know that he was remembered in prayer by him whom God heareth always. We value the prayers of pious friends. How much more should we value this petition of the Son of God! To that single prayer we who are Christians owe infinitely more real benefits than the world can ever bestow; and in the midst of any trials we may remember that the Son of God prayed for us, and that the prayer was assuredly heard, and will be answered in reference to all who truly believe.

When the next trial comes your way just read and meditate on this portion of the prayer that Jesus prayed for you and take heart that it will be answered.

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Isaiah   22 23 24 25   

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                         July 30 & 31, 2011

Good Morning!
This prayer for the church will yet be fully answered; and he who loves the church and the world cannot but cast his eyes onward to that time when all believers shall be one; when contentions, bigotry, strife, and anger shall cease; and when, in perpetual union and love, Christians shall show forth the power and purity of that Holy Gospel with which the Saviour came to bless mankind.

THE IN-SEPARATE-ABLE BOND OF GODS CHURCH: 
John 17:22. “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

“That they may be one.”” The union of Christians, for which the Saviour prayed, would be complete or perfect if there were no controversies, no envying, no contentions, and no heart-burnings and jealousies. It is worthy of remark here how entirely the union of his people occupied the mind of Jesus as He drew near to death. He saw the danger of strife and contentions in the church. He knew the imperfections of even the best of men. He saw how prone they would be to passion and ambition; how ready to mistake love of sect or party for zeal for pure religion; how selfish and worldly men in the church might divide his followers, and produce unholy feeling and contention; and He saw, also, how much this would do to dishonor religion. Hence He took occasion, when He was about to die, to impress the importance of union on His disciples.

“Even as We are one.” This incomprehensible bond would bring these believers to receive the glory that Christ would give to them. As they beheld the glory of the Son, they would be imbued with the same identifiable glorious essence, united with the Son and filled with His Spirit. Such a shared Spirit would result in a body of believers inseparably one with Christ, their Savior and Lord: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

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

Isaiah  26 27 28 29    

Isaiah  30 31 32 33    

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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