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October 2011

top Godsgrazingfield Daily Devotions, October 2011

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1. 2. God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts              October 1 & 2, 2011                                                                                              

Good Morning!
The miles of a journey are shorter in the company of a friend. A task is much the lighter with a partner by one’s side. The joys of life are sweeter when shared with another. The hours are marked by merry moments in the atmosphere of friendship.

OH, TO ALWAYS HAVE A REAL FRIEND BY OUR SIDE:
Proverbs 17:17. “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Companionship is clearly cherished by the human heart as one of the richest of life’s gifts. Solitude can be endured when conditions so decree it, but the association of a friend makes a golden contribution to one’s quest for genuine happiness. God willed it so. God look upon the man He had created and said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18). God placed in the human heart a longing for companionship, a need of a friend. We see this all through the Bible where even the greatest of men needed the companionship of a true human friend.

The Lord sent out the seventy in dual arrangement, while the Holy Spirit suffered Paul to have colleagues in his tireless offensives. In the pioneer push westward with the gospel message, Barnabas faithfully plodded by his side. Silas was his partner on the second journey, while several were in his company on the third. Over marsh and meadow, up the slopes and across the plains, along winding by-paths, in weather fair and foul, this hardy, gospel preacher was privileged to enjoy the encouragement of fine, faithful companions. They had knelt in quiet, heavenly communion at many a turn in the road. It was fellowship in the gospel which set the Apostle’s heartstrings vibrating with joyous and unceasing appreciation.

His preaching was with clearer unction and more commanding force when an Epaphras was wrestling at the throne of grace in his behalf. The rigors of a long trek had their compensation in the generous hospitality of Lydia. The bleeding wounds of the lashes and the aching ankles in the tightened stocks were sweetly anaesthetized by the harmony of hymns with Silas lending his voice of praise. The rooting and grounding of novices in the faith was greatly facilitated with people like Aquila and Priscilla assisting. Such associations often gave the dark clouds a silver lining in the Apostle’s varied career, and hours in darkened prisons were brightened as he turned the leaves of memory’s album with sweet reminiscences of faithful fellow-laborers.

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

Matthew  1  2  3  4       
Matthew  5  6  7       

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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3.    God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                            October 3, 2011                                                                       

Good Morning!
The wise man said, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

LONGING FOR HIS FRIEND:
2 Corinthians 2:13. “I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.”
2 Corinthians 7:5. “For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.
6. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
7. And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.”

Frequent notices occur in the inspired record of the Apostle concerning a personality greatly esteemed. It was Titus. It would be difficult to accurately and authentically trace the biography of Titus, but it is clear that Paul introduced him to the Saviour, after which he endeared himself to the Apostle as a dependable and trustworthy servant of Christ. Just where he was born and of what his background consisted does not greatly concern us. His name is Roman and it is an established fact that he was a Gentile believer. A strong affection subsisted between the two and each had firm confidence in the other.

After departing from Galatia and enjoying an extended ministry at Ephesus, the apostle proceeded by way of Troas where he confidently expected to meet Titus who had gone on an errand to Corinth. Disappointment through failure to make the contact evoked the humble confession: “I had no rest in my spirit because I found not Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia” (2 Corinthians 2:13). There the contact was established, and Paul observed with the greatest of evident relief, “Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus” (2 Corinthians 7:6).

We can truly see in this narrative of the longing for a friend that caused Paul great concern. I’m sure we also have longed for a friend at some time or other. The wise man noted the countenance was uplifted by the coming of a friend. We need a close friend, one in whom we can confide. If you don’t have a friend try to establish a friendship with someone, it will help uplift you in times of stress.

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

Matthew  8  9  10        

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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4.     God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                October 4, 2011                                                            

Good Morning!
Jesus is the true friend of all mankind. In like manner our Pastor is the one in whom God had confidence in to set over us to lead us into the way more perfectly.

A FRIEND IN WHOM ONE CAN HAVE CONFIDENCE:
Matthew 11:19. “The Son of man came,… a friend of publicans and sinners.”
Titus 1:4. “To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour. 5. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

Paul had enough confidence in his friend Titus, even though he was a young man, to send him to the Island of Crete where he and Paul had preached the gospel and a Church was born. All that lacked Paul’s attention was the appointment of such as were spiritually equipped to take the oversight. This was the duty of Titus who was thoroughly advised in the Pauline instructions now in hand concerning the position, prerequisites and procedure of elders or bishops. The position has a solemn connotation—“the steward of God.” And the standard was to be, and is yet, high for such a holy calling. This new Church needed someone who could set the ministerial staff, the deacon board, Bishops and Elders, and teachers, up to take care of the budding Church. A big responsibility looking out qualified people to fill each office.

The work must engage his most prayerful interest and attention. He was dealing with God’s elect and haphazardness would be utterly unpardonable. However, Paul had a surprise for Titus. The letter carried an invitation from the veteran warrior of the faith to spend the winter with him at Nicopolis, and either Artemas or Tychicus would be sent in due time to relieve him of his duties at Crete. Paul carried an insatiable longing to hear about the blessing of God among the believers at Crete.

His heart and soul were literally bound up in the welfare of his converts. And for Titus—well, it would be the richest joy of his life to live with the greatest personality the church ever produced. They both would revel in the company of each other. Fellowship is pleasurable communion between two or more individuals who stand on common ground, think similar thoughts and are interested in like matters of importance. Since these prerequisites were unquestionably met, the city of Nicopolis had two most joyful visitors during the winter of 66 A.D., the last earthly coldness the beloved apostle experienced, for that year he gave his life gladly for the cause of Christ; and Titus carried sweet memories of that visit the rest of his days.

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

Matthew  11  12       

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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5.            God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts            October 5, 2011                                                                                                       

Good Morning!
God has made it possible to have friends that will not leave us in the lurch.

A TRUE FRIEND WILL STICK WITH YOU THROUGH THICK AND THIN:
Proverbs 18:24. “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

All through the Bible we find men and women who were blessed with friends who stayed with them when things got tough. Naomi had been moved from her home by a great famine (Ruth 1:1). In the years that followed her husband and two married sons died and left her and her two daughter-in-laws as widows. Naomi decided to return back to her home in Bethlehem and when she told her daughter-in-laws of her plans, one of them by the name of Ruth chose to go with her. Her answer is one of the most moving statements of friendship in the Bible. “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me” (Ruth 1:16-17)

Ruth, by sticking with Naomi in those hard times, was rewarded with the kindness of Naomi’s people, married a rich relative of Naomi’s, and became the great, great grand-mother of David the King, and sweet Psalmist of Israel, and was also included into the linage of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. Pray that God will give us true friends.

Elijah had a faithful servant who climbed the mountain seven times looking for rain, then fled with him from the wrath of Jezebel, but stopped off in Beersheba
(1 Kings 19:3). Afterwards Elijah was very lonely and despondent while he was by himself in the wilderness, even to the point he asked God to let him die
(1 Kings 19:4). A short while later God came to question him about being there in the wilderness and Elijah complained that he was the only one left who worshiped Jehovah. God had mercy on him and a short while later gave him another faithful servant (Elisha) who would be with him eight or nine years until God took him away in a chariot of fire. Moses had a faithful friend, Joshua, that went with him upon the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments. Seek out a friend. Ask God to give you a friend, He knows you need a friend.

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

Matthew  13  14      

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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6.              God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                            October 6, 2011
                                                                                                      
Good Morning!
In the next few days we will be looking at the 11th chapter of Hebrews and taking note of those who are held up as examples worthy to be imitated. This chapter is called “The Faith Chapter” because all that these people accomplished was by faith.

A DISCUSSION OF FAITH:
Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

This is not so much a definition of faith, but a statement of what faith is. Now faith is ‘assurance’ of things hoped for, a ‘conviction’ of things not seen. The word for ‘evidence’ (or ‘assurance’) denotes a strict proof or demonstration; a proof which thoroughly convinces the understanding. It is such a conviction as is produced in the mind by the demonstration of a problem, after which demonstration no doubt can remain, because we see from it that the thing is; that it cannot but be; and that it cannot be otherwise than as it is proved to be. Faith equals proof in our mind.

Substance’ has several shades of meaning, including the thought of the platform that stands under an argument; also, it means the ACTUAL SUBSTANCE as contrasted with the mere vision (or thought) of a thing, this latter connotation making the passage mean that faith in the believer's soul actually brings reality into his existence, conveying the thought of an earnest, or pledge, to ultimate fulfillment.

Things hoped for’ are all of those blessings, temporal and eternal, that make up the inheritance of the faithful. Resurrection from the dead and the triumphal entry into the everlasting habitations are surely included. Faith makes all these things real.

Things not seen’ include everything in the whole area of faith, the creation of the universe, the incarnation of Christ, the judgment of the world by the flood, the second coming of Christ, the final judgment, the ultimate reception by every man of the destiny, good or bad, that shall be assigned to him by God's enforcement of universal judgment, founded on justice and mercy. Unseen things are very strongly emphasized in this chapter, and repeated reference to them is made. We “see” all that is written in God’s word by faith. We do not see (with our natural eyes) God, or heaven, or the angels, or the redeemed in glory, or .the crowns of victory, or the harps of praise; but we have faith in them, and this leads us to act as if we saw them.

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

Matthew  15  16 17         

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 7.          God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts            October  7, 2011                                                                                                         

Good Morning!
The entire book of Hebrews was written to Jewish people who were suffering great trials and hardships because of their commitment to Jesus Christ, and were in danger of going back on their pledge to Him.

HOW THE PATRIARCHS RECEIVED HIGH MARKS FROM GOD:
Hebrews 11:2. “For by it (faith) the elders obtained a good report.

This means “in faith” just like that mentioned in verse one. “The elders” are the great and worthy patriarchs of the past, particularly of the Hebrew Scriptures; and the “witness borne to them” is the witness of the scriptural records concerning them. Significantly, not a soul is mentioned in this chapter whose life was not verified by holy writ. It is what God writes of a man that alone is significant and consequential. And God has seen to it that a record of their lives has been written that has become an example to all of us that their faith in God helped them to persevere against all opposition.

The indispensable means of securing those, to whom he was writing, from apostasy was ‘faith,’ and with a view to show its power in this respect, the apostle goes into an extended account of its nature and effects, occupying this entire chapter. As the persons to whom he addressed had been Hebrews, and as the Old Testament contained an account of numerous instances of persons in substantially the same circumstances in which they were, the reference is made to the illustrious examples of the power of faith in the Jewish history. The object is, to show that faith, or confidence in the divine promises, has been in all ages the means of perseverance in the true religion, and consequently of salvation.

In this chapter, therefore, the apostle first describes or defines the nature of
faith (ver. 1), and then' illustrates its efficacy and power by reference to numerous
instances, (ver. 2-40). In these illustrations he refers to the steady belief which we have that God made the worlds, and then to the examples of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab in particular, and then to numerous other examples without mentioning their names. The object is to show that there is power in faith to keep the mind and heart in the midst of trials, and, that having these examples before them, those whom he addressed should continue to adhere steadfastly to the profession of the true religion.

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

Matthew  18  19  20      

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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8. 9.            God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts    October 8 & 9, 2011                                                                                                       

Good Morning!
“For he spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalms 33:9).

WE MUST BELIEVE THAT GOD IS THE CREATOR:
Hebrews 11:3. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

The first instance of the strength of faith which the apostle refers to is that by which we accept as true the declarations in the Scriptures about the work of creation, (Genesis 1:1). Unless we can believe the first chapter of Genesis we are going to have a hard time believing the rest of the Bible. We can only understand this by faith.

The faith here exercised is confidence in the truth of the divine declarations in regard to the creation of the universe. The meaning is that our knowledge on this subject is a mere matter of faith in the divine testimony. It is not that we could reason this out and demonstrate that the world was thus made; it is not that non-religious history goes back to that period and informs us of it; it is simply that God has told us so in his word.

The strength of the faith in this case is measured (1) by the fact that it is mere faith— that there is nothing else on which to rely in the case; and (2) by the greatness of the truth believed. After all the acts of faith which have ever been exercised in this world, perhaps there is none which is really more strong or which requires higher confidence in God than the declaration that this vast universe has been brought into existence by a word! We ‘understand.’ We attain to the apprehension of; we receive and comprehend the idea. Our knowledge of this fact is derived only from faith, and not from our own reasoning.

“Framed.” The meaning here is, that they were set in order by the word of God.
This implies, not only the act of creation, but the specific idea is that of arranging them in the beautiful order in which they are now with the stars and moon and all the planets in motion.  “Things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” The point of the remark here is that the visible creation was not molded out of pre-existing materials, but was made merely brought into existence. We must exercise strong confidence in Him who had power to create the universe by a word. If this vast system of worlds has been called into existence by the mere ‘word’ of God, there is nothing which we may not believe he has ample power to perform.

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

Matthew   21  22      
Matthew   23  24     

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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10.          God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s FrstThoughts                October 10, 2011                                                                                                   

Good Morning!
God walked in the cool of the evening and called, “Adam, where art thou?”

WHERE ART THOU ADAM?
Hebrews  11:4. “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,

First of all, there is in this verse the glaring omission of the name of Adam, the mighty progenitor of the human race, neither he nor Eve, the mother of all living, being mentioned; and the circumstances that makes this omission so eloquent is that the author of Hebrews is embarking on a kind of roll-call of all the heroes of the past. It would appear that the opening chapters of Genesis were before him as he wrote. First there is mention of creation, following that a reference to Adam's son, Able as in this verse; and later Sarah was mentioned along with Abraham; but there is absolutely no word regarding the first parents. Therefore it was by design that Adam was purposely bypassed in this catalogue of ancient heroes of faith.

It is very remarkable that among the whole there is not one word concerning poor Adam and his wife, though both Abraham and Sarah were mentioned. There was no good report concerning them; not a word of their repentance, faith or holiness. Alas! alas! did ever such bright suns set in so thick a cloud? Had there been anything praiseworthy in their life after the fall, it had surely come out here; the mention of their second son Abel would have suggested it. But God has covered the whole of their spiritual and eternal state with a thick and impenetrable veil.

Conjectures relative to their fate would be very precarious; little else than hope can be exercised in their favor; but as to them the promise of Jesus was given, so we may believe they found redemption in that blood which was shed from the foundation of the world. Adam's rebellion against his Maker was too great and too glaring to permit his name ever to be mentioned with honor or respect. God walked in the garden in the cool of the evening and called, “Adam, where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9); and both for Adam and his posterity, the words have come ringing down long centuries and millenniums of sin, darkness, bloodshed, wretchedness and sorrows innumerable; and they still flame like a fiery banner flung out of heaven over all the works and devices of men, “Adam, where art thou?” It is not of Adam that we speak, but of his race. “Where art thou?” The words live forever, calling people to consider, to view their hopeless estate, and to move toward that reconciliation that is possible through Christ. “By faith are you saved…it is the gift of God.”

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

Matthew   25  26      

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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11.          God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts          October 11, 2011                                                                                                      

Good Morning!
God has a certain standard by which all men become acceptably to Him. We must also make an acceptable sacrifice of Holiness in our bodies to Him.

A MORE EXCELLENT SACRIFICE:
Hebrews 11:4. “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”

Men have speculated much as to the reason why the offering of Abel was accepted and that of Cain rejected; but much speculation rests on no certain basis, and the solution the Apostle gives should be regarded as decisive and satisfactory, that in the one case (Able) there was faith, in the other (Cain) there was not. It is a Biblical precept that “faith comes from hearing God's word” (Romans 10:17), and in the light of that it may be definitely concluded that Abel acted in accordance with God's command, whereas Cain did not. Cain, having no sense of sin, thought himself obliged to offer nothing but an offering of the fruit of his crop.

There can be no reason assigned for the offering of blood as an atonement for sin, except that it had originally a reference to the great atonement which was to be made by blood (the blood of Christ); and as the salvation of man depended on this entirely, it is probable that this would be one of the truths which would be first communicated to man after the fall. The bloody offering of Abel is the first of the kind which is definitely mentioned in the Scriptures (though it is not improbable that such sacrifices were offered by Adam after observing God’s bloody sacrifice of an animal to cover his sin-stained body Genesis 3:21).

God testifying of his gifts:” In what way God showed his approval is not known. God might have accepted Abel's offering by fire, as in the case of Elijah on Mt. Carmel, and in the case of Gideon. If such did happen, and if it did not happen with reference to Cain's offering, the immediate anger of Cain would be explained. The strength of the faith of Abel here commended will be seen by a reference to a few circumstances: (1) It was manifested shortly after the ‘fall’, and not long after the fearful sentence had been pronounced in view of the sin of man. The serpent had been cursed; the earth had been cursed; woe had been denounced on the mother of mankind; and the father of the apostate race, and all his posterity, had been doomed to toil and death. The thunder of this curse had scarcely died away; man had been ejected from Paradise and sent out to enter on his career of woes, and the earth was trembling under the malediction, and yet Abel maintained his confidence in God.

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

Matthew   27   28        

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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12.         Godsgrazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts           October 12, 2011                                                                                                      

Good Morning!
The blood of Able cried unto God from the ground (Genesis 4:10). What does the blood of Abel say? His blood says that the righteous are hated without cause.

THE MESSAGE OF THE BLOOD OF ABEL:
Hebrews 11:4. “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

The blood of Abel says that God takes account of the injustices perpetrated against the innocent and that one day they will be avenged. The Lord said to Cain, “The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.” This foretells the hour when God in righteous wrath shall cast evil out of his universe, taking vengeance upon them that deserve it (Romans 12:19). It was sin that cut down this young man in the morning of the world; and there is a score to be settled with sin. Abel, being dead, yet speaketh; his blood crieth from the ground, and not merely his, but the blood of all the innocents ever slain from that primeval violence until the end of the ages.

God has appointed a day in which he will settle accounts and nothing can show the necessity of such a thing any more than the blood of Abel. No punishment of Cain could bring Abel back. He sank into the grave while the swift centuries fled, while Cain went out to build a city and continue his posterity in the earth. What about Abel? How is justice ever to be had for him without a Judgment Day? And that is exactly what the blood of Abel says, that there will indeed be a day of reckoning that God is keeping the score, that vengeance shall be meted out to the evil-doer, and that the faithful shall be rewarded.

Unless this is true, there is no sense talking of eternal justice, for there could be none. If the wheels of justice may grind only in time, there are innumerable cases in which the wicked shall have the better of it. The blood of Abel warns the murderer, and every wrong-doer, that the Creator will yet require that the account be settled. This is the thread of eternal and universal justice that runs all the way from Eden to the City Foursquare. Every man ever born on earth shall confront that day and hour of judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10) when Abel, and all the righteous, shall receive their reward and when the unrighteous shall likewise receive theirs. Abel's blood shall never cease to cry to God until that is accomplished.

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

Mark  1  2  3        

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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13.            God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts          October 13, 2011                                                                                                      

Good Morning!
“All who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord” shall be translated, changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. This promise is to the redeemed.

WALKING BY FAITH:
Hebrews 11:5. “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”

This verse casts a great deal of light on the Genesis account of Enoch's translation. There, it is merely stated that God took him, but here it is learned what translation meant that he was received into eternal fellowship with God without being obligated to pass through the experience of death. The character of Enoch was summed up by Moses who said simply that “Enoch walked with God.” This means that all of his earthly life was enacted with constant respect to the divine presence of God; and it was doubtless in consideration of his holy and blameless life that God saw fit to reward him in this unique manner.

In the account in Genesis, there is nothing inconsistent with the belief that Enoch was characterized by eminent faith, but it is rather implied in the expression, “he walked with God.” It may also be implied in what is said by the apostle Jude 14, 15, that “He prophesied, saying, Behold the Lord cometh, with ten thousand of his saints.” From this it would appear that he was a preacher, that he predicted the coming of the Lord to judgment, and that he lived in the firm belief of what was to occur in future times.

Enoch's translation by faith is mentioned by the apostle, not to raise in believers an expectation of being translated into heaven, as he was, without dying, but to excite them to imitate his faith, in the assurance of being admitted into heaven in the body after the resurrection. Will others be translated? Yes. the further fact of our Lord's resurrection in the glorified body that was slain - from all these considerations come the substantial conviction that people's earthly bodies, purified and changed in the resurrection, shall be their eternal possession in that upper and better world. It shows that God regards his friends, that their fidelity and holy living please him, and that, in the midst of eminent wickedness and a scoffing world, it is possible so to live as to please God-. The conduct of Enoch is an encouragement to us to do our duty though we stand alone, and to defend the truth though all who live with us upon the earth deny and deride it.

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

Mark  4   5       

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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14.        God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts          October 14, 2011                                                                                                       

Good Morning!
We cannot come to God in an acceptable manner if we doubt his existence and benevolence.

A DILIGENT SEARCH FOR GOD:
Hebrews 11:6. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

It is impossible for a wife to please her husband, or a husband a wife, unless they have confidence in each other. If there is distrust and jealousy on either part, there is discord and misery. We cannot be pleased with a professed friend unless he has such confidence in us as to believe our declarations and promises. The same thing is true of God. God cannot be pleased with the man who has no confidence in him; who doubts the truth of his declarations and promises; who does not believe that his ways are right, or that he is qualified for universal rule. The requirement of faith or confidence in God is not arbitrary; it is just what we require of our children, our partners in business, our friends, as the indispensable condition of our being pleased with them.

“Must believe that he is.” Believe that God exists. This is the first thing required in worship. We cannot come to him in an acceptable manner if we doubt his existence. We do not see him, but we must believe that he is; we cannot form in our mind a correct image of God, but this should not prevent a conviction that there is such a Being. But the declaration here implies that there should be more than a general-persuasion of the truth that there is a God. It is necessary that we have this belief in lively exercise in the act of drawing near to him, and that we should realize that we are actually in the presence of the all-seeing JEHOVAH.

And that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” This is as really necessary as the belief that he exists. If we could not believe that God would hear and answer our prayers, there could be no encouragement to call upon him. Let us note the word “diligently seek Him.” “Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD:”
(Jeremiah 29:12-14)

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Mark  6  7  8

James & Mary Lee Thornton
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15.  16.    God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts  October 15 & 16, 2011                                                                                                      

Good Morning!
The admonition to Noah was given a hundred years before the flood came, and of course long before there could have been any natural indications that it would take place, yet Noah’s faith held steady to his course. Our faith must also stay the course.

FAITH IN GOD’S WORD PROMPTED NOAH TO BUILD THE ARK:
Hebrews 11:7. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”

“By faith Noah,” these words introduced the man who built the ark (Genesis 5-10). Noah was in the tenth generation from Adam, descending from Seth through his father Lamech. His name means “rest;” and the scriptures give a favorable account of his life, bearing witness that he was just and upright, and that “he found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” God revealed to Noah his purpose of destroying mankind, except for a remnant, and gave detailed instructions for the building of the ark and the preservation of Noah and his family, along with the animal kingdom.

The faith of Noah was truly great in his acceptance of God's word “concerning things not seen as yet.” It was a new and utterly different thing that God would do in the flood, no precedent for such a thing ever having been heard of; because, up to that time, no rain at all, much less a flood, had ever fallen upon the earth, all vegetable life being watered by a mist rising from the ground (Genesis 2:5-6).

“Moved with godly fear” indicates that part of Noah's motivation was fear; and because it is called here “godly fear,” the validity of that type of response to God's word is indicated. All human motivation classifies, generally, under three headings of love, hope of reward, and fear; and, significantly, all three are summoned in the sacred scriptures to urge and persuade people to obey the Lord. True, the apostles spoke of perfect love casting out fear (1 John 4:18), but “godly fear,” as in this verse is a totally different thing. Man's first duty is to fear God (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

“By the which (faith) he condemned the world.” Noah condemned the world preaching the truth to an unbelieving generation; for the truth will either save or condemn them that hear it, the same being true of the gospel itself. The word of God was the only ground of evidence, the only thing to which he could refer gainsayers and revilers.  It is so now. There are no visible signs of the coming of the Saviour to judge the world. Yet the true believer feels and acts as if it were so—resting on the sure word of God.

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Mark  9  10        
Mark 11  12       

James & Mary Lee Thornton
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 17.           God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts          October 17, 2011                                                                                                       

Good Morning!
The greatest contribution Abraham made to the human race was the idea of Monotheism, the fact of one Almighty God. Without this idea the world would still be wallowing in idolatry and heathenism and barbarism.

ABRAHAM, THE FATHER OF FAITH:
Hebrews 11:8. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”

Abraham was born in Ur of the Chaldees amidst the idolatry and ungodliness of Nimrod’s generation just after God scattered them all over the earth. In some manner God appeared to Abraham and told him to leave this environment and go to a place He would show him. The apostle commends the faith of Abraham as eminently strong. The journey which he undertook was then a long and dangerous one. The distance from Haran to Palestine by a direct route was not less than four hundred miles, and this journey lay across a vast desert, a part of Arabia Desert. That journey has always been tedious and perilous; but to see its real difficulty, we must put ourselves into the position in which the world was four thousand years ago. There was no knowledge of the way; no frequented path; no facility for traveling; no turnpike or railway; and such a journey then must have appeared incomparably more perilous than almost any which could now be undertaken.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed.” Here again, as invariably in this chapter, it was not mere faith, but obedient faith, that commended its possessor to God and stands a stimulating example for people today.

“He went out, not knowing whither he went.” One hesitates to use the term “blind” faith; but there is a sense in which it applies. A factor often seen in the examples given here is the utter and unquestioning trust with which each received the word of God and acted upon it. Nothing in Noah's experience made the thing God said he would do appear likely, or even possible; but he believed it and prepared an ark. So it was with Abraham who promptly obeyed God's call without the slightest idea of where it would lead. It was thus with all the others mentioned in this great chapter. They invariably had the attitude expressed in the hymn.

“Lead kindly light, amid the encircling gloom; The night is dark, and I am far from home; Lead thou me on. Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see the distant scene - one step is enough for me.”

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Mark  13   14          

James & Mary Lee Thornton
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18.       God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts          October 18, 2011                                                                                                       

Good Morning!
It would be impossible to measure the impact Abraham has had on the human race.
Billions upon billons of people world-wide look upon Abraham as one of their greatest
spiritual leaders. Three or four major religions call him ‘Father Abraham.’

A HIGHER VISION KEPT ABRAHAM STRONG IN HIS JOURNEY:
Hebrews 11:9. “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10. For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

By faith he became a sojourner in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.
Sojourner in the land of promise was the only status Abraham ever had in Canaan. Although God had indeed promised it to him, he never pretended to possess it. When beloved Sarah died, he insisted on weighing out 400 shekels of silver for the purchase of the cave of Machpelah as a burial place, the only part of Canaan to which Abraham ever had an earthly deed or title (Genesis 23:16).

He was going among strangers. Who they were he knew not; but the impression could not but have been made on his mind that they were strangers to religion, and that a residence among them would be anything but desirable. He was leaving country, and home, and friends, the place of his birth and the graves of his fathers, with the moral certainty that he would see them no more.

“For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
It was squarely here, in his de-emphasis of the present world that the glory of Abraham chiefly centered. God was his inheritance, his shield, his exceeding great reward; and, as related in the verse, Abraham looked to the eternal city, the city that hath the foundations, in that upper and better kingdom for the realization of all his hopes. He treated the world as a mere bridge, something to pass over, but not a place to dwell. ? What is the world to the Christians of our day? Is it the pathway, or an end in itself? As the years pass, are the world and its treasures being more and more diminished in our eyes, and is the Lord Jesus Christ growing ever more and more wonderful and desirable in our esteem? God grant that it might indeed be so for all whom Christ has saved and who have set out like Abraham of old to seek the city that hath foundations.

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Mark  15   16        

James & Mary Lee Thornton
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19.       God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts         October 19, 2011                                                                                                       
Good Morning!
By faith Sarah, being 90 years old, conceived and bore the child of promise.

BY HER FAITH ISAAC WAS BORN IN SARAH’S OLD AGE:
Hebrews 11:11. “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 12. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.”

The word “herself” here implies that there was something remarkable in the fact that she should manifest this faith. Perhaps there may be reference here to the incredulity with which she at first received the announcement that she should have a child. When three angels appeared in human form to Abraham who received them and fed them, they promised that Sarah should bear a son; but Sarah who was listening laughed within herself, utterly rejecting the very possibility of such a thing at her age; but the angelic spokesman quickly made Abraham and Sarah realize his heavenly nature by revealing to both of them what Sarah had said within her heart (Genesis 18:1-15). After being thus made aware of who promised them a son, Sarah, believed it.

Even though everything seemed to render what was announced impossible, and though she was so much disposed to laugh at the very suggestion at first, yet her unbelief was overcome by the realization that the Lord could read her mind, and she ultimately believed the Divine Promise. “Wherefore also there sprang of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of heaven in multitude, and as the sand which is by the seashore, innumerable.” And him as good as dead indicates that not merely Sarah, but Abraham also, was past the time of life when any children might have been expected of him; and although God, true to his promise, gave them strength for the birth of Isaac, it was plainly through the intervention of the Divine Will.

“Because she judged him faithful who had promised.” This is the key to all of our benefits from God. Sarah held in her heart and mind the promise from the One who has the power to do the seemingly impossible. Remember there is nothing impossible with God. Whatever He has promised He will bring it to pass.

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Luke  1   2        

James & Mary Lee Thornton
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 20.         God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts           October 20, 2011                                                                                                      

Good Morning!
These had been looking for something future which they did not obtain during their lifetime, and died believing that it would yet be theirs.

OUR FAITH MUST BE ANCHORED IN THE FUTURE:
Hebrews 11:13. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

John 8:56. “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.”
The phrase here used, “these all died in faith,” does not mean that they died in the exercise or possession of religion, but more strictly that they died not having possessed what was the object of their faith. These all died in faith should never be separated from the essential lesson that it is “dying in the faith” that counts. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord” (Revelation 14:13) is another statement of the same principle. In the Master's wonderful parable of the laborers in the vineyard, the payoff came in the twilight, “when even was come;” and every laborer in the vineyard of Jesus should stay with the task until the evening of life has approached, the twilight has descended, and the night has come, that is, until death (Matthew 20:8).

The faith of these “great heroes of faith” did not rest in the things of this world but they had a heavenly vision of things not seen by human eyesight. At the death of Sarah, Abraham confessed to children of Heth, “I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a burying place with you” (Genesis 23:4). This is the only spot of ground that the Patriarchal Family ever owned in the Promised Land. The writer of Hebrews tells us that they could have returned at any time to the place they left, but to do so was to renounce all claims to the Promised Land.

The same is true with us, the world would welcome us back at any time, but to go back is the renounce all claims to the Heavenly Land we have started out to reach. By faith I also see a city whose builder and maker is God. This vision will some day soon become a reality if I don’t lose my faith and trust in God and go back on Him.

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Luke  3  4        

James & Mary Lee Thornton
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21.        God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts          October 21, 2011                                                                                                      

Good Morning!
There is nothing more voluntary than religion.

A CELESTIAL CITY:
Hebrews 11:15. “And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”

The Patriarchs were volunteers! The inspired writer flatly declared that they could have gone back home if they had so desired; and this reminds one of the challenge addressed by our Lord to the Apostles when he bluntly asked them, “Would ye also go away?” (John 6:67). Every Christian needs to keep this fact in focus at all times, that no one has conscripted him to serve the Lord, and that if one prefers the world and what it may offer to the eternal things of God, he is surely free to take it, along with the consequences. The wonderful promises of God are sure and certain; they are more to be desired as one's possession than any or all of the earth's fleeting joys.

The journey was not so long or perilous that they could not have retraced their steps. It would have been no more difficult or dangerous for them to return than it was to make the journey at first. This shows that their remaining as strangers and sojourners in the land of Canaan was voluntary. They preferred it, with all its inconveniences and hardships, to a return to their native land. The same thing is true of all the people of God now. If they choose to return to the world, and to engage again in all its vain pursuits, there is nothing to hinder them. There are “opportunities” enough. There are abundant inducements held out. There are numerous gay and worldly friends who would regard it as a matter of joy and triumph to have them return to vanity and folly again. They, would welcome them to their society; rejoice to have them participate in their pleasures; and be willing that they, should share in their honors and their wealth. And they might do it.

And, as for the world and its treasures, the scriptures warn people over and over again of the ultimate incapacity of such material things to satisfy the seeking heart of man. It is ever true that “Man shall not live by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4). Among the most bitterly frustrated people on earth are those who sought the world alone; and if they found it, or they did not, the result was negative either way.

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Luke 5  6       

James & Mary Lee Thornton
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22.  23.   God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts  October 22 & 23, 2011                                                                                                      

Good Morning!
Without question, these verses refer to the most astounding demonstration of true faith in God to be found in the entire history of faith.

OFFERING UP ISAAC:
Hebrews 11:17. “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18. Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19. Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”

Through the prophet Isaiah God said how we learn, “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” (Isaiah 28:11). In other words we can only fully know a Biblical concept by reviewing all the facts scattered throughout the Bible concerning it. In this verse we see the results of studying the entire Bible because it opens up for us some of the reasons Abraham was able to carry out God’s command for him to offer up Isaac.

“When he was tried.” The word here used is rendered tempted in Matthew 4:1; 16:1; 19:3; 22:18, 35, and in twenty-two other places in the New Testament; prove, in John 6:6; examine, 2 Corinthians 13:5; and tried, in Revelation 2:2, 10; 3:10. It does not mean here, as it often does, to place inducements before one to lead him to do wrong, but to subject faith to a trial in order to test its genuineness and strength. The meaning here is, that Abraham was placed in circumstances which showed what was the real strength of his confidence in God.

“Offered up Isaac.” That is, he showed that he was ready and willing to make the sacrifice, and would have done it if he had not been restrained by the voice of the angel, (Genesis 22:11, 12). So far as the intention of Abraham was concerned the deed was done, for he had made every preparation for the offering, and was actually about to take the life of his son.

“Accounting that God was able to raise him tip, even from the dead.” And that he would do it; for so Abraham evidently believed, and this idea is plainly implied in the whole narrative. The child had been given to him at first in a supernatural manner, and he was prepared, therefore, to believe that he would be restored to him again by miracle. He did not doubt that He who had given him to him at first in a manner so contrary to all human probability could restore him again in a method as extraordinary.

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Luke  7   8         
Luke  9  10       

James & Mary Lee Thornton
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24.     God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts          October 24, 2011                                                                                                      

Good Morning!
By faith Isaac confirmed the destiny regarding both his sons, thus revealing the uttermost faith in the inspired words of blessing which he had spoken concerning them.

ISAAC, A TYPE OF CHRIST:
Hebrews 11:17. “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac.
Hebrews 11:20. “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.”

Isaac's faith is singled out for more particular attention in this verse; and yet there are a number of considerations which force it upon our attention here as a vital part of the trial of Abraham. When God commanded Abraham to offer up Isaac, he was a man of some 130 years of age, and Isaac was in the prime of life. Josephus declares him to have been 25, and others have fixed his age at 36; but the conclusion of Adam Clarke that he was 33 is in all probability correct, it being implicit in Isaac's status as a type of Christ that he should have been, when offered, of about the same age as our Lord when he was crucified. The common Sunday school card presentation of Isaac as a beautiful little boy when Abraham offered him is ridiculous. Being in the prime and vigor of life, the heir apparent of all that Abraham had, and possessing without doubt the loyalty of every servant Abraham owned, Isaac would most certainly have had the power to frustrate Abraham's purpose if he had chosen to do it. His consent was therefore just as vital a part of that great demonstration of faith as was Abraham's willingness to obey.

The typical importance of Isaac is seen in the following: (1) He was supernaturally the son of Abraham; Christ's birth also was supernatural. (2) He was the “only begotten” of his father (in the sense noted above), and Christ was the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18). (3) Both Isaac and Jesus consented to be sacrificed. (4) Both of them bore the wood, Isaac the firewood, Jesus the cross. (5) Both were sacrificed by their fathers, Isaac by Abraham, and Jesus by the heavenly Father. (6) The sacrifice of each of them occurred upon the very same location, one of the mountains of Moriah. (7) Both were in the prime vigor of life when offered, and very likely of the same age. (8) Isaac (in a figure) was dead three days and nights, this being the time lapse between God's command that he be offered and their arrival at Moriah, during which time, to all intents and purposes, Isaac was already dead; Christ also was dead and buried three days and nights. (9) Isaac was a model of love and affection for his wife, symbolizing the great love of Christ for the church.

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Luke 11  12        

James & Mary Lee Thornton
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 25.       God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts          October 25, 2011                                                                                                      

Good Morning!
Jesus has given us the invitation to sit down in the Kingdom of God with Abraham Isaac and Jacob and I am sure there are many others we will enjoy the company of.

THE LAST THING THE OLD PATRIARCH DID WAS WORSHIP GOD:
Hebrews 11:21. “By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.”  (147 Yrs. Old)

Born in a shepherd’s tent, His father and grandfather (Isaac & Abraham) never having owned any land, other than a burial plot. They both wandered about all over the desert country wherever they could find pasture and water for their flocks. Yet they left Him a heritage of far greater value than all the treasures of Egypt. In His own words to Pharaoh, He referred to His life as a “pilgrimage,” “few and evil have the days of the years of my life been” (Genesis 47:9), In other words, “I’ve had a hard life.” Jacob was saying I’ve have had to fight and struggle all my life. It started before I was born when my brother and I began fighting in my Mother’s womb.

His sorrows speak to every one of us. In every life there is a leaving home to go forth alone; and a very weary struggle for existence; and a limp to reminds us of some awful crisis; and an Allonbachuth (an oak of weeping Genesis 35:8); and a lonely grave on the way to Bethlehem (Genesis 35:19), which hold some priceless jewels; and a lost Joseph; and grey hairs of sorrow. And we all have mourned over lost hopes, which have mocked us with non-fulfillment; “I have not attained” (Genesis 47:9). Each of us can say, “There goes myself, but for the grace of God.” What a comfort it is to find that the Bible saints, who now shine as stars in the firmament of heaven as a guide to us pilgrims, were men and women of like passions with ourselves! They were not always saints; they sinned, and murmured, and rebelled—as we do. Heaven’s rarest gems were not wrought of finer material than that which is within our own constitution.

God’s choicest vessels were not fired from superior earth to that of which we are made. The jewels which now lie at the foundation of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:14) were once obscure, un-named men of no finer texture than ourselves. Look at the places where they came from and say if there was much to choose from between their origin and our own. Then take heart; if God was able to take up such men as Jacob, and Simon Bar-Jona, and make of them princes and apostles, surely He can do as much for you and I. The discipline may be keen as fire; but the result shall be glorious; and all eternity shall ring with praises of Him who raises up the weak.

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Luke 13   14      

James & Mary Lee Thornton
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26.         God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts           October 26, 2011                                                                                                      

Good Morning!
The writer of Hebrews concludes his survey of the Heroes Of Faith with untold numbers of unknown men and women who made Gods honor role.

WHAT MORE CAN WE SAY?:
Hebrews 11:32. “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33. Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36. And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38. (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

“The Promise.” It is the final and supreme fulfillment, the consummation at the last day, the ultimate of all we are hoping for, of all that is not seen (Hebrews 11:1). It is the final approving testimony of Jesus before the whole universe (Matthew 25:34-40), when Christ shall confess us, who have confessed him before men, before his Father (Matthew 10:32) and before the angels (Revelation 3:5). It includes the resurrection and glorification of our bodies. It is the city that has the foundations (Hebrews 11:10), the New Heaven and the New Earth, when the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, comes down from God out of Heaven (Revelation 21:1,2), which event is described at length in Revelation 21:10-27).

(Apostle John in Revelation) “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;” One thing assured when we get to heaven we will have a lot of company. Paul said, “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me, at that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).

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Luke  15   16       

James & Mary Lee Thornton
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 27.          God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts           October 27, 2011                                                                                                      

Good Morning!
In the next few days we want to trace the path Simon Peter trod from fisherman to Apostle, to Apostolic writer. It was a long and difficult road and one filled with pain and glory. 

SIMON BARJONA (SON OF JONA):
1 Peter 1:1. “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered..”
2 Peter 1:1. “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ,..”
Matthew 16:17. “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

Simon Peter stands in a very peculiar position, as between two impressions of public opinions. On one side, faultfinders have found fault with his low origin, his impulsive disposition, his rough manners, and especially his great sin of denying his Lord. On the other side, tradition-makers have exalted him to the headship of a religious hierarchical system (first Pope), and have so surrounded his biography with tales of foolish fancy that the real man is lost. But somewhere between these two opinions we can find the real Simon Peter.

There never lived a more honest man, plainer, or more thoroughly genuine man. He was the only one ever known to cast a hook in deep waters for a coin to pay his taxes. He was the only man we ever read about to walk on the waves until his faith failed, and then his feet began to sink. He came forth of a sudden from the obscurity of a record-less existence to the forefront as a preacher of the new gospel. Yet his greatest lesson of doctrine was received from a sheet full of living creatures, clean and unclean, dropped down from heaven. He was led out of prison by an angel, and when he stood at the door of a familiar prayer chamber his friends on their knees declared he was his own ghost.

There was never anything whatsoever written about Simon Peter to be tame or commonplace. His father’s name was Jonas and that’s all we know of him. His mother’s name is missing from the records, along with his wife and mother-in-law’s. His figure is portrayed in glass and mosaics in cathedrals more than any other outside of our Lord Himself. As we look upon Simon Peter, son of Jonas, fisherman, disciple, Apostle, Apostolic writer we will see one of the greatest figures in human history. It was love that tamed Simon Peter and made him into Cephas (rock).

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Luke 17   18       

James & Mary Lee Thornton
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 28.       God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts           October 28, 2011                                                                                                      

Good Morning!
No man was ever more blessed that Simon Peter, and yet any man or woman who comes in close fellowship with Jesus of Nazareth is truly blessed.

SIMON SON OF JONAS:
Matthew 16:17. “Jesus … said unto him, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona:”

In these devotions we want to get as close to Simon son of Jonas as we possible can. I feel he is more like us that any of the other of the twelve so we can possible trace our own footsteps as we follow his story. The early life of Simon Peter is hid from us. He was one of those great leaders whom God “raised up” out of obscurity, as He had done so often throughout history. From the same little fishing village, our Lord chose five of His Apostles, Simon Peter and Andrew, James and John, and Phillip. When I read these names together I see three crosses in the background, one for Jesus, one for Simon Peter and another for his brother Andrew, they were crucified.

Most Bible scholars feel that Simon Peter was as much as 10 years older than our Lord, and being born into a devoted Jewish family, he would have been taken to Jerusalem at the age of twelve and gone through the same ritual as our Lord did. This was probably the highlight of his early life. Simon Peter was born in one of the most troubled times of Jewish history. The Roman army occupied the nation with an iron hand.  Herod, one of the most wicked of kings in history was on the throne. Roving bands of thieves and robbers made it dangerous to travel alone. Worst of all religion was at the lowest point it could get, with only the shadow of its former glory.

As a young lad Simon Peter would have played along the shores of the Sea of Galilee helping his father mend nets and sometimes going out fishing with him. He followed his father in the fishing trade for probable the next twenty years, until he was called to fish for men. During those twenty years, unknown to him, there was another boy who was coming to manhood not more than a day’s walk from his home, in the little town of Nazareth, who was to affect his life and all men’s lives eternally.

Simon Peter, like all Jewish boys, would get the best education the family and community could give him, in the home and in the Synagogue, studying the law and the prophets. For the Scriptures were their annals of history, and their theology, their legislation, their moral enactments, and their literature, their poetry, all things in one. He would have learned the Greek language along with his native Hebrew as almost all business with the foreigners was done in the Greek language.

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

Luke 19   20             

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 29. 30.   God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts October 29 & 30, 2011                                                                                                       

Good Morning!
It was a treasure-trove of indescribable importance, the message Andrew used to arouse Simon Peter’s Curiosity—“We have found the Messiah.”

JOHN INTRODUCES US TO SIMON PETER:
John 1:40. “One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 42. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

Our Bible introduces us to Simon Peter when he heard of “A Voice in the Wilderness.” All Judea heard the voice and rushed out to hear it. Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, along with John and possibly James, went down to Bethabara to hear it for themselves. While they were there “The Lamb Of God” came also to be baptized by John the Baptist. Andrew heard John’s exclamation when Jesus appeared “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.”  Andrew immediately sought his brother Simon Peter and brought him to Jesus.

We have found the Messiah.” Andrew finds Simon, and tells him simply what he has found. Jesus finds Philip; Philip in turn finds Nathanael, and says the Messiah is found. We in turn should tell someone that we have found the Messiah. Can you not feel the thrill that was involved in telling each one, “We have found the Messiah?” These six first disciples spent the night with Jesus, listening, learning, feeling the thrill of being with Jesus. Andrew had opened an unusually large store of information, when he made his brother see that this new teacher was in all likely-hood the actual Messiah of Israel. 

God Himself sent Andrew back in search of his brother, making him the first to bring someone to Jesus. Only if Andrew could have known the monumental impact this invitation would have on the world. We never know what impact someone we bring to Jesus will have on our world. Dwight L. Moody’s Sunday School teacher, Edward Kimball, stated: “I can truly say, and in saying it I magnify the infinite grace of God as bestowed upon him, that I have seen few persons whose minds were spiritually darker than was his when he came into my Sunday School class; and I think that the committee of the Mount Vernon Church seldom met an applicant for membership more unlikely ever to become a Christian of clear and decided views of Gospel truth, still less to fill any extended sphere of public usefulness.”

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

Luke 21  22      
Luke 23  24   

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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31.       God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion                                   

Today’s First Thoughts                             October 31, 2011                                                                                            

Good Morning!

It is always a most impressive moment, that in which two historic persons meet for the first time.

SIMON BECOMES PETER:

John 1:42. “And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.”

The first human being that ever had need of a Savior was a man called Adam, and that name means man. The first human being that ever found a Savior was a man called Andrew, and that name means—a man. We have already seen how Andrew made his mark—and a noteworthy mark—when he was honorably entrusted with the task of leading Simon Peter out unto a new life. Taking him to that abode he had left that morning. Assured of an immediate admission, they entered into the presence of the Lord. Simon at last stands face to face with Jesus.

This earliest glimpse of the Nazarene Rabbi fixed all of that fisherman’s future. What must Simon have thought of him? How memorable such an interview! Yet we have so few of the words which were exchanged. “And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone.” What was running through Simon’s mind? Here at last through all the happing of history—it was permitted to his own eyes to see the “Desire of all nations,” the “Shiloh of Israel!” Here he was standing before the “Rod out of the stem of Jesse,” which was “the promised Plant of renown,” “Wonderful, the Counselor,” “the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.” Simon, a mortal was permitted to look upon Immanuel, Son of David, Son of God!

Our Lord followed the Old Testament precedent. Abram was re-named Abraham, And as Jacob was renamed Israel, so now Simon was renamed Cephas, or Peter. He was then, as nearly as we can guess about 40 years old; in the very prime of life, somewhat uncouth in manners, rough in expression, but a grand, forceful, great-hearted, hard worker from the Sea of Galilee. How little he had to commend him to Jesus! No status, no education, no noble parentage, no wealth, no human promise whatsoever. Yet what warmness there was in the welcome he received. To change an adults name was equivalent to the assertion of a modification of the individual, to changing in some way of the purpose or direction of the entire life, Simon Peter became a memorial of that change.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

John  1  2  3        

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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