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November, 2011

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1.        God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                             November 1, 2011

Good Morning!
Of two brothers—the first mentioned in the Old Testament—one murdered the other. Of two brothers—the first mentioned in the New Testament—the one brought the other to Jesus.

JESUS CALLS SIMON PETER AND ANDREW, HIS BROTHER TO FOLLOW:
Matthew 4:18. “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19. And he saith unto them,
Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.”

It had been a few months since these two brothers had first met Jesus, and they had gone back to their fishing business. Jesus had gone to Cana and turned water into wine, he had spent 40 days in the wilderness, He had visited Jerusalem and driven the traders out of the temple, He had met with Nicodemus, He met with a woman at a well in Samaria, He had healed a nobleman’s child at the point of death, was rejected in His hometown of Nazareth, and finally established his residence at Capernaum. These first disciples had been wondering and thinking about those few days they had spent with Jesus.

Here, in our reading, we meet Him again among the fishermen along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Using Simon Peter’s boat for a pulpit He taught the people, then told Peter to launch out into the deep and let down his net to catch some fish. Simon Peter, at first, resisted by saying they “had toiled all night and had caught nothing,” then he adds, “nevertheless at thy word we will let down the net.” The result was simply astonishing they caught so many fish they could not raise the net. As a result of this, Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Depart from me for I am a sinful man.” Jesus says to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.”

For several years following his anointing to be king, David went through the harsh discipline of a fugitive, Saul of Tarsus spent three years in the Arabian desert before he joined the Apostolic rank, Moses spent a third of his life in the Midian Desert before he was ready to stand before Pharaoh. Simon Peter was left to further seasoning before he was summoned to leave his ordinary calling and become a fisher of men. When the Lord was ready for him then the call was unhesitatingly accepted.

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

John  4   5   6  
          

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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2.        God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                            November 2, 2011

Good Morning!
A lesson for all Christians to learn, Discouragements in duty never brings any release in performing it. “Nevertheless I will do it.”

OBEDIENCE AND SUCCESS:
Luke 5:4. “Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10. And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

When Jesus finished His sermon He surprised Peter with another proposal. He said, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a draught.” We can seem to see the company of fishermen who had gathered to hear Jesus and heard that unusual request. We could have easily picked out Simon Peter, for we have already learned some of his traits. There is no doubt that he was tired, being out all night, looked haggard and rough, and was in his usual uncouth, everyday clothes. This request may have an outspoken man like him as proposing and expecting too much. His nets were strung all along the beach drying, to gather them now, being wet and heavy would require all the strength he could muster.

Everyone on the beach was ready to hear Simon Peter’s response to the request and it no doubt stunned them. “And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” “Nevertheless I will do it.” One may search all the inspired writings in vain; he will never find an instance of obedience under unpromising circumstances more admirable and exemplary that this of Simon Peter. Simon Peter did not look upon himself as now going out fishing, but going out obeying. “I am going implicitly to obey my Lord.”

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

John  7   8  9         

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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3.         God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                 November 3, 2011

Good Morning!
When Simon saw the divinity of Jesus fully disclosed, he acknowledged it immediately.

SIMON PETER ON HIS KNEES:
Luke 5:8. “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:”

In this New Testament Story we find that when Simon, son of Jonas, was to be permanently commissioned to the Apostleship, a great sign was wrought by the power of God to awaken and impress his mind with the dignity of such an office. Here we find Simon kneeling at the feet of Jesus in his own boat some distance out upon the Lake Gennesaret. He was frightened and astonished. His boat filled with fishes, and about to sink. His words gushed out, “Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

“O Lord.” In this phrase Simon Peter used the name “Lord” which every Israelite knew belonged to Jehovah alone. The New Testament translation of Jehovah is, in the Greek, the Lord. The Jews of old used to be awfully afraid of that name. It was a belief of theirs that if any man pronounced it profanely, God would take away from him his part in a future state. But this fisherman—the same on whom afterwards told Jesus, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of living God,”—did not hold back from the fact of truth. So in one instant of vast discovery he deliberately called Jesus of Nazareth Jehovah. It was the first of those grand confessions which kept making all along the way as he lived and learned, becoming the “rock” Jesus proclaimed him.

“Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” If Simon Peter had discovered he was guilty before God, to whom else could he go as a penitent sinner? Who besides Jesus could help him? Simon eventually learned all that. For in answer to a high challenge on one special occasion, Jesus asks, “Will you also go away?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord to whom shall we go? Thou has the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)

We to, when we first meet Jesus in all of His purity, come to an overpowering realization of our own sinful and undone condition. We call this conviction. Conviction leads us to an altar where we, as Simon Peter did, confess our sins an pledge our allegiance to Him who will not turn any sinner away. After Peter’s confession of his sins, Jesus gave him the invitation to follow Him.

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

John  10  11  12         

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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4.        God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                         November 4, 2011

Good Morning!
When we look upon the Heavenly City the New Jerusalem we will see names of the first four men Jesus chose inscribed on the foundations thereof. (Revelation 21:14)

JESUS BEGINS TO FORM THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH:
Mark 1:16. “Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 17. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. 18. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. 19. And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. 20 And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

Let us for a few moments meditate on that group of men in their fishing clothes. They are the nucleus of the New Testament Church. We could call them the first princes in Christendom. These four men’s names stand at the top of every list of the Apostolic Band. Three of them would become martyrs because of their response to the things that happened that day. Three of them would stand closest to Jesus at all times. They would be with Him when He put everyone else out of the room and healed a child; They would witness His transfiguration; they would be with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane during His Passionate prayer. Today we want to look at “The Call,” and “The Acceptance” of that call.

The Call.” It was a call to entire consecration. “Come ye after Me.” They knew what that call meant, but they met it without hesitation. “They forsook all, and followed Him.” To these words which Luke gives us, Matthew and Mark add one other, “straightway,” most significant, as showing the immediateness of their response to the summons; “they forsook all.” “And they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.”

Later Jesus would say, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for My sake, shall find it.” “Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And He said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” (Luke 18:28-30) (KJV)

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

John  13   14   15         

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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5.  6.       God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                              November 5 & 6, 2011

Good Morning!
The Gospel has no end or aim that can be possible to it besides this, of salvation of men. It was not to create great cathedrals or make men famous but to save souls.

FISHERS OF MEN:
Mark 1:17. “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.”
Luke 5:10. “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.”

In their call to discipleship our Lord offers a most beautiful illustration of the truth He is attempting to teach. He is fishing for men at the very moment he tells those fishermen he is going to make them fishers of men. Simon Peter is about to enter a new profession now, which after all will prove to be the old one with a changed purpose. Peter must learn to “catch” men. And Jesus would be his master teacher. Peter must master a new technology, a new use for his old way of life.

I have been an avid fisherman all of my life. Starting out with a cane pole with a bobber to let me know when the fish was biting. I later graduated to a casting reel, then mastered the spinning reel. Later I wanted to learn to become a fly fisherman. I bought the best fly-rod and reel and fly-line I could afford. I tried all the old techniques I had learned about casting-rods, and spinning-reels but the more I tried the more line I had wrapped around me. I needed a teacher. I enlisted the help of a man by the name of Louis Cain, a master with a fly-rod who first taught me the fundamentals of raising the rod straight up and pausing until I felt the line behind me tugging on the rod then casting forward puling the line straight out in front of me. Until I learned the ‘pause’ I would have never used a fly rod.

These men knew how to fish. They knew how to throw and pull the net. They knew when and where to fish. But Jesus was going to teach them a new technique; these fishermen were going to learn how to fish for men, and how to catch men. The net they were to use was the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For approximately three years they watched and listened to the Greatest Fisher of men who ever lived. He taught them love. He taught them patience. He taught them to go where the fish (men) were. He taught them how to ‘save’ men. The word ‘save,’ in our text means to “Keep Alive.”

The image of a fish became an emblem or a sign of the Church. In subsequent ages during times of great persecution it was carved or painted in Catacombs and places to identify the way to a place of worship.

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

John  16  17  18              
John  19  20  21 

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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7.               God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                           November 7, 2011

Good Morning!
I feel the Holy Spirit had this incident recorded to refute some things which would later surface in some religious hierarchy’s claims that Peter was the first Pope and unmarried. These would also have us believe that Simon put her away during those two or three days since his calling.

THE SECOND MIRACLE IN SIMON PETER’S LIFE:
Luke 4:38. “And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. 39. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.”

After his marriage, Simon Peter made his home in Capernaum. One day not long after the miracle of the great catch of fish and his summons to leave his occupation and follow the Lord, Jesus showed up in the synagogue of Capernaum teaching and healing, Simon was to experience another miracle in his own life, the healing of his mother-in-law. It would seem so incidental that this would be recorded, but it gives us a glimpse into Simon Peter’s domestic life that we find recorded nowhere else.

First it tells us that Simon Peter was a married man, and that his mother-in-law lived with him. I feel that it also brings out what later Paul would elaborate on. “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Timothy 3:1)

Mark 1:16-21 lets us know that Andrew and James and John had also gone to Capernaum during this occasion. It seems that Simon Peter kept and open house where many came and went with possible our Lord being an occupant with them. Matthew 4:13 tells us that our Lord took up his residence in Capernaum, probably in the home of Simon Peter, like Elisha did with the woman at Shunem (2 Kings 4:10). Also there was always a ship large enough to accommodate all of the disciples available for them to cross the Sea of Galilee whenever and wherever, they needed it, and this ship no doubt belonged to Simon Peter.

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

Acts  1  2  3 
        

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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  8.                     God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                               November 8, 2011

Good Morning!
Let us turn directly and sympathetically towards the souls next to us.

PREACHING THE KINGDOM OF GOD:
Matthew 10:2. “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;”
Luke 9:1. “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.”

During the first several weeks of following Jesus Simon Peter along with others who had been called, and some who just followed, it was a time of watching, listening, learning, walking, rowing, handing out food and many other tasks that a disciple was called upon to do. It was a time of training for higher service. That day finally arrived when Jesus called them together, and of that large group, He chose 12 that were to be closer to Him and learn the finer thing of being an Apostle. These 12 He deemed ready to start in the ministry, so He gave them their first assignment to go out preaching the Kingdom Of God.

Before He sent them out “He gave them power.” They must realize that if they were to accomplish anything it would be done by His power. Imagine the exhilaration that these men had going forth to preach and heal all manner of disease. Jesus also gave them instruction before they went forth. In Matthew 10:4-42 there are 38 verses of instructions of what to expect and how to conduct themselves. Luke 6:6 tells us that they went through towns and villages preaching the gospel and healing the sick everywhere they went. At this time the power was not permanently inscribed to them. Not long afterward a man brought his afflicted son to them to cast the devil out of him and they could not do it (Luke 9:40). This power would be given to them after they had received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost.

It was during this period of time Jesus taught them one of the greatest lessons concerning winning souls. Mark 9:33 gives the setting for this lesson. Great multitudes followed Him and Jesus likened them unto sheep without a shepherd. “Jesus was moved with compassion for them.” Even though tired, weary, Jesus turned towards them and stood for hours and taught the people things concerning the kingdom of God. He fed them, He loved them, He taught them. Simon Peter never forgot that lesson that day on the Golan Heights. Read his epistles.

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

Acts   4  5  6            

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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  9.          God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                      November 9, 2011

Good Morning!
We learn from this story that a quick prayer is the relief for a failing faith.

SIMON PETER, THE FIRST AND ONLY PERSON TO WALK ON WATER:
Matthew 14:28. “And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.”

Among the ancient Egyptians the symbol of impossibility was the figure of a man standing on top of a body of water. Above all other exploits, walking on water deemed the one thing which no mortal could do. And every one of us tends to agree. What stands out in this familiar story is the fact that a human being is out on the waves walking amid the whitecaps on Galilee, the fluid floor becoming firm beneath his feet. A fisherman of Galilee suddenly stepping over the side of his boat, and moves on out across the very face of the deep, most impressing, during a great storm.

It was after a day of observing great miracles, ending with several thousand being fed with such a small lunch. Jesus had instructed His disciples to get in a ship and go across the Sea of Galilee. Jesus Himself stayed behind to dismiss the crowd and to watch them as they rowed. It was dark by the time they had rowed very far and all of a sudden a great storm came upon them. Then suddenly by the flashes of lightening amid the waves, they saw what seemed to be a ghost or spirit or was it the majestic figure of Immanuel walking towards them on the surface of the water. Their fears were relieved when they heard the familiar voice, “It is I; be not afraid.”

Such a sight was never seen before by human eyes, and we understand his emotional request. Standing up and straining his eyes to try to make out what he thought to be true. Simon Peter call out, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come.” He would not unless he was bidden. On hearing the invitation, Simon Peter stepped out of the ship “and he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.” There are many who love to dwell on the latter part of the story rather than the audacity of Simon Peter. Think of it: one of the noblest pictures of earth’s history is that this Galilean fisherman walking even no more than five or six steps on the water, it has never been duplicated by the faith of any man.

Still forward he went “to go” to Jesus’ side; nothing could ever sink the faith which thus continued steadily “looking unto Jesus.”

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

Acts  7   8         

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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10.                God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                              November 10, 2011

Good Morning!
These words of Simon Peter should have been written in letters of gold a yard thick and a mile high, because they are the greatest revelation of God to humanity.

THE TWO GREAT CONFESSIONS:
John 6:69. “And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”  (Words of Simon Peter)
Matthew 16:16. “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 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.”

The first confession (John 6:69) came the next day after Jesus and Simon Peter walked on water. Jesus was teaching things which was destined to divide His followers, “I am the bread of life.” “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” From that time many of His disciple went back home and forsook Him. Then Jesus asks the twelve after those others had departed, “Will ye also go away?” That is when Simon Peter answered for the twelve, and made his first confession, “And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Nothing is more certain in life than that there is one period in the life of each true believer when the Spirit of God begins to let in an unusual flood of new knowledge or revelation of God and His will and purpose for their life, it comes in like a flash. These words of Simon Peter in our scripture above are the fulfillment of Job’s prayer, “Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:”

The call of God is total and mind bending and overpowering. Paul described it this way, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Nothing is more sure than when God reveals Himself to man. What else would have caused Noah to build an ark in face of ridicule and derision? What else would have caused Abraham to leave his native home to go to an unknown land? What else but the surety of God’s voice would have prompted Moses to go back to Egypt to deliver his kin? What else would have stopped in his tracks the one we could call the intellectual champion of the New Testament, Paul the persecutor, and turn him completely around? NOTHING, but God’s revelation.

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

Acts  9  10         

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net


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 11.             God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 November 11, 2011

Good Morning!
This second confession took place some weeks after the first confession (John 6:69).

THE SECOND CONFESSION OF FAITH BY SIMON PETER:
Matthew 16:13. “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 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.

Jesus was taking His disciples far north of Galilee where He would be transfigured in Mt. Hermon. About half way there Jesus stopped to pray as He often did, and when He finished He asked of the twelve, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” The disciple had heard those that had come out to hear Jesus discuss their opinion of Him. The disciple told Him that some thought He was John the Baptist risen from the dead (Herod’s opinion), others said He was Elijah, others Jeremiah one of the other prophets. We notice even though they were wrong on whom they thought He was, they still had a very high opinion of Him.

Jesus immediately asked them, “But whom say ye that I am?” It matters little what others think of Him, it is far more important, yea, soul saving, our own opinion of Him. Unless we have the right opinion of who He is we cannot find eternal life. Let us say, with understanding, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This is the rock or foundation upon which the Church is founded. He is the Christ, the Anointed, and the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. Jesus is Savior, or He is nothing to us. It is of vast consequence what a man believes. Jesus later stated, “For if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” John 8:24.

What if some did not believe?” They must be left to disbelieve, then, and take their own consequences. “Shall that make the faith of God of none effect.? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar;” (Romans 3:3-4) Can we not see, from this story, how far the opinions of others are to be considered, when making up our minds. We cannot fail to see that the one question, above all other questions of the present day is this, “Whom do ye say that I am?” It is an individual question; each of us must deal with it. Only those who answer it as Simon Peter did will be blessed.
“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

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

Acts 11  12   13                 

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 12. 13.                 God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                    November 12 & 13, 2011

Good Morning!
Because of Peter’s confession, Jesus gave him the right, or authority (key) to tell people how to enter into the church:

THE GIFT OF THE KEYS:
Matthew 16:18. “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Here occurs, for the first time in the New Testament, the word church. Literally, it signifies, “the called ones,” the elect of God, the entire body of believers on earth. Attempts by some, with a play on words, make Simon Peter the rock Jesus was referring to when He said, “Upon this rock I will build My Church.” The truth is Jesus never founded His church upon any man, because men are fallible, unreliable, and subject to many mistakes. The New Testament Church was founded upon Christ Himself.  Paul gives his view, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Ephesians 2:20).

What did Jesus mean when He said, “I will give unto thee the keys of the “Kingdom of Heaven?” Keys are used to open doors and Peter used this key to open the door of the Church on the day of Pentecost when he preached the very first sermon in the new Church. “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” This message is still the key to entrance into Jesus’ Church. On the very first day there were three thousand the entered into the Church. Later (Acts 10) Peter used the same key to open the door for the Gentiles to enter in.

Simon Peter was the spokesman for the early Church, leading in the selection of a man to take Judas’ place in the Apostolic Band (Acts 1:15). Peter took forefront in the healing of a lame man (Acts 3:4), Peter had bold words for the rulers (Acts 4), and he rebukes Ananias for lying to the Holy Spirit, who fell dead at Peter’s feet. Peter was a great man in the early Church but he was by no means called to be the head or ruler. James, the Lord’s brother seemed to have assumed the office of bishop or overseer (Acts 15:13) and to have settled the matter concerning circumcision.

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

Acts  14  15   16        
Acts  17  18   19           

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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14.          God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                             November 14, 2011

Good Morning!
We spend a few moments in this devotion in showing how the great confession of Simon Peter is followed by the most miserable mistake he ever made.

GET BEHIND ME, SATAN:
Mark 8:33. “But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.”

This rebuke of Peter by Jesus occurs shortly, within hours, after Jesus had exalted Peter in the presence of the other Apostles, and given him the keys to the kingdom of heaven. How could the exalted Apostle fall so far so quickly? They were still in the region of Caesarea, and Jesus thought it time to instruct them on the coming events in His life including His death. This task was difficult because of human dullness. There was no idea of a spiritual kingdom. Their idea of the coming kingdom consisted of a long promised King and a kingdom like unto David’s realm. Jesus’ mention of His death in Jerusalem at the hands of the Sanhedrim was more than they could fathom.

No one would be half so likely to speak out unbidden as Simon Peter. At this point Peter “took Jesus aside,” probably taking Him by the arm pulling Him around, so as to get Jesus’ attention. “Be it far from thee,” was Simon Peter’s exclamation, maybe thinking Jesus was confused, or disoriented. Simon Peter had all good intentions, but Jesus recognizing the origin of the Peter’s words rebuked him sharply. “He rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.”

Satan had come before offering Him a way to avoid the cross (Matthew 4:1-11). He came this time using Simon Peter as a spokesperson telling Him that it need not be. Jesus recognized it at once and rebuked Satan, at the expense of Simon Peter. A lesser person would have been humiliated and angered, and possibly went back to his fishing business, but not Simon Peter. In this was the greatness of that disciple. His image rises before us in a simple majesty of personal power. For all the time he was trying to improve himself, he was battling his besetting sins, he was praying for higher attainments in grace. He is out truest friend who rebukes us when we falter.

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

Acts 20  21  22            

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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15.   God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                  November 15, 2011

Good Morning!
Jesus ascended the mountain to pray, taking with Him Peter, James and John.

WITH HIM IN THE HOLY MOUNT:
Mark 9:2. “And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.”
2 Peter 1:18. “And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.”

There is about 35 years that separate the first and second scripture, but time had not erased the memory of that event from Simon Peter’s mind because it was so vividly impressed there. The transfiguration took place only a few days after Peter was rebuked by our Lord because of a rash statement he made. By Peter still being among the ‘elite three’ of the Apostles shows us that there was no lingering hurt over the incident. We ask the question, “Why the transfiguration at this point?”

Three years before they had left everything, homes, jobs, and family, to follow this man whom they were attracted to, and who seemed to be the one that had been looked for to restore their nation to it’s former glory. They were convinced that He was the Messiah, but now doubts and wondering about Him after He had told them of His impending death. The Messiah can’t die without first restoring the national glory. All this was pressing on their minds. Doubts and wondering led to depression. Have we been mistaken? So to raise their fainting spirits, to inspire their confidence, we have the transfiguration. It is one of the grandest events in history.

Most likely this took place at night. While Jesus was praying His body began to illuminate from the celestial glory within Him. While the disciples looked on there appeared Moses and Elijah talking with Him. The Apostles understood what the conversation was about, His decease, or death. While this conversation went with Jesus, a new wonder came, “Behold! a cloud!” “A bright cloud overshadowed them.” Simon Peter once again was first to exclaim, “Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. (Mark 9:5-6). While they were looking and wondering, words fell down out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, in Him I am well pleased: hear ye Him.”

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Acts 23  24  25           

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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16.           God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 November 16, 2011

Good Morning!
The events that happen during the third year of our Lord’s ministry are quite different from the first two years. The crowds are disappearing, more and more He is being rejected by the ruling class and the feelings of the people are changing towards Him.

FISHING TO PAY TRIBUTE:
Matthew 17:27. “Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.”

When Jesus and His disciples returned from Caesarea Philippi to Capernaum no jostling crowds came forth into the street to greet them, and for Him to touch and heal them, or to invite Him to dinner. A change has passed upon the whole city of Capernaum. Capernaum was evidently growing harder. Spite must have been stirring up strife. In fact many were turning against Jesus. In this unusual event we find Simon Peter once again answering too quickly. No sooner than he had come to his house he began to be harassed in regards to Jesus neglecting the dues for the temple (Temple Tax). They worded the question, “Doth not your master pay tribute? Simon Peter in defense of his Lord answered quickly, “Yes.”

This tax, or tribute, dated to the time of the Exodus when the Lord imposed a tribute of half a shekel for an offering to the Lord to make atonement for their souls. Throughout Jewish history eminent teachers of their law, as well as priests, had always been exempted from this tax. Hitherto Jesus had been honored as an exalted prophet, and expected Messiah, and treated as such. But now during the absent of Jesus for a time, His popularity has shifted. Capernaum, “which had been exalted to heaven,” was now ready to “be cast down into hell.” (Matthew 11:23)

Course minds thought the day had come for this so-called prophet to settle his dues.
The question was put to Simon Peter, and without a moment’s hesitation, he answered, “Of course He does.” We are compelled to acknowledge that Simon Peter made a mistake in pledging Jesus to any Jewish observance without first asking Him. Jesus first gave Peter a lesson on the observance of the law of tribute, then He gave him instruction to go catch a fish and retrieve a coin from its mouth to pay the tax for both of them. (This is the only miracle Jesus worked for His own benefit and the only one that is left without record of its fulfillment)

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

Acts  26   27   28          

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 17.       God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                      November 17, 2011

Good Morning!
On the way back from the Sea Coast of Philippi Jesus used the occasion to teach His disciple many things. He knew that His time was growing short being with them.

THE TRUE DOCTRINE OF FORGIVENESS:
Matthew 18:21. “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22. Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

Simon Peter along with the rest of them still needed to learn many things. When they arrived back in Capernaum they no doubt settled into Simon Peter’s home where they were hosted by his wife and mother-in-law. Simon Peter never forgot those days of communion and fellowship in his home. Writing many years later he penned these words, “Use hospitality one to another without grudging”
(1 Peter 4:9.)

One of the lessons Jesus taught them was how we are to deal with our brethren when they offend us (Matthew 18:15) which lead Simon Peter to ask Jesus “How often (or how many times) shall my brother offend me, and I should forgive him, is seven time enough? Simon was familiar with Moses’ Law which stated, a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Men for 16 centuries had lived under the law of retaliation. Pay off your enemy in like kind as he did to you. This is still the law of many nations. Be it what it may he should be forced to suffer the penalty

Jesus brought a new law, the law of forgiveness. This is probably the hardest of all the laws or commandments Jesus left for us to live by. In reality we cannot live it by our own strength or power. We must have Jesus’ Spirit within us to live like He asks to live. “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:38-44.)

Jesus taught us that to forgive an injury signifies to restore the person who has inflicted it to terms of reconciliation. Simon Peter thought seven time should be satisfactory even to Jesus’ rule, should he have to forgive oftener than that? Jesus answered, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

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

Romans  1  2  3         

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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18.               God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                          November 18, 2011

Good Morning!
Jesus shows a rich man how to inherit eternal life and tells His disciples the danger of riches.

AN HUNDRED FOLD:
Mark 10:28. “Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. 29. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, 30. But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

A rich young ruler came to Jesus asking how he might inherit eternal life. This man refuses to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor, and goes away sorrowfully. Jesus teaches a lesson on the deceitfulness of riches. Simon Peter and the rest of the disciples watch as the man went away then he breaks the silence, “Lo we have left all, and have followed thee.” Jesus promptly reminds him of what he will gain in this life and in the end have eternal life. Three questions we will answer.

First question, “What had they really left?” Their home, or one thing; they belonged to nowhere now, but going about with Jesus, who had no place to lay His head. They had given up their boats, nets, and all their lively-hood. They left former comrades, friends, and become outcasts. They forsook their old lives, with all the associations,

Second Question, “Had they received anything yet?” They had received the highest calling any man ever received in this world, Apostleship. They had received a special place in the kingdom of God. They had enjoyed the greatest fellowship of any man by walking for three and one half years with Jesus Himself in person.

The third Question, “Did their fame reach one-hundred-fold that was promised?” Yes, after it had reached the “persecutions” also which was included in the same promise. In the city of Rome there are many sights and attractions to hold ones attention. After one has seen the monuments of battle scarred warriors and remains of buildings long gone to decay, ones attention is drawn to the incomparable dome of St. Peter’s Church rising in the distance. Yonder outlined by the purple hills, is the grandest edifice ever built by man. Here arises a monument, which, seen from outside or inside, is the finest thing in the world. It is a Monument to Simon Peter.
How did the fisherman from Galilee earn such fame as this? How was his life lifted into such historic significance as has moved the whole world for eighteen centuries?

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

Romans  4  5  6          

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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19. 20.             God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                  November 19 & 20, 2011

Good Morning!
In the next few devotions we come to the final picture of our Lord and His teaching of His disciples. We are still emphasizing Simon Peter. In this devotion we learn that there are some graces which can only be made conspicuously clear by example.

JESUS WASHING HIS DISCIPLES FEET:
John 13:6-9. “Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

Simon Peter and John had been sent by Jesus to prepare the Passover Supper. All things were ready when Jesus arrived with the rest of the twelve. The supper was a solemn occasion with Jesus as Master of ceremonies. Because Jesus is the Word, everything which the Word did is itself Word. Likewise we must search for doctrine in His behavior. So everything that took place that night is Word and Doctrine. Satan also came to the supper. So, another lesson for us, the communion-table is one of the places, perhaps the likeliest, where Satan expect to make a conquest. Paul warns us of the dangers in 1 Corinthians 12.

Jesus came to minister, not to be ministered unto; so now, being about to do a ministers work, he assumes a servant’s attire. He lays off His garment, the seamless robe that the Roman soldiers cast lots for, and wrapped a towel around His body. He took a basin and poured water in it and began to wash the disciple’s feet. The Lord did not begin with Simon Peter but with some of the others, so Simon Peter had time to reflect on what was happening. Some of the Disciples received the service with wonder, some were embarrassed, some were confused, this was heaven stooping to earth.

“Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?” “Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” What a lesson for all of us. Jesus wants to minister to everyone of us, and if we don’t allow Him to minister to us, we have no part with him. Let us come into His presence and let Him be a soothing minister to our needs.

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

Romans  7   8   9             
Romans 10  11  12          

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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21.             God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                           November 21, 2011

Good Morning!
All the twelve were sifted, Simon Peter among them; Judas alone fell through.

THE SIFTING PROCESS:
Luke 22:31. “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

The other evangelists tell us that Jesus warned all of them about the sifting process. Matthew 26:31 “Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night:” Satan desired to “have” them that he might “sift” them as wheat. Satan does not claim that he will obtain every one of the number, but he is going to test and know whether any one can be made to yield. This act of shifting requires many individuals, they would be tossed up and down and sifted like wheat in a sieve, a collection out of which the smallest or wickedest might fall leaving the rest to be preserved and safe. The sifting process had now commenced, and the story before us is very interesting.

Two of the disciples are especially under attack, Judas and Simon Peter. Judas was then revealed as a traitor and Jesus warns Simon Peter that he was under attack by Satan. Then Jesus told him that He had prayed for him. I’m sure that Jesus also prayed for Judas as well as all the rest of the disciples. Here is a warning given to Simon Peter by his truest friend. It is not to be forgotten that Simon Peter reckoned himself always at the very front in his loyalty of attachment to his Lord. As John has been called “the beloved disciple,” so Peter has been named “the loving disciple.” He went so far as to summon Omniscience as a witness; “Thou knowest all thing, and thou knowest that I love thee.”
(John 21:17)

 Simon knew in his heart that Jesus was to him the most faithful counselor, the most gentle and kind advisor he had in this world. It seems to us impossible that he should disregard what such a friend said that day. But we have to sorrowfully own that we have been warned by Jesus in His word and by His Spirit, and have forgotten it just like Simon Peter. Offences will come among the Disciples of Christ in an hour of trial and temptation; for they are weak; Satan is busy; God permits offences; even they whose hearts are upright may sometimes be overtaken with an offence. How soon may a storm arise! We know not what a day, or a night may bring forth, nor what great event may be looming in the space of a little time (Proverbs 27:1).

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

Romans  13  14         

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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22.           God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                     November 22, 2011

Good Morning!
It was midnight when the Passover Supper was completed, and Jesus led His disciples from the seclusion of the upper room and across the little Brook Cedron.  A new day was coming on and the things that were to take place on that day would mark a new day for the entire world.

CROSSING THE BROOK CEDRON:
John 18:1. “When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into which he entered, and his disciples.”

A great, solemn act that moved the world was done, when Jesus of Nazareth with His disciples went “over the Brook Cedron” into Gethsemane Garden. There-after for Him was never one moment’s rest or peace in this world. His final touch on any soil of freedom was down there by that small stream running between Jerusalem and Gethsemane. Let us think for a moment about that little strip of land which holds in an unalterable record the passing of our Lord across from the room where the Passover Supper was celebrated to the garden of betrayal, into the shadows where He met the traitor face to face, and was borne to death.

The little “brook” no longer flows; there is no running water through it now. The Romans altered the entire landscape during two terrible sieges, one some forty and another 120 years after this night. It was across this same little brook Jesus’ great ancestor King David fled with his train of noble followers when his traitorous son Absalom rebelled against him.

When Jesus went “over the brook Cedron,” He went straight on unto death. Just the other side of that brook lay two gardens, in one which were a devil and a traitor, in the other of which was a grave; a necessity was laid upon Him that He should test the bitterness of both gardens on His way back to His Father. When Jesus crossed the brook in the midnight, He was alone. Sure, the disciples were with Him; but He never was any less alone; for they did not share His purpose or even understand it; He always “trod the wine-press alone.”

Sooner or later, every one of us who have tried to help the race of men, must cross a Cedron brook with a Gethsemane garden beyond it; and this he will likely have to do in the midnight and unattended, and in the soberness of a secret unshared.

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

Romans  15   16       

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 23.          God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                   November 23, 2011

Good Morning!
How many times have we found ourselves lethargic, listless, or sleepy, when we should have been watching and praying?

FALLING ASLEEP IN THE GARDEN:
Matthew 26:40. “And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?”

Every night but one of the closing week of His life, our Lord went at evening over the Mount of Olives to the little village of Bethany. In the home of Martha and Mary he found all the shelter and fellowship so poor a town had to offer. But on this, the last night before the crucifixion he remained in the city. There was an enactment of Jewish law which made it needful for every true Israelite to spend the Passover hours in Jerusalem. Up to the crossing of the Kidron Jesus spent the time in talking to His disciples. During these conversations Jesus told Simon Peter, “Heaven and earth should pass away, but His “Words” should never pass away.

A great many years has run along on the stream of time since such a prophecy fell on their ears; now where are we? Jerusalem lay in heaps for 1900 years; the Roman conquerors are all dead and the empire has vanished; the Jewish nation was scattered and torn; the Kidron is dried up. But the “Words” of the Galilean peasant who went to His crucifixion that day have swept round and round the world; they are living today, and more alive than ever. They will stand when the trumpets sound, and the stars fall, and the sky is scrolled in fire. They are eternal.

The closing hours of His life Jesus spent in prayer, yea, more than prayer. The writer of Hebrews tells us, He offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears,” an indication His voice was very loud at times. Two times Jesus came for human consolation and both times He found them sleeping. Thus we reach our great lesson, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” These three disciples slept in just the same way on the Mount of Transfiguration, when their experience was at the highest; here it is at the lowest. Joy and grief at their supreme moment; and yet “the flesh is weak,” and an invaluable lesson is lost by simple dullness of sensibility. What are we therefore to do? Jesus has given us the answer to our question: “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.”

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

1 Corinthians  1  2  3  4          

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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24.           God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                      November 24, 2011

Good Morning!
The entire Church on earth might have been swept out of existence in a swift instance of madness, but for the presence of its Divine Head.

GRAND COURAGE WITH A SWORD AGAINST OVERWHELMING ODDS:
John 18:10. “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.”

All four of the Evangelists record the courage of Simon Peter in the scuffle at the arrest of Jesus. Jesus had warned the disciples of fierce confrontations coming soon. “And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And He said unto them, It is enough.” Our Lord meant to have them prepare themselves for the conflict. But He did say that each one must get a purse for money for food, shoes for travel, and a sword for defense. But His language was figurative, and He referred to the vast range of the future tribulations of the Church. Those disciples thought he wanted them to make ready for the troubles of that evening, and get weapons for some sort of fight which was now come.

We must respect the courage of Simon Peter. Against overwhelming odds of armed soldiers and a mob of men with torches and swords, and clubs, Simon proceeded to take them on, swinging his sword and striking the first blow cutting off a man’s ear, fulfilling his vow to die rather than give in. Some has asked why did he not strike down Judas instead of the servant. To answer that, Judas, the vilest traitor of all time, still had a most significant task to perform. Miserable man as he was, he had to fulfill a prophecy concerning him. A Potters Field must be bought with his gain, and then kill himself—as he eventually did.

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? (Matthew 26:52-54)

A thousand years previous to this night the Prophet Elisha calmed the fears of a servant by prayer and a wave of his hand and the mountains around them was filled with horses and chariots of fire then opened the young man’s eyes so he could see them by adding, “Do not fear; they that are with us are more than they that be with them.” (2 Kings 6:15-17)

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

1 Corinthians 5  6  7  8             

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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25.        God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                    November 25, 2011

Good Morning!
Simon Peter’s speech betrayed him.

LYING, BACKSLIDING INTO PROFANITY:
Mark 14:70. “And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. 71. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.”

We find in this scripture that quite a change in his moral nature has come over Simon Peter since his attempt to defend his Lord in the Garden. To our amazement, at the door, which the damsel opened when John came back for him, Peter had told a deliberate lie by denying his Lord, when she challenged him. As Peter joined the men around a small fire another saw him, and said, “Thou art also one of them. And  Peter said, Man I am not.” To this Simon, now clearly gone with perfect tempest of anger, replies once more that he did not know the man; and then he adds for intensity of denial an oath to prove the truth of his lie. So he reached the second denial: Falsehood had grown into swearing, lying had lapsed into perjury; nobody saw where the end would be.

There is one more step down the slope of wrong that this disciple takes. Peter knew that he was found out and he seeks to escape the trap and get away from this group. He steps out of the light of the fire into a dark place and tries to blend with the crowd. A little while later someone hearing Peter’s talk, the drone, the slur, the tone of his voice as being from Galilee, where the followers of Jesus were from, said “Thou art one of them, thy speech agreeth thereto.” That roused Simon’s rage; then struggling to rescue himself he blundered down deeper into passionate falsification and his old Galilean wrath arose. Curses and oaths of assertion flew from his angry lips; without hesitation he lapsed back on his early training among the boatmen, seafaring  men, of Lake Galilee, and gave the crowd around him a piece of his mind. “He began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the Man of whom you speak.”

The word “curse” means “anathematize,” or “damnation.” In other words he let off his explosive unclean wrath at his own soul, and at theirs with all the usual resourcefulness of profane, foolish men who are trying to make more force in their speech by sending themselves and others where swearers generally go. Is this the Simon Peter Jesus gave the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven? That’s when the cock crew twice.

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

1 Corinthians  9  10  11            

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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26. 27.             
God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                November 26 & 27, 2011

Good Morning!
“Ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”  (2 Corinthians 7:11)  

TEARS OF GENUINE REPENTANCE:
Luke 22:60b. “While he yet spake, the cock crew. 61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

This incident has made its mark on history, and that “feathered songster” has gained a place in poetry and art, and recognition on steeples as a herald to warn against spiritual slumber and defection. Just before the midnight hour Jesus had warned Simon Peter, “Before the cock crows twice thou shalt deny me thrice.” So Simon Peter’s sin was multiplied by his heedlessness of the first of the two signals. After the third vehement denial, Simon Peter was probably standing closer to the fowl that called out the breaking of the day, our Lord even in His torment, turned His head and looked upon Simon Peter. Simon saw His face and read the look of sorrow, immediately he was brought to judgment.

Peter’s heart began to tremble under the strong feeling of painful recollection. He suddenly came to his senses as his eyes met Jesus’ eyes. Two souls in their spiritual conversation through their eyes, not a word was spoken. The high priest was tearing his garments, the hall was filled with outcries of blasphemy, blows were falling upon Him, yet the Lord of heaven and earth heard the cry of a roaster. In the midst of distractions, in the point of time which marked the one terrible crisis of His life, when it would seem that every sensibility of His body and soul would be absorbed in the intensity of His own concern, just then the Lord of glory gives a thought to Simon Peter.

The moment he caught that look of Jesus, “he called to mind the word” of warning and “he thought thereon.” Seized by his conscience Simon Peter rushed out into morning air and began to weep bitterly. There can be no doubt that Simon understood himself better at this moment than ever before, and confessed the meanness and cowardice which had made him lie and swear throughout the ordeal. The one look of Jesus filled his whole soul and body with remorse and penance.

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

1 Corinthians  12  13          
1 Corinthians  14  15  16       

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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28.          God's Grazingfield
Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                               November 28, 2011

Good Morning!
Saturday night passed, and then came the morning of the Lord’s Day

THE FOOT-RACE TO THE SEPULCHER:
John 20:3. “Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulcher. 4. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulcher.”

In the history of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus the presence of Simon Peter is missing. He is not reported as having been seen while the Lord hung upon the cross in the agonies of death. He seems not to have been present when Joseph of Arima-thea came to take Jesus’ body for burial. From the moment he disappears outside the judgment hall in which his Lord had condemned him with a look, and stands weeping bitterly he does not come before our eyes even once till the morning of the resurrection. Where he was during the hours of Friday or Saturday is left untold. A man with the sensibilities of Peter would fairly rage with pain as the memory of that look Jesus gave him kept coming back over and over.

When he does show up in the story again Mary Magdalene finds him in the company of his old Bethsaida friend John, who possible was the only one who knew of Simon Peter’s denial, as he and Peter was the only ones recorded as being at Jesus’ trial. I am sure that John, being such a close friend of Simon Peter, probably kept it to himself, all the others finding it out much later after all had been resolved. I’m sure that John saw the glance of Jesus and took note of how his old friend took it. John probably looked up his friend and stood by him through his grief.

They were together when Mary Magdalene brought the news that Jesus had risen and the tomb was empty, and above all she had actually seen Him. In the race for the tomb, John who was probably younger, outran Simon Peter, and stood at the entrance until Peter arrived, who immediately went into the tomb to make sure of what he had been told. This disciple may have been reluctant to meet Jesus if he had actually risen from the dead.

Much can be learned by what they saw and what they felt at the sepulcher. John was hesitant, Peter was again impulsive. Peter noticed the linen clothes and the napkin, and was struck by the orderliness with which Jesus left things when he arose; John was arrested by the evidence of the resurrection. Peter saw and wondered; John saw and believed.

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

2 Corinthians  1  2  3  4  5          

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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29.             God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                   November 29, 2011

Good Morning!
We have good word that Jesus appeared to Simon Peter soon after the resurrection.

JESUS APPEARS TO SIMON PETER:
Luke 24:34. “Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.”
1 Corinthians 15: 5. “And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:”
John 21:1. “After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberius; and on this wise shewed he himself.”

In the first scripture, Luke 24:34, two men had left Jerusalem just hours before and were on their way home to Emmaus when a stranger joined them in their walk and conversation. After inviting Him in, they realized it was the risen Lord. Rushing back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples, they were immediately informed that shortly after they left Jerusalem, Jesus had appeared to Simon Peter. The second scripture, 1 Corinthians 15: 5, Paul also informs us that Jesus appeared to Simon Peter before He showed Himself to the rest of the disciples. I feel Paul got his information directly from Peter when he spent time with him in Jerusalem (Galatians 1:18).

What took place during that meeting, we are not told but we do know that Jesus appeared to all of the disciples several times. John alone tells us of the meeting in our third scripture, John 21:1, and it is of the utmost importance. This chapter is positively needed. Our affection for Simon Peter is so sincere that we should be glad to hear over and over the words which brought him back to his place of keepers and feeders of sheep. It cannot be doubted that this part of Peter’s biography was what so changed and molded that disciple for all the rest of his life. Simon Peter alluded to only one particular part of this meeting, the high price of discipleship.

The Lord told him during this meeting that he was to eventually to be crucified; thus Simon Peter understood Him. In Peter’s last letter he wrote plainly that he must shortly put off this tabernacle, as the Lord Jesus Christ had told him. I’m quite sure that Simon Peter never forgot one moment of that meeting with his Lord there at the Sea of Tiberius, as his Lord asks over and over, “Lovest thou me more than these?” Referring, no doubt, to his old way of life, the sea, the boat, the nets, fresh air, the freedom from the pain and stress of discipleship. “Yea Lord, thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee.” “Feed my lambs.” Thus Simon Peter became one of the greatest leaders of men in the history of the world.

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

2 Corinthians  6  7  8  9      

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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30.             God's Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                         November 30, 2011

Good Morning!
We as the people of the Name of Jesus have the precious pearls of God’s revealed truths to live by. There is, however, a great need for some practical principals that we can guide our every day living by.

GROWING CHRISTIAN CHARACTER:
Psalms 1:1. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall not prosper.

It is God’s divine plan in the natural world for things to grow and mature to their fullest potential. Just one look around us indicates that God is concerned with progress and growth. If God is concerned that the birds, the flowers, the grass, the trees, and all living things grow to their state of full development, how much more concerned is he that the highest of his creation, mankind, grow and reach his state of full development and fruit bearing! God is certainly concerned with maturity, which is the state of full development. The Psalmist says, “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree: he shall grow like a Cedar in Lebanon.” (Psalms 92:12).

The Cedar trees in Lebanon were the greatest and strongest of all the trees in that area of the world, and David says that God’s people should imitate them in growth and strength. Not only is God concerned with growth and development in the natural world, but He is especially concerned about His “BORN AGAIN” children and their growth and maturity. God in his Word has stressed the importance of growth and reaching towards maturity by every child of God as we read in the following group of scriptures. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:2-3).

Ephesians 3:13. “Till we all come in unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect (Complete, Whole, Mature) man, unto the measure of the stature (Full Grown) of the fullness of Christ. 15b. …may grow up into him in all things,… We pray that the following lessons will add to the growth, the maturity, and the strength of all who read and study them so that their Christian Character will be like the “Tree planted by the rivers of water” (Psalms 1:3).

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

2 Corinthians  10  11  12  13         

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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