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March 2012

    Daily Devotions March 2012

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                    God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion      

1. Today’s First Thoughts                      March 1, 2012

Good Morning!
Gideon's first task was to destroy the altars of Baal in his father's house and to erect an altar to the Lord. He then was ready to become the leader of the people against idolatry and oppression.

THE SWORD OF THE LORD AND OF GIDEON:
Judges 6:11. And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
12. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.

The stories in the Book of Judges have always intrigued me. Since I was a small boy I have joined every one of the heroes in their battles, chasing Philistines, and fighting against the Midianites. These battles were real for God’s people, and the same enemies, only under different names still exist and still assail the people of God. Camped in the valleys below stand the enemies of our soul, seeking to devour. Yet, as Gideon, we first must examine our lives and many times re-erect altars  that have long since disappeared. Prayer and fasting must be revived in order that we can survive. Fear must be conquered by faith. Furthermore, we must pass the “water test” in order to stand with the selected ones that make up this great church.

We live today with the expectation and anticipation of the coming of the Lord. However, in the midst of the anticipation we feel the onslaught of the enemy as he comes against the Church. The Church is assaulted on every side by materialism and worldliness. With God's help, we are well able to conqueror the motions of sin that constantly struggle for supremacy of our lives. However, our weapons are not carnal or conventional, but spiritual and supernatural.

Our Prayer Today: “O God, You Who are the truth, make me one with You in love everlasting. I am often wearied by the many things I hear and read, but in You is all that I long for. Let the learned be still, let all creatures be silent before You; You alone speak to me.”

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online
Numbers  2  3      Luke  16   

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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2.               God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                             March 2, 2012

Good Morning!
God has provided a shelter in Christ allowing us to escape the punishment of our sins. God is our city of refuge.

THE CITIES OF REFUGE:
Hebrews 6:18. That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

This has reference to a sanctuary, or safe-haven, which was provide by the Law of Moses (Numbers 35:11) to people who were involved in the death of a person involuntarily, or, accidentally, to which the manslayer could flee and be safe from those who would seek vengeance upon him. Six cities, in different sections of the Nation of Israel, were set aside. Once inside any one of these cities the person was protected by the Law of Moses from all.

God has provided us a shelter in Jesus Christ, allowing us to escape the punishment of our sins. He has become a refuge to us that we might escape the vengeance of the enemy of our souls. The Old Testament cities of refuge are a beautiful picture of God's plan and power.

As the cities of refuge were divinely ordained and appointed, so was the New Testament plan of Salvation. The coming of Jesus, to live and die, was not just something that happened. Every aspect of it was planned and played a specific part in bringing our hope to pass (Galatians 4:4, Romans 8:29, 1 Corinthians 2:7). The life and death and resurrection of Jesus has made available a way to escape from the dangers of sin and the antagonism and enmity of the devil. Except for the safe refuge which we find in Jesus, we have no option before us besides destruction and death.

Why do you not flee for yourself against the day of judgment when no man can be excused or defended by another because each will have enough to do to answer for himself? One of the most beautiful things about the New Testament refuge is the fact that no one is excluded by the arbitrary barriers of color, race, sex, family or prior record. Jew and Gentile, bond and free, rich and poor, noble and lowly, may all find free access to his salvation.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Numbers  4 5    Luke  17    Psalm  31

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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3. 4.            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 
Today’s First Thoughts                               March 3 & 4, 2012

Good Morning!
Many of the things which men rejoice over cause no rejoicing in heaven.

THE LOST SHEEP:
Luke 15:6b. Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
7. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

How did the sheep come to be lost? There was nothing deliberate about it. A sheep does not intentionally go astray. It nibbles itself astray. It puts its head down to the grass, and begins to eat and eat and eat, and follows on and on, from one clump of grass to another, and at last, looking up, finds it has wandered away from the flock and is lost. In the same manner many people just dabble, or fool around, with things of worldly nature until they find themselves out of church and lost out of the fellowship of God.

THE LOST COIN: The coin, as did the sheep, represents one who is lost. But there is this difference, the sheep was lost through aimless straying, while the coin  was lost through the carelessness of another. It appears that the woman simply let the coin slip through her fingers, and roll away into some dark corner. It was not the coin's doing that it remained there, lost among the debris and the clutter of the house. We must watch the company we associate with lest they lead us away from God.

THE LOST SON: The younger son took his money, went into a far country, wasted his substance, came to dire want and poverty, returned home, and was gladly accepted by his father as one who had risen from the dead. The elder son was lost--just as lost as was the prodigal son. Outwardly, the elder son lived a good moral life. And yet he was lost, for one is not saved because of his morality, but because of his spirituality. The righteousness of the elder son was self-righteousness.

BE WATCHFUL and diligent in God's service and often think of why you left the world and came here. Was it not that you might live for God and become a spiritual man? Strive earnestly for perfection, then, because in a short time you will receive the reward of your labor, and neither fear nor sorrow shall come upon you at the hour of death.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Numbers   6  7       Luke   18
Numbers   8  9       Luke   19     Psalm  32

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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5.             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                             March 5, 2012

Good Morning!
The Lord's ministry to man did not cease at Calvary. He continues to be with His Church today confirming His Word with signs following.

THE EVER PRESENT CHRIST:
John 14:12. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Mark 16:20. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Notice how the disciples completely fulfilled the Great Commission. Jesus said, “Go ye…..” Verse twenty says that “they went forth.” Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world…” Verse twenty says that “they went forth…everywhere." Jesus said, “He that believeth…shall be saved.” Verse twenty says that “they went forth…the Lord working with them." Jesus said, “These signs shall follow them that believe…” Verse twenty says that the Lord confirmed the Word “with signs following.”

All things are possible through Christ. If He is present, there is available power to perform mighty works. The same power that the Apostles received at Pentecost is still in the Church today. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is faithful to His word for those who will believe. He is still an “ever present help in the time of trouble.” (Psalm 45:11)

Let us prepare our heart for this Bridegroom that He may come and dwell within you; He Himself says: “If any one love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him” (John 14:23). Love Him, then; keep Him as a friend. He will not leave you as others do, or let you suffer lasting death. Sometime, whether you will or not, you will have to part with everything. Cling, therefore, to Jesus in life and death; trust yourself to the glory of Him who alone can help you when all others fail. 

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Numbers  10  11        Luke  20

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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6.               God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                               March 6, 2012

Good Morning!
The Passover was a memorial to Israel of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, and it served as a reminder of a coming Messiah. The Lord's Supper should remind us of our deliverance from sin at Calvary and the second coming of our Lord.

IN REMEMBRANCE:
Mark 14:23. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.
24.
And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. 25. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 11:28. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat
of that bread, and drink of that cup.

The Scripture does not give us direct instructions as to how often we should observe the Lord's Supper. Some believe the early Church observed it each time they met. There are some Churches today who do likewise. Some have communion on the first Sunday of each month. Others partake only at special services called for this purpose. Communion should be taken regularly, yet it should not become common place like taking the offering. We should have ample time to pray, and search our hearts, and come before God with a true understanding. We should take time to look backward, forward, inward, outward, and upward.

We should prepare ourselves with great care to partake of the communion.
Jesus tied the significance of this supper to His death on Calvary, but He also looked beyond the cross to the day when He would drink it new with, not only the twelve Apostles, but with all His Disciples in the Father’s Kingdom. All types and shadows will fade away in the presence of the rich fulfillment of these things in the Kingdom of God. Jesus is saying to each of us, “Prepare for Me a large room furnished and I with My disciples will keep the Passover with you.” “If you wish that I come to you and remain with you, purge out the old leaven and make clean the dwelling of your heart.”

Not only should you prepare devoutly before Communion, but you should also carefully keep yourself in devotion after receiving the Sacrament. The careful custody of yourself afterward is no less necessary than the devout preparation before, for a careful afterwatch is the best preparation for obtaining greater grace.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Numbers  12  13        Luke  21      Psalm  33

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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7.                God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion       

Today’s First Thoughts                               March 7, 2012

Good Morning!
Current events, as though spoken from the Scriptures, tell us that the Day of the Lord is upon us. Let us be the children of light in this last hour.

IT IS HIGH TIME ----- LET US WATCH:
Romans 13:11. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”

In our Scripture, the admonition to watch was given. But watch what, where, and when? The word watch may have more than one definition as it is used here. It may mean to look for, to guard, to regard, to be alert, to patrol or survey. Some have failed to watch, often falling asleep in a spiritual sense, Solomon warns that a little sleep will make one a pauper (Proverbs 6:10-11). The saint does not see things unfolding as a passive observer, but with the spiritually discerning eye he notes the smallest detail; he detects and reacts to the slightest variation from truth, holiness, righteousness and the Spirit of God.

In watching for the day of the Lord, there needs to be an inward inspection of the heart, motives, ambitions, and desires. In other words, as the day of the Lord draws closer, we should consistently re-assess the contents of our lives. The Bible calls this an examination of self. (1 Corinthians 11:28) Then every saint should have an outward view that sees the needs of sinners and responds with positive actions. “Look upon the fields,” Jesus once told his disciples, “for they are white and ready for harvest.” Know the time to be a busy time; we have a great deal of work to do, and our Master is calling us to it again and again. Know the time to be a perilous time. We are in the midst of enemies and snares.

Cast off the works of darkness.” Sinful works are works of darkness; they come from the darkness of ignorance and mistake, they covet the darkness of privacy and concealment, and they end in the darkness of hell and destruction. Let us therefore, who are of the day, cast them off; not only cease from the practice of them, but detest and abhor them, and have no more to do with them. Because eternity is just at the door.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Numbers   14 15      Luke  22

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 8.              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion      

 Today’s First Thoughts                               March 8, 2012

Good Morning!
To the children of faith, Jesus Christ offers the privilege of God’s own omnipotence and all the possibilities of His infinite resources!

THE ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES OF FAITH:
Mark 9:23. “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

These are bold and stupendous words. They open the treasure house of the Eternal King to mankind. Side by side with this promise stands another declaration that is just as astounding: “All things are possible with GodMark 10:27.

What are the possibilities of faith? Foremost is salvation. It does not matter how vile the sin or how multiplied or aggravated the guilt. Nor does it matter how deep the corruption or how long was the career of impenitence. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life:” John 3:36.

Sanctification is a second possibility to the person who believes. It is the Lord's will that we “receive... a place among those who are sanctified by faith in [Christ]” We are sanctified (set apart for service) by faith. Listen to the words of the Lord to Paul when he was struck down on the road to Damascus, and instructed in the Gospel he was sent to preach, “But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:16-18)

How is sanctification possible? Only by faith. It is the gift of Jesus Christ, the incoming and indwelling of Christ Himself. It is the interior life and divine imparting to us of the Holy Spirit, and obedience through baptism. All this is possible to anyone who will believe, no matter how unholy he has been. He may be as mean and crooked as Jacob, as gross as David in his darkest sin, as self-confident as Simon Peter or as willful and self-righteous as Paul. Yet he can be and shall be made as spotless as the Son of God.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Numbers   16  17     Luke  23      Psalm  34

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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9.              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                               March 9, 2012

Good Morning!
Love is the most important attribute of a Christian because all other attributes of the Christian have their roots in love.

GOD'S WAY OF LOVE:
1 Corinthians 13:4a. Charity suffereth long, and is kind…”

The human writer (Apostle Paul) of the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, like so many other writers of grand portions of scriptures, was taken outside of himself, and the ordinary level of experience, and into a realm far above human awareness when he wrote this. He saw far beyond the normal range of human vision, beyond life’s jumble of routine demands and conflicts, and into love’s ideal form. In other words the kind of love Paul describes here is beyond human ability alone. Only the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit can give us the ability to fulfill 1 Corinthians 13.

We see qualities of love portrayed that have never been lived, save once, and that was exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ. Yet Paul’s love  chapter seems somehow meant for us to live out. It portrays a life of ideal love. Love is kind, is not jealous, does not get angry quickly, endures very much, goes the second mile, turns the other cheek—and these are qualities for ordinary living in ordinary days. This is our challenge to find ways to bring this kind of love down into our worldly existence.

So is God asking the impossible? Can we do what Paul is asking of us in 1 Corinthians 13? I say yes, in the human effort. It is impossible to have this kind of love God demands by human power alone. No man can live the Beatitudes and the Sermon On The Mount, and
1 Corinthians 13, by his own power or ability. We can only have this kind of love if we have God, “For God is love” (1 John 4:16). Paul tells us, “For the love (agape) of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost” (Romans 5:5).

I have tried to visualize some human like, Mother Teresa or Mohandas Gandhi, who in their human efforts displayed such extraordinary compassion that all the world was moved by their service to mankind. Yet even these, without the Holy Spirit, cannot attain to the ‘agape’ love which Paul describes here in 1 Corinthians 13. There is a vast difference in ‘agape’ love and natural, or human love. ‘Agape’ love is love in it’s truest sense. ‘Agape’ is God Himself. It is the love Paul is describing in 1 Corinthians 13, and he wants us to attain to it.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Numbers   18  19       Luke  24

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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10.  11.         God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                              March 10 & 11, 2012

Good Morning!
We all want to be a soul-winner. In fact all Christians are required to be soul-winners. So the next few devotions we will look at the prerequisites that are necessary to be a soul-winner. 

THE PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF THE SOUL-WINNER:
Psalm 51:9. “Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
10. Create within me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
12. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. 1
3. Then, will I teach transgressors Thy ways and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.”

The Psalmist saw that before he could be a soul-winner, before he could teach
transgressors the way of the Lord and convert sinners, he must have his own sins blotted out; he must have a clean heart and a right spirit; he must be a partaker of the Holy Ghost and of God’s joy. In short, he must have a definite, constant, joyful experience of God’s salvation in his own soul in order to save others. Every soul-winner is in the secret of the Lord, and has had a definite personal experience of salvation and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which brings him into close fellowship and tender friendship and sympathy with the Saviour.

The Psalmist wanted a mighty transformation and cleansing of his whole spiritual nature and a glorious new creation wrought within him by the Holy Ghost. It must be a definite experience that tallies with the Word of God. Only this can give that power and assurance to a man which will enable him to lead and win other men. You must have knowledge before imparting knowledge. You must have fire to kindle fire. You must have life to reproduce life. You must know Jesus and be on friendly terms with Him to be able to introduce others to Him. You must be one with Jesus, and be “bound up in the bundle of life” (1 Samuel 25:29) with Him if you would bring others into that life.

We must have victory ourselves before we can be a soul-winner. People who meet defeat and fail of victory in their own souls will not be largely successful in winning men to Jesus. The very consciousness of defeat makes them uncertain in their exhortation, doubtful and wavering in their testimony, and weak in their faith, and this will not be likely to produce conviction and beget faith in their hearers

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Numbers   20  21       John  1    Psalm  35
Numbers  
22  23       John  2  

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 12.             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion          

 Today’s First Thoughts                               March 12, 2012

 Good Morning!
Men who became soul-winners, they did not guess that they were saved, nor “hope” so, but they knew “whom they believed,” and that they had passed from darkness into light and from the power of Satan unto God.

3,000 Souls Won To Christ:
Acts 2:37 “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
41. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

Peter had repented under the preaching of John the Baptist, had forsaken all to follow Jesus, and had waited with prayer and unquenchable desire until he had received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire, and had been anointed with power from on high, before he became the fearless, mighty preacher who won 3,000 converts in a day. Paul was mightily converted on the road to Damascus, and heard the voice of Jesus tell him what to do, and was baptized with the Holy Ghost under the teaching of Ananias before he became the apostle of quenchless zeal who turned the world upside down.

The experience that makes a man a soul-winner: It is not by growth that men become such soul-winners, but by revelation. This must have led to repentance toward God, by which I mean sorrow for and an utter turning away from sin, followed by a confiding trust in Jesus Christ as his Saviour. He must have so believed as to bring a restful consciousness that for Christ’s sake his sins have been forgiven and that he has been adopted into God’s family and made one of His dear children. This consciousness results from what Paul calls “the witness of the Spirit,” and enables the soul to cry out in deep confidence and affection, “Abba Father.”

It is not until God bursts through the veil and reveals Himself in their hearts through faith in His dear Son. and gives a consciousness of personal acceptance with Him, and sheds abroad His love in the heart, destroying unbelief, burning away sin, consuming selfishness, and filling the soul with the passion that filled the heart of Jesus, that men become soul-winners. He must have the baptism of the Holy Ghost —a personal Pentecost — and the incoming of a great love for, and loyalty to, Jesus Christ, before he can be largely used to win souls.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Numbers  24  25     John   3      Psalm  36

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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13.         God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion       

Today’s First Thoughts                              March 13, 2012

Good Morning!
I have noticed that if I speak when the Spirit moves me, I can usually introduce the subject of religion and God’s claims to any individual or company of men with happy results, but if I delay, the opportunity slips by, not to return again, or if it does return, it does so with increased difficulties.

OBEY THE URGE TO SPEAK TO A SOUL:
Acts 9:15. “Go thy way: for he (Paul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16. For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.”
Acts 26:19. “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:”

“I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:29), said Paul, and in that saying he reveals the secret of his wonderful success as a soul-winner. The soul-winner is a man sent by God, and will have visions and revelations and secret orders that, if affectionately heeded and heartily and courageously obeyed, will surely lead to success. He is preeminently “a worker together with God,” and a soldier of Jesus Christ, and as such must obey. It is his business to take orders and carry them out.

“Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it,” said Mary to the servants at the marriage of Cana, and when they obeyed Him Jesus wrought His first miracle. And so He will work miracles today through His chosen people, if they will do whatever He saith. The soul-winner must beware of quenching the blessed Spirit, and then he will find that it is not himself but the Spirit that speaks in him, so that he can say with Jesus, “The words that I speak, I speak not of Myself, but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works,” for does not Jesus say, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, that will I do?” When you feel the prompting of God to speak to a friend or co-worker about their soul, obey that prompting quickly because it may never come again in like manner.

Paul declares, “If I do this thing willingly, I have a reward.” It is a glad love service God calls us to, and once we are wholly His and the Comforter abides in us, we shall not find it irksome to obey, and by obedience we shall both save ourselves and others to whom the Lord may send us.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Numbers  26  27      John 4

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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14.             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                              March 14, 2012

Good Morning!
Prayer is the way of approach to God, and the soul-winner keeps it open by constant use. It is the channel by which all spiritual blessings and power are received

THE LIFE OF THE SOUL-WINNER MUST BE ONE OF CEASELESS PRAYER.
Luke 6:12. “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”

When Jesus prayed all night it was followed by mighty works, and He also promised great works to us when we pray. What an amazing statement is this: “Whatsoever things ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them;” and this: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you;” and this: “If ye abide in Me and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you!” And yet, amazing as they are, there they stand in “the Scripture of truth,” a challenge to every child of God who is jealous for God’s glory, who longs for the triumph of righteousness and who seeks the salvation of souls.

The soul-winner must pray in secret; he must get alone with God and pour his heart into his Heavenly Father’s ear with intercessions and pleadings and arguments, if he would have good success. There is no substitute for much wide-awake, expectant, secret waiting upon God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the gift of wisdom, strength, courage, hope, and faith. If men fail at this point, they will in due time fail at every point Jesus said: “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

Here, then, is the secret of success closet communion and conversations with God, who is our Father, and who can and will no more turn away from us when we come in the spirit of an obedient and affectionate child. We should be definite when we go to God, in asking him for what we want, as we are when we go to the store. The salesman is prepared to sell us anything and everything in the store, but he in reality sells us nothing until we tell him what we want, and so it is with our Heavenly Father. Finally, prayer must be in the name of Jesus. “Whatsoever ye will ask in My name that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son,” said Jesus.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Numbers  28  29      John  5    Psalm  37

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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15.              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                               March 15, 2012

Good Morning!
The soul-winner must value time. Diamonds and gold nuggets are not so precious as minutes. Time is the most precious commodity God give us.

REDEEMING THE TIME:
Ephesians 5:15. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

What is life but a glad, present consciousness of God and self and duty, and a hearty obedience thereto? But he that kills time seeks to forget, and would be far better dead. And yet thoughtless idlers try to “kill time,” and thus destroy their most
valuable possession. If you would redeem the time, begin the moment your eyes open in the morning. Let no idle, foolish, hurtful thoughts be harbored for an instant, but begin at once to pray and praise God and to meditate on His glories, His goodness and faithfulness and truth, and your heart will soon burn within you and bubble over with joy. Bounce out of your bed at once and get the start of your work and push it, else it will get the start and push you. For—

If you in the morning.
Throw minutes away,
You can’t pick them up
In the course of the day.
You may hurry and scurry,
And flurry and worry,
You’ve lost them forever,
Forever and ever.”

To redeem time one does not want feverish hurry, but a prompt, steady, quiet use of the minutes. It was said of John Wesley that he was always in haste, but never in a hurry. “Make haste slowly,” is a wise old adage. If you would save time, have a Bible, a notebook and a pencil always at hand. The Gospel of  Matthew can be read through in two hours. This may not be the most profitable way to read it, and yet it will pay to read it right through at one sitting, that we may see the life of Jesus as a whole as we would the life of any man. Paul’s first letter to Timothy can be read in twenty minutes, while Jude can be read in three minutes easily. Then don’t throw away these minutes.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Numbers  30  31     John  6

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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16.              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                              March 16, 2012

Good Morning!
The soul-winner must take the best care he knows how of his body, yet without everlastingly coddling and petting and pitying himself. This is his sacred duty.

LOOK AFTER YOUR HEALTH:
3 John 2. “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

The body is the instrument through which the mind and the soul work in this world. A good body is as essential to the soul-winner as is a good instrument to the musician, or a stanch boat to the strong rower, and should be no more despised and neglected than is his gun by the huntsman or his axe by the woodsman. “Know ye not,” Paul said, “that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?” and “if any man defile” (“destroy”) “the temple of God, him will God destroy.” As the most skillful musician is dependent upon his instrument for the richness and sweetness of the music he makes, so men, in every walk of life, are in a large measure limited by and dependent upon the quality of the body through which their mental and spiritual powers must work.

Moses’ Health: When Moses died on Mount Nebo at 120 years of age, “his eyes were not dimmed nor his natural force abated,” and that notwithstanding the fact that for forty years he had had the tremendous task of organizing, legislating for, judging and ruling a great nation of slaves just delivered from 400 years of bondage and wandering like sheep in a mountainous wilderness. The Apostle Paul must have had a robust constitution and fairly good health to have endured the stonings and whippings, imprisonments and shipwrecks, hungerings and thirstings, fighting with fierce beasts and contentions with yet fiercer men, besides the care of all the churches which fell to his lot daily.

Those who desire good health, long life and a cheerful old age should live simply and have a regular routine; they should seek enough sleep, get regular exercise, and eat sensibly. No rule can be laid down to fit every case, however, so that the soul-winner who is a conscientious man must find out for himself what is best for himself, make it his own rule and keep it religiously as unto the Lord. There must be rest for this body. I have found that when I get very tired and am least fit to do anything, that I then feel an imperative necessity for doing something, and then it is that I must put on the brakes and rest by sheer force of will, if need be.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Numbers  32  33      John  7     Psalm  38

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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17. 18.           God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion 

Today’s First Thoughts                        March 17 & 18, 2012

Good Morning!
The need for frequent renewing and anointing does not necessarily arise from backsliding. Sometimes the soul feels the need of a renewal of its power when confronted by great opposition, danger and powerful foes.

WE MUST BE RENEWED FREQUENTLY:
2 Corinthians 4:16b. “.., yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

When the Apostle Paul wrote this he could look back to his youthful days when his body was full of vigor and with great enthusiasm he set out to conquer the world. But now, after years of toil and suffering for the Lord’s sake, his body is worn and it takes more effort to get up and get the day started. But his praises and thanksgiving flow more feely than ever before. His “inward man” is being renewed each day.

To do God’s work we must have God’s power. Therefore Jesus said: “Tarry ye in Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). And again He said: “Ye shall receive power when the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8). The soul-winner receives this power when he is sanctified wholly and filled with the Spirit, and he need never lose it. But while the Holy Spirit abides with the believer, there yet seems to be need for frequent renewals of the power He bestows. And, thank God, He made ample provision to meet this need. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength,” said Isaiah. “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord,” cries David.

The apostles were filled with the Holy Ghost, and had not only won their great Pentecostal victory, but many others as well, when suddenly a stubborn wall of opposition arose before them. They were arrested by the rulers, thrust into prison, brought before the high priest, sharply questioned by what power and name they were working their miracles, and then when no ground for punishment could be and commanded to preach no more in the name of Jesus. (Acts 4:18).

When they were let go they went to their own people, told them what had happened, and began a sweet, childlike, heaven storming prayer meeting, told the Lord the story, too, and cried to Him to show forth His power, and then a wonderful thing happened; Pentecost was repeated; “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were assembled shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke the word of God with boldness. 
(Acts 4:31).

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Numbers   34  35       John  8
Numbers  
36             Deuteronomy  1     John  9      Psalm  39

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 19.            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion       

Today’s First Thoughts                               March 19, 2012

Good Morning!
Revival that is produced by the reading and understanding of the Word of God has lasting benefits. The word of God (Bible) is the only true course for men to walk.

REVIVAL BY THE WORD--DISCOVERING THE WORD TODAY:
2 Kings 22:8. And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. (KJV)

Could it be that the Word of God is lost in our own homes today? How we need to discover the Word and begin to read it and obey its precepts. Many homes have the Bible laying as a decorative piece, but the members of the family are totally ignorant to its contents. America! Pentecostal homes! We need to discover God's Word in our homes. What blessings come to us when we find the Word and see what it tells us. Every father should discover the Bible, read it to their children, and enjoy the blessings from doing this. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

And He led them forth by the right way...Psalm 107:7a “Wrong Way!”
Just after five o'clock on the morning of July 17, 1938, Douglas Corrigan, 31, took off in an old secondhand plane from New York City on a nonstop solo flight across America. He was bound for Los Angeles. Turning into a cloud, Corrigan's plane disappeared into the eastern sky. Twenty-eight hours later, he landed--in Dublin, Ireland. “I'm Douglas Corrigan,” he told onlookers. “Just got in from New York. Where am I? I intended to fly to California.” He was known for the rest of his long life as “Wrong Way Corrigan," and he blamed his error on a faulty compass. “Chart and compass come from Thee; Jesus, Savior, pilot me.”

If you're an aviator, a hiker, or a soldier, you want a compass that works with precision, one that reads truly in the storms when the landmarks are altered, the sky is darkened, and the stars are blackened in the heavens. It's sad to come to the end of our days only to realize we've gone the wrong way. God alone is our moral compass, and the Bible gives us the true directions for life. The Bible is still the best seller in the world, and perhaps it is still the best read book. It is life-giving, revealing to men and women how to be saved, how to live pleasing to God, and how to be ready to go to Heaven. It will direct our lives, encourage our hearts, warn us of impending dangers, and reward us with peace, joy, and love.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Deuteronomy  2  3      John  10 

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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20.          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                               March 20, 2012

Good Morning!
All spiritual service must start with a burden. Upon hearing about the distress of his people in Jerusalem, Nehemiah's heart was so moved that he voluntarily offered his services to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

A BURDEN FOR GOD'S KINGDOM:
Nehemiah 2:18. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.

Some people leave the impression that they are too spiritually inclined to sweep the floors or get involved in any physical labor for the church. But we see in this incident that the will and power of God was closely involved in what was almost entirely a non-spiritual, physical project. We all enjoy the great church and camp meeting services, but somehow those services seem just a little sweeter and richer to those who have borne the burden and have done the physical labor necessary for providing a place to worship.

When the people began to catch the vision of possible accomplishment, imparted by a burdened heart, they were greatly encouraged. They were inspired to break out of the lethargic inertia which had gripped them so long and to rise up and build. Many a good work would find hands to do it if there were but one good head to lead into it. They all saw the desolation of Jerusalem yet none proposed to repair them; but when Nehemiah proposed it, they all consented to it. It is a pity that many times a good motion should be lost purely for the lack of one to move it and break the ice.

By stirring up ourselves and one another to that which is good, we strengthen ourselves and one another. The reason why we are weak in our duty is because we are cold to it, indifferent and unresolved.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online: for it
Deuteronomy   4  5          John  11   Psalm  40 

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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21.            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                              March 21, 2012

Good Morning!
In the next few devotions we want to look at our hearts. The state (attitude) of the heart is the most important thing concerning our lives.

THE STATE OF THE HEART:
Matthew 5:8. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
Mark 7:20. “And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
21. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22. Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
23. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

We speak of “heartthrobs,” “heartaches,” and “broken hearts.” But when Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart,” he was speaking in a different context. To Jesus’ listeners, the heart was the totality of the inner person where all of a person’s emotions and thoughts took place.  The heart was thought of as the seat of the character—the origin of desires, affections, perceptions, thoughts, reasoning, imagination, conscience, intentions, purpose, will, and faith. Thus a proverb admonished, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” We will keep this same vane of thought as we look into our hearts.

Jesus is telling us that the heart is the center of the spiritual life. If the fruit of a tree is bad, you don’t try to fix the fruit; you treat the roots. And if a person’s actions are evil, it’s not enough to change habits; you have to go deeper. You have to go to the heart of the problem, which is the problem of the heart. That is why the state of the heart is so critical. What’s the state of yours? When someone barks at you, do you bark back or bite your tongue? That depends on the state of your heart.

When your schedule is too tight or your to-do list too long, do you lose your cool or keep it? That depends on the state of your heart. When you are offered a morsel of gossip marinated in slander, do you turn it down or pass it on? That depends on the state of your heart. The state of your heart dictates whether you harbor a grudge or give grace, seek self-pity or seek Christ, drink human misery or taste God’s mercy. No wonder, then, the wise man begs, “Above all else, guard your heart.” David’s prayer should be ours: “Create in me a pure heart, O God.” And Jesus’ statement rings true: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Deuteronomy  6  7      John  12

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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22.               God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion 

Today’s First Thoughts                               March 22, 2012

Good Morning!
Above all else, guard your heart for out of it comes the issues of life.

DO YOU HAVE A HOLE IN YOUR HEART?
Mark 7:21b. “..out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22. Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:”

At most every collision between two or more vehicles the fire department responses in case a fuel tank is ruptured and a fire ensues to endanger the occupants. Those collisions, terrible as it is, is mild compared to the ones that occur daily in our relationships. We’ve all been there. Someone doesn’t meet your expectations. Promises go unfulfilled. Verbal weapons are drawn, and a round of words is fired. The result? A collision of  your heart against the core of someone’s actions. Precious energy escapes, coating the surface of your soul with the deadly film of resentment. A black blanket of bitterness darkens your world, dims your sight, sours your outlook, and suffocates your joy.

Do you have a hole in your heart? Perhaps the wound is old. A parent abused you. A teacher slighted you. A mate betrayed you. A business partner bailed out, leaving you a stack of bills or bankruptcy. And you are angry. Or perhaps the wound is fresh. The friend who owes you money just drove by in a new car. The boss who hired you with promises of promotions has forgotten how to pronounce your name. Your circle of friends escaped on a weekend getaway, and you weren’t invited. The children you raised seem to have forgotten you exist. And you are hurt.

Part of you is broken, and the other part is bitter. Part of you wants to cry, and part of you wants to fight. The tears you cry are hot because they come from your heart, and there is a fire burning in your heart. It’s the fire of anger. It’s blazing. It’s consuming. Its flames leap up under a steaming pot of revenge.  you are left with a decision. “Do I put the fire out or heat it up? Do I get over it or get even? Do I release it or resent it? Do I let my hurts heal, or do I let hurt turn into hate?” That’s a good definition of resentment: Resentment is when you let your hurt become hate. Resentment is when you allow what is eating you to eat you up. Resentment is when you poke, stoke, feed, and fan the fire, stirring the flames and reliving the pain. Resentment is the deliberate decision to nurse the offense until it becomes a black, furry, growling grudge.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Deuteronomy  8  9     John  13     Psalm  41

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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23.                God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                              March 23, 2012

Good Morning!
Resentment is the deliberate decision to nurse the offense until it becomes a black, furry, growling grudge filling our hearts with hatred.

A GRUDGES IS A DEEP-SEATED FEELING OF RESENTMENT OR RANCOR:
Ephesians 4:26. “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”

Grudge, say it slowly: “Grr-uuuud-ge.” It starts with a growl. “Grr …” Like a bear coming out of hibernation or a mangy mongrel defending his bone in an alley. “Grrr …” Being near a resentful person and petting a growling dog are equally enjoyable.

People who hold a grudge if they are bubbling with anything it is anger. And if they are full of anything, it is poisonous barbs of condemnation for all the people who have hurt them. Grudge bearers and angry animals are a lot alike. Both are irritable. Both are explosive. Both can be rabid. Someone needs to make a sign that can be worn around the neck of the resentful: “Beware of the Grrrrudge Bearer.” It’s not enough to accuse; the other person’s character must be attacked. It’s insufficient to point a finger; a rifle must be aimed. Slander is slung. Names are called. Circles are drawn. Walls are built. And enemies are made.

Is this the way you are coping with your hurts? Are you allowing your hurts to turn into hates? If so, ask yourself: Is it working? Has your hatred done you any good? Has your resentment brought you any relief, any peace? Has it granted you any joy? How are you coping with your hurts? Let’s say you get even. Let’s say you get him back. Let’s say she gets what she deserves. Let’s say your fantasy of fury runs its ferocious course and you return all your pain with interest. Imagine yourself standing  over the corpse of the one you have hated. Will you now be free?

Let us say with David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). Let us end each day by searching our hearts with prayer and honest devotion before God, and if any anger or grudges exist let us purge it from us before the sun goes down.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Deuteronomy  10  11     John   14

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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24.  25.              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                               March 24 & 25, 2012

Good Morning! 
Never underestimate the power of a seed.

SOW SEEDS OF PEACE:
James 3:18. “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”

James knew that every year farmers and gardeners plant tiny seeds and cover them with dirt and lo and behold after a few days those tiny seeds which were planted will push aside the dirt that was piled on top of them and spring out into the open air. In like manner he knew that the principle for peace is the same as the principle for crops that those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness, and righteousness. How good are you at sowing seeds of peace? You may not be called on to ward off international conflict, but you will have opportunities to do something more vital: to bring inner peace to troubled hearts. Jesus modeled this. We don’t see him settling many disputes or negotiating conflicts. But we do see him cultivating inward harmony through acts of love: washing the feet of men he knew would betray him, having lunch with a corrupt tax official, honoring the sinful woman whom society had scorned.

Want to see a miracle? Plant a word of love heart-deep in a person’s life. Nurture it with a smile and a prayer, and watch what happens. Give an employee a compliment, your wife a bouquet of flowers, Bake a cake and carry it next door, hug a widow. Tip gas-station attendant, do something nice for your preacher. Sowing seeds of peace is like sowing beans. You don’t know why it works; you just know it does. Seeds are planted, and top-soils of hurt are shoved away. Don’t forget the principle. Never underestimate the power of a seed. God didn’t.

Want to see a miracle? Watch God as he places the seed of his own self in the fertile womb of a Jewish girl. Up it grew, “like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground.” The seed spent a lifetime pushing back the stones that tried to keep it underground. The seed made a ministry out of shoving away the rocks that cluttered his father’s soil. But it was the final stone that proved to be the supreme test of the seed. The stone of death—rolled by humans and sealed by Satan in front of the tomb. For a moment it appeared the seed would be stuck in the earth. For a moment, it looked like this rock was too big to be budged. Then, somewhere in the heart of the earth, the seed of God stirred, shoved, and sprouted. The ground trembled, and the rock of the tomb tumbled. And the flower of Easter blossomed.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Deuteronomy   12  13     John  15      Psalm  42
Deuteronomy  
14  15     John  16 

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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26.             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                              March 26, 2012

Good Morning!
The cross is not a beautiful object, it represented death. Yet today millions of people wear little gold crosses hung around their necks. Why? Because Jesus somehow transformed this most gruesome method of execution into something glorious.

THORNS AND CROSSES:
Luke 9:22. “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
23. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

As Jesus mentions His death in these verses we have two cruel form of torture represented, thorns and crosses. The path He has for us seems clear here. We are to pick up our cross and follow Him. The cross He has for us should not be confused with the thorns of life, our common human inheritance. The cross is chosen willingly. We choose to pick it up daily or we can choose not to. We tend to say of those who are ill, bereaved, or suffering financial difficulties that they “have their cross to bear.” But those unfortunate happenings are not crosses. Those are the thorns we have not chosen. In 2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul writes about having a thorn in the flesh. There is much speculation about what it was. He had some physical ailment that was uncomfortable and unpleasant. Mental and physical afflictions are to be expected in this life, they are thorns we did not chose.

Thorns are un-chosen suffering. Christ came to alleviate suffering. We can be burden-bearers with each other in our suffering. But suffering in itself is not noble. It is simply part of life. When you are able to endure a painful thorn in the flesh by the grace of God, you are a profound witness to your contemporaries. I know any number of people who have borne some of life’s most difficult thorns with courage.

But bearing your cross is quite a different matter. Your cross is not like Jesus’ cross. His cross was a literal one and He died on it to forgive our sins. He says to His disciples here and He says to us today to take up our cross daily. Our cross is that difficult thing we choose to do because we are His people. We receive grace to be brave and uncomplaining through our thorns but the glory comes as we pick up our cross for His sake. We choose a hard place, a difficult relationship, a thankless job. We serve on a committee, or get involved with a neighbor. We do the things we don’t have to do because we feel it is God’s will for us. We say, like Isaiah, “Here am I. Send me.”

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Deuteronomy  16  17           John  17     Psalm  43 

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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27.               God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion  

Today’s First Thoughts                               March 27, 2012

Good Morning!
Jesus is very interested in the progress of our faith.

THINGS THAT MAKE JESUS REJOICE:
Luke 10:1. “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
17. And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
18. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 21. In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit,..”

On this occasion Jesus is sending out the seventy, much as the twelve were sent out earlier. On the earlier occasion it is recorded that “Jesus gave them power against unclean spirits” (Matthew 10:1), and his briefing of the seventy is very similar. First He sent them out in pairs. It seems to me there is a cooperative interaction—a spiritual energy—released when two or more are involved in the same ministry. The seventy are told to take no luggage and to get going without delay.

As He said to the twelve, that they are not to bless the unwilling. That’s still wise advice. Don’t waste your time on people who yawn or get angry or want to argue. Jesus advises us to tell the exciting news to those who are eager to hear. He says, “Do not go from house to house” socializing. In other words, the seventy were not to stop and engage in small talk: “Hello. How are you? How’s your mother? Is your daughter still in school?” They were to live simply, heal the sick, and proclaim the kingdom of God. God gives this same commission to us if we are His people.

As He sent the seventy, so He sends us out with the same authority and the same commission. When the seventy return, they are filled with joy. They can’t believe what’s happened to them. They say, “Even the demons are subject to us through Your name” (v. 17). They are delighted by the visible results of their mission. Their powers are not just spiritual. In verse 21, Jesus “rejoiced” upon hearing this news. This is the only place where this particular word is used to describe Jesus’ emotions. He is beside Himself with joy when He hears their report. It’s mind-boggling to realize that we have the power to make God rejoice by our fruitful ministry. The seventy discovered they had the power of Jesus to help and heal and liberate, and we who are believers are the descendants of those seventy.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Deuteronomy   18  19     John  18

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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28.                God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion      

Today’s First Thoughts                                March 28, 2012

Good Morning!
The doctrine of the Virgin Birth is the biblical affirmation that God actually became man; that God entered the world in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

THE BIRTH OF THE KING:
Matthew 1:18. “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”

The story of Jesus’ birth is told in a beautiful and simple style. There are matter-of-fact statements about the most mysterious aspects of the conception of Jesus. The Incarnation took place by the agency of the Holy Ghost in the life of a young woman referred to as a virgin. It was during the year of their betrothal that Mary made known to Joseph that she was with child by the miraculous act of God. Joseph is referred to as a just man with special love and consideration for Mary. Confronted with the problem of his betrothed being pregnant, he contemplated how to end the betrothal in a divorce. He sought ways to do it privately rather than to expose her publicly.

In his careful contemplation, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph with a message from God. “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:20). in Matthew the word ‘parthenos’ is interpreted as virgin. From this passage and the account in Luke 1, the doctrine of the Virgin Birth of Christ is affirmed. Other New Testament passages dealing with the Incarnation should be seen in relation to this passage with a high Christology interpreting for us the meaning of Incarnation. Such references include the Gospel of John 1:1–18; Philippians 2:5–11; Colossians 1:15–19; Hebrews 1:1–13; 1Timothy 3:16; 1 John 1:1–3; and others. These are theological presentations of the mystery of Incarnation wherein the eternal God came into the world as Jesus of Nazareth.

The doctrine of the Virgin Birth is the biblical affirmation that God actually became man; that God entered the world in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. We do not argue that this Jesus of Nazareth must be divine because of His unusual birth, being born of a virgin, but rather we affirm that God actually came into the world by a Virgin Birth and thus God became man. Later Jesus said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9).

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Deuteronomy  20  21    John  19     Psalm  44

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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29.              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion             

Today’s First Thoughts                                March 29, 2012

Good Morning!
It is from Luke’s Gospel that we learn that when the Lord of glory came to earth He was born in a stable, cradled in a manger, sheltered among the beasts of the earth.

THE KING IS BORN:
Matthew 2:1. “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”

Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, a small town five miles south of Jerusalem, previously called Ephrath. It was here that Jacob had buried Rachel and had set up a pillar in memory of her (Genesis 48:7). It was here that Ruth had lived when she married Boaz 
(Ruth 1:22). More significantly, Bethlehem was the home of David (1 Samuel 16:1–13) and it remained in the history of Israel as uniquely the City of David. It was from the City of David that the Jewish community expected David’s greater son to be born; from this city they expected God’s appointed Messiah. The prophet Micah is quoted by Matthew predicting that Bethlehem would be the city from which the Deliverer would come (Micah 5:2).

Matthew tells us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the City of David, emphasizing the royal lineage. His emphasis is clearly focused on the kingly lineage of the Christ even in the lowly circumstances of His birth. Again, the quotation from the Old Testament prophet is the bridge from the old covenant to the new and a further testimony to salvation history, the fulfillment of God’s plan predicted through the ages by His prophets.

As was common in those ancient days, such men of science and wisdom studied the stars, believing in astrology. They held that a man’s destiny was influenced or settled by the star under which he was born. If some spectacular phenomenon appeared in the heavens, it impressed them that God was breaking into the natural order and announcing some special event. The wise men represent Gentiles coming from distant areas of the world to worship Christ the King. Matthew presents the gospel of salvation history, introducing the Son of God as King of kings, as a ruler of a new kingdom which extends far beyond the borders of national Israel, we note that at the very beginning of the Gospel there is a relationship to the Gentiles.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Deuteronomy  22  23      John  20     

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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30.             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                               March 30, 2012

Good Morning!
God provided a wonderful father for his Son.

THE KING AT HOME IN NAZARETH:
Matthew 2:21. “And he (Joseph) arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
23. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Once again, divine instruction led Joseph, and he took Jesus and His mother, Mary, and returned to Israel. Again, he was instructed by God in a dream not to stay in Judea, and he journeyed on to Galilee. From these various communications we can discern something of the character of Joseph. He was evidently a man of great reverence who meditated and prayed to discern the will of God. With that sensitivity, God could communicate with him and know that he would understand. These instances are confirmation of Joseph’s integrity and piety as the kind of man to whom God would entrust to be a father to His Son.

Matthew designates Jesus as a Nazarene, who is a person uniquely set aside by vows of service to God (Judges 13:5), not from the standpoint of the vows, but from the standpoint of his living and growing up in Nazareth. Nazareth is not to be thought of as a backwoods community, but was on the trade routes of the world. Located in the north of Israel, it was a town which lay in the hills of the southern part of Galilee, on the major trade routes which carried the news of the world. All one needed to do was to climb the hills of Nazareth to have a view of the world.

Jesus, as a boy, could have observed and met travelers of many nations. Another road came through this community from Telmius on the sea to the west, traveling on to Tiberias and the eastern frontiers of the Roman Empire. On this road the caravans from the east moved to the coast on the west, while the Roman legions moved from the coast into the eastern frontiers. Thus Jesus was brought up in a town where the traffic from the ends of the earth moved through His sphere of life. Jesus’ boyhood days exposed him to the cultures and philosophies of people of all nations. In this way unknown thousands would have met the King of kings and not realizing who He was, and what He would become.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Deuteronomy  24  25     John  21    Psalm  45

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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31.              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                            March 31 & April 1, 2012

Good Morning!
Kings have always had a courier to go before them heralding their coming.

JOHN’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE KING:
Matthew 3:1. “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2. And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
11. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
13. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.”

For thirty years Jesus had lived in Nazareth, awaiting the time when the Father would direct Him to begin His public ministry. His act of being baptized by John was a complete and full identification with the kingdom that John was announcing. Baptism symbolized the turning from the old to the new. Jesus’ baptism was His own symbolic act of identification with the new, of participation in the kingdom of God. Jesus’ use of the word “righteousness” is significant, for righteousness is the word which denotes right relationship. Jesus’ act of being baptized was a witness to the rightness of His relationship in the kingdom and to His right relationship with God, the sovereign of this kingdom.

A second symbolic happening with Jesus’ baptism was the descending of the Spirit of God upon Him. As John said in his witness, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit’” (John 1:32–33). John was granted the visual symbol of the Spirit of God lighting on Jesus in the fashion of a dove alighting—the assurance that this was the King coming in His kingdom. But the Spirit came as a dove, not as a lion upon “the Lion of the Tribe of Judah” in power, but with dovelike meekness.

The third certification is the voice from heaven which John heard at the baptism. The voice said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” At Jesus’ baptism He is given this divine confirmation from the Father, a word of His being and His behavior, of His acceptance and His approval. The person of the King is now introduced as the Son of God!

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Deuteronomy   26  27    Acts  1
Deuteronomy   28  29    Acts  2      Psalm  46

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

 

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