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April 2012

Devotions April 2012
Tulips In The Spring
                               Tulips In The Spring
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          Today Is, Thursday, August 17, 2017
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                             April 2012
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1.
                           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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2.                            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                  April 2, 2012

Good Morning!
William Barclay quotes the Jewish saying, “The Holy One, blest be His name, does not elevate a man to dignity until he has first tried and searched him; if he stands in temptation then he raises him to dignity.”

TESTING OF THE KING:
Matthew 4:1. “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.”

Immediately following the baptism of Jesus and the divine manifestations of His Sonship, Matthew and Luke give us the account known as the Temptations of Christ. Jesus is now to enter publicly into His work of introducing men and women to the kingdom of God, calling them into fellowship with God. The question facing Him was that of how He should fulfill this task. The word “tempt” as used in this passage is the translation of the Greek word peirazein. It carries the basic meaning “to test.” Such testing is a necessary part of life in revealing the true mettle of a man.  Jesus had His sense of vocation tested with the choice between God’s kingdom and Satan’s.

A classic illustration of testing is found in the story of God’s testing Abraham (Genesis 22), in which God asked that he give his only son, Isaac, the son whom he loved, as a sacrifice to Jehovah. In Abraham’s act of obedience he demonstrated the absolute commitment of his life to God and His will. Similarly, the testing of Jesus is the demonstration of His full commitment to His Father. John writes of Jesus that “He did always those things which pleased the Father.” This testing experience became the inaugural event by which Jesus entered His ministry. While the devil was an agent in the testing, the choice was as much to rise as to fall.

Here in this wilderness area Jesus walked alone with God, pondering and praying over His mission, and was attacked by the devil with the suggestion of alternate ways in which He might achieve His goal. Satan’s temptations were self-serving approaches to the ambitions of life, while Jesus’ answer and pattern was the way of sacrificial love which led to the Cross. In this account of the testing of Jesus we are given one of the most intimate glimpses into His inner life. Since Jesus was alone in the wilderness, it is His own story as He recounted it to His disciples. We could call it a spiritual autobiography.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Deuteronomy   30  31     Acts  3

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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3.                            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                   April 3, 2012

Good Morning!
Jesus, in the many temptations that followed, such as that at Caesarea Philippi when He had to ask Peter, as an agent of temptation to get behind Him, or the searching temptations in the Garden of Gethsemane to bypass the Cross, always responded in a manner consistent with the basic decisions made in the testing in the wilderness.

THE KING CONQUERORS TEMPTATION:
Matthew 4:3. “And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
6. And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
8. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9. And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”

Significantly, testing comes to us at our points of power or ability, urging us to use those powers for our own self-aggrandizement. The tempter’s approach was to say, “If You are the Son of God…,” perhaps as a suggestion of doubt over the witness at baptism. Or, “since you are the God’s Son...” use your powers. This means that the temptation was not primarily to focus doubt on the question of His Sonship but rather, in view of the voice from heaven affirming Him as God’s Son, to use this privilege for His own self-interests. On occasions of spiritual blessing, we are tested as to whether we will use spiritual privilege for the will of God and His glory or for our own self-interests.

First was the temptation to turn the stones into bread, that is, to use His powers selfishly. There is an inference that He could become a king who would use His power to meet man’s material needs and thereby secure his service in His kingdom. Jesus’ answer is taken from Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” From Israel’s experience in the wilderness, when they were fed by the miraculous hand of God but taught that the deeper meanings of life are more than to satisfy the hungers of the body. Jesus conquered temptation through the power of God’s Word. When Satan comes with temptation tell him, “it is written … …,” and he will flee from you.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Deuteronomy  32  33    Acts  4      Psalm   47

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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4.                           God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion
          

 Today’s First Thoughts                                April 4, 2012

Good Morning!
Jesus’ miracles were unselfish expressions which served the good of others and glorified God rather than miracles for His own self-interest.

THE KING REPRIMANDS  SATAN BY THE WRITTEN WORD:
Matthew 4:5. “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6. And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

The second temptation was to make Jesus a wonder-worker and thereby attract people to follow Him. The tempter projected Him into a vision of standing atop the temple on Mount Zion. At the corner where the Royal Porch and Solomon’s Porch met was a drop of 450 feet into the valley of the brook Kidron. This means to appear from above, miraculously introducing His national leadership. Satan’s temptation suggested that Jesus stand atop that pinnacle and leap down and, by landing unharmed, present Himself to the multitudes as a wonder-worker. To support his temptation, Satan quoted from the Old Testament, “He shall give His angels charge over you, in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11–12). 

Satan used Scripture, but took it out of context and bent it to his own advantage. Unless one is honest with the Bible, interpreting it in its context and historic meaning, an application can be a perversion of the Scripture. Christians sometimes fall prey to seeking proof-texts to back up an idea of their own rather than to be honest with the Holy Scripture. But Jesus knew the Scripture well, and said, “It is written again,” with a direct answer to Satan’s temptation, “you shall not tempt the Lord your God.”  Jesus understood the Word and, discerning the devil’s misquote, was true to the meaning of God’s Word.

Faith is an attitude that opens one’s will to God, that allows God to fulfill His own will through one’s life. Faith that can respond more to signs and wonders than to the Word of God is not authentic faith. Jesus refused the way of becoming a wonder-worker to gain national leadership. He was not cultivating people’s faith in wonders but faith in God Himself.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Deuteronomy   34       Joshua  1       Acts  5

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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5.                          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                April 5, 2012

Good Morning!
We know that Satan can be defeated repeatedly in our lives as we identify with the power of Christ and His Word.

THE KING DISMISSES SATAN FROM THE SCENE:
Matthew 4:8. “ Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9. And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Jesus had come to seek and to save the lost, to reconcile men to God. The vision of the world that He came to save moved before Him, and the voice of the tempter said, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” The tempter was suggesting that Jesus take another route to win the world than the way of the Cross. But Jesus knew that He could not defeat evil by compromising with evil. Jesus’ decision was to be faithful to God and His calling, to follow the way which inevitably led to the Cross. Jesus’ response to this temptation was abrupt and pointed: “Get thee hence Satan! For it is written, Thou shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.”

Notice that it was after Jesus had overcome the temptations that angels came and ministered to Him. He was true to His calling. He had rejected the thought of becoming an economic Messiah, turned from being a miraculously introduced national leader, and refused the quest for political power. The first would not answer man’s deepest needs, the second was out of harmony with the character of God, and the third would have led Him away from God’s redemptive mission.

But Jesus Christ stepped into that ring and took everything Satan could hurl into Him, all the way to the Cross, and even in death Jesus never bowed once. Jesus alone knows the full weight of temptation! Thus the writer to the Hebrews can say, “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). The temptation of Jesus and His victory authenticates His King-ship for our faith, assures our freedom in relation to the tempter, and affirms God’s acceptance of His atoning work, for He did not die on the Cross for His own sins but for ours.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Joshua  2  3     Acts  6     Psalm  48 

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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6.                          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion
            

Today’s First Thoughts                                April 6, 2012

Good Morning!
A transition is now made from John the Baptist to the proclamation of the Messiah Himself.

THE KING BEGINS TO ESTABLISH HIS KINGDOM:
Matthew 4:12. “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;
17. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

The King’s message is stated briefly in verse 17. Jesus preached the same message which John the Baptist had been announcing. His message is stated succinctly: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The word “preach” is translated from the Greek word ‘kērussēin’, which means the herald’s proclamation. Preaching is an announcement with both certainty and authority. The word from the Master is to repent. This message, as heard from John the Baptist, was a message to turn about, to turn from our own ways to God’s ways. Repenting or converting is always a change of direction. It is not only a moralistic change, but is first of all a change in the orientation, or direction of one’s self.

Since the development of the science of psychology, conversion is understood as a change of identification and self-image, a decision to identify our lives with Jesus Christ. The moralistic changes follow, for they are the implication of letting God be God in one’s life. If we are to be participants in the kingdom of heaven, then we are to live by the rule of the King.

The kingdom is the rule of Christ, and Luke adds the remarkable story of Jesus’ words in the synagogue at Nazareth, where He read from Isaiah 61:1–2 a brief description of the character of the Messiah’s mission. For us, the kingdom is the doing of God’s will on earth; it is sharing His mission, it is participating with the Master as disciples, as persons who live under the direction of the King. Later He introduces the church as the fellowship of disciples who evidence the rule of Christ, or the reality of the kingdom. And later still, Paul uses the term “body of Christ” to show that the church becomes the visible expression on earth of the ascended Christ.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Joshua  4  5      Acts 7

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 7.                           God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                  April 7 & 8, 2012

Good Morning!
Jesus’ plan of action was to develop a disciple community, to call a group of associates who would be with Him and learn from Him.

THE CALLING OF DISCIPLES:
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.
21. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
22. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.”

A disciple is one who both identifies with and learns from his master. Jesus began by calling Peter and Andrew. In the Gospel of John we learn that Andrew, who had been a disciple of John the Baptist, upon meeting Jesus, first went and found his brother, Simon, and brought him to Jesus (John 1:41–42). Jesus called them both to follow Him as disciples. Matthew states that Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” He was moving these men from their occupation as fishermen to recognize the vocation to be disciples, heralds of the Good News.

Like the rabbi’s, Jesus trained disciples, but, unlike the rabbi’s, He called them not to be scholars but to be heralds of the kingdom. It is impressive that “they immediately left their nets and followed Him.” There was something magnetic and authoritative about the claims of Jesus Christ upon these men. Jesus next called the two brothers, James and John, sons of Zebedee, from their occupation of fishing, asking them likewise to follow Him. In view of the reference to several of these men as having been disciples of John the Baptist, it would appear that they knew something about the Christ prior to this occasion when Jesus called them to come follow Him. At least the reference in Matthew tells us that upon Jesus’ call, they immediately followed Him.

These four make up the inner circle of Jesus’ larger group of disciples. They were average men, individualists, not the bravest nor the easiest to work with. Peter was impulsive and headstrong, Andrew was homespun and supportive, James and John were ambitious and called “sons of thunder”; yet they were willing to change, to identify with Christ and become heralds of the kingdom of God. Jesus did not graduate His disciples as did the rabbis, for a disciple of Jesus remains a disciple.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Joshua   6  7     Acts  8       Psalm  49
Joshua   8  9     Acts  9

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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8.                          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion    

Today’s First Thoughts                                 April 9, 2012

Good Morning!
Jesus did not crawl off in a corner, but dared to lay His message of the kingdom open before each religious center in the villages of Galilee.

THE MINISTRY OF THE KING:
Matthew 4:23. “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
24. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
25. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.”

Jesus not only preached and taught; the record says that He healed all kinds of sicknesses and diseases among the people. His ministry was one of restoring people to wholeness. The King who preached radical change, who announced the kingdom, was performing deeds of mercy. He healed and restored common people to wholeness and elevated them to a sense of worth. He restored their spiritual well-being as He preached and their physical well-being as He administered healing. Verse 24 adds to the list of sicknesses the problems of demon-possession and crippling limitations. His ministry overcame ignorance, religious formalism, disease, and demonic attacks; it was a ministry designed to liberate and enable people to be their best in the grace of God.

Just as Jesus was led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested, so the Spirit of the Lord anointed Him for a ministry that would bring liberty and fulfillment to persons in the grace of God. We are told in verse 24 that His fame went throughout all of Syria and the people came to Him. This account shows that early in the ministry of Jesus His word was not confined to the Jewish community. His message included Gentiles from the very beginning. The saving acts of God are not limited to ethnic Judaism but are extended to all the world. If Matthew’s Gospel is said to have a special communication for the Jewish community, it must be seen as showing them that the gospel is for the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Joshua  10  11      Acts 10      Psalm  50 

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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9.                            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                  April 10, 2012

Good Morning!
One of Matthew’s most important contributions to the world is undoubtedly his composition of the Sermon on the Mount, and his incorporation of it in his Gospel.

A MESSAGE FROM THE KING:
Matthew 5:1. “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2. And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,”

The Sermon on the Mount has been called “The Manifesto of the King.” It is an outline of behavior for the citizens of the kingdom. As one of many messages by Jesus, it presents important moral or ethical teachings. It is not a message on salvation as is John 3, neither is it on the work of the Holy Spirit as in John 16. Rather, it is a message on a lifestyle for the “new creation”—those who are born of the Spirit. It outlines the kind of life which is expected of the “new community.” However, it is not a legalistic formula, but rather this message calls the members of the kingdom to extraordinary faith in every area of life.

The message was given primarily to Jesus’ disciples, although doubtless the crowd listened as He introduced the nature of His kingdom living. The setting was on the mountainside somewhere near the Sea of Galilee, perhaps to the north of the sea but very possibly on the slopes of the “Horns of Hattin.” The thoughts of the sermon are carefully arranged to “deal in sequence with the major spheres of life: our personal life, our life with others, our relation to God, and the various problems confronting us as we seek to act upon His teachings in our daily life.

Matthew is the teaching Gospel, and it presents Jesus as the Teacher. The context shows that, pressed by the crowds, Jesus withdrew to teach—an act which let those who were most sincerely interested gather to listen. “When He was seated” expresses the symbol of the rabbi who sat to teach, a phrase similar to our references to a professor’s chair. It designates this message as a presentation of the essence of Jesus’ teaching. The double phrase, “He opened His mouth and taught them” has special significance in the Greek. It is used of an oracle or of intimate teaching, making clear that Matthew wants us to see the sermon as the summary or the essence of Jesus’ teachings. One thing we should always remember that without His teaching ministry we would most likely have never heard of Him. It is of far more valuable to us than His healing ministry.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Joshua  12  13      Acts  11

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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10.                          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                  April 11, 2012

Good Morning!
In our emphasis on evangelical faith, it is important that we not only recognize God’s saving grace but also His transforming grace; both His forgiving grace and His enabling grace.

THE KING DECLARES WHO IS BLESSED:
Matthew 5:3. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

The Greek word ‘makarios,’ which is translated “blessed,” is difficult to translate into English. It incorporates the meaning of wholeness, of joy, of well-being, of a holistic peace expressed by the Hebrew word ‘shalom.’ The word describes a condition of inner satisfaction expressed by Jesus in John 14:27: “My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (kjv). It is not enough to say “happy” are ye..” The English word ‘happy are ye..’ is too shallow to cover the deeper meaning Jesus is portraying.

In the sermon Jesus is probing the inner being, raising the question of motive. As has often been said, the larger question in ethics is not what a person does but why he does what he does. And motive is the source from which our acts issue. The ethics of the sermon on the mount are the absolute ethics of the Kingdom of God. In presenting this sermon, Jesus called for a change in the thinking of the people about the kingdom of God. He rejected the more popular messianic expectations and outlined the creation of a new covenant community of God’s people, a disciples’ community. In contrast to the revolutionary zealots preparing persons for guerrilla war, He prepared disciples in grace and sent them out in missions of healing.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Joshua   14  15     Acts  12    Psalm   51

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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11.                          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                 April 12, 2012

Good Morning!
Our attitude toward others is an indication of our attitude toward God.

THE CALL TO FORGIVE:
Matthew 6:14. “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Forgiveness means to release another, to give up our power-play by keeping something we can hold over another. Forgiveness is to take one’s thumb off of another, so to speak, and grant him freedom. Such forgiveness is difficult; it is costly, for it means that the offended one resolves the hurt by love and releases the offender without making him suffer. If one hurts you and you hurt that person back, then say that you will forgive, you haven’t really forgiven because you “settled the score” by retaliation first, then offered to call it quits. Forgiveness means that the innocent one resolves his own indignation toward an evil and releases the offender. The forgiving one carries his own wrath on another’s sin rather than making the other one feel it.

The ultimate expression of this forgiveness took place at Calvary where God carried His own wrath on our sin and extended to us the freedom of forgiveness. It is not some mystical, hard-to-believe aspect of the Christian faith, but it is something built into the fabric of human relationships. Scarcely a day goes by but that each of us needs to extend this kind of forgiveness in some degree to another, and to receive such forgiveness from another. To carry grudges or bitterness warps the spirit of the unforgiving one. How much better it is to release the offender than to burn up psychic energy carrying resentment and bitterness.

The grace of forgiveness is to care more about a person than about what he has done. This is illustrated in the story of the prodigal son in which the Father was able to move beyond the wrongs to the person. He wasn’t “up tight” over the sin of the son; he cared more about the son than about what he had done. God forgives because He loves us. He isn’t “up tight” over our sins, for, in His love, He cares more about us than about what we have done.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Joshua   16  17     Acts  13

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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12.                          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                  April 13, 2012

Good Morning!
There is no adequate way to explain Jesus Christ except to know that He was God manifested in the flesh. He was a man in the fullest sense, but He was more than a man. In Him the one and only Eternal God, the Creator of all things and by whom all things exist, came into the world to reveal Himself and to make a reconciliation for fallen man.

TO KNOW JESUS:
Luke 2:46. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
47. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

Jewish prophets always began their teaching with the words, “Thus saith the Lord.” Not one dared to declare a law in his own name. But Jesus taught the people in His own name, having His own authority. He began His teaching with “I say unto you.” For this reason the Jews charged Him with blasphemy-- for making Himself equal with God. To them He assumed the authority allowed only to God.

Jesus was the greatest of teachers, but no person can accept His teachings without accepting Him. He did not come to teach the way of life, He came to reveal that He is the way; not that He discovered truth, but that He is the truth; not about a philosophy of life, but He is life. He did not claim to have the answers  to life's problems, He claimed to be the answer. He placed Himself at the very center of His message. No person can come to God except by Him. He is the Door, the Chief Shepherd of the flock, the Rightful King of all nations, the Savior of those who believe and obey, and the Judge of all men. To be a follower of Christ means more than following the Golden Rule: It is to know Jesus as God manifested in the flesh.

1 Timothy 3:16. “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest (made known) in the flesh, (God was) justified in the Spirit, (God Was) seen of angels, (God was) preached unto the Gentiles, (God was) believed on in the world, (God was) received up into glory.”

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Joshua   18  19     Acts  14     Psalm   52 

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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13.                         God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                April 14 & 15, 2012

Good Morning!
The writer of the 119th Psalm (David no doubt) had won the victory, and in this Psalm he speaks of the key to a victorious life. The 119th Psalm is known as the ‘Victory Psalm.’ We will spend a few days in this Psalm.

THE VICTORY LIFE:
Psalm 119:4. “Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.”

When you look at Psalm 119 what are your immediate impressions? - That it is the longest and most perfect Psalm? - That it is composed of 22 stanzas, each having 8 verses — 176 in all? - That it is an alphabetical acrostic (A poem or series of lines in which certain letters, usually the first in each line, form a name, motto, or message when read in sequence), each stanza beginning successively with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet? – And that the Holy Scriptures are referred to in all but three of its verses? In all this we note that Psalm 119 is far, far ahead of it’s time period.

The narrative is both impressive and informative as it progressively unfolds making this portion of the sacred Scriptures, we believe, the most comprehensive treatise on the matter of victorious living to be found in the whole of the Bible. The possibility of a holy life is established in the early part of the Psalm. Those enjoying it are pointed out for the Psalmist’s consideration and encouragement. They walked; they sought; they were satisfied. Whatever the formula, it worked! Now they are  commending this way to others as being the most gratifying type of life. It is not only commended, it is imposed upon the believer.

The Psalmist has heard God speak. This is certain. And he specifically confirms the communication: “Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.” First, the way of God’s command is not for a previous age or generation only. It is for all succeeding generations. Second, the diligent observance of God's precepts is the means into such a hallowed way and the source of support in it. This diligence is mandatory. It is enjoined upon the believer and constitutes a very serious personal responsibility. No amount of reasoning can change the matter. Arguments about God's will never bring peace and joy. There is no room for excuse. There is no place for compromise. But why is it so universally difficult to step resolutely into the revealed will of God? Why do people hesitate? Accept God’s will today.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Joshua  20  21    Acts  15
Joshua 
22 23     Acts  16     Psalm  53

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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14.                          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion      

Today’s First Thoughts                                  April 16, 2012

Good Morning!
The Psalmist uses seven words to magnify God’s word in Psalm 119. Law, Testimonies, Precepts, Statute, Commandments, Judgment, and Word are all used in this Psalm to describe God’s word.

THE PSALMIST’S PRAYER:
Psalms 119:5. “O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!”

This is an eloquent expression of holy desire. A challenged life is moving in the right direction when it prays this prayer. Never forget it; the heart is definitely capable of possessing such a holy longing. The number of people who manifest it is pitifully small. Here is one person who counted himself one with this blessed minority. He had doubtless pondered carefully the examples which had been cited in verses 1 and 2. Now his admiration for them has grown stronger. He is convinced that they had made the right choice to walk in the way of the undefiled. They were those who had pleased God. This must now be the aim of his life.

“I shall not be ashamed” (v. 6). He is certain he will never regret the decision he has made. How could he be confounded? No one will ever regret the day he turned his life over to the Lord. They only will be ashamed who have failed to do so. John tells us in his letter, “And now, little children, abide in him; that when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming” (I John 2:28). We may be absolutely sure the smile of Heaven shines upon those whose hearts are bent upon loving obedience to Him whose we are and whom we serve.

This quiet assurance shows itself in the attitudes and actions. Decision leads to devotion; devotion expresses itself in praise: “I will praise thee with uprightness of heart,” he pledges, “when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments” (v. 7). These righteous judgments about which he desires a fuller knowledge had already invaded his life with a noticeable effect. Too long have some of us failed to see the practical, personal aspect of divine instruction — how the Holy Spirit deals with the individual. The psalmist is at grips with God. It is manifested in his emotional outcries and in his actions.  His theme song is, in essence,

“My heart has no desire to stay,
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where these abound,
My aim, my prayer, is higher ground.”

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Joshua  24       Judges  1  2      Acts   17 

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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15.                        God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                April 17, 2012

Good Morning!
The testimony of the Psalmist constitutes a compelling challenge to every one who would live godly in Christ Jesus and would know the victory of an overcoming life.

GOD'S WAY IS ONE; MAN'S WAY IS ANOTHER:
Psalms 119:4 “Thou hast commanded us …”

The Psalmist reminds himself as he is stirred to a new sense of responsibility. He observes that it is not merely a suggestion that God's people walk the way of the undefiled, or a casually extended invitation to be a holy people. It is definitely and decidedly a command. To ignore it is a serious offense against the Most High. When God speaks, there is no alternative but to obey, and disobedience is rebellion. The psalmist came to the crossroads. He finds, as so many will testify, that one becomes prone to rationalize when the Holy Spirit seeks to turn the feet into the path of spiritual victory. The unconquered ego is amazingly successful in coming up with subtle objections. God's way is one; man's way is another.

We either submit to God's way, or we persist in man's way, although we have our own adaptations. Wittingly or unwittingly, we develop a format for our lives; we insist upon a certain procedure; we nurture cherished ambitions. The very thought of forsaking a self-designed and self-satisfying course is most unwelcome, sometimes alarming. A decision must be made. This is prerequisite!

And what Christian has not found himself in such a crisis. It is then that self is likely to make excuse. It will attempt to appease the conscience with vindictive counter-considerations. With the Psalmist, indecision, indefiniteness, and indifference have given way to an honest proof of righteous sincerity. The course ahead is not to be flower-strewn, as later experiences will reveal. But he is resolved to take the way of the faithful, the way of the undefiled, the way of those who have sought the Lord with all their hearts. His discernment will not always be the most admirable; his frequent outbursts of discouragement are far from exemplary; but his persistence, holy zeal and firm adherence to the Scriptures, propel him down the trail of victory.

Our resolve, “I seek for a richer reward; I want to be Christ-like and holy— I want to be more like my Lord.” Amen.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Judges  3  4  5     Acts  18    Psalm  54

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 16.                          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                 April 18, 2012

Good Morning!
Life is never so earnest or so real as when one has had a vision of a closer walk with God. Yet is that vision attainable for us?

THE SHADOW OF DOUBT:
Psalms 119:9. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

While vision is the prerequisite to victory of this sort, it is by no means the guarantee. The murmuring and repining Israelites saw the Promised Land from afar without entering. They envisioned giants of such colossal proportions that they themselves were dwarfed to the size of grasshoppers in comparison. What hideous monsters the devil can parade before the imagination of men! How many fearful hearts have been intimidated thereby!

The psalmist looks up. The highlands of spiritual living are inviting to his awakened soul, but the heights seem so prohibitive. “If such a holy estate is possible,” he seems to be reasoning, “is it probable that I shall enter into it?” Pondering the probability is a logical sequence to his stated desire. He is well aware of his faults, his habits, his sins. They stand out in bold relief on the screen of his conscience. Then there is the consideration of companions who will not share such an outlook. Old ambitions, too, loom demandingly. These are, conceivably, his disturbing problems as the new morning dawns. Last night's decision meets its real test today.

The day after a spiritual victory is a serious period. Elijah one day withstood a company of Baal's prophets; the next day, he fled from Jezebel. He was resplendent with unwavering faith on Mt. Carmel calling down fire from Heaven; later, he was pathetic in his despondency beneath a juniper tree. Satan will ever attempt to offset spiritual gains. The author of confusion will do his utmost to frustrate the mind and heart of the one who has tasted victory in the Lord. We all are prone to think that others were never called upon to endure the same difficulties which confront us. Our pains and misfortunes are more severe; our obstacles more forbidding; our distances longer. “All thy billows and thy waves are passed over me” Jonah moaned.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Judges  6  7  8      Acts  19

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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17.                          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                  

Today’s First Thoughts                                 April 19, 2012

Good Morning!
We will discover whether the Psalmist meant it when he stated his desire, above all else, to be directed of the Lord. Was he really sincere?

CAN A YOUNG MAN CLEANSE HIS WAY?
Psalms 119:9. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

One full look at the Psalmist and our questions are satisfactorily answered. He meant it indeed. We get the impression that he is rolling up his sleeves, clenching his fists, ready to bend and break every circumstance to fulfill his heart's desire, he is firm in determination. With one sweeping inventory of his attitudes and actions — a diagnosis of his conduct — he asks, in substance, “How can sufficient change be wrought in my life to put me on a plane with those who walk uprightly in the path of holiness?” It is an age-long question. Nicodemus, in his midnight interview with the Lord relative to the new birth, exclaimed, “How can these things be?”

But the question, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?” is timely and pertinent. Until it is answered intelligently, satisfactorily, scripturally, the holiest longing in the breast of man will be dashed to the earth and all the demons of hell will have a holiday of glee over the defeat. How can a young man (any man) cleanse his way? Is there an answer? There is! It is a mark of spiritual immaturity and blind leadership to dismiss the question with the flat assertion that no one can cleanse his way.

Paul strongly exhorted, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). A man, young or older, may cleanse his way “by taking heed thereto according to thy (God's) word” (v. 9). The spiritual life (and the moral with it) is kept clean by the washing of the water by the Word (Ephesians 5:26). There is no other means. The examples of the holy life (Psalm 119:1, 2) had no other means of realizing their joyful experience of walking with the Lord. Now take a look at our struggling psalmist. There is a change both in attitude and outlook. His resolve contains four “I wills.” These are expressed with studied exactness and with sanctified determination. “I will meditate in thy precepts . . . I will have respect unto thy ways . . . I will delight myself in thy statutes . . . I will not forget thy word.”

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Judges  9  10     Acts  20      Psalm  55

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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18.                          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion          

Today’s First Thoughts                                  April 20, 2012

Good Morning!
We listen in upon the Psalmist in the act of prayer. He realizes that his hope lies on a higher plain.

HE ASKS GOD TO DEAL FREELY AND GENEROUSLY WITH HIM:
Psalm 119:17. “Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.
18. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
19. I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.
20. My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.
21. Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.
22. Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.
23. Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.
24. Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.”

His petitions sound as though he had spent some time at a drafting board, charting in careful detail his major necessities. He had taken two steps in the right direction. Having heard a pointed appeal, supported by convincing examples, he made it known that there was only one worthwhile way of living as far as he was concerned. He vowed that he would henceforth walk with God. Then, raising some honest and pertinent questions about his need of cleansing, and confessing his fear of wandering, he agreed in his heart to respect the Word of Truth and delight himself in its teachings. He agrees with Jeremiah. “It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). He must seek guidance from above.

“Deal bountifully with thy servant” (v. 17) is his initial supplication. The need in his life is overwhelming! The higher plane seems so far beyond his reach. He looks upon his spiritual poverty and knows at once that substantial assistance must come from above if progress is to be made in his pursuit. In substance, he is saying, “Knowing as I do the weaknesses and wayward tendencies of my emotional being, O Lord, I will require a great amount of spiritual help if I am to rise equal with those who fear Thee and daily do Thy will.”

But Heaven welcomes such wholesome heart-cries. With relaxed confidence, we may be honest with God concerning our true condition. He knows all. Nothing is hid from Him. The more honest, and the more humble we are, the sooner will our prayers be answered.        

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Judges   11  12    Acts  21

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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19.                          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion          

Today’s First Thoughts                                 April 21 & 22, 2012

Good Morning!
There are oceans of possibilities for those who. hunger and thirst after righteousness. Jesus said they shall be filled.

WHAT DO WE WANT TO LIVE FOR?
Psalm 119:17. “…that I may live, and keep thy word.”

The Psalmist gives as his sole reason for the petition a most eloquent explanation — “that I may live, and keep thy word.” How many of us can match this? Do you wish to see the light of another day? Of living in it? Why? The primary reason most of us desire to live another day is to complete some project, share some event, to love and be loved, or simply to do things. All want to live, but few have ever poured into the ear of God such a holy motive for living as does the Psalmist. Only the power of God allowed to have its perfect work in a life could possibly bring a person to such a point as this. Noble attempts are made to answer folk who inquire about the subject.

We may go to meetings, join the most spiritual church, do personal work, and testify freely, but if we do not have the heart longing to keep God's precepts diligently, we utterly have missed the simple but profound truth of full surrender. The apostles heard parables, witnessed miracles, and received instruction direct from Him who spake as never man spake, yet Jesus was forced to say condemningly: “As yet they understand not the Scriptures” (John 10:6). On another occasion, He said with a tinge of grief in His voice, “Why do ye not understand my speech?” There is a sad deficiency in the experience of present-day Christians as well. Empty profession must give way to glowing reality.

As far as we know, the Psalmist had never witnessed a miracle, nor heard a parable on the deeper life, nor had he had an experience as the Emmaus sojourners in a physical contact with the Lord, but he had heard a heaven-sent message. It revealed to him that God blesses those who walk in the way of the undefiled, those who seek the Lord with their whole heart. It stirred his soul and filled his thoughts. It created a hunger and thirst after righteousness. “Open thou mine eyes,” he continues, further proving his desire to live daily according to the instructions of the Bible. Why do we not let God tell us what to do daily?

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Judges   13  14          Acts  22       Psalm  56
Judges  
15  16  17    Acts  23    

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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20.                         God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                 April 23, 2012

Good Morning!
It is not enough to know how to read and pronounce every word in the Bible. We must ask God, and He only can do this, to open our understanding of the scriptures to behold (understand) the wondrous things therein.

LORD OPEN THOU MINE EYES:
Psalms 119:10. “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”

A friend called us to his home one day to see a mother rabbit and her new little family. He had watched the expectant mother pulling white, downy fur from her body with which to make a bed for her offspring. When they arrived, she covered them with the furry blanket. Because of unseasonable warmth she uncovered her babies, and was now in the act of covering them again for the night. As we were watching, our friend asked the simple question: “Who taught the rabbit to do this?” Why do we not let God tell us what to do daily? He who put the instinct in the rabbit can give spiritual intelligence to the believer. But our eyes must be opened to see.

The Emmaus disciples required such an operation. These men had been with Jesus daily. Yet Jesus opened the eyes of their understanding. Subsequent to the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, and following his submission to the lordship of Christ, “there fell from his eyes as it had been scales and he received sight forthwith.” It does not state that he received his sight. It states that he received sight. What sight did he receive? The sight for which our young friend in this Psalm is pleading. Only with such a clear vision is there a new horizon with countless privileges and joys.

He was conscious of the fact that something was fundamentally wrong in his own spiritual experience. But his eyes were not sufficiently open to see how he must proceed, to know how one so lacking as he could be triumphant, to understand how he could honor the Lord in a worthy walk. He is reaching, as it were, for the railing on the stairs —for something to assist him with each successive step in his ascent to a higher plane of spiritual living. And what were the wonderful things he expected to find in God's Word? Said Henry Ward Beecher: “There are promises in God's Word that no man has ever tried to find. There are treasures of gold and silver in it for which man has never taken the pains to dig. . . . No architect ever conceived of such pictures, and carved dishes and statues as adorn its apartments. It contains treasures that silver, and gold and precious stones are not to be mentioned with.”

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Judges  18  19     Acts  24     Psalm  57 

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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21.                         God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion
 

Today’s First Thoughts                                 April 24, 2012

Good Morning!
Everyone comes to the place at some time or other when they feel like a stranger in their own domain. We feel like a nobody. At that time we have only one place to go.

WE FIND REFUGE IN GOD’S WORD:
Psalm 119:19. “I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.”

Personal prayers of deep concern, bewilderment and frustration may sound like incoherent, unintelligent, unrelated utterances. Of course, they are intended only for Him who knows the secrets of the heart and who understands when no one else can. Our most sincere petitions occur when the Holy Spirit is interposing Himself on our behalf with sighs too deep for words. In this instance, we will appreciate the importance of the context. Why did the Psalmist refer to himself as a “stranger in the earth”?

Entering into a closer practical relationship with the Lord automatically cuts one off from some former engagements and even from some former associates. This is not the easiest matter to explain to unspiritual people. It is sometimes painful to part company with friends of long standing, but “how can two walk together except they be agreed” (Amos 3:3)? Saul of Tarsus had his last contact with most of his compatriots when he met Jesus along the road to Damascus. Nor can we expect that all our pre-Christian friends or former worldly companions will pledge with Ruth, “Whither thou goest, I will go; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” Sometimes those of one's own household will not only fail to understand but will criticize sharply.

The Psalmist is still praying. “Hide not thy commandments from me,” he urgently pleads. What an unusual supplication! Does he fear that his opened eyes will have withheld from them the very encouragement he must have? Does he think for one moment that God would leave him in darkness without the true Light? What he apparently, means to convey in his emotional appeal is this: “I have given up all, Lord, to follow Thee. If I do not have Thy wonderful Word, I have nothing. Remember me, therefore, Lord, as others forsake.” But God's Word is revealed, not concealed. He does not hide it from inquiring people. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth.” The psalmist has yet to discover that this heavenly revelation is a “lamp unto his feet, and a light unto his path.”

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Judges  20  21      Acts  25

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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22.                          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                  April 25, 2012

Good Morning!
We today may subscribe to the inspiration of the Scriptures, believing with our whole hearts that the Bible is God's Word, without advancing toward real victory.

THE PSALMIST HAS MADE HIS CHOICE:
Psalms 119:30. “I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.
31. I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame.
32. I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.”

The Psalmist uses three different words in succession when referring to the Scriptures — “judgments,” “testimonies” and “commandments”? Why did he use them in this particular order? A coincidence? No, the Holy Spirit moved upon these holy men of old in the production of this precious Volume. We may not always be able to detect it, but there is always a reason. Here, personal decision is made with respect to divine judgments; man's belief is attached to the Lord's testimonies; dedicated action is ever governed by sovereign commandments. There must be a careful blending of faith and obedience. We must be doers of the Word and not hearers only.

Even in those moments of our strongest zeal and abounding devotion, there is always the danger of stopping short of full surrender. Many have asserted their willingness to study the Bible more thoroughly if they had the time. Some have said that they would engage in soul winning if they had more boldness. Others have said they would give testimonies if they were more fluent. How wretchedly deceptive are these hearts of ours (Jeremiah 17:9). They suppress faith and prevent growth. The carriers of the Ark of the Covenant were willing to step where the Jordan had overflowed, all because God said, “Step in the water!” (Joshua 3:15.  Perhaps we are fearful of getting our feet wet. We would rather know what is beneath the overflowing water.

When a Christian sets his affections on things above, and not on things on the earth, there will be little doubt about his running in the way of the divine commandments. There will be little hesitation. Such love is quick in its willingness to offer its all. It is bold in its movements on the field of conquest. It can look at difficulties and say, “None of these things move me.” It can stare full-faced into the glittering flash of tempting allurements and firmly declare, “I count not my life dear unto myself.” Let us say, “Send me anywhere, but go with me. Lay upon me any burden, but sustain me. Sever from me any tie but the tie that binds my heart to Thee.”

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Ruth  1  2     Acts  26    Psalm   58 

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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23.                         
God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                 April 26, 2012

Good Morning!
Sometimes we need a push or a shove from the Lord to keep us moving.

IF WE ARE RELUCTANT TO WALK RIGHT, ASK GOD TO COMPEL US:
Psalms 119:35. “Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.”

Some prize Homing Pigeons on a race. The cage was placed in a field and the door of escape was opened by the use of a long string. Rather deliberately the birds came out and flew to nearby objects such as a tree stump or fence post. They looked in one direction, then in another. Soon they took to their wings and moved somewhat in circles for the moment. It was evident they were seeking the right direction. Having been shipped by train a distance of one hundred miles, they had gone through mountain passes, around turns, and through tunnels. They were transported in railroad coach, station truck and auto. But, when they finally got their sense of direction, they were off.

The Psalmist does not have clearly the right sense of direction. He has wandered through many false ideas, and misdirection. Now he seems desperate. He is repetitious in his statements, uncertain in his thinking, and bewildered in his outlook. He reminds one of Job who seemed to be groping in darkness as the burden of his soul forced him to cry out, “Oh, that I knew where I might find him! that I might come' even to his seat!” (Job 23:3). Surely his desire is real, but he is failing. His soul is still cleaving to the dust (v. 25). Now he seems to feel that, if he is going to make progress and know from experience the type of life enjoyed by the examples presented in verses 1 and 2, then God must seize him and force him to go in that hallowed way.

“Make me to go!” he appeals. But this is not God’s way. God says, “Come,” but He does not force. He says, “Go,” but He does not thrust one forward. He could not make one to go in His designed course without forcing all since He is no respecter of persons. The divine does not call for automatons. The simply stated qualification is, “If any man wills to do his will . . .” Doubtless the Psalmist quickly sensed the immaturity and lack of logic in this petition, even as we become conscious of improper requests which find their way into our prayer utterances. Here is his correction: “Incline my heart unto thy testimonies” (v. 36), he hurriedly urges.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Ruth  3  4    Acts  27

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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24.                          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                  April 27, 2012

Good Morning!
If knowledge acquired in our less mature days were crowned with understanding in advancing years, there would be more able servants in the field of Christian enterprise and more spiritual victors in the conquests of righteousness.

LACK OF UNDERSTANDING IS THE GREATEST DETERRENT TO DOING:
Psalms 119:34. “Give me understanding, and I will observe thy law; and I will keep it with [my] whole heart.”

Even though the Psalmist in this verse has stopped short of realizing his heart's desire, it is pleasing indeed to hear him, pledge, if and when he is taught in the way of the Lord and has acquired understanding of it, “I shall observe it with my whole heart” (v. 34). When the whole heart can be rallied to the devotion of the Lord, that is victory. That is life on the higher plane.

How many times we prayed to the point of receiving an answer, then ceased without realizing the fulfillment of our petitions? How many times we almost earned a reward, then became weary in well-doing? How many times we almost won a soul to Christ, then gave up? How many times we were on the threshold of victory, then wavered? To know so much and to enjoy so little is pathetic in the extreme. Yet this is the prevailing situation. How very patient the God must be!

Someone said concerning the diaries of two Christian men, “If the Christian life entails as much misery as is expressed in these personal writings, I can readily understand why there are so few real Christians.” Misery? It is always a miserable thing to deal with sin in this life, because sin is miserable, and leads to miserable ends. He who sues for victory in Christ must know that every inch will be contested. He who would be crucified with Christ, like Paul, must be acquainted with the fact that it is a painful procedure. He who strives for the mastery must face the possibility of severe denial. He who would mount up on wings as the eagles in spiritual development must expect great opposition.

The adversary loses one battle when the individual is delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son (Colossians 1:13). The real victory comes not by struggle, but by surrender; and it is this surrender which constitutes the problem for the average person. That full willingness to let go and let God have His way in the life is the very last move anyone is disposed to make.

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
1 Samuel   1  2      Acts  28      Psalm  59

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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25.                          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion         

Today’s First Thoughts                                  April 28 & 29, 2012

Good Morning!
If we were more childlike in our faith, we would be more pointed in our prayers. When a youngster desires a cookie, he asks for it. If he wants bread and jam, that is what he requests.

WE ALL CRY FOR MERCY:
Psalms 119:41. “Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word.”

Does this not remind us of the pleas of the limping church today as revival is sought? Everywhere among Christians, we hear the cry, “We are desperately in need of revival!” Almost every religious periodical of a strong Biblical emphasis takes up the cry. Even our national leaders, surprisingly enough, are sounding the same imperative. Thinking people throughout Christendom are aware of a spiritual deterioration. “Bless us! Bless us!” we plead individually and collectively. More and more we stand at the wailing wall.

What are these “mercies” for which the Psalmist is entreating? The mercies or blessings which he desires are those which accompany true victory, the kind enjoyed by the triumphant examples about which he had previously heard. But that was not all to this particular appeal of the Psalmist. He added, “even thy salvation.” The word “even,” being in italics, was supplied by the translators. If this is the correct word, then the blessings which he desires and requests have to do with salvation. However, it seems evident that this second part is not used in apposition, but rather as an additional petition, for the word “salvation” here means deliverance.

What did the Psalmist want to be delivered from? Did he not want to accept the challenge? Three times in our generation, we have seen sturdy young men leaving their homes, their loved ones and all cherished interests to engage in gruesome war. They slept in ditches, crawled in mud, suffered with the cold, saw arms and limbs torn with shrapnel and shell, and languished as captives in the hands of heartless enemies. Is there not comparable bravery among the soldiers of Jesus Christ? If men can suffer for their country, cannot men suffer, if need be, for Christ? Their valor has been proved to us in the secular realm; has our valor been proved to them in the sacred realm? Young people have waited long, dreadfully long, and with such pathetic disappointment, for adults to be examples of the Godly challenge.”

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
1 Samuel   3  4      Romans   1
1 Samuel  
5  6      Romans   2         Psalm  60

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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26.                          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion
                  

Today’s First Thoughts                                  April 30, 2012

Good Morning!
The difference between what God provides and what we possess should produce an incentive to press on —ever on!

USE WHAT YOU HAVE AND THE LORD WILL GIVE YOU MORE:
Psalm 119:56. “This I had, because I kept thy precepts.”

IT IS INVENTORY TIME. All clear-thinking people, at certain intervals, take note of their possessions and accomplishments. Unless stark poverty has moved into one’s economic realm or grim disaster into one’s activities, each one can say, “This is what I have.” Be the items ever so few and their value ever so slight, one may say, “This is what I have.” But what is the reader’s inventory in the sphere where values are eternal? What do you have? Every Christian leader should urge the believer to possess his possessions. Observe how the inimitable Moses, meek but mighty, sought to wave his people down the home-stretch to victory. “Behold, the Lord thy God hath set the land before thee,” he appealed, “go up and possess it!” (Deut. 1:21).

But neither under his leadership nor under that of his successor did the people manifest much disposition to press on. As Joshua’s day of faithful service was ebbing to its close, the Lord had this to say, “Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet much land to be possessed” (Joshua 13:1). Returning to the writer of Psalm 119, He is engaged in some serious calculations. At the moment, he is completing a list of acquirements. The line is drawn, as it were, and the total is to be discovered.  “This I had,” he says, meditatively.  And what is the subject of his consideration? His spiritual blessings. He is attempting to prove to himself that, in spite of his failure to rise to the desired heights, it has not all been loss. He is sure he has made some gains through the years. But what does the tabulation reveal?

Thou hast caused me to hope(v. 49), he maintains. To begin with, he had hope.
We need hope to face the uncertainties of life. We must have hope to spur us on. Fainting hearts result from the absence of hope, or from the disillusioning let-down of false hope. Yes, he had hope. He is glad to list it in his spiritual inventory. But does not the weakest believer have hope? Hope, in itself, is not enough. “This is my comfort(v. 50), he adds next in the list. He has comfort, too. He needs comfort as well as hope. Who does not require comfort? The Lord is the source of all comfort as He is the source of all grace, “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Read Thru The Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
1 Samuel   7  8     Romans   3

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

 

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