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December 2013

Devotions December 2013

Columbia River

                                        Columbia River

1.              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts            November 30, & December 1, 2013               

Good Morning!
Elijah was not discouraged even by the sixth repetition of the despairing phrase, “there is nothing.”

1 Kings 18:43b. “And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times.”

Yet on that very day his one earnest cry had instantaneously brought down fire from heaven. And even after so many, “There is nothing,” Elijah continued his earnest supplication to God with prayers like Daniel. (Daniel 9:3-6, 9, 11, 17, 20, 21)I feel, as Daniel, and Moses (Exodus 32:30, 31; 34:9) did, Elijah made confessions and supplication, for pardon and forgiveness, both for himself and for Israel, and not so much for rain. The rain, when it comes, would be the sign that God had heard his supplication for pardon and forgiveness.

Someone has said that there are not many people who really and truly pray half a dozen times in their lives. We offer up formal and lukewarm petitions, and marvel that we receive no answer. Prayer must be earnest. Jesus leaves us an example of earnest prayer. Luke 22:44. “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” It is not that God is hard to persuade; it is that He will have us mean what we say.

Go Again:” And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. ...” Six times the faithful servant had made his way to the top of Carmel only to come back with the same reply, “there is nothing.” The familiar path had begun to show signs of wear, but the climb and decent was no easier. The hour would have grown late, and the sun would have begun to get low out over the sea, as he made his way once again to the top of Carmel for another look.

A Little Cloud:” This seventh time there was a slight change in the horizon. Just below the setting sun there was a small dark shape, lying on the water, away off in the distance, and making his way back to the prostrate Elijah, he told him what he had seen. It was the first cloud to be seen in three years and a half. Sometimes the answer to prayer may begin in what seems trifling—the fever broke, someone you long prayed for agrees to come to church, etc. As slight and insignificant as it may seem, gratefully welcome it, and still hope, and wait, and pray.

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

Ezekiel   22  23  24   Psalms 148

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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2.                  God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                            December 2, 2013               

Good Morning!
Never was the prospect of a journey being hindered by rain more gladly received by mortal man.

A LITTLE CLOUD: A RAGING STORM:
1 Kings 18:44. “And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.
45. And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel.”

Elijah upon hearing the servant’s description of the little cloud rising out of the sea, immediately gives him another order. A cloud the size of a man’s hand, hardly discernable on the horizon, was enough to transfer Elijah’s prayer to praise. Little in itself, it was the beginning of a glorious blessing. “And Elijah said, go up, say unto Ahab, prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.” Elijah sent his servant ahead to Ahab, saying, “Harness the horses and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.” We see the enormous faith of Elijah exercised in this command.

The Kishon, which collects the whole drainage of the large valley of Jezreel, or Esdraelon, soon becomes an impassable swamp, which has bogged down war chariots, when storms arose. (Judges 5:21) This valley, which is some twenty to twenty five square miles, has been the battlefield of many great armies. It was here that Gideon fought against the Midianites (Judges 6:33), Deborah and Barak fought Sisera and his chariots of iron (Judges 4:2-3,7). Several kings fought and died here (2 Kings 9:27; 23:29-30). Solomon built a fort here (1 Kings 9:15). This valley, called “the sowing place of God,” is held by many, to be the place where the last great battle (Armageddon), (Revelation 16:16; 19:19) will be fought.

A RAGING STORM: “In the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain.” From a cloud the size of a man’s hand to a Raging Storm in minutes. The cry of the boy from his mountain watch had hardly been uttered when the storm, over Carmel, burst suddenly upon the plain, the rain descending with violence, hissing on the ground, as if not able to come down fast enough, and accompanied with gusts of wind, thunder and lightning.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online: Armageddon
Ezekiel   25  26  27  28

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 3.               God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                            December 3, 2013               

Good Morning!
At the voice of the messenger from Elijah, Ahab gave orders that his chariot be made ready, and amid the gathering storm clouds, started on his way to Jezreel.

ELIJAH RUNNING IN THE RAIN:
1 Kings 18:45. “And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. 46. And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.”

The stories behind the pictures in an old Bible intrigued me as a small boy, even before I learned to read them for myself, so my mother and dad would tell me the story of Adam and Eve in the garden, of Noah and the ark, of Abraham offering Isaac, of Jacob and the ladder to heaven, of Jacob wrestling with an angel, of Samson carrying away the Gates of the city, of David and Goliath, and etc. but the picture of Elijah running in the rain before Ahab’s chariot intrigued me most of all. And when I learned to read them for myself they became even more intriguing.

These stories have become a huge part of my life, prompting me to want to know as much as possible about, not only the picture, but the characters involved in them. I urge all you parents to begin very early in the lives of your children telling them and reading to them these greatest stories that have ever been published and they will become an inspiration for them, and a part of, the rest of their lives.

What a sight it must have been. Ahab, with the finest steeds in Israel hitched to his chariot, their nostrils flaring, and straining every muscle in their bodies, during the twenty or so miles back to Jezreel, yet could not keep pace with Elijah running before them in the driving rain. The first few words of the verse tell the story. “The hand of the Lord was on Elijah.” An impulse from high impelled him to “gird up his loins” and go before the king; a strength, not his own, sustained him whilst he ran.

The distance across the plain to Jezreel is roughly seventeen miles; the royal chariot would be driven furiously. Even with whatever fleetness and endurance the prophet had acquired in the wilds of Gilead, it seems hardly likely that, after the fatigues, lack of nourishment, and excitement of the day, he would have been able, without the hand of the Lord upon him, to keep ahead of the chariot horses. All Israel would have been caught up in the exhilaration of the moment. There would have been dancing and singing as the people made their way home in the storm.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Ezekiel   29  30  31         Psalm   149

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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4.             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                        December 4, 2013               

Good Morning!
1 Kings 19 is one of those chapters that the Apostle Paul speaks about that was written for our learning. We can find ourselves in this chapter, and if you don’t see yourself in it now, you will very soon, with it we will close our thoughts on Elijah.

ELIJAH’S NIGHT AT JEZREEL:
1 Kings 19:1. “And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 2. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. 3. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life,”

We shall see ourselves in this passage. It is humanity at work. Human character is more complex than many imagine. Its elements are so diverse, and sometimes so contradictory, that only God can fairly judge it. The biographies of scripture and the subtleties of our own hearts combine to enforce the lesson, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” If we were judging, or naming rank, we would have placed in the foremost rank the disciple who first acknowledged the divinity of our Lord, and we would have cast him of the church who denied his Lord with oaths and curses. Yet both he that acknowledged and he that swore denial are the outpourings of the same character.

Never were contradictions more complete than in Elijah. One day he leads a whole nation in penitence, and with courage unwavering leads it in the slaughter of Baal’s prophets, yet the next day he flees to save his life, as one who has given up all hope of Jehovah’s cause. None but the pitiful and patient Father-God would have judged him aright; nor was Elijah the last to say, “Thy gentleness hath made me great” (2 Samuel 22:36).

In this lesson we are reminded that it is difficult to judge ourselves as well as others. On Carmel, Elijah might have thought himself invincible, and in Horeb an unmitigated coward, but he was neither. Scriptures detail a wide variety of moods in the same individual. We shall discuss and explain that varieties of mood do not afford a fair judge to character. We are not infidels because we pass through a phase of doubt, we are not reprobates because we are not deeply conscious of sin, nor are we Christians because we enjoy a religious service.

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

Ezekiel   32  33  34  35

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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5.              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                        December 5, 2013               

Good Morning!
We also want to take note of the special attention which God gives to those who succumbed under the weight of these, and other, circumstances

ELIJAH THREATENED BY JEZEBEL:
1 Kings 19:1. “And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 2. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. 3. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life,

How many times have we left from a mountain-top experience with God only to have our props knocked out from under us before we get home or shortly afterward? It seems that we are most vulnerable (open to attack) when we are spiritually high. Satan came to tempt Jesus in the wilderness immediately after His baptism and glorification by the Father in heaven.

The sun would long have been set, and the road to Jezreel muddy, from the “abundance of rain” which was falling, and the only light was from the lightning flashes, when Elijah broke away from in front of Ahab’s chariot and turned down along the wall of the city. Ahab, excited about the events of the day, especially the pouring rain, continued to the place to unfold to his cohort, the queen, the things that happened that day. Jezebel was well aware of the gathering on Carmel, and possibly, from the upper chamber of the place, some seventeen mile away, could see the large throng , and especially the smoke rising from the altar of Elijah.

As Ahab unfolded the story, the first mention of Elijah’s name deepens the crimson on that painted face. “And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done,” Was there no word, then, of what God had done? Did he think that Elijah, by his own power, or holiness, had brought fire down from heaven? Let us note two capital faults in the way Ahab told his story. 1. He did not recount what Jehovah had done. 2. He did not properly distinguish the “prophets” as idolatrous and false.

Perhaps Ahab was afraid in the presence of Jezebel to connect the awful portent with the name of the Lord God Jehovah. That would be same as confessing before her that “the Lord he is God.”

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Ezekiel   36  37  38      Psalm   150

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 6.             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                        December 6, 2013               

Good Morning!
Someone (Hall) has written, “She (Jezebel) swears and stamps at that whereat she should have trembled. There is no hate like a woman’s, no wickedness like hers. They never do things by halves. Men differ at most as heaven and earth, But women, best and worst, as heaven and hell.”

RANTING AND RAVING BY JEZEBEL:
1 Kings 19:2. “Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.”

The queen was so enraged at the news that her prophets were dead, slain with the sword, at the instigation of Elijah that she could not sleep that night till she made sure that Elijah did not sleep. She did this by summoning a messenger in the midnight hours with a portent message for him. Many times Satan does not have the power, or liberty, to carry out his threats (Job 1:12), but will use those threats to rob us of a good nights sleep.

“Saying, so let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.” She was summing up all the divinities of Phoenicia, or of paganism generally, because Jezebel would not swear by the one god of Elijah or Israel. This is like much of the profane swearing that we hear, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It cost little to invoke factitious deities, the gods she swore by could do no harm, and they had not been able to save their own prophets.

It must be remembered that this message was dispatched, not after she had time for thought and reasoning, but on the spur of the moment, as soon as she had heard of the massacre of the prophets of Baal. That night she could do nothing, nor perhaps could she see her way clearly to compass his death on the morrow. But she will have him know that he is not going to escape her, and that, whatever effect he had on her husband, she is unconquered and unrelenting. She did not stop to think that he may take alarm and flee, but she must gratify her fierce rage immediately by threatening him with death the next day.

But we must remember that the enemies of God’s Church and prophets are always chained (Revelation 20:1-2), and sometimes are senseless too. There would be no living for Godly men if the hands of tyrants were allowed to be as bloody as their hearts. A Prophet Is Immortal Till His Work Is Done.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Ezekiel   39  40  41

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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7.  8.            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                     December 7 & 8, 2013               

Good Morning!
The messenger from Jezebel delivered her threat, and how she had sworn by all the gods of the underworld that she would slay him like he had slain all the prophets of Baal within twenty four hours.

ELIJAH RUNNING FOR HIS LIFE:
1 Kings 19:3. “And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. 4. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

Elijah, upon hearing this threat, disappears in the night, in the pouring rain, along with his servant, without consulting God. The scriptures clearly indicate that he feared for his life. So the old Arab instinct induced him, in a moment of weakness, to flee from danger, and from duty as well. “He arose, and went (fled) for his life.” His flight seems to have been instant and hurried. History tells of many great souls, hardly less brave than Elijah, which have succumbed to sudden panic.

It is evident that for the moment Elijah lost faith in God, otherwise he would certainly have waited for the “word of the Lord,” which had invariably guided his movements before (1 Kings 17:2, 8; 18:1). There is no doubt that other emotions besides that of fear were struggling in his breast, and prominent among these was the feeling of profound disappointment and humiliation. He had hoped that the day on Carmel would turn the heart of the entire nation back again to God (18:37), and the great shout of the people (18:39), and the subsequent execution of the prophets who had deceived and depraved them, might well justify his highest expectations.

Elijah was passing through that trying time experienced by all of God’s children when they discover that there are no permanent victories. He was disgusted at the fickleness of the public which had cheered him on Carmel and then turned to follow his foe, Queen Jezebel. It seemed to him that even the Lord had let him down by leading him into crisis and then deserting him. Depressed and frightened, he fled into the wilderness. Let us follow Elijah’s footsteps as he flees from his post at Jezreel, at the threat from Jezebel. We will stop at each station along the way and sit with him there. I will assure you that we can identify with him there.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Ezekiel   42  43  44
Ezekiel   45  46  47

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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9.          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                       December 9, 2013               

Good Morning!
There are many of us which have taken this journey of Elijah’s in our spiritual walk, and there are some, even now, sitting at each of these stations, feeling exactly like Elijah felt 2,800 years ago.

ELIJAH UNDER A JUNIPER TREE IN DEEP DEPRESSION:
1 Kings 19:4. “But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my father.”

Beer-sheba was about 95 miles from Jezreel, and Elijah cannot have reached it till the close of the third or fourth day. But we must remember that his pace would be regulated by the powers of his servant, who was probably only a lad, so that it is hardly likely he could travel day and night without stopping to rest. It strikes us as a sad note that of that vast assembly, which was so moved on Carmel, only this Zidonian boy of Zarephath, remained faithful to him. But the flight of the prophet was not over, and memories alone would not help him in his troubled state of mind.

“He went a day’s journey, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and requested that he might die;” This is the same path which was trodden by many other characters in the scriptures. Hagar left Abraham’s tent and wandered in this desolate place (Genesis 21:14). Moses fled from Pharaoh’s hand and dwelt in this same wilderness for forty years until God appeared to him in a burning bush (Exodus 3:1). The children of Israel wandered “through all that great and terrible wilderness” (Deuteronomy 1:19).

John the Baptist’s preparation for ministry was in “the wilderness of Judaea,” which is the same into which Elijah now plunged (Matthew 3:1). Jesus himself was “driven by the spirit into the wilderness, there to be tempted by Satan and wild beasts for 40 days” (Mark 1:12-13).

But thank God that each of these incidents have been preserved for our benefit (1 Corinthians 10:6) to let us know that when we enter that wilderness, whether we flee there for fear of something, as Hagar, Moses, and Elijah, or just wander into it after losing our way, or driven there by the spirit, as John and Jesus was, that God follows our every footstep.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Ezekiel   48        Daniel   1

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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10.              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                          December 10, 2013                

Good Morning!
Four things I would like to emphasize from the story set before us in 1 Kings 19.

OUR OWN WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE:
1 Kings 19:4. “But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die;”

First thing, every child of God will go through these wilderness experiences (trying times), there are no exceptions. There is no exalted measure in Christ which will exempt one from wilderness experiences, no measure of the Holy Ghost which we can possess which will insure one from the wilderness. Age does exempt one, nor will years of service. Abraham was 120 years old when he experienced one of his hardest trials (Genesis 22), and 137 when his beloved wife, Sarah, died, and this is the only recorded time that Abraham wept (Genesis 23).

The second thing, when we enter that wilderness there is a terrible wrestling within our mental and emotional being. Wild thoughts and imaginations come, described as “wild beast” in scripture (Deuteronomy 8:15; Mark 1:13). Worst of all Satan is there, filling our minds with all kind of evil thoughts (Matthew 4:1-13).

The third thing, is the loneliness we experience when we go into the wilderness where no human can accompany us. Friends, family, church family, may all be around us, but we feel so alone in our wilderness mood. Hagar was alone, Jacob wrestled alone, Moses was alone when God appeared, Elijah left his servant in Beer-sheba and went into the wilderness alone, and John the Baptist and Jesus was alone in the solitude of the wilderness. No human hand was there to help, no human voice was heard to comfort and console them. We sink into a shell, or go into a cave mode (we will discuss this later), a feeling of pity for ourselves, a feeling of hopelessness, a little anger, depression, and etc.

The fourth thing, and the most important thing, God is there, His angel is there, His power of preservation is there in the wilderness. It was in this wilderness that the angel found Hagar and provided water and substance for her and her child. In the wilderness of Arabia Jacob wrestled with God in the most trying and frightful time of his life. In the wilderness, into which Elijah fled, Moses met God, manifesting himself in a burning bush. Angels also ministered to Elijah during this wilderness experience and God himself came in a most reassuring way (1 Kings 19:5-18).

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Daniel   2  3  4

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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11.          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                        December 11, 2013               

Good Morning!
We want to follow Elijah into the wilderness and sit with him under the juniper tree and see how God treats those who enter there because we ourselves will be there someday.

THERE IS LITTLE SHELTER IN THE WILDERNESS:
1 Kings 19:4. “But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die;”

Let us look at the shelter Elijah found in the wilderness. Broken-hearted and alone, he wanders over the rocky waste-land, he has cut himself off from all human sympathy, and he has none to expect from God. He is worn from travel, he is hungry for food, there are no ravens to bring him a welcome meal, and no widow woman to bake him a small cake. He takes shelter from the burning sun under a small bush, which grows abundantly in this area, called, in our Bible, a juniper tree, now known as the “broom” tree.

The most longed-for and most welcome bush of the desert, abundant in beds of streams and valleys, selected as spots where men sit down and sleep in order to be protected from the sun. It does not, however, offer complete protection because it is small, we would call it a scrub bush. And like Elijah we also seek a shelter in our wilderness withdrawal, and find little. We turn to any little thing that we think will relieve us from the awful depression that bears upon us.

Then Elijah sinks to the lowest depths of human depression, bordering on despair, and sitting down under a juniper tree and he prayed. Let us listen to his prayer. “And he requested for himself that he might die;” Here is a man who a few days before prayed that God would send fire down from heaven, and to send rain upon the parched earth, and was answered in a marvelous way, but now he prays to die in this wilderness. Here he is sitting and praying, the last time he was prostrate before his Master. He was heard and answered this time but in a different manner.

Once again we see a parallel of Moses’ life when the burden of the children of Israel got too great for him. Numbers 11:14. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. 15. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand if I have found favor in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.” A spiritual crisis like this comes into the life of most men and women of God.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Daniel 5  6  7

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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12          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                      December 12, 2013               

Good Morning!
We must learn that, “Our sufficiency is of God.” (2 Corinthians 3:5)

WHY DO WE HAVE THESE SPIRITUAL STRUGGLES?
1 Kings 19:4. “But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.’

First, there is a spiritual necessity for these crises. The man, or woman, of God who has gained the first, or second, or tenth, great victory is apt to think that it is decisive and final, and that they may now cease to fight. And behold the evil that was vanquished yesterday lifts up its head again, and the conflict has to be begun again. ‘It is enough…” we cry. “I’ve fought a good fight …” “I’ve finished my course …” But no victory over an old enemy, an old craving, an old habit, is ever decisive. It will rise again somewhere, someway. It keeps us on our knees, and it makes us stronger each time we win.

Second, this painful crisis is permitted by God, who will not have his servants uplifted in their own eyes, even by the most splendid triumphs of the cause which it is their honor to maintain. This is the explanation of the mysterious thorn in the flesh with which the apostle Paul was buffeted (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). It is also the cause of the momentary despondency of John the Baptist, which prompted that utterance of a faltering faith, “Art thou he that should come?” (Matthew 11:3). And this is the reason we also sometimes come to a doubtful disposition. He who is pleased thus to exercise the soul of his children is himself their only efficient comforter.

From The Depths Of Despair: Let us listen to Elijah talking to God, while in this low mental condition. 1 Kings 19:4c. “Now, O Lord, take away my life;” A strange contradiction! Here is a man who was destined not to taste of death, flees from death at the hand of Jezebel on the one hand, and seeks it on the other. 4d. For I am not better than my fathers.” These words clearly reveal the great hopes Elijah had formed as to the result of his mission, and the terrible disappointment his banishment had brought upon him. Time was when he had thought himself a most special messenger of heaven, raised up to effect the regeneration of his country. He now thinks his work is fruitless, and he has nothing to live for longer. Many a Christian has come to feeling like this.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Daniel 8  9  10

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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13.           God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                           December 13, 2013               

Good Morning!
How weak and unworthy does the elect messenger of God now appear, under the juniper tree. How completely he, like us, is at the hand of circumstances, how full of contradictions his, like Peter’s (Matthew 26:35), conduct.

HERE IS HUMANITY AT ITS BEST, AND HOW POOR AND WEAK IT IS:
1 Kings 19:4. “And said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life;”

In Elijah we see man at his best. He was one of the three greatest men in human history. Two of them stood with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. The other, the Apostle to the Gentiles, was yet to be chosen. Elijah is distinguished even from his brother prophets, by the work he was called to do, by the powers with which he was entrusted, by the grace given to him, by the care taken of him, and by the triumphant end granted him.

But how weak and unworthy does the elect messenger of God now appear, under the juniper tree. How completely he, like us, is at the hand of circumstances, how full of contradictions his, like Peter’s (Matthew 26:35), conduct. At one moment he flees for his life; at the next he requests for himself that he may die. Someone asks, “Doeth he wish to be rid of his life because he feared to lose it?” Yesterday, strong in the faith, fearing neither man nor devil; today, trembling before a woman, wretched and despairing. And this is Elijah, the restorer of the law, the express ambassador of heaven. James said that he was “A man subject to like passions as we are.”

We are not fittest for heaven when we are most tired of earth; we must "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise, (Psalm 100:4)" not with complaints and accusations.

Elijah said, “It is enough,” but God said no; there was other work to be done, and he was not to die the death of a hunted felon. God careth for the body; precious in his sight is not only the death, but also the felt need of his people.

The same great Jehovah, whose manifestations on Carmel had been so awful in its grandeur, condescended to his servant in the hour of his utmost need, and with unspeakable tenderness, like a mother, tended his weary child.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Daniel 11  12

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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14.  15.          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts               December 14 & 15, 2013               

Good Morning!  
He who sent an angel to Hagar in the wilderness of Shur, sends an angel to the sleeping Elijah in the wilderness of Iduma; and he who, in Hagar’s extremity, provided the well, provides now, in Elijah’s extremity, the cake baked on the coals, and the cruse of water at the prophet’s head.

GOD BINDS UP THE BROKEN HEARTED:
1 Kings 19:5. “And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. 6. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.”

We can never thoroughly understand the feelings of a person unless we take into account the sources and occasions of them and try to put ourselves in his place. First thing was physical exhaustion. Elijah’s prayer for death was evidently under the influence of physical exhaustion and discomfort. Not only was he way-worn with his journey and exposure to the sun, but faint also for want of food and drink. But the loving Father God did not just cast him aside but as always sent refreshing help.

The answer came to his prayer, therefore, in the blessing of refreshing sleep. In this way God begins Elijah’s restoration. His human body and spirit had experienced a great strain upon them, and now suffered a corresponding relapse. The relation that exists between the state of the body and the state of the spirit is very mysterious, but very real. The elation or depression of our religious feelings depends far more on mere physical condition than we often imagine. A diseased, or infirm, body will often cause a dark cloud to come over the spirits firmament. Much that is morbid in the religious thoughts and emotions of good people needs to be dealt with by the physician of the body rather than of the soul.

Even the gigantic strength of Elijah underwent a terrible strain on Carmel, anxiety, enthusiasm, burning zeal, exultation, all combined to agitate him, and these were preceded by many days and nights of passionate, agonizing prayer. Then we have God’s provision for the prophet—the sleep that came over him as a tired child, the food, prepared by angelic hands, proves that this was recognized. Rest, good food, fresh air, and change of scene would do more than religious exercises to restore tone to some who are despondent.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Hosea   1  2  3
Hosea   4  5  6

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 16.         God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                        December 16, 2013                

Good Morning!
Observed how God uses the ministry of angels. The Bible’s references to angels are almost too numerous to mention, we will list a few taken from the New Testament. (Matthew 4:11; Luke 1:11-20; 1:26-38; 22:43; Acts 5:19; 12:8; 27:23)

THE MINISTRY OF ANGELS:
1 Kings 19:5. “And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.”

This was no ordinary angel but, “an angel of the Lord” (v.7), a term used by the Bible to describe a Theophany, or a manifestation of God himself, which appeared on several occasions. No wilderness is too solitary for the attendance of these blessed spirits. Remember in all hours of despondency that He, who knew the agony of Gethsemane, and Calvary, pities us and feels for us. “For 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 (Hebrews 4:15).

“And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head.” While he slept his breakfast was made ready for him by those spiritual hands. The thin flat bread of the east is baked in a rude oven constructed in the sand, or soil. It is lined with stones to hold the heat; twigs and roots and leaves are placed upon it and kindled, and when the sand, or stones, are hot, the embers are raked to one side, and the dough is poured on the stones and covered with the embers. This is the way our Lord cooked breakfast for his disciples immediately after the resurrection (John 21:9).

“And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again (1 Kings 19:6). This shows the total exhaustion of Elijah’s physical frame. “And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee (1 Kings 19:7). Elijah probably had eaten very little the first time, due to weariness and depression and promptly laid down and fell asleep again. A while later the angel came again and awoke him to eat once more, saying that the road ahead was long and hard, and without this special nourishment he would faint by the way. Many times the inner man is weak because the outer man has been neglected or abused. When we find our spirits in a morbid state let us look to our health.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Hosea   7  8  9

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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17.           God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                       December 17, 2013               

Good Morning!
Twice the broken-hearted prophet slept, Twice the angelic messenger came down,
Twice Elijah is fed with his miraculous meal.

HE RESTOREHT MY SOUL:
1 Kings 19:7. “And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.
8. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.”

We must remember that we also must have the natural food to sustain our bodies along with the spiritual food from heaven or we also will faint in the time of trial. It is God’s will that we care for our bodies with the proper nourishment that we may be strong physically to perform the tasks he has for us to do. God is a wise physician, food first, rebuke after: The spiritual food is provided to us through Bible reading and prayer, and through the communion and fellowship with the saints of God in the Church service, along with the ministry of God’s word. (Matthew 4:4) During these times angels come and minister to the needs of the saints.

Notice the gentle touch by the angel each time he came. In this we see the father’s love. Sometimes God rebukes with kindness. He dealt with Elijah as he always deals with us--not merely beyond what we deserve, but beyond our imagination. When the prophet fled to Cherith, in the path of duty, he is fed by ravens; when he flees to Idumea, out of the path of duty, he is fed by a ministering angel. Let us look at the way God dealt with the wandering prophet. "Arise and eat:" it was precisely what Elijah needed. In his present condition (weary, disappointed, depressed, to the point of wishing to die) it would have been useless to reason with him.

Let the body be brought back to strength, and then God would take his erring servant to task, faithfully and for his profit. We need to learn this lesson well: kindness and gentleness will subdue where severity and harshness will only harden and lock up the soul. The apostle Paul said it best,Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1)

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Hosea   10  11  12  13

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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18.             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                          December 18, 2013               

Good Morning!
In the next few days we will be looking towards the birth of Jesus.
The prophecies of Isaiah pointed to Christ--the promised Savior and God.
Jesus was virgin born, Immanuel, Or God with us.

BIRTH OF JESUS FORETOLD:
Isaiah 7:14. “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

To insure the unmistakable evidence of the birth of Christ, God gave the house of David a sign. Now Jesus said on one occasion, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign” (Matthew 12:39). In Isaiah's prophecy God would select His own sign as proof that His son would come into the world in such an unusual way, and the contrast would be so great no one could honestly deny that this was the very Christ. 

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. The sign of a virgin giving birth to a child was a miraculous as it was necessary. It was contrary to nature for such a thing to happen. God forsook the natural process of child conception and instituted His own plan. This plan not only brought to the world the Son Of God, but it brought to the world the Mighty God in Christ,  This manner of birth was the only way God could be in Christ, “reconciling the world unto himself.”

As further proof that Mary was a virgin, Matthew stated Joseph married Mary after his fears of her unfaithfulness were alleviated. “And knew her not till she brought forth her first born son: and he called his name Jesus” (Matthew 1:25). In choosing Joseph to be the earthly father of His Son, God chose one of the best men of his day. Jesus calls that generation, “an evil and adulterous generation” (Matthew 12:39). Yet Joseph was a “just man” (righteous, holy)  (Matthew 1:19), and Joseph proved this by taking upon himself the responsibility of raising a child that he could never claim as his own. What an honor God gave to Joseph to place His son in his care. Joseph will receive a great reward for his fatherly service to the Son of God.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Hosea   14      Joel  1  2  3

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 19.              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                         December 19, 2013               

Good Morning!
Christmas is real and Jesus Christ came from heaven to earth and his coming is our only hope of glory.

LET US NOT FORGET WHERE JESUS CAME FROM:
Philippians 2:5. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” We often view Christmas from the perspective of angels and shepherds. We think of the wise men. We try to see Christmas through Mary's eyes, and Joseph's. We even try to get a glimpse of how it was viewed in the culture of Bible times. But have you ever thought of what Christmas meant to Christ himself? What did it mean to the babe in Bethlehem, the one born for the purpose of dying on the cross?

Isaiah said, “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). Isaiah also said, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not (Isaiah 53:3).

For our Lord Jesus, it was a long descent downward, from the ivory palaces of glory, through the tunnel of time, into the world of sinful humanity, and into the feed bin of animals. As one writer put it, the pricks of straw to His Baby-skin must have foreshadowed the piercing of the nails. Yet He came. Freely, Gladly, Lovingly, Ready to die and rise again. What a reason to love Him more dearly and follow Him more nearly this season. After all He is the reason for the season.        

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Amos   1  2  3  4

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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20.            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                       December 20, 2013               

Good Morning!
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:”

GABRIEL VISITS MARY & JOSEPH:
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. 19. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, 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. 21. And she shall bring forth a son, thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Luke 1:35. And the angel answered and said unto her (Mary), The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Luke 1:26-35 describes the scene when the Angel Gabriel suddenly appears to a young virgin named Mary, telling her the she would be the mother of a child, not just any child, but, the child would be the Son of God Himself. This is one of the most important verses in the entire bible, unless we can believe this verse we will have trouble believing the other things we read about Jesus. In fact we must believe it to be saved.

The One who by His power had created the universe, would come in human flesh through Mary’s womb. Jesus Christ, the eternal one, reached out through his birth and took to himself a true and complete humanity. He united true humanity and true deity in one person forever. Such was the revelation given to both Joseph and Mary.

Joseph’s response was one of implicit faith and obedience. He did not ask for confirmation. He did not ask for explanation. He accepted the fact that Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the virgin birth was the true explanation of Mary’s pregnancy, and he obeyed the command of the angel and took Mary home as his wife.

And the king of glory condescended to be cradled in the manger that was to hold food for cattle. He who had come to provide heaven’s bread descended to a manger.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Amos 5  6  7  8

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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21.  22.            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                December 21 & 22, 2013               

Good Morning!
An interview between the two happy mothers, Elisabeth and Mary.

GOD CONFIRMS THEIR FAITH:
Luke 1:43. (Elizabeth To Mary) “And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44. For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.”

The scriptures seem to indicate that Mary informed Joseph of the visit of the Angel Gabriel, and we could suppose he was shocked and confused to hear the news. We do not know all that went on during the intervening days and Mary asked leave to go visit her cousin Elizabeth in Judaea. And leaving Joseph to think things over she set out for the home of Zacharias and Elisabeth (Luke 1:40).

We may suppose that Mary did not acquaint any of her neighbors at Nazareth with the message she had received from heaven, yet longed to talk over a thing she had a thousand time thought over, and knew no person in the world with whom she could freely converse concerning it but her cousin Elisabeth, and therefore she hastened to her. Now, at their first coming together, for the confirmation of the faith of both of them, there was something very extraordinary. Mary knew that Elisabeth was with child, but it does not appear that Elisabeth had been told any thing of her cousin Mary being designed for the mother of the Messiah; and therefore what knowledge she appears to have had of it must have come by a revelation, which would be a great encouragement to Mary.

(Mary’s Answer) Luke 1:46. “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
47. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
50. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
51. He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
53. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
54. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
55. As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.”

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Amos  9          Obadiah 1       Jonah 1
Jonah 2  3  4      Micah 1

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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23.              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                           December 23, 2013               

Good Morning!
Let us not forget to give praise unto Jesus Christ this season. Christmas is real and Jesus Christ is our hope of glory.

IF CHRIST HAD NOT COME:
1 Timothy 1:1: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;

Christmas is not just an optional Holiday on the calendar, but a foundational event that under-girds all we are, and believe. We can but shudder when we realize that if Christ had not come, our Bibles would be untrue, for the story of the Incarnation fills both the Old and New Testaments.

If Christ had not come, our God would be unknown, for Christ is the image of the invisible God, the Word made flesh. He is Emmanuel -- God with us.

If Christ had not come, our sins would be un-forgiven. The chief purpose for Christ being born in Bethlehem was to save us from our sins. His very Name--Jesus-- means “Jehovah Saves!” John the Baptist called him, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

If Christ had not come, our prayers would be unanswered. Hebrews 4:15-16 says that since we do have a High Priest, namely Jesus, we can approach the throne of grace with boldness.

If Christ had not come, our hope would be unfounded. We would have no future, no life, no heaven, and no eternity. No reunions with our loved ones. Nothing beyond the grave.

Let us worship and praise the Lord for this great hope we have in Jesus. No other religion has this hope to offer its followers. Christ brought hope of eternal life, He brought hope of heaven and eternal bliss. No other religion offers anything but oblivion after this life is over. We want to embrace Him today with all our hearts.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Micah   2  3  4  5

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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24.          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                  December 24, 2013               

Good Morning!
The Night God Came Down To Dwell Among Men.

NO VACANCY:
Luke2:7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

A small town in darkness, in a remote part of the earth, a jostling crowd of people arriving and pushing ahead of one another for a place to spend the night. Joseph and Mary were coming wearily to the end of their long road. There was no room for them in the village inn. Nothing to do then but to find a corner in a stable where Mary, great with child, could lie down to rest.

Poets, song writers, artists, preachers and teachers have long tried to express its simple beauty—grandeur. These were the first verses of scripture which I committed to memory. They let us know that the most wonderful event that ever took place took place at night.

If the inn-keeper had dreamed who Mary’s child would be—he would have found means to welcome him. He would have been flattered at the idea of welcoming greatness. If someone had only told him that here was the world’s Savior—that a star would shine over his place that night—that angels would sing—that here was the One by whose Name every little town and village he entered would be made famous.

Then he would have rearranged his guests and sent some to find lodgings elsewhere so that Mary the mother of Jesus might come in. But he did not know--that’s the way it always is. We see only an ordinary stranger when He comes knocking—“there is no room in the inn of my heart.”

This was to become an eternal parable of Jesus’ life. “No room for them in the inn.” “No room for him in the people’s heart and life.” No vacancy: now religion and Jesus cannot find a place when he comes with his infinite gifts to enrich our souls—there is simply no room for him in the inn of my heart—it’s already filled.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Micah 6  7      Nahum   1  2

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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25.             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                       December 25, 2013               

Good Morning!
Only those who truly follow after Christ and look for Him shall find Him.

THE ANGEL ANNOUNCED THE BIRTH OF CHRIST:
Luke 2:8. “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

It was on one of the nights while the shepherds were watching their flocks that the angel announced the birth of Jesus. In His wisdom God had arranged for these shepherds to be in the area of Bethlehem at the time Christ was born.

After receiving the announcement from the angel, the shepherds quickly went to
Bethlehem, found the Christ child. And then returned glorifying and praising God for what they had heard and seen. But they did not keep the news to themselves; they made it known everywhere they traveled. “And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child” (Luke 2:17).

The Scriptures state that the angel of the Lord came upon the shepherds with
visible glory. Obviously the glory of the Lord was in the form of a light because it “shone around about them.” This is first time God’s Glory was see in Israel in over 400 years. The angel's message contained “good tidings of great joy” for all people. It was and remains a message of hope to the hopeless. As simple as the message was, its power continues to bring joy to hearers around the world.

Jesus had come in the flesh, born of a woman, to redeem fallen man. It is the wonder of His love that bleeds through His humble birth, life, and death at Calvary, that never ceases to amaze and attract men to Him. “God so loved the world that he gave,” and that gift was born the Son of God.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Nahum   3       Habakkuk  1  2  3

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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26.          God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                        December 26, 2013               

Good Morning!
The road back from a great experience is usually a let-down after we were carried away in moments of ecstasy and intense feeling.

THE ROAD BACK:
Luke 2:20. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

The great moment has past, “And the shepherds returned…” the first four words of this verse are not the end of the sentence. It also says, “glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen…” Only hours ago the heavens were filled with an angelic choir singing glory to God in the highest, peace on earth and goodwill to men.

They were excited and thrilled beyond description as they hurried to the manger to see the baby that had been born that night. But now the skies are blank and under their feet is common earth, they are on their way back from a great experience.

Haven’t we all had moments, so beautiful, so full of joy—we knew we had been touched. It is easy to go hurrying when great expectations lie ahead. But how about when the emotions begin to ebb? The trouble with most people, they seem to be always walking on the road back. The road back is always the hard road, no joy, a sense of let down, when the Christmas season is over. We seem to find it hard to occupy our time adjusting to an ordinary world and getting back to normal.

The shepherds did not understand all they had seen and heard, in a distant day this baby would be a king, his crown of thorns, his throne a cross, but dimly, somehow they knew he was Royal. Let us return to duty “glorifying God and praising him.

God will not be found in some strange and distant day if he cannot be found now.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Zephaniah   1  2  3      Haggai  1

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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27.             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                      December 27, 2013               

Good Morning!
This Christmas remind yourself of why it is more blessed to give than receive.

GIVING THE GIFT OF CHRIST:
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. 9. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Acts 20:35. “I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

The most endearing people associated with the first Christmas in Bethlehem in addition to the Christ child and His parents are the wise men. Their gifts of “gold, frankincense, and myrrh” suggest there were three. But their number is as much speculation as their identity, homeland, and vocation.

This we do know about the wise men: They went to considerable effort and expense to do something for others. Their goal was to give something to Jesus, not receive
something for themselves. In doing so, they unknowingly embodied what ought to be the spirit of Christmas for every Christian.

Studies show that Christmas can be one of the most discouraging times of the year for many people. Widows and widowers, shut-ins, singles, the elderly, those who have no family nearby … the list goes on of people who are often lonely and forgotten in the Christmas rush. This year, spread some Christmas cheer and the love of Christ to someone who may be in need of both. It might make this your best Christmas ever -- and theirs. 

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Haggai   2             Zechariah  1  2  3

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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28.  29.            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                   December 28 & 29, 2013

Good Morning!
The world does not know the real value of those who live as Christians.

SALT OF THE EARTH: THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD:
Matthew 5:13. “Ye are the salt of the earth:
Matthew 5:14. “Ye are the light of the world.

In these two illustrations, “Ye are the salt of the earth..” “Ye are the light of the world,” Jesus is describing our place, or role, in the world we live in as Christians, or the reason why we are here. He could have willed it that we would be translated, like Enoch or Elijah, the very moment we were saved. No suffering, no persecution, but He has left us here for a purpose. We are left here to keep the world from being completely rotten or decayed. And without the Christians which are in the world it would be in total darkness.

The Church was born into a world of almost total paganism. Idolatry ruled the minds of people, slavery and immorality was the norm, almost the entire world was ignorant and unlearned, darkness ruled the minds of the population of the world. Christianity has done more to correct these things than all the other religions combined. It is the only religion with a moral purpose. Without Christianity the world would still be in the grip of barbarism and paganism. Church we are here to hold back the night. We are here to take the stench out of society. Your influence must be felt, seen, experienced, by everyone around you.

Nothing can take the place of your influence on society, if you will not act as salt, where will the influence come from to make a better society. In these sayings Jesus is exalting His disciples. A ‘pinch’ of salt is enough to flavor this society. Church we don’t have to be many in numbers. All Jesus asks of us is to be real salt. We are to stay in the world, touching every phase of society if we are to redeem it. We redeem society by being what Jesus asks us to be, real Christians and real salt.

The world is in a state of darkness. Jesus asks us to live as salt of the earth and the light of the world. By living as Jesus asks us to. Living the Sermon on the Mount and living a Christian life. Nothing less will give the light they must have. Put your light on a candlestick that it may give light to everyone around us.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Zechariah   4   5  6  7  8
Zechariah   9  10  11  12

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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30.            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                        December 30, 2013               

Good Morning!
As we shift gears for a new year, remember that God has a promise for every day, A reassurance for every crisis, and grace for every need.

THE PERMANENCY OF GOD’S WORD:
Matthew 5:17. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

Jesus did not want the people of His day to misjudge Him, or have the wrong opinion of Him. So twice in this sermon he made this statement, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets.” “Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace but a sword.” “Do not misjudge me.” His teachings and actions were very different from the customary and accepted idea of the Messiah at that time. No doubt He aroused Jewish fears. He seemed to threaten both the Mosaic Law and the Temple. “Think not…” Do not misjudge me—“I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”

Jesus was emphasizing that the Old Testament was the Words of God given to men and therefore must come to pass. They will be fulfilled; almost all of the Old Testament has already been fulfilled. Most of it was fulfilled in Christ. He became the sacrifice. He was the High priest. He was the Temple. By His death on Calvary He has fulfilled all the types and shadows in the whole Ceremonial Law. The Moral Law is different from the ceremonial and judicial law. Here God is laying down something which is permanent and perpetual. It’s a Relationship which must always exist between God and man, written with the finger of God in stone. All through the New Testament it teaches that sin is a transgression of the Law. So the Moral Law of the Old Testament still applies to us. Just think of it. This man of Galilee weighed the religious leaders of His day in His balances, and found them wanting. “For I say unto you,”

Who, or what, gave him the right? If two Jews of that day quarreled, and one of them could claim, “But the law says...,” the argument was ended. But Jesus said “I say unto you.” There was a new age when Christ came. There was a new law when Jesus came. The old law inscribed on tables of stone; the new law written on the tables of the heart.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Zechariah  13  14       Malachi  1

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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31.           God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                        December 31, 2013               

Good Morning!
As we come to the close of this year we want to look at one of the most important verses in the Bible, which tells us that, in spite of ourselves, God really does love us.

GOD LOVES THE WHOLE WORLD:
John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

What made God do this? Was it because the world loved Him? Was it because the world was lovely? Was it because the world was loveable? God loved us in spite of ourselves. God’s love was totally outside of our action or love toward Him. Matthew 5:44. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”

Our prayers for God to save the world are fine, but we need to be specific in our prayers, pray with a purpose. Pray for that person who is ‘bugging’ you. Pray for those who ‘rub’ you the wrong way. Call out their name to God. Pray for that person at work who despitefully uses you – ‘Save Him Lord.’ Pray for the employer or Boss that persecutes you. ‘Lord fill him with your Spirit.’ I wonder if someone prayed for Paul the persecutor. ‘Lord save him,’ Pray for the neighbor who pulls his fallen limbs over into your yard or dumps his trash in your driveway. Maybe you have an In-law you cannot get along with. Pray for Him or Her. Pray for that Church member who will not speak to you. Jesus prayed for the man who was driving the nails in His hands. “Father forgive them they know not what they do.”

I do feel like someone prayed for Saul of Tarsus. There was nothing in him that one could love. 1Timothy 1:15 …… “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”  Someone must have prayed for John Newton, ‘Despicable.’ Once he was master of a Slave Galleon. ‘Jesus died for him’ “Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.”

First we must die out to self. The Christian lives on a higher level than the world. He belongs to a different kingdom. He is a new man, a new creature, a new creation. That’s how he can love his enemy.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Malachi  2  3  4

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

 

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