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Feburary 2014

Sunrise Over The Mountain

Godsgrazingfield Devotions Feburary 2014

                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                   February 1 & 2, 2014

Good Morning!
The encampment of the Children of Israel at Mount Sinai is one of the greatest and most wonderful events in the history of the world.

BY FAITH MOSES: AT THE FOOT OF SINAI:
Exodus 19:18. “And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.”

After a march of several miles from the Red Sea, they came out on a perfectly level plain of yellow sand, some three miles long, and a mile wide, nearly flat, and dotted over with tamarisk bushes.  The mountains which gather around this plain have for the most part sloping sides, and form a kind of natural amphitheatre; but towards the south there is one pile of jagged cliffs which rises sheer upwards to a wild precipice, while behind lies the granite mass of Gebel Mousa, deeply with fissures, and torn, as though it had fought a hard battle with earthquake, storm, and fire.

This pile of rocks is called Ras Sufsafeh, and was probably “the mountain that burned with fire.” It rises from the plain below as a huge altar; all that happened on its summit would have been easily visible to the furthest limits of the camp of two million souls pitched beneath. Such was the chosen scene for the giving of the Law. At the foot of Sinai the children encamped for a year. It was here that this group of former slaves was solidified into a nation which is still in existence. There they celebrated the Passover. There upon this mountain God descended and gave them the laws which they were to keep throughout all their generations. God also wrote with His finger the Ten Commandments.

God welded the Hebrew people together into one that they might be able to receive and retain as a part of their national life those great truths with which they were to be entrusted. It would become their duty to pass these truths along to all people. Every ordinance of the Law, every custom and provision for domestic and civil life, every item in the construction of the sanctuary and in the ordering of the priests, was due to the direct will of God, spoken from his mouth. “God,” and not Moses, was the author of each proviso, the real Legislator, the real Law-giver, the real King; Moses was but the mouthpiece, an intermediary to communicate God’s decrees to his people. How clear was the testimony to the supremacy of the Most High! Such were some of the lessons taught at Sinai.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion    

Today’s First Thoughts                                      February 3, 2014

Good Morning!
There are experiences with us all in which God forgives our sin, but we still pay the consequences. We reap as we have sown. We suffer where we have sinned.

BY FAITH MOSES: HOW IT WENT WRONG WITH MOSES:
Numbers 20:10. “And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?  11. And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. 12. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.

It was but one act, one little act; but it blighted the flower of a noble life, and shut the one soul, whose faith had sustained the responsibilities of the Exodus with unflinching fortitude, from the reward which seemed so nearly within its grasp. The wanderings of the forty years were almost over. The congregation which had been scattered over the peninsula had converged towards the given meeting-place in Kadesh. There the encampment remained for some months; and there Miriam and Aaron died one of the few with whom that lonely spirit could still hold converse of that life which lay beyond the desert sands, the valleys of Sinai, and the waters of the Red Sea, in the distant mighty land of the Pharaohs and the Pyramids.

Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Caleb, and Joshua (and perhaps some Levites), were the only relics and survivors of that vast triumphant host, whose voices had rung out their challenge on the morning of emancipation; and each of these thought himself sure, and his comrades also, of going over to “see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.” But this was not to be. 

In quitter moments Moses would have acted differently, but just now he was irritated, indignant, and hot with disappointment and anger. When, therefore, the assembly was gathered together in their thronging multitudes around him, he accosted them as rebels. He spoke as if the gift of water depended on himself and Aaron. He betrayed his sense of the irksomeness of their demand, and then vehemently smote the rock with his rod twice. And as those blows re-echoed through the still air, they shivered for ever the fabric woven by his dreams and hopes.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Exodus   13  14  15  

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                  

 Today’s First Thoughts                                    February 4, 2014

Good Morning!
The death of Miriam, of Aaron and of Moses all occurred in the same year, as they stood on the threshold of the Land Of Promise>

BY FAITH MOSES; THE DEATH OF MOSES:
Deuteronomy 34:5. “So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. 6. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: no man knoweth his sepulchre unto this day.”

The Bible is the book of life. Its pages teem with biography; they contain but scant memorials of death. The only death they describe at length is that of Him who in dying slew death. The very minuteness of the description here shows how unique and all-important it was. Men make more of death than of life as a gauge of character. The records of Scripture find little room for dying testimonies, words, or experiences; whilst they abound in stories of the exploits and words of those who have stormed and suffered and wrought in life's arena. This may explain why, contrary to human custom and expectation, the death of the great Lawgiver is described with such brief simplicity.

After such a life it was meet that Moses should have a death and burial unparalleled in the story of mankind; and we do not wonder that poet, painter, and preacher, have found in that lonely death on Pisgah's summit a theme worthy of their noblest powers. As far as the east is from the west, so far had that transgression been removed. But though the remission was complete, yet the result lingered in his life, and shut him out from an experience which should have been the crown of his career. Jude tells us (vs.9) that the devil showed up at Moses’ funeral contending to claim his body but Michael the great Arch Angel wrested it away from his grasp. I’m sure that if the devil came to claim so great a person as Moses he will also show up at our funeral.

Moses’ prayer for the opportunity to go over “into the good land” was denied at that time, yet God remember this prayer and answered it 1500 years later as He brought Him, together with Elijah, onto the Mount Of Transfiguration with the Lord Himself. The writer says they “appeared in glory” (Luke 9:31). I realize so great a life as Moses’ can only be touched in one or a thousand lessons, yet I hope something in these lessons will stir our hearts to know the true value of his accomplishments.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Exodus   16  17  18

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion        

Today’s First Thoughts                                      February 5, 2014

 Good Morning!
I wish I could be in agreement with the person who believes that everyone will eventually be saved and that there is no hell, but I must hold true to my belief in scripture.

HELL:
Luke 16:23. “And in hell he (The Rich Man) lift up his eyes, being in torments.”

If there were no hell why have Church, why preach to try to save the lost, why not let everyone enjoy life to the fullest, if there is no right and wrong, there is no guide for living, if there is no hell, there is no heaven, the same book is the only source of reference to either. The Bible is the only true source that we have concerning the end of time, the judgment, and the eternal life thereof afterwards. Do not turn to other men’s opinions for true synopsis of those things. Men offer hundreds of ways to escape yet the true measurement comes only from the Bible.

First thing Jesus is the most emphatic teacher of hell. He says concerning the rich man in Luke 16:23 “And in hell he lifted up his eyes..” Jesus goes on to inform us that there was no return or way out, v. 26. “And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”

The word hell is mentioned 86 times in the Bible in both the Old and the New Testament. Some of those places it does refer to the grave but most especially in the New Testament it refers to the lake of fire and brimstone. In Matthew alone Jesus mentions hell and says “Hell Fire” a few times. Also in Mark it is repeated by Jesus.
Mark 9:43. “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:  44. Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” 8 times in the Book of Revelation it is referred to as a “Lake Of Fire.”

I do know that God is merciful and is not willing for anyone to perish and will give many chances or opportunities for a person to be saved but there is also a final Judgment to which everybody will attend and be judged and will have all their actions weighed on accurate scales of mercy, yet most of those will not pass the test and will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone which according to Jesus will burn forever.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Exodus 19  20  21

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion       

 Today’s First Thoughts                                    February 6, 2014

Good Morning!
In the next several days we want to do a series on what we will call the Meditations On The Last Days Of Christ. We feel that this was the most important event in the history of the world and we will meditate on it for our benefit. We want to take our time and walk the path with Jesus as he carries His cross to Calvary.

THE CRUCIFICTION OF JESES IS SET IN MOTION           :
John 11:53. “Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.”

Almost immediately after our Lord had performed perhaps the most stupendous of His miracles, in raising Lazarus from the grave, after he had been dead four days, we are informed by the Evangelist that “the chief priests and the Pharisees took counsel together to put him to death.” Three-and-one-half years ago John the Baptist had introduced Jesus as the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” and now the event is set in motion.

What a humbling view does this circumstance give us of the depravity of human nature as exemplified in these men, who, while obliged to confess the fact of the miracles which JESUS wrought (John 11:47), not only refused to accept Him as the Messiah, but even conspired together to rid themselves of Him by condemning Him to death. Jesus had said earlier, “Neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead” Luke 16:31. They had seen the dead raised, yet did not believe.

“Jesus therefore,” we are told, “walked no more openly among the Jews, but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.” With this object in view, the Lord takes His twelve disciples aside. He has matters of importance to disclose to them. Destined, as they were, to lay the foundations of His Church, they soon perceive His intention, and hang upon His lips with increasing eagerness But “when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.”

May devotion, humbleness of mind, and child-like faith accompany us in our meditations, and penitential tears become our eye-salve as we come to meditate on Christ’s suffering. Our prayer, “Do Thou, who hast the key of David, unlock for us the gates to the sanctuary of Thy sacred passion, and in the awful scenes of Thy sufferings, enable us to discover the mystery of our eternal redemption. Amen:”

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Exodus 22  23  24

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion          

 Today’s First Thoughts                                     February 7, 2014      

Good Morning!
Yesterday we left Jesus and his disciple in the solitude of the wilderness. It would be the last time he would spend with them before His suffering, they, perhaps, expected Him the talk about the kingdom of God, but were shocked about what He told them.

CHRIST FORETELLS HIS DEATH:
Luke 18:31. “Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33. And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.

The Lord opens His mouth, and to the astonishment of the disciples, announces to them in plain terms His approaching sufferings, and at the same time His subsequent victory. “Behold,” says He, “we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.” First of all, how these words convey our Lord's fixed resolution. His heart, under the impulse of love, is firmly and immutably bent on taking the way to the cross. You well remember with what impressive earnestness He rejected the advice of Simon Peter to spare Himself, and not to go up to Jerusalem. “Get thee behind me, Satan,” was His reply; “thou art an offence unto me; for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of man.”

So evident was it to Him that the sufferings He was going to meet were the express will and counsel of His heavenly Father, that against advice of His disciple, He could recognize nothing but a temptation from the bottomless pit, and Simon as the unconscious instrument of it. No affectionate entreaty restrains Him in His course; no menace dictated by hatred deters Him from it. The bloodthirsty council has already assembled at Jerusalem, and is concocting its plan of treachery and murder. But the watchword of JESUS continues to be – “Behold we go up.” and though another Dead Sea were foaming at His feet, and though a hundred deaths awaited Him, yet the only sentiment of His heart is – “We go up.”

Here we are informed how he staid the course on the road to His sufferings. He found it in the “sure word of prophecy,” in which He read what was recorded of Himself, and the counsel of GOD respecting Him. And if anyone still requires a definite authority for the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, it is here presented to him.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Exodus   25  26  27

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion          

Today’s First Thoughts                                     February 8 & 9, 2014      

Good Morning!
Nothing occurred in any little incident, or throb of pain that was not in God’s plan for Jesus’ life. The same is true of us; every trial has its own purpose and its own sweet outcome.

THE PLAN OF LIFE:
Matthew 20:17. “And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, 18. Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, 19. And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.”

A plan of life was laid out in eternity, before creation, for the Son Of Man. Jesus knew this plan, He had studied it, yea even prepared it. Now ten days before its complete fulfillment He walks straight ahead towards the end. Nothing happened to Jesus, the going up, the betrayal, the condemnation, the mocking, the spitting, the scourging, the crucifixion—are all gone through and settled in His mind before one cruel hand is laid upon Him. A man who can so deal with his future cannot be hurt. He knows the future, its crosses are but punctuation marks in a story He has written, and perused carefully and approved as to its final outcome and significance.

Life is a plan and you will have trouble and grievous unrest, and some things will plague you if you do not understand that life is not a game of chance, but a divine plan. The very hairs of your head are numbered, your troubles are reckoned, your tears are in His bottle (Psalms 56:8). Every controversy, every cross wind, every climb up steep rocks—all are included, pre-appointed, and is part of the divine purpose. “He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). Why then do we have restlessness and miserable dis-content? “All things work together for the good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28).

There are parts of the plan you do not like, but you must deal with the whole plan in its entirety. By and by it will be finished and your life will be a complete building. We are troubled because we have no great outlook: we have no great field of vision, our life comes to us in little pieces, in small details, and not knowing what is going to happen next, we find ourselves chafing. The one thing we need not know is the detail; the great thing we may know is the wholeness of the Divine Plan.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Exodus   28  29    
Exodus   30  31  32

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                     February 10, 2014      

Good Morning!
Jesus says ‘No’ to ambition, but ‘gives freely’ to humble necessity.

ON THE ROAD TO CALVARY:
Matthew 20:20. “Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 21. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.”
29. “And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. 30. And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.”

Jesus did not go up to Jerusalem alone, but hundreds, perhaps thousands, journeyed with Him. Two incidents occurred that we want to think today. FIRST INCIDENT, somewhere along the road the mother of Zebedee’s children approached Jesus worshipping Him and asked a request, that her two son’s, James and John be granted first and second place in His coming kingdom. The SECOND INCIDENT, just outside Jericho two blind men cried out to Him to “have mercy on them.” When Jesus asked them what they had need of, they replied, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.”

Jesus did not give to the mother of Zebedee’s children what she asked for. Sometimes He says ‘No’ to men and women, but rarely. He would have said ‘yes’ a thousand times. Of the two blind men, “Jesus had compassion on them.” His ‘compassion’ moves His Omnipotence, and this moves all the resources of heaven. We ask, “Had He no compassion on the mother of  Zebedee’s children? None. She made no appeal to pity or love. The moment we read that Jesus had compassion; we know the end of the story. Here He says ‘No’ to a mother with ambition for her two children, and then says ‘Yes’ to two blind men with humble necessity.

I pray God to sit sometime on the right hand and sometime on the left of the majesty of heaven and He says ‘No.’ Then I pray Him to pity me and take me up and heal my sickness, and supply that which is lacking in my life, and I approach Him in the right spirit, humbly, hopefully, unable to see Him because of the tears that blind my eyes. I ask Him to lead me because I cannot see one step ahead of me Then He says, “What do you need?. I say “Lord that I might see.”

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Exodus   33  34  35

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion      

Today’s First Thoughts                                    February 11, 2014      

Good Morning!
Are there not many of us who would send Jesus Christ the colt from the stable, the horse from the field, the cattle from the pasture, the gold from the bank, and yet would not send him ourselves.

THE LORD HATH NEED:
Matthew 21:1. “And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2. Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.

How could Jesus know where the ass was, and the colt, and in what condition they would be found? How did Jesus know all the little things of which He spoke in the course of His ministry upon earth? How did he see Nathaniel under the fig tree, how did He know his character and state it in words that startled the man himself (John 1;48).  How did He know who it was in the sycamore tree looking down on Him? By what power of vision does He see the place where the ass was and her colt; and all this to the point of telling His disciple how to answer the owner of the ass and colt?

Yet, with all this, He uses a word which seems to contrast with all His power. He speaks as a man of need, He who could see all things, and foretell all things, and do all things, confesses to His personal necessity. And again in that very same sentence He used a word that contrasted with the word ‘need’ the word ‘Lord.’ How do you use the word ‘need’ and the word ‘Lord’ in the same sentence? What ‘need’ could He have had Who had to but wish and it was done, to command and it stood fast, to express a desire and thousand eager angels with passionate love to satisfy it?

We might be proud to give Him anything we have—yet He wants us. He seeks not yours, but you, and having you, he has all of yours.  Therein is a solemn truth. It is not enough to give Him out of your hand, we must give Him the hand itself. “We beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present yourselves as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable, unto God, which is your reasonable service” Romans 12:1.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion     

 Today’s First Thoughts                                     February 12, 2014      

Good Morning!
The enthusiasm was not only contagious, it was necessary, and it is most beautiful. Jesus Christ awakens enthusiasm: the loyalty which is paid to Jesus ia a loyalty of passionate and uncontrollable love, it keeps back nothing.

ALL THE CITY WAS MOVED:
Matthew 21:8. “And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. 10. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?”

Where is the passion today? Who now is excited in a godly and healthy sense about Jesus Christ? Yet He is the man of the day; He overlooks every shoulder, breathes upon every honest laborer, speaks comfort to every broken heart, lifts the burden and multiplies the joy of every life. “THE WHOLE CITY WAS MOVED.” Here was a man who could move a city and could satisfy every emotion He excited.

Here was a man who moves the city to the uttermost depths of its feeling and expectation, and having stirred the city into one prayer, has the Amen upon His lips which can satisfy every petition. I would to God that our whole cities would cry unto Him in like manner. That will never be done until we as individuals approach Him in the right spirit. Do not therefore yearn for the movement of whole cities, but begin where we can, by every individual heart calling Him “LORD,” and crying unto Him as Savior and King.” Speak you the holy word just now, you with the broken bleeding heart—call Him Savior: and you that are strong and without a tremor of weakness, or a ting of pain, go over to His side and bless Him for your strength, and offer yourself as a sacrifice upon His altar.

And you, little children, may also join this act of loyal worship. “And when the chief priest and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying in the temple..” little boys and girls may join the hymn. Boys and girls of every condition in life, rich and poor, instructed and the ignorant, you may bring your tribute of praise. You may be rebuked by scribes and Pharisees. “They said unto Him hearest thou what these say?” As if Jesus did not hear who was singing in the congregation and who is not singing, and it pains Him to see some who ought to be singing who are not uniting their voices in the common praise.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                     February 13, 2014      

Good Morning!
As Jesus approached Jerusalem He saw the beautiful city in all of its glory with the marble pinnacles which the Devil had taken up on three and one half years ago, and the gilded roof of the temple, such a sight in the form of a city has never flashed on human eyes since that day.

JESUS WEEPS OVER THE CITY:
Luke 19:41. “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42. Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44. And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”

He never wept for Himself when He told His disciples that He was going up to Jerusalem to be betrayed into the hands of men who would mock Him and scourge Him and crucify Him, no tear came into His eyes. But when He was come near the city He wept over it, and said “Hadst thou known, even thou, in this thy day the thing that belong to thy peace! But now they are hidden from thy eyes.” This He said with tears streaming down his face. Someone close by took notice of these tears and reported it to Luke some years later.

When He stood in the judgment hall, when He was smitten with the reed, when men spit upon His face, when they plucked the hair from of His beard, He wept not—but “when He was come near the city, He wept over it.” And said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thee, but thou wouldst not! It is now too late.” (Matthew 23:37; Luke 13: 34).

He weeps over our hard hearts; He weeps over the disobedient. No scourge could make Him cry for Himself, no nails driven into His hands ever caused Him to weep for pain’s sake, yet when He looked down the corridors of time and saw Jerusalem battered and torn by the armies of Rome, He wept. And He cries over us today, His tears have the same meaning, He will rain fire and brimstone from heaven upon those who continue in sin beyond the reach of His patience. It is one of two thing, it is being broken on the stone, or having the stone fall on us and grind us to powder.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                      February 14, 2014      

Good Morning!
It was worthwhile making the little change for one night—one quite look upward, one brief solemn pause in the rush of life that Jesus might feel the warmth of love.

FROM THE CITY TO THE VILLAGE:
Matthew 21:17. “And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.”

From the city to the village—it seems to be but a short journey, in terms of mileage, indeed it was nothing but an easy walk. From the city into Bethany—how far was that. Do not tell me the distance in mileage or time—such journeys cannot be measured by instruments. From the city to Bethany was from a battleground to a home—how far is that. It was a journey from turmoil and strife to friendship and love and rest and tender ministry—who can lay a measuring line on that immeasurable distance? The home at Bethany was not grand.

What a day this had been in the life of Jesus—the walk from Jericho, the Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem, the cleansing of the Temple, people approaching Him to be healed, confronting an denouncing the Scribes, Pharisees, and Priests, and their planning on how to get rid of Him, this was enough to exhaust any man, and now retiring to Bethany into the house of Simon the leper (Matthew 26:6, Mark 14:3). Who Simon the Leper was, is a mystery, probable someone whom Jesus had cleansed, and maybe a part of Mary and Martha and Lazarus’ family.

John 12 describes this night best. Lazarus sat at the table with Him, Martha served as usual, Mary anointed His feet and the conversation would have gone on far into the night with Jesus having the center of attention, and the large crowd who had come would have enjoyed every minute of it. But all good things mush finally come to an end and each would have found some place to rest until the day dawned. This would be Jesus’ last night of such peace and rest, the next two or three days would be as taxing as any time a man ever spent in human history, and would end with Jesus on a cross dying for the all mankind.

The home at Bethany was not grand, but the home was lined with love. We want such a home when the stress is heavy upon us. Can you retire to such a nest? Happy is your lot. He who can find a Bethany, a home a resting place in the midst of the week, can bear his burdens with grace and hope.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                     February 15 & 16, 2014      

Good Morning!
Yesterday He went out of the city for one night’s rest and relaxation, but He must return to the city. The village must not detain Him long—the village for rest the city for toiling and finishing His mission.

JESUS HUNGERED:
Matthew 21:18. “Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
19. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

“As He returned--He hungered.” Truly this Jesus was human: He never tried to conceal His humanity, He did not hide His weakness. At Sychar He told a woman that He thirsted, on the road from Bethany He hungered, on the sea He fell asleep. About the humanity of Jesus there can be no doubt: His deity is greater to me because of His humanity. I can begin my way at certain points in His story and find my way upward to other and greater heights.

This story of the fig tree must be treated in the particular connection to what was going on in His inner life, it was a revelation of what was going on in His inner life at that moment and is an outer sign of His spiritual condition at that moment. As was His custom He arose early, probably before daylight while Martha slept who would have prepared a breakfast if she had the opportunity, and was making His way back into the city with all that would take place that day on His mind. On the way He saw a fig tree and looked for some figs to satisfy His hunger, and there was none on the tree. After searching the tree and finding nothing, Jesus said “let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.” Immediately the tree withered away.

Think how near He was to the fulfillment to the divine idea which He represented, and a man so burning in earnest could endure no disappointment just then. He came to the tree there was no fruit, therefore the word of destruction was spoken. An hour later He used extraordinary powers to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple. Not one, or all of them together, were able to stand against Him. He could have withered the high priests with a word, He could have spoken the word and Pilate and all he court would have been abolished, He could have called ten-thousand angels, but I am glad He didn’t. Let us be fruit-bearing lest we be cursed.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Leviticus   8  9  10    
Leviticus   11  12  13

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                    February 17, 2014      

Good Morning!
The true servant of Christ will be completely yielded to the will of Christ.

THE MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST:
Luke 3:3. “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;”

At the age of about thirty, the age at which a priest could begin to minister, the Word of the Lord came to John, launching him on a meteoric career of brevity and brightness. It is very likely that John’s ministry, from wilderness to grave, lasted less than eighteen months.

The purpose of the ministry of John the Baptist was to plow up the fallow ground of the hearts of the people (Hosea 10:12) and to prepare them for the coming of Christ. It was a big job for him to do in the six months of his work before the baptism of Jesus.

There were many things in the spiritual terrain which needed to be changed. Crooked hearts needed to be turned to honesty and honor. Many high hills of pride needed to be brought down to a more appropriate level. The downtrodden and despairing needed to be lifted up and reminded of the fact that God loved and cared for them.

He could not make the change in their hearts. But he could and did, by his preaching point out the areas of their lives where changes needed to be made. From there the Spirit of the Lord could convict them and grant them repentance.

John was not satisfied with a repentance which was all talk and no action. When people came to him, he boldly pointed out the areas of their lives which needed change. He was just as quick to condemn a smug attitude as to censure overt wrong. To the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 3:7-10) he was very harsh. It was these religious leaders who were compared to a generation of vipers. He looked beyond their hypocritical facade and rebuked the rottenness within.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Leviticus   14  15

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                      February 18, 2014      

Good Morning!
John the Baptist recognized Jesus and knew his pure and holy life and thought that Jesus did not need to be baptized.

THE BAPTISM OF JESUS:
Matthew 3:13. “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15. And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17. And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

One day after many people had been baptized in the River of Jordan by John the Baptist, Jesus came from Nazareth to the place where John was baptizing. John knew Jesus and knew his pure and holy life and thought that Jesus did not need to be baptized. Jesus answered John and said, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.”

Then they went down into the water, both John and Jesus, and when Jesus was baptized He came straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him. A voice from heaven said, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

This voice of God verified what John had proclaimed concerning Jesus being the Lamb of God. This was also a time when some of the disciples of John began to follow Jesus. John’s feelings were not hurt but it also was the fulfilling of John’s prophecy that “I (John) must decrease, but He (Jesus) must increase.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Leviticus   16  17  18

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                     February 19, 2014      

Good Morning!
We need to have God’s Word hidden in our hearts so we can use it to overcome temptation.

JESUS LED INTO THE WILDERNESS TO BE TEMPTED:
Matthew 4:1. “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.”

In the temptation of Christ it appears that our enemy is subtle, spiteful, and very daring; but he can be resisted. We can be sure that this is not the first time temptations came to Him because no man can reach the age of thirty and not have experienced many temptations, but our Lord Jesus had no corrupt nature, therefore he was tempted only by the devil. And so far Jesus had resisted all that had confronted Him. But now that the voice from heaven had proclaimed Jesus as His beloved Son Satan came with an all-out assault upon Him.

The first temptation came directly after he was declared to be the Son of God, and the Savior of the world, and seemed to indicate that Satan was not totally convinced that Jesus was the Son of God and tempted Him to prove His Divine power by turning stones into bread, attempting to take advantage of Jesus’ hunger after fasting forty days. Christ answered all the temptations of Satan with "It is written;" to set us an example; he appealed to what was written in the Scriptures. This method we must take, when at any time we are tempted to sin. Let us learn not to take any wrong courses for our needs, even when our wants are ever so pressing: in some way or other the Lord will provide.

In the second temptation Satan tempted Christ to presume upon his Father's power and protection, in a point of safety if He cast himself from the temple heights. Jesus’ answer proves if we go out of the way of our duty, we forfeit the promise, and put ourselves out of God's protection. Satan tempted Christ with the offer of the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. The glory of the world is the most charming temptation to the unthinking and unwary; by that men are most easily imposed upon. Christ was tempted to worship Satan. He rejected the proposal with abhorrence. “Get thee hence, Satan!” Some temptations are openly wicked; and they are not merely to be opposed, but rejected at once. It is good to be quick and firm in resisting temptation. If we resist the devil he will flee from us.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Leviticus   19  20  21

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                              February 20, 2014      

Good Morning!
The true Christian message must exalt the miraculous Jesus as King and Saviour.

JOHN ANNOUNCES JESUS:
John 1:29. “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

John the Baptist was a rugged, stern and uncompromising preacher. He described the Messiah as a man with fan and fire and axe, gathering His wheat into the garner, burning the useless chaff and consigning every fruitless tree to consuming fire; all of which was true. But when, after the baptism and temptation of Jesus, John the Baptist saw Him approaching, he melted into tenderness and spoke most graciously of Him, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” The statement embodies a great concept of the central work of Christ which was to “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26).

 In this connection, John the Baptist was thinking of the paschal lamb, whose blood upon the posts and lintels of the doors saved Israel from the death angel. And resulted in deliverance from Egyptian bondage
(Exodus 12:1-13); of the Lamb which God would provide for Himself as foreseen by Abraham on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:8); of the morning and evening sacrifice in Tabernacle and Temple as a part of Israel's worship (Exodus 29:38-39); and particularly of (Isaiah 53), where Christ appears as a Lamb led to the slaughter, depicting both His patient suffering and His atoning sacrifice, for “the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all”
(Isaiah 53:6-7).

He bore the sins of the world upon the cross (1 Peter 2:24). And for all who accept Him as their Substitute and Savior, He bears away sin so as to pardon freely and fully and give the soul peace (Matthew 1:21; Ephesians 1:7; Romans 5:11). His atonement is sufficient for the whole world and sufficient for all who believe.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Leviticus   22  23

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                    February 21, 2014      

Good Morning!
A dedicated Christian will strive to lead others to Jesus.

JOHN’S DISCIPLES FOLLOW JESUS:
John 1:35.”Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 36. And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! 37. And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.”

As soon as Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptist, He immediately entered the wilderness to be tempted and remained there forty days. During His absence John continued to testify of Him, preaching repentance, and baptizing believers. Now the temptation in the wilderness is over and Jesus won complete victory over the devil. Jesus is now ready to begin His ministry. It is not strange that Jesus would come back to the river of Jordan where John the Baptist was preaching. John looked upon Jesus as He walked and said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”  When two of John’s disciples heard him speak, they followed Jesus, one of whom no doubt was John the Evangelist and the other Andrew.

Having found Christ, Andrew immediately went in search of his brother, Peter, and told him, we have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted the Christ.  Andrew brought Simon Peter to Jesus. When Jesus beheld him he said, “Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone.”

“The next day Jesus went into Galilee and findeth Philip of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter and said unto him, Follow Me. Then Philip went and found his friend Nathanael, and said unto him, we have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael asked Philip, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Philip said Come and see. When Nathanael asked Jesus, “Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said, before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Then Nathanael answered Jesus and said, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

Andrew and John were already disciples of John the Baptist, while Peter, Philip, and Nathanael, who possibly knew and had heard of him, was not. They however, confessed Christ as the Messiah, Son of God, and Savior of the world. 

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Leviticus   24  25

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                   February 22 & 23, 2014      

Good Morning!
Jesus came in fulfillment of Scripture to minister the needs of man.

JESUS ANNOUNCES HIS MINISTRY:
Luke 4:14. “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. 15. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. 16. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Jesus, a man thirty years of age, is standing in the synagogue of His home town reading the Scripture. He chooses the portion carefully. He knows He is without honor in Nazareth, because it is the place where He has grown up. But He longs to instruct them concerning Himself, who He is, and why He had lived in Nazareth as a boy and a young man. So He selects a portion from the Book of  Isaiah (61:1-11), that gives a tremendous description of the coming of the promised Messiah for the Jewish nation.

Jesus knew they were looking for a temporary king to free them from the domination of the Roman Empire, but He wanted to impress upon them that such hopes were premature. He wanted them to realize that the kingdom of the Messiah was to be a spiritual kingdom, and that the victories the Messiah would gain would not be over political enemies but over the enemy of sin. But most of all He wanted to reveal to them THAT HE, A MAN FROM THEIR HOME-TOWN WAS THAT MESSIAH! The one whom the prophet Isaiah had spoken WAS IN THEIR MIDST….STANDING BEFORE THEM! 

Evidently they were unmoved by his sermon. Probably they did not “catch on” as to what He meant. Perhaps some of them realized His purpose, but instead of acclaiming Him they were offended at Him. The visit to Nazareth ends on the sad note that He did not perform many mighty works because of their unbelief
(Matthew 13:58) .

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Leviticus   26  27
Numbers   1  2

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion        

Today’s First Thoughts                                       February 24, 2014      

Good Morning!
Any consideration of John’s life and ministry would be incomplete without an analysis of the end of his journey to prison and death.

THE IMPRISONMENT AND DEATH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST:
Luke 3:19. “But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, 20. Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.”

John rebuked evil wherever he found it, even in the palace. He did not confine his preaching only to those who were weak and lowly. When the king sinned, John did not hold his peace. Since Herod was a wicked man, it was only a matter of time before John got around to him. The focus of John’s rebuke was Herod’s marital status. Herod had put away his first wife, the daughter of Artaes, king of Petarea. Herodias had left her husband Philip, Herod’s brother, and took up residence with Herod. John, of course, rebuked the adulterous situation. But this union was also incestuous for Herodias was the niece of Herod and therefore forbidden to marry him (Leviticus 18:6, 16). Rather than repenting Herod had John thrown in prison.

We do not know whether it was from doubt, despondency, or a desire to turn the rest of his followers to Jesus, but John sent emissaries to question whether Jesus was the Messiah. Whatever the reason, it gave occasion for the ministry of John to close with yet another proof of Jesus’ mission being brought to the notice of the world. After the messengers were gone to carry word to John, Jesus testified to the greatness of this man who decreased (Luke 7:26-28).

As the executioner made his way to the dungeon, a chapter of history drew to a close. John had gone from a pinnacle of popularity and power to a prison cell.  Multitudes had followed him. A few close followers would bury him while the masses thronged Jesus. But John finished his course faithfully and without failure. He pointed the way and prepared the path for Jesus. No man has ever done a more important job for the Lord.

This was God’s way and God’s will. If John had lived side-by-side with Jesus there would always have been controversy among the people over which was the greatest. So God, in His ultimate wisdom, solved this problem before it could get started.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Numbers   3  4

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                     February 25, 2014      

Good Morning!
Through the authority of Jesus we may carry on His ministry. Jesus wants each of us to become fishers of men.

THE MIGHTY MINISTRY OF JESUS:
Mark 1:17. “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.”

Jesus began His ministry in Galilee in earnest after the imprisonment of John the Baptist. The voice of the great prophet in the wilderness, who had cried “repentance” for more than a year, had been silenced by the wicked Herod Antipas. Then Jesus came preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. His method here was proclamation with authority, and His message was from God and with divine authority. (Mark 1:14-15)

Having come to establish the spiritual aspect of the kingdom of God by calling men to repentance and faith, Jesus needed some men to help Him. Hence He called four fishermen by the Sea of Galilee to follow Him and “become fishers of men.” They were Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John, four individuals alike in occupation but unlike each other in ability and temperament (Mark 1:16-20).

Together with His four disciples Jesus arrived in Capernaum and on the Sabbath Day He entered the synagogue and taught. His teaching aroused His hearers with astonishment, for they at once recognized the Divine Authority in contrast to that of the Scribes. In the synagogue that Sabbath morning was a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out “Let us alone,” Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. When the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. The people were amazed at the authority that Jesus had when He gave commandment to the unclean spirits, and they obeyed Him.

Jesus and the four Disciples left the synagogue and went into the house of Simon and Andrew. Peter’s mother-in-law lay sick of a fever. Jesus came and took her by the hand and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them (Mark 1:29-31). At even, when the sun did sat, they brought unto Jesus all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. Jesus healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils. (Mark 1:32-34)

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Numbers   5  6

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                     February 26, 2014      

Good Morning!
If we trust Jesus, He will supply both spiritual and temporal needs.

JESUS’ MINISTRY IN GALILEE:
Mark 1:35. “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. 36 And Simon and they that were with him followed after him.

A PRAYERFUL MINISTRY: Jesus after a busy day and at the time when He must have known crowds would soon be thronging to see Him arose early in the morning and quietly found His way out of the city to a place of solitude for prayer. Simon Peter and the other disciples, evidently concerned about Jesus’ absence and the gathering of the people, set out to find Him. When they found Jesus, they informed Him, that He was being sought by the crowds.

A PREACHING MINISTRY: Mark 1:38. “And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. 39 And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.” The purpose of Jesus’ mission was to preach and minister to all who had need. He had come forth from the presence of God, from the place of communion with God, to minister under God’s authority and providence to the lost, to the sick, and to the poor. It was His divine mission.

A POWERFUL MINISTRY: Mark 1:40. “And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. 42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.”

Leprosy in Bible times was a skin disease that rendered the victim ceremonially unclean and therefore separated them from society. When the leper said unto Jesus, “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. Jesus said, “I will; be thou clean. Immediately the leprosy departed from him.” Never had a person with leprosy been made clean and whole before Jesus came.  He can do the same for any sinner who is as unclean as the leper was.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses on line 
Numbers   7

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                               February 27, 2014      

Good Morning!
God moves in mysterious and unusual ways to manifest his power.

JESUS TURNED WATER INTO WINE:
John 2:1. “And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2. And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 11. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.”

God moves in mysterious and unusual ways to manifest his power. Surprises await those who respond to God’s call in true faith and obedience. The early disciples found it so. They had been with Jesus but a short time when they were invited to a wedding, perhaps of some kinsman or intimate friend. When some of the guests wanted wine the mother of Jesus said unto Him, they have no wine. Jesus said unto His mother, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come. Mary said unto the servants, Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.”

The mother of Jesus solicited Him to assist her friends in this strait. This shows her faith in Him even though He had, before this time worked no miracles, she looked for a miracle. The bridegroom might have sent out for more wine, but she was for going to the fountain-head where all needs are supplied. “Whatsoever He saith unto you do it, though you may think it ever so improper. If He saith, Give the guests water, when they call for wine, do it. If He saith, pour out from the bottoms of the vessels that are spent, do it. He can make a few drops of wine multiply to so many draughts.” Note, those that expect Christ’s favors must with an implicit obedience observe his orders.

There set six waterpots of stone containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus told the servants to fill the waterpots with water. They filled them up to the brim. Then Jesus told the servants to draw out and bear it unto the governor of the feast. “When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, he called the bridegroom. And said unto him, every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.” Whatever Jesus does it is always the best.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                     February 28, 2014      

Good Morning!
Jesus said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” And that's why Levi, or Matthew, got his call from Jesus to follow him.

MATTHEW THE TAX COLLECTOR:
Luke 5:27. “And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. 28. And he left all, rose up, and followed him.”

In this study we want to think of the background of these men whom Jesus chose. We want to think of their personalities, attitudes, and religious as well as their political beliefs. Remember we all bring these with us as we come to Jesus. Many factors and events have played on our lives and these all have helped to shape our thinking and condition of our soul when Jesus found us. Some people leave good Christian homes, with righteous up-bringing, and for some unknown reason go into the depths of sin.

Levi's Godly parents must have been heart broken when he chose a profession of such shameful, and disgraceful repute, as orthodox Jews deemed that of a publican, or a tax collector, to be. Matthew was born to serve the Lord, his family, home, background, nation, all in his favor. But Matthew had sunk into the depths of sin. We do not know all that happened in Matthew’s heart to cause him to take the turn in the road of his life which he took. Matthew found himself “joined” by the “gilded fetters” of the Roman state, and had forfeited his golden opportunity in life. It must have been a heavy cross for Mary and Alphaeus, his mother and father. Yes this is the story of the original prodigal. Levi became, not a priest, but a publican, one of Caesar’s toll men. Matthew was brought from the pit.

Matthew was no doubt a listener in the crowd at the Sermon On The Mount, as he gave us the best account of it. Jesus may have looked him in the eye when he said, “ye cannot serve God and Mammon,” Matthew’s besetting sin. So Matthew sat at the seat of customs and thought, no one had been turned away. Matthew had, in heart, become a disciple before that great day, but could he ever hope for personal recognition? Matthew would receive a higher call, the call to Apostleship. Latter in life, after years of service for his master, he would write the greatest story ever told.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net                                  

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