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April 2014

       Godsgrazingfield Devotions April 2014

Mary Lee & Else
                                     Mary Lee Thornton & Elsie Cunningham         

God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                           April l, 2014      

Good Morning!
Even the Heavenly peace of God’s presence was part of the things which was necessary for Jesus to sacrifice as the ransom for our souls.

JESUS EXPERIENCED THE CURSE OF SIN:
Genesis 3:24 “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims,”

Besides the abominable nature of sin (Guilt), the Lord experienced its curse, which is separation from God. In this we perceive the explanation of the cause of the terrors of Gethsemane. He feels Himself as a culprit (one guilty of a fault or crime) before God. And all that is implied in being separated from God, deprived of God’s favor, estranged from His affection, and “a child of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). He feels as deeply, inwardly, and vitally, as if He Himself were in that situation.

Jesus descends to the depths of such feelings and into those infernal horrors where the prophetic lamentations in Psalms 22 find their fulfillment. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me” (v. 1), “O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not (v. 2); “Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help” (v. 11); “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death” (v. 15); “But be not thou far from me, O LORD” (v. 19):

In Gethsemane Jesus’ soul is unconscious of God’s gracious presence, and tastes only the pain and distress of abandonment. Instead of intimate nearness, He experiences only a feeling of distance on the part of God. But He is not to be spared theses bitterest drops in the cup. Can we therefore, feel surprised that when His sufferings came to this state of inward abandonment, that the cry arose about the possibility of the cup being removed should, with stronger effort, be asked?

Satan enters Gethsemane. When God withdraws, Satan comes. The infernal powers have been let loose upon the Divine Redeemer. They are permitted to array against Him all their cunning, might, and malice. They were at liberty to drive the soul of The Holy One to despair if possible. It is certain they assailed Him in the most fearful manner, and strove to induce Him to suspect the conduct of His Father towards Him, and tortured Him with insidious dissuasions from the work of human redemption.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                           April 2, 2014      

Good Morning!
After coming off victorious from His spiritual conflict in Gethsemane, our Lord prepares to enter upon the thorny path of bodily afflictions.

THE SUDDEN ASSULT:
Mark 14:43 “And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.”

Scarcely has the Savior risen from the ground when a new cause of alarm awaits Him. Before His disciples are aware of what is transpiring, lanterns and torches are seen amid the bushes of the garden. It is truly an infernal host with which we have here - the bodyguard of Satan, composed of Priests, Pharisees, Scribes, members of the temple guard, and led by the traitor Judas. Our Lord had just said to His disciples, “Arise, let us be going.” He does so in order that they should all be present at His arrest, that, as eye-witnesses, they might afterward inform the world how their Master had voluntarily delivered Himself up into the hands of His enemies, and not as one who was vanquished by them.

Our Lord approaches the armed band and asks them the simple question, “Whom seek ye?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they say. The Lord, with the sublime composure of the divine Mediator said to them, “I am He!” Great and significant expression! It was never uttered by the Saviour without being accompanied with the most powerful effects (John 8:58, 59). What occurs on His making use of the words on the present occasion? On hearing them the whole band of officials start, give way, stagger backward, and fall to the ground as if struck by an invisible flash of lightning, or blown upon by the breath of Omnipotence. That which thus powerfully affected them was, undeniably, the deep impression of the Deity of JESUS, by which they were for a time overpowered. How could one get up from the ground and take hold of such a One so endowed?

His majestic, though simple declaration, called forth in them, in its full strength, the conviction of His superhuman Glory. But this mental emotion would not alone have sufficed to stretch the whole troop bodily, as by magic, in the dust, if an act of divine omnipotence had not accompanied it. The murderous band lies at His feet, prostrated by a single expression from His lips. One day all will bow before Him.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion            

Today’s First Thoughts                                           April 3, 2014      

Good Morning!
All the contents of the cup would have been otherwise measured out to us by divine justice on account of our sin.

THE SWORD AND THE CUP:
Luke 22:49 “When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?”
John 18:10 “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. 11. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

How horrible to see the Lord of Glory fallen upon and surrounded like a robber and a murderer. The disciples witness it; but the sight renders them beside themselves. If, at the traitor's kiss, their blood congealed with horror, it now begins to boil in their veins. They cannot bear that it should come to such a pass. “Lord,” say they, as with one voice, “shall we smite with the sword?” While speaking, they themselves give the answer; and before their Master has time to say a word, Peter's sword is unsheathed, and the first blow in defense is struck. The confusion caused by Simon's thoughtless assault is indescribable. The whole scene suddenly changes. The troop, drawing their swords, now prepares also for the conflict, and the sacred soil of Gethsemane is on the point of being transformed into a battlefield.

Scarcely had the blow been struck, when the Savior stepped forward, and while turning to the armed band, rebuked the storm in some measure, by these words – “Suffer ye thus far”: - that is, “Grant me a short time, until I have done what I intend.” But how they are astonished on seeing the Lord kindly inclining to Malchus, and touching his wounded ear with His healing hand, when the blood instantaneously ceases to flow, and the ear is restored uninjured to its place.

“The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” We know what was in the cup. In the cup was the entire curse of the inviolable law, all the horrors of conscious guilt, all the terrors of Satan's fiercest temptations, and all the sufferings which can befall both body and soul. It contained likewise the dreadful ingredients of abandonment by God, infernal agony, and a bloody death, to which the curse was attached – all to be endured while surrounded by the powers of darkness.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                         

Today’s First Thoughts                                           April 4, 2014      

Good Morning!
Jesus yields Himself up to His adversaries, and suffers them to do with Him just as they please.

JESUS BOUND BEFORE ANNAS:
John 18:12. “Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, 13. And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. 14. Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

With what feelings the holy angels must have witnessed their Lord being thus taken prisoner - they whom the Savior's humiliation never for a moment prevented from being conscious of His real character and dignity; and who, wherever He went, perceived in Him the Lord of glory and the King of kings, before whose throne they only ventured to approach with veiled faces. Let us hear the words of Jesus, “Are ye come out as against a thief, with swords and staves to take me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me, nor stretched forth your hands against me.”

No power on earth would have been able to overcome Him, had He not, when His hour was come, voluntarily yielded up Himself in free submission to His Father's will. Until He had completed His ministerial office, no enemy dared to touch Him. Nor had they been able to discover anything in Him which might have enabled them to prosecute Him. The invisible barrier is now removed. “This is your hour and the power of darkness.” His meaning is, “By an act of the divine government the chain of Satan has been lengthened, that it may do with me as it pleases.”

The LORD JESUS suffered His hands to be bound, like a captive robber, by a troop of rude mercenaries, in the name of public justice. Think of those hands being bound which were never extended except to heal and aid, to benefit and save, and never to injure, except it be considered as a crime to lift mankind from their wounds. JESUS bound! What a spectacle! Can we trust our eyes? Omnipotence in fetters, the Creator bound by the creature; the Lord of the world, the captive of His mortal subjects! How much easier would it have been for Him to have burst those bonds than Samson of old! However He rends them not but yields Himself to them.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion      

 Today’s First Thoughts                                    April 5 & 6, 2014      

Good Morning!
“For the transgression of my people was He stricken.”

THEY HUMILIATED MY LORD:
John 18:22 “And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?”
Matthew 26:67. “Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, 68. Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?”

While the Lord is speaking, one of the servants of the high priest rises up and smites Him on the face, while saying, “Answerest thou the high priest so?” From this circumstance, we may perceive what is intended with respect to JESUS. This first maltreatment gave the signal for all that followed. It did not escape the servant how completely his master (Annas) was embarrassed by the simple reply of the accused; and this rude blow was the only means which presented itself of rescuing him from his painful and disgraceful dilemma. The fellow well knew that it would be allowed him - nay, that he would only rise by it in the favor of his master.

For this very crime alone, which must not be placed to the account of a single individual, but to our corrupt human nature, to the guilty race of Adam, it was fit that hell should open its mouth and swallow it up, as the pit formerly did Korah and his company. But JESUS came not to hasten our perdition, but to prevent it. We therefore do not behold the wicked man scathed by lightning from heaven, nor his hand withered, like that of Jeroboam (1 Kings 13:4), on his stretching it out to smite.

How often are we treated in a similar manner when the truth which we proclaim to the men of the world cannot be countered? We are then called bold, presumptuous, and obstinate. What is left for us, in such situations, except to make use of our Master's own words, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me?” How overpowering was this speech to both master and servant! The blow on the cheek, with its accompanying brutal language, was only a clear proof that the miserable men felt themselves unable to bring anything of a culpable nature against the Lord. By acting thus, they only smote themselves in the face, since by their conduct they made it evident how deeply and painfully they had felt the truth.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Judges   16  17  18
Judges   19  20  21

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                         April 7, 2014      

Good Morning!
Let us join ourselves in spirit to Simon Peter. If anyone was ever ardently attached to the Savior, it was he; but he, like us, was only partially conscious of what was in his own heart until the appointed feathered watchman crew the third time.

WHEN JESUS LOOKED, SIMON PETER WEPT:
Luke 22:60. “And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.”

In addition to all His other sufferings, our Lord had also to endure that of being denied by one of the little company of His confidential disciples, on whose fidelity He ought to have been able to reckon under all circumstances. Simon Peter had spoken openly and loudly of never denying his Master, avowing allegiance at all cost, even of going to death with Him; but Peter did not know what was lurking in his own heart, and Satan took advantage of his weakness. As Jesus stands bound before Annas, Peter repeatedly denied he even knew the Lord. “I know not the man.” But the more he denied the more his Galilean accent came out.

Just as Peter had filled up the measure of his sin by a formal repudiation of his Master, the cock crows. God only knows with what clamor Satan deafened the disciple’s ears so that the first cry of the feathered watchman did not penetrate into them. An awakener of some kind is appointed to every one of us. Wherever we may be, there are voices which call us to repentance. It is written upon every tombstone, in every illness that comes upon us, and every danger we face is a call to repentance, as well as that secret uneasiness which incessantly steal through our soul.

The third time the sound of the crowing of the cock reached our Lords ears, “The Lord turned himself.” The sound announced to Him His disciple’s fall, and His eye and compassionate heart go in search of him. Such is Jesus the Savior. He embraces His followers with more than natural tenderness it is a love beyond human understanding. Even amid His own suffering He turned and looked upon Simon Peter, and the look found and melted every fiber of Peter’s soul. O there is inexpressible power in the look of the Lord. The Lord’s look did not fail of its effect upon Peter, the rest of the verse tells it all. “And Peter went out and wept bitterly.”

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                           April 8, 2014      

Good Morning!
Pilate knew that the blood was innocent, but he knew not the cleansing power of it.

JESUS BEFORE PILATE:
Luke 23:1 “And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.
3. And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it.
4. Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.”

THE DAY HAS JUST DAWNED--the most momentous, decisive, eventful day in the history of the world. It greets our Lord with dreadful consequences. We find the Holy City in unusual circumstances. A spectacle like that which now presents itself, had never before been witnessed. And who is this that they are dragging before the Roman authorities? It is the very man who was recently received into the city, by the same people, with loud hosannas, and was exalted and celebrated as no one had been before. He now meets us as the off-scouring and refuse of the same people.

They bring the Lord JESUS to Pilate, the Roman governor. The Almighty permits circumstances so to connect themselves together that the whole world, in its representatives, must participate in the condemnation of the Just One. Hence His death becomes the common crime of our race, and every mouth is stopped before the judgment seat of GOD. They conduct the Lord to Pilate; and thus what the Savior had before so distinctly predicted when announcing His passion, was literally fulfilled: “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and deliver him up to the Gentiles.”

What a marvel that he should submit to be arraigned before a mortal. The scene will one day be reversed. Pilate will then have to answer at His bar. The accusers also will then have to give account of their accusations. We shall all do well to keep that solemnity evermore in mind. How Pilate’s heart must have sank as they cried. “Crucify him.” “Crucify him.” Pilate, “I find no fault in him.” “But I’ll chastise him.” “I find no reason he should die.” “But I’ll allow him to be crowned with a crown of thorns.” “I don’t want anything to do with him.” “So I’ll wash my hands and give him to you to be crucified.” “I am innocent of the blood of this just man. Then answered all the people, and said, his blood be on us, and on our children.”

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion           

Today’s First Thoughts                                           April 9, 2014      

Good Morning!
The day is not too far distant when the King of Glory will have exchanged the robe of mockery for the starry mantle of divine Majesty, the crown of thorns for a crown of glory, and the reed for the scepter of universal dominion.

BEHOLD YOUR KING:
John 19:1. “Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. 13. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14. And it was the preparation of the Passover, and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!”

Heaven's pearly gates were once thrown open and a Holy One descended into the world - such a One as the sons of men had never seen since the fall. He was glorious beyond compare, and came to verify the dream of Jacob's ladder which connected earth with heaven. Love was His banner, compassion the beating of His heart. He sojourned three years among mortals, shedding light on those who were stumbling in darkness, filling the homes of the wretched with temporal and spiritual blessings, inviting the weary and heavy laden to come to Him, in order to give them rest, and irradiating the darkness of the vale of death with promises upon promises, with so many golden lights from heaven. “I came not,” said He, “to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give my life a ransom for many.” He testified that He came to redeem His people from their sins; that He would not leave them comfortless but bring them to the Father, and elevate them to be fellow-heirs with Him in His glory.

O what blessings must such a Guest have brought with Him to a world lying under the curse! Even the angels around the throne might have envied the pilgrims in this vale of death by reason of this visit. And as regards the children of men “Doubtless,” you say, “they received Him with exultation, melted into tears of rapture, conducted Him in triumph, and knew not what they should do to manifest their gratitude to their heavenly Friend and Deliverer.” Truly, one might have supposed that such would have been the case. “What, and was it not so?” My friends lift up your eyes and look toward Gabbatha. You exclaim, “Who is yonder sufferer?” O, my friends, whom do you, take Him to be? Look Him narrowly in the face, and say if wickedness could have vented itself worse than it has done on this Person? Alas! They have made of Him a carnival king; and as if He were unworthy of being dealt with seriously, they have impressed upon Him the stamp of derision. Look at the mock robe about His shoulders, the theatrical scepter in His hands, and on His head, which is covered with wounds and blood, the dreadful crown of thorns.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
1 Samuel  4  5  6  7  8

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                          April 10, 2014      

Good Morning!
Alas for Pilate! Had he but known who it was, and all that he gave up in thus delivering Him!

THE WAY TO THE CROSS:
John 19:16 “Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. 17. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:”

The act of Pilate delivering the Lamb of God into the hands of those who was to carry out the sacrificial act at Calvary meant the end of the law and its sacrificial acts. The old priesthood came to an end, the sons of Aaron can close the doors of the temple, the types and shadows have done their duty, now that the real Lamb has appeared. Annas lay aside your robe, the miter from your head, and the breastplate, and all ye ministers of the sanctuary your duties are at a close, another has taken your place.

According to the Roman custom, all who were condemned to the punishment of the cross were compelled to carry that instrument of their death to the place of execution, and even the divine sufferer is not spared this disgrace and toil. Without mercy they lay on His wounded back the instrument of torture; and, after having given Him for His escort two grievous criminals, similarly burdened and condemned to the same death, they open the gate of the courtyard toward the street in order at length to satisfy the people who had been impatiently awaiting the cruel spectacle.

Had He shrunk back from this fatal path, His road to suffering would have represented to us that on which, when dying, we should have left the world. Instead of soldiers, the emissaries of Satan would have escorted us; instead of the accursed tree, the curse of the law itself; instead of fetters, the bands of eternal wrath would have encircled us and despair have lashed us with its fiery scourge. Now, on the contrary, angels of peace sent by Eternal Love will at length bear us on a path of light, illumined by heavenly promises, to Abraham's bosom.

We silently join this procession in spirit, singing the wonderful old hymn.
“Must Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free?
No, there is a cross for every one, and there is a cross for me.”

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                           April 11, 2014      

 Good Morning!
The cross is the tree of life, “the leaves of which are for the healing of the nations.”

SIMON OF CYREN BECAME THE FIRST TO BEAR HIS CROSS:
Mark 15:21. “And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.”

We left the Saviour at the close of our last devotion on the road to the fatal hill. JESUS is carrying His cross. When did He ever show so plainly in His outward circumstances that He bore the curse, as now? If the voice of GOD had sounded directly down from heaven, and said, “This Just One is now enduring the sentence pronounced upon you,” it could not have afforded us more certainty than by this living figure now bearing the cross.

The cross is the scaffold where, according to Romans 3:25, GOD resolved to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of GOD. It is the Moriah where for the benefit of a sinful world the curse pronounced in paradise is endured in the sacred humanity of the great Surety. It is the altar of burnt-offering on which the Lamb of GOD submitted to the sum total of that punishment which ought in justice to have fallen upon me; and the dying bed, where death is permitted to seize upon and slay another, in order that it might forever lose his claim upon me. Such is the mysterious cross which we see borne toward Calvary.

We find the Holy Sufferer outside the gates of Jerusalem. “Wherefore, Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” Here CHRIST is represented as the true antitype of the Old Testament sin offerings. Now a new figure presents itself to our view - the sinner with the cross of JESUS. This was Simon, born at Cyrene in Africa. He was stopped and compelled to bear the Lord's material cross. Later his two son’s Alexander and Rufus bore the spiritual cross.

In a spiritual sense, we become like Simon of Cyrene. We enter into the most vital, fervent, and blissful fellowship with the cross of Christ. We are everywhere and continually occupied with this cross, and it becomes the sign by which we are known. Finally, however, we become reconciled to the wondrous burden, and finally bear it with delight.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                       

Today’s First Thoughts                                    April 12 & 13, 2014      

Good Morning!
Once a year the High Priest entered into the Most Holy Place with the sacrificial blood in his hands, approached the Throne of Grace, and sprinkled the atoning blood. Now Jesus Himself approaches the altar of sacrifice bearing His own blood.

THE MOST HOLY PLACE--GOLGOTHA:
Mark 15:22 “And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. 25. And it was the third hour (9:00 A.M.), and they crucified him.”

Jesus of whom the whole Old Testament priesthood, according to the divine intention, was only a typical shadow, conceals Himself behind the thick veil of an increasing humiliation and agony; that bearing in His hands His own blood, He may mediate for us with God His Father. He realizes and accomplishes all that Moses included in the figurative service of the tabernacle. The precise manner in which this was accomplished we shall never entirely understand with our intellectual powers; but it is certain that He then finally procured our eternal redemption.

The executioners then take the Lamb of God between them, and begin their horrid occupation by tearing, with rude hands, the clothes from off His body. After having unclothed the Lord, and left Him, by divine direction, only His crown of thorns, they lay Him down on the wood on which He is to bleed; see Him lie. His holy arms forcibly stretched out upon the cross-beam; His feet lay upon each other and bound with cords. Thus Isaac once lay on the wood on Mount Moriah. But the voice that then called out of heaven, saying, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad!” is silent on Calvary. The executioners seize the hammer and nails. But who can bear to look upon what further occurs. The horrible nails from the forge of hell, yet foreseen in the sanctuary of eternity, are placed on the hands and feet of the righteous Jesus, and the heavy strokes of the hammer fall.

They have pierced the hand-writing that was against us, and have nailed it to the tree; and by wounding the Just One, have penetrated through the head of the old serpent. Those pierced hands bless more powerfully than while they moved freely and unfettered. And believe me, there is no help or salvation, save in these hands; and these bleeding feet. The moment the cross is elevated to its height, a crimson stream falls from the wounds of the crucified Jesus. We sprinkle it upon the door-posts of our hearts, and are secure against destroyers and avenging angels.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
1 Samuel   15  16  17
1 Samuel   18  19  20     Psalm 11  59

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion           

 Today’s First Thoughts                                          April 14, 2014      

Good Morning!
Without God removing His presence the human body could not die. Jesus suffered a real death by God temporarily removing Himself from the temple of flesh.

FORSAKEN BY GOD:
Mark 15:34. “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Luther, when he plunged himself in profound meditation on this most puzzling and affecting part of the whole of our Savior's sufferings. He continued for a long time without food, and sat wide awake but as motionless as a corpse, in the same position, on his chair. And when at length he rose up from the depth of his meditation, as from the shaft of a mysterious mine, he broke into a cry of amazement, and exclaimed, “GOD forsaken of GOD! Who can understand it? Yes, who is there that is able?”

At the sixth hour (12:00 noon) darkness settled over Golgotha’s hill and continued until the ninth hour (3:00 PM) (Luke 23:44). The Lord withdrew Himself from the eyes of men behind the black curtain of appalling night, as behind the thick veil of the temple. He hung there full three hours on the cross, His thorn crowned head drooping on His breast, involved in that darkness. He is in the Most Holy Place. He stands at the altar of the Lord. He performs His sacrificial functions. He is the true Aaron, and at the same time the Lamb. We know that the grave of our sins was then dug; the handwriting that was against us taken out of the way; the curse which hung over us blotted out; and the wall which separated us from our GOD removed.

“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” But His heavenly Father did not suffer the cry of His Son to remain without His response. He immediately dispelled the darkness, and restored to the sun its full mid-day splendor. The being thus forsaken essentially belonged to the cup which our great High Priest was obliged to empty for us. Hence there can be no idea that those who are united to CHRIST by the bonds of a living faith can be really forsaken of GOD. Even as for us no somber cloud any longer darkens heaven, and as we at all times behold the face of GOD unveiled, and every moment may enjoy free access to His throne of grace, so GOD will never more depart from us, whatever else may forsake us.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
1 Samuel  21  22  23  24

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion        

Today’s First Thoughts                                          April 15, 2014      

Good Morning!
Through the waters of Baptism the blood of Jesus Christ washes away our sins.

THE WOUND OF THE SPEAR:
John 19:34 “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.”

How deeply significant does the scene on Calvary appear which we are now contemplating! The persons who are acting there do not indeed know what they are doing. But this does not prevent them from being led by the hand of Divine Providence. They, therefore, proceed to Pilate, and request him to cause the legs of the three criminals to be broken, as was customary, then to be taken down, and afterward buried. The governor does not hesitate to grant their request, and sends, at the same time, another guard to the place of execution to break the legs of the malefactors, and to convince themselves of their being really dead.

They begin with the two malefactors, but when they came to the Lord Jesus, every sign of His being already dead was so apparent, that the breaking of His legs was thought needless, especially as one of the spearmen pierced His side with his spear, which alone would have sufficed to have caused His death, had the divine Sufferer been still alive. In the abstract, this occurrence appears of extremely trifling importance; but the Evangelist John who so expressly states it, regarded it with other eyes as to the fulfilling of scripture.

In the twofold fact of the Savior's limbs not being broken, and of His side being pierced by the spear, he recognizes a divine interposition by which two ancient prophecies were fulfilled. “For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced” (John 19:36-37). How highly the evangelist estimates them as a means of strengthening our faith, he proves very impressively by the words, “And he that saw it, bare record, and his record is true, and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe” (John 19:35).

In the water and the blood he sees represented the most essential blessings of salvation for which the world is indebted to Christ. But water alone would not have saved us. It took the shed blood of Jesus Christ to wash away our sins.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalm  7  27  31  34  52

 James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion         

Today’s First Thoughts                                          April 16, 2014      

Good Morning!
Almighty God arraigned a funeral to be given to His Son.

HE IS BURIED BY JOSEPH AND NICODEMUS:
John 19:38. “And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
39. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 40. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 42. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.”

After the great High Priest's atoning sacrifice had been offered up, He was not to be subjected to any further ignominy. Two honorable men – honorable not only in the eyes of men, but also before GOD - are entrusted with the interment of Immanuel's corpse; and a company of tried female disciples are to be joined with them. And John 19:38 tells us Joseph was a secret disciple for fear of the Jews. He and Nicodemus worked together to bury the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here was a wealthy and prominent man whose heart was afraid; but when push came to shove, he mustered his courage, trusted in God, and did what was right.

Joseph proceeded directly to the governor to ask his permission to take down the Saviour from the cross, and honorably inter Him in his own family sepulcher. He arrives at the Roman palace, and after having been announced, he appears in the presence of Pilate, and says with firmness and in plain terms, “I am come to beg of thee one thing - that thou wouldst give me the body of JESUS that I may prepare an honorable grave for Him as He deserves.” He and Nicodemus begin, tenderly and gently, to draw out the nails from His hands and feet. That precious corpse reclines upon their shoulders, and after they have wrapped it in fine linen, they gently let it down from the cross to the ground, and laid it in Joseph’s new tomb.

It's often hard to stand for what's right, but it helps to remember the example of Joseph of Arimathea. He craved the body of Jesus. This made him unclean for the Passover.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms  56  120   140  141  142

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                          April 17, 2014      

Good Morning!
The resurrection of Jesus was undoubtedly the greatest event in human history.

JESUS’ RESURRECTION IS THE ANCHOR OF THE GOSPEL:
1 Corinthians 15:17. “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.”

The authenticity of the Resurrection of Jesus, the witnesses of the Resurrection, and the importance of the resurrection, is declared by Paul the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 15. The Apostle wrote, “What I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve...to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time...to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all He appeared to me” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). In this battle, Jesus died, was buried, was raised on the third day, and was alive again, all witnessed by hundreds. Accounts were written and preserved. We have accounts by Matthew, by Mark, by Luke, by John, and by Paul.

If Christ was not raised...his preaching was useless and he was a false witness about God. If Christ was not raised...all faith in Him has been futile and those who have died believing in Him have done so in vain and are lost forever. If Christ was not raised...we are to be pitied more than all others because we have believed a lie (1 Corinthians 15:14-19). Paul used the word kenos, meaning empty, to describe a void where there is absolutely nothing. So if Jesus was not raised, Paul says all his effort, our faith...even our lives...have been for nothing.

But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead (verse 20). Not a thought, not a wish, but a fact. How did Paul know? Because he had proof, and so do we. We can see Him work in our lives and the lives of others. We can feel His presence and hear His voice. And with Christ as Lord, teacher and friend, we become a miracle the world cannot comprehend...lives with new meaning and examples for those who reject the proof, who refuse to believe...who have chosen a life that is meaningless. Then Paul states a fact, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to ready today's Bible verses online
1 Samuel  25  26  27

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                         April 18, 2014      

Good Morning!
We know that various people had a hand in the death of Jesus.

WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR JESUS’ DEATH?:
Acts 2:36. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Peter, preaching on the day of Pentecost, seemed to lay the blame for Jesus’ death on the shoulders of the House of Israel. Again in Acts 3:14-15. and again in Acts 4:10. Peter did the same. We would like to add that it was the corrupt Jewish religious establishment that we can lay the blame upon. Not all of the Jews were corrupt. Many of the common people loved Jesus and heard Him gladly. It was the Sanhedrin, the high archery of the temple, of whom Annas & Caiaphas were head.

Then we could say Pilate was responsible for His death. He knew that Jesus was innocent yet used the power of Rome to crucify Him. We could also say God the Father was responsible for Jesus’ death. “He (God) that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all (Romans 8:32). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). God sent His Son into the world to die. Then Jesus Himself took responsibility for His own death. “No man taketh it (life) from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father” (John 10:18). He knew He was going to die. He knew when He was going to die. He gave Himself for us.

Finally everyone is responsible for Jesus’ death. My sins, your sins, put him on the cross. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” We could never live good enough to get to a perfect heaven. There is a little goodness in everybody, but goodness won’t take you to heaven. Some say if you are a nice person, do good deeds etc—you will get to heaven one day. The Bible says you must be born again; the blood of the crucified Christ must be applied to our souls. The blood of the Messiah had to be shed—it was shed on the cross—that blood when it is applied to our souls it make us white as snow. Have you been made white in the blood of the Lamb? That’s the message of the cross. Jesus became a man in order to die. God could not die unless He became a man. He died for your sins.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms  17  35  54  63

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion      

Today’s First Thoughts                                       April 19 & 20, 2014      

Good Morning!
Repentance is God's greatest offer to a sinful man. The result of Repentance in the life of a person is unable to be measured. Repentance unlocks the Door to all the graces and blessings that God has in store for man. “Repent or Perish” is the demand of God!

REPENTANCE----------GOD'S WAY:
2 Corinthians 7:10. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

The presence of godly sorrow in a life brings humility into sharp focus. The softness, or hardness, of heart is determined by its nearness, or distance, from the will of God. The closer one becomes entwined in God's will, the more broken is his spirit. The farther off course one drifts, the more arrogant he becomes, and the more guilty of self justification and self righteousness.

We have all at some time tasted the remorse, disappointment, and heartbreak of spiritual failure. To destroy our future over haunts of the past is what the devil desires. To wipe the slate clean by repenting is what God desires and the soul needs. Paul draws the distinction between godly sorrow that leads to repentance and worldly grief that leads to death. It was worldly grief without repentance that drove Judas to suicide after his betrayal of Jesus. By contrast, though, it was godly sorrow or grief that, through repentance, restored Peter to the circle after his betrayal of Jesus in the courtyard of the high priest.

God’s definition of repentance—real repentance. Repentance is a change of mind. There is a turning from something to Someone. Listen to what Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “… how ye turned to God from idols …” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). They turned from the idols, and that turning from idols was repentance. That is the repentance of the unsaved; it is the repentance to salvation. God does emphasize repentance for the believer if he is going in the wrong direction, walking in sin. For him there is to be a turning, a repentance. A lot of people simply shed tears, which may not indicate true repentance. That kind of sorrow is the sorrow of the world and works death. True repentance is godly sorrow, which “worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of”—that is, repentance without regret.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
1 Samuel  28  29  30  31      Psalm  18
Psalm 121  123  124  125  128  129  130

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion          

Today’s First Thoughts                                        April 21, 2014      

Good Morning!
It is now both the will and promise of God that His Spirit should dwell in the hearts of men through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Our Spirit filled bodies should be dedicated to the glory of God, and for His service alone.

THE SAINT, THE TEMPLE OF GOD:
1 Corinthians 6:18. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
19. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”

Here is a remarkable truth which many believers have not received. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because our bodies belong to God, we are not to share our bodies in fornication. Now Paul lifts marriage up to the heights, out of this degradation, and says to the Corinthians they are not to live like that. Every man is to have one wife, and every woman is to have her own husband. Paul lifted woman from the place of slavery in the pagan world, the Roman Empire, and made her a companion of man. He restored her to her rightful position

The Word of God teaches there are vessels to honor and to dishonor. Our bodies are portrayed as vessels in many places. Certainly, no vessel could ever be to the glory of God that had not been filled with God's Spirit, and living such a dedicated life that God would be pleased to make His dwelling place there. Then men would be able to see the good works and to glorify God on this behalf.

First of all, it is necessary to be baptized with the Spirit of God, and then to allow God to lead and direct our lives through the Word of God by the help of His Spirit which He has given to us. The Spirit of God will not dwell in an unclean temple. We should not only cast out those things which would defile the temple of God, but we should ever be on guard against the return and re-entry of those things that we have forsaken. In this manner we may dedicate our bodies to the Glory of God and for His Service alone.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion    

 Today’s First Thoughts                                          April 22, 2014      

Good Morning!
Prayer is the energy that enables the Christian to wear the armor and wield the sword of the word of God

PREPARING FOR SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
Ephesians 6:11. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
18. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”

As a child of God you have spiritual armor within your reach, but it’s important to put on every piece of it with prayer. Prayer is the energy that enables the warrior to wear the armor and wield the sword. No matter how talented we might be, if we try to fight the spiritual battle Paul described in Ephesians 6 in the energy of the flesh, we can never be victorious. That’s why Paul ended his discussion of spiritual armor by saying, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”

This is one of the Bible’s greatest verses about prayer because it tells us how Christian warriors pray—their persistence, possibilities, petitions, power, precision, perseverance, and purpose. The persistence of the Christian’s prayer: “Praying always.” These words remind us of 1 Thessalonians 5:17, which says: Pray without ceasing. That doesn’t mean we should constantly walk around muttering prayers all day. But we must keep the line of communication open. Prayer isn’t just something we do for a few minutes in the morning or evening. It’s natural for the prayer warrior to be talking to God all day and all night as the needs or thoughts arise.

“Praying always with all (kinds of) prayer.” According to this verse, we can pray on any occasion, in any location, in any situation, and for any supplication. We can offer all kinds of prayers—praises, petitions, confessions, prayers of anguish and prayers of exaltation, long prayers and short prayers, individual prayers and group prayers. We can pray aloud and silently. We can write our prayers and sing our prayers. We can make prayer an exciting adventure rather than a boring routine.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms  6  8  9  10 14  16  19

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                               God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                             April 23, 2014      

Good Morning!
Prayer is the key which unlocks the door of God’s treasure-house.

WE HAVE NOT BECAUSE WE ASK NOT:
Ephesians 6:18. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”

This word “supplication” means asking God for what you need. James warned that we have not because we ask not. That’s why we keep prayer lists, and that’s why we share our prayer requests with others. Asking is the rule of the kingdom, for God has the resources to meet our needs. It is not too much to say that all real growth in the spiritual life—all victory over temptation, all confidence and peace in the presence of difficulties and dangers, all peace of mind during times of great disappointment or loss, all habitual communion with God—depend on the practice of secret prayer.

“Supplication in the spirit.” Praying in the Spirit means we ponder over the Word of God to discover what the Holy Spirit wants for our lives. As we read the Bible, we discern the will of God, and the Holy Spirit interprets it in our hearts. Then we pray that back to God. This is what Daniel did as he read the prophecies of Jeremiah and realized that God wanted to bring His people back to the land of Israel after their seventy years of captivity. Having realized that from his Bible study, Daniel began to pray earnestly toward that end (Daniel 9:1-3).

“Watching thereunto with all perseverance.” The word “watchful” actually means to stay awake. It is used by the military to warn sentries of their duty. The Christian must be vigilant in his prayer life. We must permit nothing to disrupt it. The warrior guards his time, plans his schedule, watches for everything that feeds the prayer life, and guards against anything that will distract from praying. I’ve found that reading a chapter from a book about prayer each day helps prepare my heart for praying. It’s like priming the pump. Our prayer for our Church.

“Lord, I know You will do great things in this church tonight. You say in Isaiah 55:11 that Your Word . . . shall not return unto You void, but shall accomplish what pleases You. . . . Lord, we thank You that tonight Your Word will accomplish Your purpose. People will be saved and come into Your kingdom this very night. Thank you, Lord, for Your promise and the power of Your Holy Spirit.”

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion  

Today’s First Thoughts                                           April 24, 2014          

Good Morning!
We don’t have to fight this battle alone. We can hold up one another’s arms.

PRAY FOR ME:
Ephesians 6:18. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19. And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

“Pray for all the saints, And for me.” One purpose of our praying is to pray for others, and Paul gave us a hint of how we should pray when he continued in verse 19: “and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known . . . the Gospel.” He didn’t ask them to pray that he would be released from prison but that he would speak the message boldly. We must pray in particulars, not just for physical comforts, but for spiritual power to accomplish His work.

Throughout Scripture, there are illustrations of the power of prayer in the midst of battle. Moses prayed on the mountain and God gave Joshua victory over the Amalekites. Joshua prayed, and the walls of Jericho fell. Gideon prayed, and his 300 soldiers routed the Midianites. As we study the Old Testament, we see that when Israel fought in her own strength, she was defeated; when she cast herself on the Lord and trusted in the strength of prayer, she was victorious.

We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. We must be properly dressed for battle, and we must put on the armor with prayer. Don’t go to war against Satan in your own human strength, in the arm of the flesh, but do it on your knees. And claim the victory over Satan by putting on the whole armor of God piece by piece prayerfully preparing to triumph in Christ day by day.

We surely do need every piece of the armor of God along with the shield of faith and keeping our prayer line open with our commander-in chief.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms  43 44 45  49 84   85  87

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                           April 25, 2014              

Good Morning!
Six words of wisdom for worriers are—Worry about nothing—Pray about everything! Let your fears drive you to the Lord in prayer.

FEAR AND WORRY:
Philippians 4:6. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers.
7. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.” (Living Bible)

Elisha Hoffman met a woman in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, whose depression seemed beyond cure. She poured out her pent-up sorrows, crying, “What shall I do? Oh, what shall I do?” Hoffman told her to take her sorrows to Jesus. “You must tell Jesus,” he said. “Yes!” she replied, suddenly understanding. “That’s it! I must tell Jesus.” Her words echoed in Hoffman’s ears, and from that experience he wrote the hymn, “I Must Tell Jesus” with its splendid chorus:

I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

Prayer is our primary method for telling Jesus about our worries and, in the process, of recognizing the presence of God. We draw near to Him in prayer, and in His presence is peace. Admittedly, this may take some time. It often takes a time of refreshment with the Lord before our hearts break through into the fullness of His peace. Jesus prayed three times about His burden in Gethsemane, Paul asked three times for relief from his thorn in the flesh, and Elijah prayed seven times for rain to fall on Carmel (Matthew 26:44; 2 Corinthians 12:8; 1 Kings 18:43).

Sometimes peace comes instantly; other times it comes slowly but surely as we linger before God’s throne. In either case, our fear level is a sort of referendum on the closeness of our friendship with God. It’s a spiritual yardstick, and we grow stronger as we learn to cast our cares on Him in prayer.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                      April 26 & 27, 2014             

Good Morning!
The attacks of 9/11 brought fear and worry to our nation in a manner it had never experienced before. It changed our nation forever.

OVERCOMING FEAR AND WORRY:
Proverbs 3:25. “Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.
26. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”

It seems the two most dangerous terrorists are within our own hearts—the diabolical duo of fear and worry. They stalk us whenever we board an airplane, open a bill, visit a doctor, walk down a darkened sidewalk, or glance at the clock when our child is late for curfew. Advice columnists tell us that a vast majority of letters they receive concern fear and worry, fear of nearly everything imaginable until the problem became, for countless readers, a fear of life itself.

Christians aren’t exempt from fear. Judging from the Scripture, God’s people seem to be tormented by the same alarms as everyone else. Though the disciples had Jesus continually with them, they seemed constantly afraid—of storms, of crowds, of poverty, of armies, of loss of homes, of the loss of their leader. For many people, worry has become so ingrained in their personalities that, once the old worries are gone, they search for new ones.

Having given your fears to God in prayer, we must pour over the Scriptures, searching out specific promises for our need. Copy them down, memorize them, and meditate on them when rising in the morning, going to bed at night, and working throughout the day. Here are some verses that have helped me:
Psalm 27:1 “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
Psalm 118:6. “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”
Proverbs 29:25. “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.”
Psalm 37:8. “… fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.”
Isaiah 41:10. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms   73  77  78
1 Chronicles   6

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion             

Today’s First Thoughts                                           April 28, 2014           

Good Morning!
In the next few days we will look at men who appear in the New Testament.
The greatest of Christian missionaries and evangelists was once its greatest persecutor.

SAUL THE PERSECUTOR:
Acts 9:1. And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2. And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

The apostle Paul was a Jew from the city of Tarsus. As a young man, he came to Jerusalem to study under Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), perhaps the most notable of first-century sages. Paul, known then as Saul, was totally committed to the Law as interpreted and understood by the rabbis, and was a member of the sect of the Pharisees. When Stephen, the bold Christian evangelist, was stoned to death in Jerusalem by a mob, Saul stood watch over the cloaks of the killers; fully supporting their action (Acts 7:58). Later, when official persecution developed, Saul took a leading role in rounding up Jesus’ followers. To this young persecutor, the followers of Christ were heretics, and their faith an insult to the God he served, a deviation that must be purged from Judaism.

Saul was on his way to Damascus with a commission from the high priest charging him to return Christian Jews to Jerusalem when his conversion took place (Acts 9:3-30). Saul, still blind, was led to a house in Damascus. The Lord sent Ananias, who prayed for Saul and restored his sight immediately, Saul became as bold and zealous in preaching Christ as he had been in persecuting Christians. Saul’s aggressive preaching soon aroused so much hostility that the believers in Damascus were able to save his life only by lowering him over the wall of the city in a basket. Apparently, angry Jews lay in wait at every exit to the city, eager to kill Saul.

Saul returned to Jerusalem, where at first the believers were fearful of approaching him. Even when the Christian community accepted Saul, he was a problem for them. Saul remained totally zealous and bold. He so outspokenly preached Christ that he further aroused hostility in Jerusalem too. Finally, Paul had stirred up such opposition that a delegation of Christians took Saul to Caesarea and put him on a boat for Tarsus. He was simply too contentious to keep around!

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms  81  88  92  93

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                          April 29, 2014             

Good Morning!
John Mark was a failure who came back.

JOHN MARK--MAKING GOOD IN THE MINISTRY:
Acts 13:13b. “…And John (Mark) departing from them returned to Jerusalem.”

It is not a question of “if we fail in the spiritual life, it’s a question of “when.” Since we know its coming, we need to be prepared not to be defeated by it. God specializes in retraining the repentant and taking them on to higher ground.

We are introduced to John Mark in Acts 12:12. We glean from this verse that Mark lived in a large home in Jerusalem and in possibly affluent conditions. This home was a gathering place for the early Church and John Mark would have met all the Apostles. He most likely, as a youth, saw and heard Jesus himself on his visits to Jerusalem. He possibly was the young man who fled at the arrest of Jesus (Mark 14:51-52).

John Mark’s greatest opportunity was when he was chosen to accompany his Uncle Barnabas and the Apostle Paul on their first missionary trip. Sometime during this missionary venture John Mark defected and returned to Jerusalem. John Mark’s defection bothered Paul to the extent he would not allow him to accompany them on the second missionary trip, in fact it caused a quarrel between Paul and Barnabas to the extent they broke off their longtime relationship. However, Uncle Barnabas took John Mark with him and that is most likely the saving of John Mark.

Can we look back in our life at a time when we “defected,” or were ready to “give up,” and someone “took us” And “encouraged us” not to give up?

John Mark won back the fellowship, and respect of the great Apostle Paul and joined him in some of his latter missionary trips. John Mark was with Paul when he wrote the letter to Philemon (verse 24). The great apostle left John Mark a great compliment, “He is profitable to me for the ministry” (1 Timothy 4: 11). We have no record of any sermon John Mark preached or any miracle that was attributed to his ministry, but John Mark left to the world the greatest story ever told, the record of the life and death of Jesus Christ. John Mark was a failure who came back.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion          

Today’s First Thoughts                                          April 30, 2014              

Good Morning!
Paul enlisted Timothy as a companion on his second missionary journey.

TIMOTHY:
2 Timothy 1:2. To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 5. When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

Paul enlisted Timothy as a companion on his second missionary journey. Luke noted that Timothy was the son of a Jewish woman and a Greek father. According to Jewish custom that traces Jewishness through the mother rather than the father, this meant that Timothy was a Jew. Timothy became a believer at an early age, taught by his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois (2 Timothy 1:5). Timothy may have been in his early twenties when he began traveling with Paul, who would have been closer to fifty. Paul obviously valued Timothy, and referred to him as “my fellow worker” in Romans 16:21, and three times as sending Timothy to churches as his representative (Philippians 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:7).

At the same time it is clear from the letters Paul wrote to Timothy that Timothy lacked the confidence and the powerful presence of the apostle. In urging Timothy to let “no one despise your youth” (1 Timothy 4:12), Paul seems to have had Timothy’s timidity in view, as well as the fact that in the first century wisdom and authority were associated with age. It must have been difficult for the relatively youthful Timothy to represent the apostle Paul and expect churches to respond to his authority.

In a real sense, anyone who is expected to step into the shoes of giants, as the second generation of Christian leaders surely was expected to face a daunting task. Yet Timothy, Titus, and others like them maintained the integrity of the church, helped to preserve its deposit of truth, and continued the spread of the gospel throughout the world.

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James & Mary Lee Thornton
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