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May 2014

                        Godsgrazingfield Devotions May 2014

Jesus Is My Shepherd

                                         Jesus Is My Shepherd

                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                            May 1, 2014      

Good Morning!
Nicodemus took a stand with the crucified Messiah: a stand he may have believed was too late—at least until after resurrection morning.

NICODEMUS:
John 3:1. There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Relatively early in Jesus’ ministry, Nicodemus visited Jesus privately and at night. Nicodemus began the meeting with a confession: “We know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” This admission is striking, for the “we” indicates that the religious leaders privately recognized that Jesus spoke with divine authority, although they publicly tried to undermine His mission.

Jesus quickly shifted the focus of the conversation to the issue of rebirth: a person must be “born again” even to see the kingdom of God. The saying either puzzled Nicodemus, or he attempted to dismiss it. Jesus tells him as ruler of Israel, he must be familiar with Jeremiah’s new covenant teaching and God’s promise to give His people a new heart and character. Jesus had come into the world as a gift of God’s love, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). John tells us nothing more of the interview or of Nicodemus’s reaction.

The Pharisees angrily responded, “Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?” They were certain that not one of their members would take Jesus’ part. (John 7:46). Nicodemus, identified in the text as “one of them,” timidly raised a legal question: “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” (John 7:51). Nicodemus certainly did not confess that he had himself gone to hear Jesus to find out what he was doing. Nor did Nicodemus confess any belief in Jesus. And, after the rebuke of his companions, Nicodemus remained silent. After the crucifixion, Nicodemus provided expensive spices with which to anoint Jesus’ body. The hundred pounds of spices mentioned by John would have cost a fortune   (John 19:39).

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
2 Samuel   5: 1--10      1 Chronicles   11 12

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                            May 2, 2014      

Good Morning!
The Jews threat to denounce Pilate as no friend of Caesar was something Pilate felt he could not afford to risk.

PILATE
John 18:28. “Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover. 29. Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? 30. They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. 31. Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death:”

Pilate may well have known about Jesus before the high priest and his party brought Jesus to him. Yet, the interview Pilate had with Jesus left him uncomfortable. John gives us details of Pilate’s talk with Jesus, and Jesus’ statement that He was, as accused, the “King of the Jews,” His kingdom was “not of this world” (John 18:36). Pilate finally announced that he found no fault in Jesus, and attempted to have Jesus released. The Jews, however, shouted out so loudly that Pilate decided to have Christ examined by torture. After Jesus was beaten and ridiculed, Pilate showed him to the crowd, which loudly demanded that Jesus be crucified. It was unthinkable that one who “made Himself the Son of God” should live (John 19:7).

This revelation frightened Pilate, and he held another private interview with Jesus. When Jesus refused to defend himself, Pilate again expressed his intention to release Him. In the end, Pilate gave in and ordered the crucifixion. But first, Pilate publicly washed his hands and announced that all blame for the execution must fall on his accusers, thus declaring himself “innocent of the blood of this just Person” (Matthew 27:24). The crowd mobbing Pilate’s court shouted, “His blood be upon us and on our children.” (Matthew 27:25). Pilate did have one last statement to make. He ordered that the cross bear an inscription stating “THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS” (Matthew 27:37).

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalm   133

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                     May 3 & 4, 2014      

Good Morning!
Barnabas always saw the good in people. He was one of the great men in the New Testament.

BARNABAS—SON OF CONSOLATION:
Acts 4:36-37. “And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.

This verse introduces us to Barnabas, who was a wealthy land owner of the tribe of Levi (Priesthood), who sold his property and gave the money to help the Church get started. The best description of Barnabas is given in Acts 11:24, “For he was a good man and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.”

One of Barnabas’ first acts of kindness was when Paul, the feared persecutor of the Church had been converted on his way to Damascus, and upon returning to Jerusalem was still so feared by all the Apostles that they would not have anything to do with him. Barnabas was the first to acknowledge the genuineness of Paul’s conversion, and brought him into fellowship with the rest of the Apostles. (Acts 9:26-27)

Barnabas took his nephew, John Mark, with him to work in the mission field of Cypress, after he had left Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary trip. It is most likely through the consoling ministry of Barnabas, that
John Mark regained his good standing in the ministry.

Sometimes we may think that because we have a role behind the scenes, we are not important. What great impact Barnabas had in the early Church leading many to Christ in Antioch, and most of all believing in and encouraging the man who was to become the great Apostle Paul, and last, but not least, consoling and encouraging the man who wrote the second Gospel. What a loss it would be if we did not have the Gospel of Mark.

Before attending services at your Church this week, ask God to give you a word of encouragement to someone.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms   106  107
2 Samuel  5:11  6:23     1 Chronicles  13  14  15  16

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                          May 5, 2014                 

Good Morning!
Today's devotion we will discuss the first martyr in the history of the church.

STEPHEN—THE MAN WHO DIED FOR HIS FAITH:
Acts 7:59. “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

We all wonder at some point what we would do if threatened with death for the sake of our religious convictions. An ordinary man (Stephen) with a sterling character shows us how to manifest grace and courage in the midst of life’s ultimate test. We meet Stephen when the need arose for men to help with the physical needs of the early church. They looked for seven men of good character, “of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom” (Acts 6:3) whom they could put in this service. That's when Stephen became a member of the first deacon board (Acts 6:5).

Not only did Stephen serve in this category, he became a mighty preacher of the gospel. “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake” (Acts 6:8, 10). This brought him into conflict with the leaders of the synagogue, who brought false witnesses to testify against Stephen. But Stephen was a man of great courage and he would not compromise his convictions. The thing that sustained him when things were at their worst, he looked up and saw Jesus.

In the Church today we need to be full of the Holy Spirit as Stephen was. We have Stephen’s story in Scripture, not just for the sake of history, but that we might be filled with the same Spirit that filled him. Stephen, in God’s will, died before reaching the fullness of his human life. Stephen is one of the great heroes of the Christian Church. He was an ordinary man, faithful to God, and willing to distribute food to those in need. Ordinariness can lead to extraordinariness when we chose to live our lives full of the Spirit and courage. The last person Stephen talked to on earth was the first person he talked to when he got to heaven—the Lord Jesus, who was standing to welcome him home (Acts 7:56).

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms  1  2  15  22  23  24  47  68

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                          May 6, 2014                 

Good Morning!
We have been studying the people God uses, and today we look at how an ordinary man became an “Extraordinary Evangelist:”

PHILIP--THE EVANGELIST;
Acts 8:5. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. 6. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles that he did.

Today we look at another of the early Church’s seven deacons—Philip the deacon, who became Philip the evangelist. He was another faithful, yet ordinary, man in the Church in Jerusalem who responded to the opportunities before him and was greatly used by God. When Philip was chosen as a deacon, he probably had no idea that God intended to use him as an evangelist. We have to admire Philip because he was so fearless at something so many of us dread—personal evangelism. Personal evangelism is one of the most rewarding things we can become involved in.

We do not know how long Philip served as a deacon before he became an evangelist. But the events that led up to it are told us in Acts 8:1-5. Great persecution scattered the Church and that is when Philip went to Samaria. Philip began preaching and sharing his experience and great multitudes turned to the faith Philip preached. In other words, a great revival broke out with miracles taking place, and people getting baptized. This was the first revival that took place outside of Jerusalem.

Notice what Philip preached when he went to Samaria, he “preached Christ unto them.” That was the only message the early Church preached the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” was the message (1 Corinthians 2:2) they preached. They had not read all the books and been to all the conferences. They only had an eyewitness story to tell of a Messiah who died and rose again. That should be the very core of our preaching, witnessing, and teachings.

Jesus said, “If I be lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). Jesus continues to draw people when we lift Him up. “Preach Christ.”

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms  89  96  100 101  105  132

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                           May 7, 2014                 

Good Morning!
Luke was by all indications a true intellectual as well as a dedicated physician and caring person.

LUKE THE BELOVED PHYSICIAN:
Colossians 4:14. “Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.”
Philemon 1:24. “Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.”

Paul speaks of Luke as the “beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14) and as a “fellow laborer” (Philemon 1:24). From earliest times, Luke has been identified as the author of the third Gospel (Luke) and of Acts, in part because each book features medical language and refers often to illnesses, diagnoses, and to the details of sickness, cures, and marks of recovery.

In Acts 16, for the first time the author shifts from describing what “they” (Paul and his companions) did to what “we” (Paul, with Luke now among his companions) did (16:11). It becomes clear that Luke joined the missionary team at Troas, just before Paul crossed into Europe for the first time.

What we know of Luke as a person must be inferred from the books he wrote. First, Luke used the most educated and beautiful Greek of any Gospel writer. He was clearly given a classical education as well as medical training. While his name is Greek, he may well have been a Jew, as Jews often bore Greek as well as Jewish names. We also know from the emphases in Luke’s Gospel that Luke was especially concerned with the poor, the oppressed, and with women. His Gospel contains many stories depicting Jesus’ involvement with the poor. The themes developed in Luke’s writings show that he was an unusually sensitive and caring man as well as a careful historian.

Luke gives us the only scripture regarding the actual birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-11), and also an incident in the boyhood of Jesus in the temple (Luke 2:42-52). Without Luke’s account of the Book of Acts there would be a big hole in the Gospel story.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
2 Samuel   7     1 Chronicles   17

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                           May 8, 2014                 

Good Morning!
Only after Jesus was condemned did Judas show any remorse. He threw the money the high priests paid him on the floor.

JUDAS THE BETRAYER:
Matthew 26: 14. “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15. And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. 16. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.”

It was entirely in character for Judas later to approach the high priests and conspire to deliver Jesus to them for money. Each of the Gospels relates what happened, although John adds poignant detail. While the disciples shared their last meal with Jesus, He predicted one of them would betray Him. Each of the disciples voiced the question, “Is it I?” Yet when Jesus offered Judas a choice morsel from their serving dish, and told him to do what he intended to do quickly, the others did not realize the significance of Jesus’ act.

Jesus showed that He knew what Judas planned. Yet, in the offering of a choice morsel, a sign in that culture of special favor, Jesus was giving Judas a last opportunity to repent. If only Judas would repent he was not yet lost. But Judas would not change his mind and lose the thirty pieces of silver for which he had bargained, for Satan now had a firm grip on Judas’s heart and mind.

Later that night, Judas led a mob that included temple guards and soldiers to Gethsemane, a favorite spot of Jesus, and Christ was taken away. Matthew added a vital piece of information. After Christ was sentenced to death, Judas, “seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ ” The chief priests scornfully sent Judas away. Judas left, and hanged himself (Matthew 27:1–50). In the act of hanging, the rope broke and Judas’s body fell, tearing open his belly (Acts 1:18). What an awful price Judas paid for the thirty pieces of silver.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms  25  29  33  36  39

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                            May 9, 2014                 

Good Morning!
In the next few days we will study about HEAVEN, where it is, its inhabitants, and how to get there. And the certainty of God’s promise of a life beyond the grave, and the rewards that are in store for faithful service as gleaned from Sacred Scripture.

HEAVEN: CITY OF EVERLASTING LIGHT:
Revelation 21:23. “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”

These devotions, upon a subject that is very dear to me, are prepared in the hope that they may give comfort and edification to many; that the weak may be strengthened, the sorrowing consoled, and the despondent encouraged to look with increasing faith to that fairest of cities in the Better Land, which is the home of the Redeemer and of the redeemed.

A great 19th century preacher said. “When I was a boy I thought of Heaven as a great shining city, with vast walls and domes and spires, and with nobody in it except white angels, who were strangers to me. By and by my little brother died, and I thought of a great city with walls and domes and spires, and a flock of cold, unknown angels, and one little fellow that I was acquainted with. He was the only one that I knew in that country. Then another brother died, and there were two that I knew. Then my acquaintances began to die, and the number continually grew.

But it was not until I had sent one of my little children back to GOD, that I began to think I had a little interest there myself. A second, a third, a fourth went, and by that time I had so many acquaintances in Heaven that I did not see any more walls and domes and spires. I began to think of the residents of the Celestial City. And now so many of my acquaintances have gone there, that it sometimes seems to me that I know more in Heaven than I do on earth.”

May the thought of loved ones gone before give additional joy to us as we follow in these thoughts about Heaven. We need not forget our dear loved ones; but we may cling forever to the enduring hope that there will be a time when we can meet unfettered, and be blest in that land of everlasting light, where the soul drinks from the living streams of love that roll by God’s high throne.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
2 Samuel   8  9       1 Chronicles   18

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                       May 10 & 11, 2014                 

Good Morning!
In our inmost hearts there are none of us but having questionings of the future.

HEAVEN; IT’S HOPE:
Colossians 1:3. “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . 5. For the HOPE which is laid up for you in heaven.”

A great many people imagine that anything said about Heaven is only a matter of speculation. They talk about Heaven much as they would about the air. Now there would not have been so much in Scripture on this subject if God had wanted to leave the human race in darkness about it. “All Scripture,” we are told, “is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17).

What the Bible says about Heaven is just as true as what it says about everything else. The Bible is inspired. What we are taught about Heaven could not have come to us in any other way than by inspiration. No one knew anything about it but God, and so if we want to find out anything about it we have to turn to His Word. The Bible shows itself more than a human book by what it says.

It seems perfectly reasonable that God should have given us a glimpse of the future, for we are constantly losing some of our friends by death, and the first thought that comes to us is, “Where have they gone?” When loved ones are taken away from us how that thought comes up before us. How we wonder if we will ever see them again, and where and when it will be. Then it is that we turn to this blessed Book, for there is no other book in all the world that can give us the slightest comfort; no other book that can tell us where the loved ones have gone.

Every time we breathe some one is dying. We all know that we are going to stay here but a very little while. Our life is but a vapor. It is only a shadow. It is perfectly reasonable that we should study this Book, to find out where we are going, and where our friends are who have gone on before. The longest time man has to live has no more proportion to eternity than a drop of dew has to the ocean.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms   50  53  60 75
2 Samuel   10     1 Chronicles   19    Psalm 20

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                          May 12, 2014                 

Good Morning!
We are going to spend eternity in another world, a grand and glorious world where God reigns. Is it not natural, then, that we should look and listen and try to find out who is already there, and what is the route to take?

HEAVEN: WHERE IS IT?
John 17:1. “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father,”

Jesus “lifted up His eyes to heaven.” This phrase is repeated several times in the Gospels as Jesus began His prayer. So heaven must be up, as He would know more about its location that anyone. In the 17th chapter of Genesis it says that GOD went up from Abraham; and in the third chapter of John, that the Son of Man came down from Heaven. So, in the 1st chapter of Acts we find that Jesus went up into Heaven (not down), and a cloud received him out of sight. Thus we see Heaven is up. There are men who say that there is no heaven. They say there was nothing to justify us in believing in any other Heaven than that we know here on earth. If this is Heaven, it is a very strange one. This world that some think is Heaven is the home of sin, a hospital of sorrow, a place that has nothing in it to satisfy the soul.

The very arrangement of the firmament about the earth declares the seat of God’s glory to be above us. Job says: “Let not God regard it from above.” Again, in Deuteronomy, we find, “who shall go up for us to heaven?” Thus, all through Scripture we find that we are given the location of Heaven as upward and beyond the firmament. This firmament, with its many bright worlds scattered through, is so vast that Heaven must be an extensive realm. Yet this need not surprise us. It is not for short-sighted man to inquire why God made Heaven so extensive that its lights along the way can be seen from any part or side of this little world.

Some people are trying to find out just how far Heaven is away. There is one thing we know about it; that is, that it is not so far away but that God can hear us when we pray. I do not believe there has ever been a tear shed for sin since Adam's fall in Eden to the present time, but God has witnessed it. He is not too far from earth for us to go to Him; and if there is a sigh that comes from a burdened heart to-day, God will hear that sigh. If there is a cry coming up from a heart broken on account of sin, God will hear that cry. He is not so far away; Heaven is not so far away, as to be inaccessible to the smallest child.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms  65  66  67  69  70

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                          May 13, 2014                

Good Morning!
We are going to spend eternity in another world, a grand and glorious world where GOD reigns.

WE ARE GOING TO EMIGRATE:
Hebrews 11:8. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10. For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

Abraham was called by God to emigrate to an unknown place and by faith he “sojourned.” This word means he did not take up any permanent residence but constantly moved from place to place. In Abraham’s mind he could see a city, a heavenly city, to which he ever journeyed towards. We too are “sojourners” in a land that is not our permanent home, and we should ever look towards that city.

I do not think that it is wrong for us to think and talk about Heaven. I like to locate Heaven, and find out all I can about it. I expect to live there through all eternity. If I were going to dwell in any place in this country, if I were going to make it my home, I would want to inquire about the place, about its climate, about the neighbors. I would inquire about everything, in fact, that I could learn concerning it. If any of you were going to emigrate, that would be the way you would feel. Well, we are all going to emigrate in a very little while to a country that is very far away. Is it not natural, then, that we should look and listen and try to find out who is already there, and what is the route to take?

Perhaps, if we would listen, we too might hear on this storm-tossed world of ours, some sound, some whisper, borne from afar to tell us there is a Heaven which is our home; and when we sing our hymns upon the shores of the earth, perhaps we may hear their sweet echoes breaking in music upon the sands of time, and cheering the hearts of those who are pilgrims and strangers along the way. Yes, we need to look up - out, beyond this low earth, and to build higher in our thoughts and actions, even while we are here.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
2 Samuel   11  12      1 Chronicles   20

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                            May 14, 2014                

Good Morning!
If there is anything that ought to make Heaven dear to Christians it is knowing that God and all their loved ones will be there.

HEAVEN: ITS INHABITANTS:
Isaiah 33:24. “And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.”

The society of Heaven will be select. No one who studies Scripture can doubt that. There are a good many kinds of aristocracy in this world, but the aristocracy of Heaven will be the aristocracy of holiness. The humblest believer on earth will be an aristocrat there. Scripture say that we shall “reign as kings and priests.” It says in the 57th chapter of Isaiah: “For thus saith the High and Lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit.” Now what could be plainer than that? No one who is not of a contrite and humble spirit will dwell with GOD in His high and holy place.

What is it that makes home so attractive? Is it because we have a beautiful home? Is it because we have beautiful lawns? Is it because we have beautiful trees around us? Is it because we have beautiful paintings upon the walls inside? Is it because we have beautiful furniture? Is that all that makes home so attractive and beautiful? Nay, it is the loved ones in it; it is the loved ones there.

We find clearly in the 18th chapter of Matthew, 10th verse that the angels are there: “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in Heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in Heaven.” We shall have good company up there; not only those who have been redeemed, but those who have never been lost; those who have never known what it is to transgress; those who have never known what it is to be disobedient; who have obeyed Him from the very morning of creation.

John 17:24 “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” It says in John 12:26: "If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be."

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms   32  51  86  122

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                         May 15, 2014                

Good Morning!
Scripture tells us very plainly that GOD has a dwelling-place. We believe this is just as much a place and just as much a city as is New York, London or Paris.

HEAVEN: ITS CERTAINTY:
John 14:2. “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

There are some people who depend so much upon their reason that they reason away God. They say God is not a person we can ever see. They say God is a Spirit. So He is, but He is a person too; and became a man and walked the earth once. There is no doubt whatever about God having a dwelling-place. A dwelling-place indicates personality. God’s dwelling-place is in Heaven. He has a dwelling-place, and we are going to be residents of it. Therefore we shall see Him. In 1 Kings 8:30, we read: “And hearken Thou to the supplication of Thy servant, and of Thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place; and hear Thou in Heaven Thy dwelling place; and when Thou hearest, forgive.” Heaven is God’s habitation, and when Jesus came to earth He taught us to pray: “Our Father, which art in Heaven.”

This habitation is spoken of as “the city of eternal life.” Think of a city without a cemetery - they have no dying there. If there could be such a city as that found on this earth what a rush there would be to it. How men would try to reach that city. A city without tears - God wipes away all the tears up yonder. This is a time of weeping, but by-and-by there will be a time when God shall call us where there will be no tears. It is a city without pain, a city without sorrow, without sickness, without death. There is no darkness there. “The Lamb is the light thereof.” It needs no sun, it needs no moon. The paradise of Eden was as nothing compared with this one. The tempter came into Eden and triumphed, but in that city nothing that defileth shall ever enter. There will be no tempter there.

Think of a place where we shall be free from sin; where pollution cannot enter, and where the righteous shall reign forever. Think of a city that is not built with hands, where the buildings do not grow old with time; a city whose inhabitants are numbered by no census, except the Book of Life, which is the heavenly directory.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                           May 16, 2014                

Good Morning!
There is no man so poor in this world that he may not be a heavenly millionaire.

HEAVEN: ITS RICHES:
Matthew 6:20. “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

In these verses Jesus is not advocating poverty but is addressing the way one regards, or uses, what he owns. Someone has said, “No man thinks himself rich until he has all he wants.” Very few people are satisfied with earthly riches. If they want  any thing at all that they cannot get, that is a kind of poverty. Sometimes, the richer the man, the greater the poverty. Somebody has said that getting riches brings care; keeping them brings trouble; abusing them brings guilt; and losing them brings sorrow. It is a great mistake to make so much of riches as we do. But there are some riches that we cannot praise too much: that never pass away. They are the treasures laid up in Heaven for those who truly belong to God.

Ministers would not have to urge people to live for Heaven if their treasures were up there; they could not help it; their hearts would be there, and if their hearts were there, their minds would be up there, and their lives would tend toward Heaven. They could not help living for Heaven if their treasures were there. It does not take long to tell where a man's treasure is.

In fifteen minutes' conversation with most men you can tell whether their treasures are on the earth or in Heaven. Talk to a farmer about the fields, and you will see his eye light up; you will find he has his heart there. Talk to some business men, and tell them where they can make a thousand dollars, and see their interest; their hearts are there. You talk to fashionable people who are living just for fashion, of its affairs, and you will see their eyes light up; they are interested at once; their hearts are there. Talk to a politician about politics, and you see how suddenly he becomes interested. But talk to a child of GOD, who is laying up treasures in Heaven, about Heaven and about his future home, and see what enthusiasm is kindled. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms  3  4  12  13  28

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                    May 17 & 18, 2014                

Good Morning!
Another want that we have is rest. We get tired of toiling. Yet there is no real rest on earth. That’s part of the curse that God placed upon man (Genesis 3:17-19).

HEAVEN: ALL ETERNITY FOR REST:
Hebrews 4:1. “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 9. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

Now, while we all want rest, I think a great many people make a mistake when they think the church is a place of rest; and when they unite with the church they have a false idea about their position in it. There are a great many who come in to rest. The text tells us: “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God,” but it does not tell us that the church is a place of rest; we have all eternity to rest in. We are to rest by and by; but we are to work here, and when our work is finished, the Lord will call us home to enjoy that rest.

There is no use in talking about rest down here in the enemy's country. We cannot rest in this world, where God’s Son has been crucified and cast out. I think that a great many people are going to lose their reward just because they have come into the church with the idea that they are to rest there, as if the church was working for the reward, instead of each one building over against his own house, each one using all their influence toward the building up of Christ’s kingdom.

Only the work we do for Christ and His Church will last into eternity. In Revelation 14:13, we read, “And I heard a voice from Heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”

Now, death may rob us of money. Death may rob us of position. Death may rob us of our friends; but there is one thing death can never do, and that is rob us of the work that we do for God. That will live on forever, “Their works do follow them.” Heaven is a place of rest.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
2 Samuel   16  17  18
Psalms  26  40  58  61  62 64

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                           May 19, 2014                

Good Morning!
“Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”

HEAVEN: ITS REWARDS:
1 Corinthians 3:8.“…and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.”
Revelation 22:12. “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

Whenever you find men or women who are looking to be rewarded here in this life for doing right, they are unqualified to work for God: because if they are looking for the applause of men, looking for reward in this life, it will disqualify them for the service of God. If you seek the applause of men, you can't have the Lord say “Well done” at the end of the journey. You can't have both. This world was not established in grace, and we have to fight “the world, the flesh, and the devil;” and if we fight the world, the world won't like us; and if we fight the flesh, the flesh won't like us. We have to mortify the flesh. We have to crucify the old man and put him under. Then, by and by, we will get our reward, and a glorious reward it will be.

Jesus says: “Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in Heaven.” If JESUS CHRIST spoke of it as “great” it must be indeed wonderful. We call things great that may look very small to JESUS CHRIST; and things that look very small to us may look very large to Him. When Jesus, the Creator of Heaven and earth, He who formed the heavens and the earth by His mighty power, when He calls it a great reward, what must it be? Perhaps some people said to the Apostle to the Gentiles: “Paul, you are meeting with too much opposition; you are suffering too much.” Hear him reply: “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

“Our light affliction,” he calls it. We would have called it pretty hard, pretty heavy, would we not?" But he says: “These light afflictions are nothing; think of the glory before me, and think of the crowning time; think of the reward that is laid up for me. I am on my way; the Righteous Judge will give it to me when the time comes;" and that is what filled his soul with joy; it was the thought of reward that the Lord had in store for him.

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

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                          May 20, 2014                

Good Morning!
“I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

HEAVEN - THE HOME OF THE SAVED:
Revelation 7:9. “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10. And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 13. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14. And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

Now if we would ask you that question, some of you would say, “Why, that's the crowd that lived the best they could and treated everybody right, paid their honest debts and were good citizens and behaved themselves. That's the crowd that is going to Heaven. That is the way I'm going.” No, that isn't the answer John got. And if you would ask somebody else who that crowd is, they would say, “Why, that's the crowd that belonged to our church, because we are the only crowd that is going to Heaven. If you don't come this way, why, you'll never get there.” But that is not the answer John got. And somebody else would say, “Why, that's the crowd that was baptized a certain way and held out faithful to the end.” But that is not the answer John got. “Who are these?” “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”

Everyone of them was arrayed in a white robe, and every robe was washed in the Blood of JESUS. You cannot get in without the wedding garment, and it is washed in the Blood of JESUS. Settle that forever. If the Word of GOD is clear on anything, it is clear on that.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms   5  38   41  42

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                           May 21, 2014                

Good Morning!
“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”

A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH:
Revelation 21:1. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”

God is going to make a new Heaven some day. We read, also, in the fifth verse of this same twenty-first chapter of Revelation, that He is going to make all things new. Why is it necessary for God to make a new Heaven and a new earth? God is a holy God and God does not propose to live with sin. He cannot; and God has sworn by Himself that He is going to purge this universe of sin, and everything that sin has touched. When God gets through there will not be a mark, a stain, a blot of sin left; not a scar or a trace. Every pollution of sin will be thoroughly purged.

“What!” you say, “Has sin ever touched Heaven? Has sin polluted Heaven?” Yes! God tells us in His Word that once there was war in Heaven; that Satan and his angels rebelled against God. Sin, in other words, has lifted its ugly head and made its slimy trail right up to the very throne of God; and God is going to make a new Heaven. When God starts in to purge sin out of His universe, every person that ever lived on this earth who holds on to his sin, and has not been washed of that sin in the Blood of Jesus Christ, will be purged out with it.

If sin is so loathsome to God that He would make a new Heaven because sin had touched Heaven, then dismiss from your mind the thought that anybody ever will live with God who has not been purged from his sins in the Blood of Jesus Christ. No, God is not only going to be rid of sin but He is also going to be rid of everything sin has ever touched. "Behold, I make all things new" says God. I have something in Heaven with GOD, “an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.” Give me that, and you can have the world.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” That is Heaven He is talking about the home of God's redeemed, the place of many mansions which Jesus spoke about.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
2 Samuel   22  23      Psalm  57

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                           May 22, 2014                

Good Morning!
In Heaven there will be music, there will be singing; and I expect to join in that.

WHAT WILL WE DO IN HEAVEN?
Revelation 7:15. “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple:”

The greatest joy that I have ever found on this earth is serving the Lord. I had never known real joy until I cut loose from everything and gave my life to the Lord to serve Him. You know, I feel sorry for Christian people who just dabble around the edge, live with one foot in the world and one foot in the church. They have never known what it is to really live. They have never known real joy. If you want to be happy; if you want real joy in your life, cut loose from the world and launch out into the deep with God, and be lost in the fullness of His wonderful love and fellowship. Isaiah tells us in 40:31, “They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

One of the greatest joys to me about Heaven is that I will be able to serve Him to my heart's content. When the saints of God start singing, brother, the angels are going to take a back seat! John says, “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters,” There will not be a discord. (Musicians tell us that the only perfect musical note ever made is the sound of running water) and as the voice of mighty thunderings” Revelation 19:6. That mighty crescendo of praise rises and swells until the whole heavens resound with that chorus of the people of God singing. And what are they singing? “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” Revelation 1:5. Somehow I think David is going to be the choir director. I do! Because he is the greatest singer God ever had on this earth, and the greatest choir director that God ever had. I am going to sit down and watch him. I’ll just want to jump up and say, “Glory to GOD!”

Isn't it good to be a Christian?”  Brother that is the way I feel in my soul when I think about what God has for His children. Talk about shouting! I have been so happy here in this world that my soul has overflowed. And I am not ashamed of it. I am glad I love the Lord enough, and that He is real enough to me, and that He sends the joy of His Holy Spirit into my heart until it just runs over sometimes. I am glad that it is so. I tell you, it is great to be a Christian. But just wait until I get to heaven.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms   95  97  98  99

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                          May 23, 2014                

Good Morning!
How little do we realize the meaning of the word death! Jesus took the sting away.

FEAR OF DEATH:
Hebrews 2:14. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same: that though death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil;
15. And
deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Jesus shared man's mortal nature that by His dying men might be freed from fear of death. There are a great many of God’s professed children who live in continual bondage, in the constant fear of death. I believe that it is dishonoring GOD. I believe that it is not His will to have one of His children live in fear for one moment.

Jacob showed us how to die. Look and see the way-worn pilgrim breathe his last. His life has been a stern fight; his pathway not strewn with roses, but set with flints; few and evil the days of the years of his pilgrimage. Compared with the brilliant career of Esau, his life might be almost considered a failure estimating it by all human standards of failure and success. But as the scaffold is taken down piece by piece, we catch glimpses of the real manhood which GOD has been so carefully building up, through long years of pain and sorrow; and as it comes into view, we feel that it is more than enough to justify all. Better a hundredfold to be Israel the Prince, though an exile; than Esau, the founder of a line of dukes (Genesis 36).

He seems to have fixed his mind with increasing eagerness on Heaven. He felt that if God had not destined for him an earthly resting place, yet He had prepared for him a City. Its foundations had not been laid by man; its walls bore no mark of human workmanship; its atmosphere could not be stained with the smoke or dust of earth. “I am to be gathered unto my people.” When the dying Patriarch spoke thus, he meant something more than that his dust should mingle with all that was mortal of his forefathers. No; he meant something more than this. He surely looked upon the City as the gathering-place of his clan; the metropolis of true and godly hearts; the rendezvous of all who were his people, because they were the people of God. How much truer is this thought of Heaven than that which is entertained by many today.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
2 Samuel   24    1 Chronicles  21  22     Psalm  30

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                   May 24 & 25, 2014                

Good Morning!
Can that be a Father's home, where the brothers and sisters do not know each other?

THE DEATH OF JACOB:
Genesis 49:33. “And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.”

“What do you think of the intermediate state?” “Shall we be consciously happy from the very moment of death?” “Shall we know one another on the other side?” These are the sorrowful questions asked on many sides; and they present a melancholy contrast to the words of the dying Jacob, “I am to be gathered unto my people.” At the best “we know not what we shall be.” We cannot penetrate the veil that only opens wide enough to admit the entering spirit. It is clear that our spirits will not reach their full consummation and bliss till the morning of the resurrection, when body and spirit will be reunited; but it is equally clear that they will not be unconscious, but will enter into the blessed presence of our Lord.

This was taught by Christ Himself, when He quoted the words, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob:” and added the comment, “He is not the God of the dead; but of the living.” That grand formula was spoken years after Jacob had fallen asleep; and yet God speaks of Himself as his God: and since He could not be the God of dead mummies only, or of unconscious spirits, Jacob and all the rest must have been living. Yes, they were living then, and are living now, possessed of all the vivid life that made them what they were. There is no accent of uncertainty in the New Testament. As soon as the tent is taken down, the mansion is entered 
(2 Corinthians 5:2). Absent from the body, the believer is present with the Lord.

Do not puzzle over useless questionings: be content to know that death is not a state, but an act; not a resting-place, but a transition; a passage, a birth, a crossing the Bridge of Sighs from the prison to the palace. It would not have been an object of anticipation to Jacob to be gathered to his people, if he would not know them when he reached their blest society. When the Jew thought of the unseen world, he expected to meet the saints, of whom he had heard from childhood, and especially Abraham

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms  108  109  110
1 Chronicles   23  24  25

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                          May 26, 2014                

Good Morning!
In the life of Jacob we see the hand of God reaching down and molding a man into a saint who to most people would have seemed hopeless.

HEAVEN, THE HOME OF THE GOD OF JACOB:
Psalm 46:7. “The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Psalm 46:11. “The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”

It is very comforting to discover in how many parts of Scripture God calls Himself the God of Jacob. He seems to take special delight in the title which links His holy nature with one who, so far from giving promise of saint-ship, was naturally one of the most dishonorable of men. We should not have been surprised to find Him speaking of Himself as the God of Israel, the Prince; but it is as startling as it is reassuring to find Him speaking of Himself still more often as the GOD of Jacob. God has not changed since He took Jacob in hand; and He feels towards such characters now as He did when He began his gracious work of renewal in that poor cramped heart; and that He is ready to do as much for all who are conscious of being equally worthless by nature, and who are willing to put themselves into His gracious hands which reach down from Heaven to earth, “molding men.”

There is little doubt that God would do as much for all the readers of these lines, if only they were willing. You too may be cunning, crafty, and deceitful; or you may be prone to outbursts of ungovernable temper; or you may be cursed by unholy desires that honeycomb your better nature; or you may be constantly brought into captivity to some tyrannous sin. Now there is no need for this to be your hapless lot for one moment longer, if only you will hand yourself over to the mighty God of Jacob.

Before God will initiate His gracious work on a human spirit, it must be entirely surrendered to Him. The key of every room, and closet, and cupboard, in the being must be put into His hands. Every province of the life must be placed under His government. There must be no keeping back, no reserve: to withhold one thing, even the least, will vitiate the whole transaction; and leave a foothold for the self-life, from which it will speedily spread back throughout the whole nature. Jesus says, “Take My yoke.” And remember, a yoke is for two. Our Lord yokes Himself at our side; and paces by us, step by step, doing for us what Simon the Cyrenian once did for Him, on the way to Golgotha.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalms  131  138 139  143  144  145

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                            May 27, 2014                 

Good Morning!
We shall be gathered to our people. Death will not usher us into a chill, unfriendly circle; but into a great gathering of loving and sympathizing friends, who shall give us a choral welcome as we enter into the eternal, everlasting kingdom of our Lord.

HOME AT LAST IN THE CAVE OF MACHPELAH:
Genesis 49:29. “And he (Jacob) charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30. In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace. 31. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.

For seventeen years he had lived in Egypt, surrounded by all the comforts that Joseph's filial love could devise and his generosity execute. He must have become familiar with Egypt's splendid temples and obelisks and pyramids, with which that cave could not for one moment be compared. But he would not rest in any of them. He must be laid where Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and the faithful Leah awaited resurrection. How calm and noble that face looked, fixed in the marble of death! The Jacob-look had vanished from it; and it was stamped with the smile with which the royal Israel-spirit had molded it in its outward passage.

The body was carefully embalmed. No time, or pains, or cost, were spared. Egypt herself mourned for him for seventy days. And then one of the most splendid funeral processions that ever gathered to lay saint, or sage, or hero to his rest, carried that precious casket in solemn pomp from Egypt up to Canaan. The chivalry of Egypt, its statesmen and counselors, its princes and priests, joined with the shepherds of Goshen in accompanying the cortege. And the signs of mourning were so great as to impress the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites. The stone was rolled away, and the remains laid on their appointed niche; and in all probability they are there, in a state of perfect preservation, unto this day. Many a storm has swept over them Assyrian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Grecian, Roman, Saracenic, and Mohammedan. But naught has disturbed their quiet rest; and they hold the land in fee, till God shall fulfill, in all its magnificence, the promise which He made and has never recalled that He would give the land to Jacob's seed for an everlasting inheritance. So rest thee, ISRAEL THE PRINCE! SEE YOU IN GLORYLAND!

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
1 Chronicles   26  27  28  29      Psalms  127

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                           May 28, 2014                

Good Morning!
God's greatest gifts to man come through travail.

A LOOK AT SAMUEL THE PROPHET:
1 Samuel 1:10. “And she (Hannah) was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. 11. And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.” 20. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.”

Before Samuel could be given to his people, Hannah must be a woman of a sorrowful spirit. Some few miles to the north of Jerusalem, on the confines of the territories of Ephraim and Benjamin, was situated the town of Ramathaim-Zophim. It was also known as Ramah, and has passed into New Testament history as Arimathea, the town from which Joseph came who begged of Pilate the body of the Lord. In this mountain city a child was to be born who was to give it interest and importance, to make its name live, not only during his lifetime, when it became the focus of the national life, but for centuries of years.

But out of this soul-travail the joy of her life and the savior of her country were to be born. Hannah longed with passionate desire to enshrine her noblest self in a son, who should resuscitate the ebbing prosperity of the nation, and set it on an enduring foundation. Frail woman that she was, she might not even hope to emulate a Jael or a Deborah, but she might save her people if she could only breathe her ardent nature into a child. What if she were to be deprived of his presence and support from his earliest years (as she had pledged him 1 Samuel 1:11), would she not be compensated a thousand-fold if only the Lord would accept him as his own, and use him to be the channel through which his redemptive schemes might be achieved?

It Was Heart-Prayer: 1 Samuel 1:13. It is the custom of the people to pray audibly, but as she stood beside Eli's seat (ver. 26) “she spake in her heart; her lips moved, but her voice was not heard” (ver. 13). This indicates that she had made many advances in the Divine life, and had come to know the secret of heart-fellowship with God.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalm  111  112  113  114  115  116  117  118

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                            May 29, 2014                

Good Morning!
Hannah was content to cast her burden, with all the rest, on GOD; and she realized, even before Eli replied, that the merciful Burden-bearer had heard and answered her prayer.

HANNAH ANSWERED AN UNJUST REPROACH WITH GREAT MEEKNESS:
1 Samuel 1:15. “And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. 16. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. 17. Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
18. And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. Hannah went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.”

Before ever the words of Eli, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant thy petition that thou hast asked of Him,” had fallen like a summer shower she knew that she had prevailed, and the peace of GOD, which passeth all understanding, filled and kept her mind and heart. And she said, “Let thy servant find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad."

Too often we return from prayer with sad faces and burdened hearts. We have not cast our burden on the Lord, or if we have done so, we have taken it back again. There has been no interchange, and no exchange. We have failed to abandon our weights, anxieties, and sins; we have failed to leave them in the hands of our Almighty Friend, that we might receive instead beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

The next day they returned home. “And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house in Ramah.” But what an altered woman she was! How differently she had borne herself in that last brief visit to that holy place. And with what a glad face she entered the home which had been associated with such sorrow. Peninnah must have wondered what had happened to make so great a change; but Elkanah was the confidant of her secret and his faith was made stronger by her unquestioning trust (ver. 23).

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
1 Kings  1  2     Psalms  37  71   94

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                                     May 30, 2014                

Good Morning!
Let God speak to someone today. It may be that the long sharp pain, which has been your lot for these many years, the heart-hunger, the disappointed hopes, the silent waiting, the holding your peace, even from good, have been necessary, to teach you how to pray, to lead you into the secret of a childlike faith, and to fit you to be the parent of some priceless gift to the world.

SAMUEL IS BORN:
1 Samuel 1:20. “Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.”

The good Elkanah had a new joy in his heart as he went up to offer unto the Lord his yearly sacrifice; and it would seem that he added to it some special expression of a vow that he had made “the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.” But Hannah abode at Ramah until the child was weaned, which would probably be on his completion of his third year. At last the time arrived when the child should be openly presented to the Lord. The parents set out on their solemn journey with their child. The mother's heart was now as full of praise as it had formerly been of sorrow. Her heart rejoiced in the Lord; her spirit was exalted in her GOD.

She had learned that there was no Rock like her GOD, and she rejoiced in his salvation. Her song (Chapter 3), on which the mother of our Lord modeled the Magnificat, is the outburst of a soul whose cup was simply overflowing with the loving-kindness of the Lord. Presently the journey from Ramah was finished. The sanctuary was again in sight, where she had suffered so painfully and prayed so fervently. It all rushed on her memory. “I am the woman that stood by thee here,” she said to Eli; “for this child I prayed, and the Lord hath given me my petition.”

Take heart, thou man or woman of a sorrowful spirit. Only suffer according to the will of GOD, and for no wrong or sinful cause. Suffer for his Church, for a lost world, for dying men. Travail in birth for souls. Exercise yourself as you will for the coming of his kingdom. Bear the weight of some other soul, dear to you as life. And if thou dost abide thy Lord's time, He will bring thee again to tread in garments of joy, where thou hast stood in the drapery of woe. Thou shalt come again from the land of the enemy. “They that go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless, doubtless, come again with rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them.”
Such was Hannah, and she brought to the world one of its greatest men.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Psalm   119: 1-- 88

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                    May 31 & June 1, 2014                

Good Morning!
The story of Samuel is a divine interlude between the days of the Judges and those of David the King. The times are summed up in one verse, “In those days there was no king in Israel, every man did that which as right in his own eyes.”

THE URGENT NEED FOR A STRONG MAN:
Acts 13:20. “He gave unto them judges, ….. until Samuel the prophet.”
Acts 3:24. “Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, …”

Until Samuel; from Samuel these suggestive prepositions indicate that this great life was a hinge, a bridge, a connecting-link, a meeting-place between two epochs, like “a place where two seas met.” The study of Samuel the Prophet is especially helpful to those of us who are called to live amid troublesome time’s “loud stunning tide.” Samuel was no recluse, dwelling apart in dreamy mysticism. Both as statesman and politician in the best sense, he was called upon to play a great part in his people's history. He was a kingmaker and a king-breaker. Samuel was great in early Hebrew history. His life does not seem to have been often told; I hope, therefore, that this study may fulfill a distinct need. Samuel is regarded as Israel’s first true Prophet.

It was the end of one age and the beginning of another. Such is our position to-day. In every direction the old order is giving place to the new. It was thus in the days of the Early Church, when the typical institutions of the Levitical system were being replaced by “the heavenly things themselves.” And it was also thus at the time when 1 Samuel begins. The story of Samuel is a divine interlude between the days of the Judges and those of David the King. This is indicated by the first word in 1 Samuel 1:1, “Now,” which connects it to the previous book of Judges.

Every age takes up and urges the cry “Give Us Men;” but if ever a strong man was needed, it was in the days of which the Book of Judges affords some startling glimpses. The reign of a judge was, however, a very transient gleam of light in that dark and stormy age. In many cases the office ceased with the special crisis that called it into being. Only in the case of two or three, such as Deborah and Gideon, did conspicuous service lead to a lifelong primacy. It was necessary, therefore, to introduce a new order of things. To carry over the whole nation from the time of the last judge to that of the first king was a task that demanded a pre-eminently strong man; and the want was superbly supplied, as we shall see, by the prophet Samuel, who conducted his people from one age to another in an orderly manner.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
1 Kings   3  4      2 Chronicles  1   Psalm 72
Psalm   119:89--176

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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