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November 20014

Devotions November 2014

 

1. 2.            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                  November 1 & 2, 2014         

Good Morning!

It isn’t the giant step from virtue into corruption that we need to fear. It’s the little steps that ultimately lead us away from God.

LOOSING YOUR FIRST LOVE:

Revelation 2:4. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”

Hebrews 2:1. “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip (drift away).”

Very seldom does a man take one giant step from a life of virtue and goodness into a life of vice and corruption. Usually, he begins his journey into evil by taking little steps into the shaded areas, areas tinted and colored just a bit, almost unnoticed by those around him. Until one day, hardly aware that he has made the journey, he finds himself firmly entangled in a life of vice & corruption. We see that same kind of journey pictured again and again in scripture.

In the book of Judges we read about Samson. Almost everybody knows his story. Samson was a man of God. From birth to manhood, his life was dedicated to God. He started the morning with God. He spent the day with God. He ended his day with God. But then gradually, Samson started flirting with evil. And little by little, evil came into his life. And then, in Judges 16:20 we read one of the most startling verses in all the Bible. It says that the Lord had departed from Samson, and Samson didn’t realize it. Isn’t that sad? Samson had become so deeply enmeshed in sin that God couldn’t stand to stay around any more. So God left him. And Samson, once a great man of God, was so insensitive to the presence of God, that when God left, Samson didn’t even realize it.

It must have happened that way in the church in Ephesus. In Revelation 2:1-5, as Jesus looked at that church, He saw many positive things. Listen as I read the first 3 verses: These are the words of Him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden candlesticks: `I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.’" Isn’t that a great description of a church? We’d be proud to have Jesus say something like that about us wouldn’t we? But Jesus doesn’t stop there. He goes on in vs. 4, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.”

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

Mark  13        Matthew  24  25

Matthew  26     Mark  14

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 3.                      God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                                    November 3, 2014                                                      

Good Morning!

It wasn’t that just one day they decided not to love God any more. It was a gradual thing.”

FORSAKEN THEIR FIRST LOVE:

Revelation 2:4. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”

For a while their love for God was so great and so infectious that people were drawn into their fellowship. Great sermons were preached, and wonderful things were happening. And they were known far and wide for their steadfast faithfulness, even in the face of persecution. But then, people who used to pray a lot gradually stopped praying. People who may have been giving a lot gradually stopped giving. People who used to witness to the lost gradually stopped witnessing. Until finally, when Jesus looks at this church, He says, “This I have against you. You have forsaken your first love.”

What is first love? A while back I read of someone reminiscing about his first love. He recalled tree-lined streets, and long summer evenings when he and his girl friend walked down the street holding hands and dreaming of their future together. They envisioned themselves living in a little cottage built for two in their blue heaven somewhere. When practical questions arose concerning money, they answered it in what seemed to them a most logical way. They said, “We’ll live on love.” That’s the way first love is, isn’t it? It loves the object of its affection without reservation. It is being totally head over heels in love.

Now what is first love in God’s eyes? It is the love that first brought you to God. It is the love that you experienced when you saw the cross as it really was. It was when you realized that the blood of Jesus Christ was shed for your sin and you were over-whelmed with His amazing love. So you became a child of God, and you experienced His forgiveness. That’s first love. First love looks at mountains of troubles and sees them as hills to conquer. First love looks at rivers of grief and worry that may arise in life and says, “That’s nothing. God and I together can swim through that.”

First love looks at stumbling blocks and sees them as stepping stones that prove the power of God. First love cries out, "Just give us a mountain to climb. Give us a river to swim. Give us something to do to prove the greatness of God’s love and how powerful He really is.” That’s first love. But first love is vulnerable. It needs to be protected. It needs to be reinforced. Because love, you see, when it really loves, stretches out its arms and rolls up its sleeves to help the hurting multitudes. It isn’t selfish. It gives itself totally and completely.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Luke   22         John  13

 James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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4.                    God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                              November 4, 2014                  

Good Morning!

How do you lose something as exciting and as wonderful as first love?

HOW DO YOU LOSE SOMETHING AS WONDERFUL AS FIRST LOVE?

Revelation 2:4. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”

Now, how do you lose something as exciting and as wonderful as first love? I would think that we would take very good care of it, and never take a chance on losing it. But we can lose it. Sometimes it just disappears, vanishes, and goes away. But how does that happen? Let me offer some suggestions. In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus is talking about the end of time, and here is what He says in Matthew 24:12 “And because iniquity (sin) shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

Did you hear that? That is the way sin works. Not by taking giant steps from virtue to corruption, just little steps. And as wickedness increases, this once wonderful, warm, unselfish, vibrant love in your life begins to grow cold like an ember that is all alone, no longer a part of the fire. And soon it will die. Scripture often uses the marriage relationship as an illustration and I want to do that too.

Two people meet and fall in love. So they spend precious time with each other, talking to one another, sharing their hopes and dreams. And when they’re apart, they’re thinking about each other, wishing they were together again. Their love just seems to grow and mushroom. Then one day they become husband and wife. They build a cocoon of love about themselves and they say, “We will always be together, and life will be so wonderful.”

But there are jobs to go to, and appointments to be kept, and stresses to be dealt with, and arguments and problems and family feuds and fusses. And all of these things pull on us, until soon the demands become so overwhelming that the love relationship begins to suffer. Then one day you look across the table at each other and you think, “That’s not the person I married. You’re a stranger. I don’t know you anymore.” And what’s happened is that your love has been starved. It didn’t receive the daily nourishment it needed to grow healthy and strong. A modern song writer sings, “Doesn’t anybody stay together anymore?” That’s kind of the way it was in Ephesus. So many good things and yet they had forsaken their first love.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

John  14  15

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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5.                     God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                                 November 5, 2014               

Good Morning!

Now, how do you find again a love that is lost? In Revelation 2:5 Jesus gives us a prescription that is very simple and very direct.

FINDING A LOVE THAT IS LOST:

Revelation 2:5. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

Do you know where something is that you lose? It is always wherever you left it. You lose your car keys or your glasses. Guess where they are. They are where you left them. Wherever you had them last, if you can remember where that was, you’ll find them there. And it is that way with your love for God, too. If you have lost it, guess where it is. It is wherever you left it. That is what Jesus is saying. He is saying that if you have lost it then remember where you had it last, go back and find it again. Was it in a church service? Was it in a moment of dealing with temptation that you felt His overwhelming power and you were able to resist and gain the victory?

Where was the last time that you were touched by the wondrous love of God? Wherever it was, if you’ve lost it, it is still there. God hasn’t moved, and He is waiting for you to come back, to become reacquainted with Him. Secondly, Jesus tells us how to do it. He said, “Repent and do the things you did at first.” And that word, “repent,” is a greatly neglected Biblical word. When John the Baptist started to preach, the first word out of his mouth was the word “repent.” When Jesus sent the 70 disciples out 2 by 2, the first word out of their mouths was to be “repent.”

Go back and read the prophets. Every time they stood before the rebellious nation of Israel, they spoke with the authority of God and they commanded the people to repent. It’s a strong word, and it has lots of implications. When you repent you look at your sin and you see how ugly and horrible it is. And you don’t try to deny it. You don’t blame it on someone or something else. It is your burden. You made it, and you face the reality of it. Finally, you come with no pretense before God and say, "God, I can’t carry it. It’s too heavy for me." And God says, "Welcome home, my child." And He reaches down and lifts the burden and begins to carry it for you. That’s when healing takes place and that’s when love is restored.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

John  16  17

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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 6.                God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                                   November 6, 2014             

Good Morning!

Truly the most important thing in our life is to know God.

KNOWING GOD:

John 17:3. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Scripture is filled with descriptions of God’s character. God is Omnipotent (all-powerful, invincible, unstoppable, supreme, there is nothing God can’t do), God is Omniscient (all-knowing, all-wise, God knows everything, God sees everything), God is love, God is the light that lights the Universe, God is Omnipresent (always present everywhere, continuously and simultaneously present throughout the whole of creation), God has always existed, God is eternal (will always be God), God is self-existent (has no other support, has no need of anything, has no back-up plan), God is God from eternity past, and will always be God in the eternal future.

You can read these accounts and believe them to be true about God. Yet God does not merely want you to read about Him, He wants you to ‘know’ Him. Knowing something involves experiencing it. In fact, you could not truly say you knew something unless you had dealt with it personally. When Jesus said eternal life is knowing God—including Jesus Christ—He did not mean that eternal life is knowing about God. He was not referring to someone who has read many books and attended numerous seminars about God. He was talking about a firsthand, experiential knowledge. We come to truly know God as we experience Him in and around our lives.

Many people have grown up attending church and hearing about God all their lives, but they do not have a personal, dynamic, growing relationship with God. They never hear His voice. They have no idea what God’s will is. They do not encounter His love firsthand. They have no sense of divine purpose for their lives. They may know a lot about God, but they don’t really know Him. Merely knowing about God will leave you unsatisfied. Truly knowing God only comes through experience as He reveals Himself to you through His word and as you relate to Him. Throughout the

Bible, we can see that God took the initiative to disclose Himself to people through their life events.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Matthew 27     Mark   15

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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7.                       God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                            

Today’s First Thoughts                              November 7, 2014            

Good Morning!

As we read and study the Bible we get to know God by His many names which He reveals to His people.

THE LORD IS MY BANNER:

Exodus 17:8. “And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. 10. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12. But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 14. And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. 15. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi: (The Lord Is My Banner).

There are literally scores of name which God has revealed Himself by to numerous individuals. The Bible is filled with examples of God helping His people came to know the reality of who He is through their experiences. As Joshua and the Israelites were fighting their relentless enemies, the Amalekites, Moses oversaw the battle from a nearby mountain. While he held his hands up to God, the Israelites were victorious, but whenever he lowered his weary arms, the Israelites would beginto lose. God gave Israel victory over the Amalekites that day, and Moses built an altar to commemorate the occasion. He named it “The Lord Is My Banner.”

A banner was a standard, or flag, that armies, tribes, or nations carried in their front ranks to identify who they were as they marched into battle. It could be difficult at times to recognize an army as it marched through dusty fields. But when you saw its banner held high in the air, you could immediately discern if the army was a friend or foe, and you could gain a sense of its strength by understanding which king or nation it represented. The title, “The Lord Is My Banner” indicated that the Israelites belonged to God and that to oppose them was to battle against the power of Almighty God. We need to hold this banner high over us each day.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Luke   23      John 18  19

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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8. 9.              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                 

Today’s First Thoughts                               November 8 & 9, 2014                

Good Morning!

There are some men whose lives it is impossible to study without receiving the impression that they were expressly sent into the world to do a work required by the point of history in which they lived. Abraham was called when the world was steeped in idolatry, Moses was called as a deliverer, David was called when Israel needed a king, John the Baptist came to introduce a Messiah. This impression is produced by no life more than by that of the Apostle Paul. When Paul appeared upon the stage, Christianity was in the utmost need of a man of extraordinary endowments, who, becoming possessed with its gifts, should unite it into the general history of the world; and in Paul, Christianity found the man it needed.

A PERSECUTER BECOMES A CHRISTIAN:

1 Timothy 1:12. “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; 13. Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. 17. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

In these 6 verses Paul sums up the last 30 years of his life. First he give thanks to Jesus for reaching down for him when he was a despicable sinner, persecuting the new Church, blaspheming the gospel of Jesus Christ, putting men and women in prison and testifying against them to the point that many were killed by cruel means. Paul was acting out of an inward conscience that approved of his deeds. Paul’s religion at this point in time was the religion that had crucified the Lord Jesus.

Paul extols the grace (mercy, love, forgiveness) of God for its saving virtue towards sinners like himself. Even to the point of putting him into the ministry, which showed forth the longsuffering of God for sinners, not wanting any to perish but that all men might be saved. Paul felt that his conversion would be a pattern for all men in all time. We will look into the life of this great Apostle the next few devotions.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Matthew   28   Mark  16

Luke  24     John  20  21

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield

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10.                      God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                                  November 10, 2014              

Good Morning!

Paul would never have been the man he became, or have done the work he did, if he had not, in the years preceding his conversion, gone through a course of preparation designed to fit him for his subsequent career. He knew not what he was being prepared for; his own intentions about his future were different from God’s; but there is a divinity which shapes our ends, and it was making him a polished shaft for God’s quiver, though he knew it not.

GOD HAD A PLAN FOR PAUL’S LIFE:

Acts 22:3. “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.

Philippians 3:5. “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”

The date of Paul's birth is not exactly known, but it can be settled with a closeness of approximation. When in the year 33 A.D, those who stoned Stephen laid down their clothes at Paul's feet, he was “a young man.” This term has, indeed, in Greek as much latitude as in English, and may indicate any age from something under twenty to something over thirty. In this case it probably touched the latter rather than the former limit; for there is reason to believe that at this time, or very soon after, he was a member of the Sanhedrin - an office which no one could hold who was under thirty years of age.

About thirty years later, writing one of the last of his Epistles, to Philemon, he called himself an old man. He could scarcely have taken the name of “Paul the aged” before sixty years of age. He was born about the same time as Jesus. When the boy Jesus was playing in the streets of Nazareth, the boy Paul was playing in the streets of his native Tarsus, away on the other side of the mountains of Lebanon. They seemed likely to have totally diverse careers. Yet, by the mysterious arrangement of Providence, these two lives, like streams flowing from opposite watersheds, were one day, as river and tributary, to mingle together.

Paul’s father had an advantage to give him specially useful to a Jew, he was a Roman citizen, and this right would have given his son protection, into whatever part of the Roman world he might have had occasion to travel. How the father got this right we cannot tell; it might be bought, or won by distinguished service to the state, or acquired in several other ways; at all events his son, Paul, was free-born. It was a valuable privilege, and one which was to prove of great use to Paul. All minds have their origin in God; and great minds seem to be created by Him. Saul of Tarsus was one of those men. Christianity needed such a mind; and the world had reached a point where it needed such a mind.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Act  1  2  3

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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11.                   God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

 Today’s First Thoughts                                 November 11, 2014                      

Good Morning!

Saul of Tarsus has exerted more influence in spreading Christianity, in explaining its doctrines, in adapting it to the world and the world to it, in developing its great principles, in giving to it systematic form, in settling and establishing the faith of mankind for all coming time, than any other of the apostles, or perhaps than all of them combined.

WRITTEN BY PAUL:

2 Thessalonians 3:17. “The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.”

One of the entire books of the New Testament—“The Acts of the Apostles”—is to a great extent a record of his travels, sermons, and labors; no less than thirteen, and probably fourteen out of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament were written by him, or at his dictation. if we were to take from the New Testament all that was written by Saul of Tarsus, we should remove no small part of that which has gone to form the religious opinions of mankind. Certain it is that we should leave the system as it is in the remaining books of the New Testament, difficult of explanation, arrangement, and comprehension.

It could, indeed, by no means be said that the system could not be comprehended, or that knowledge enough could not be derived from the Gospels, from the Acts of the Apostles, and from the Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude, to answer the great question, “What shall I do to be saved?” But it would still be true that we should feel the need of some such full and comprehensive exposition of those doctrines as we have now in the epistles of Paul, and that the faith of mankind in the doctrines of Christianity, or the shape which that faith would take, would be far different from what it is now. One thing is clear—that there has been no one of our race who has done so much to determine the theological opinions of mankind as Paul has done.

The same may be said in regard to the influence of his opinions on the world at large. He has already influenced more minds than Plato ever did; in the end, he will have influenced far more than Plato, and Bacon, and Kant, and Locke, combined:—than all the Greek, the Persian, the Egyptian, the Roman priests and sages united. In his own day he came in contact on more points with the mind of the world than any other living man. Possibly only Moses, who wrote God’s law, has had as much influence on the world as Paul.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Acts  4  5  6

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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12.                      God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                                 November 12, 2014                      

Good Morning!

It was the first martyrdom under the Christian religion.

SAUL WAS CONSENTING TO STEPHEN’S DEATH:

Acts 7:54. “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 57. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58. And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. 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. Acts 8:1. “And Saul was consenting unto his death.

This was Paul’s first appearance in the scripture. As Paul appears before us, as described in Acts 7, he is a young man; and in an attitude fitted to rivet the attention, yet painful to contemplate. It is a scene of fury, rage, and violence. A man guilty of no crime, who had done nothing to provoke this outburst of wrath, who had merely stood up for the defense of a new system of religion, who had said nothing which prophets had not said before, who affirmed that he had seen, “the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God,” was assailed by a mob (stopping their ears, as if they would not hear such blasphemy), was dragged violently out of the city, and stoned to death.

Saul of Tarsus was there; why, we know not. He looked calmly on. He took no part in the affray. He threw not a stone. He said not a word. If he was a young man of violent passions, he restrained them. If he sympathized with these murderers, he said nothing to encourage them. If there was then that in him which at some future time might manifest itself in a form of persecution more violent than this, it was held in check. So far as the record goes, there was not a word, a look, an action, which could lead any man to infer that in a few days he would himself be one of the most furious of persecutors, and would surpass all living men in the energy, the fire, the zeal, and the ability, with which he would endeavor to extinguish the new religion.

Yet he was manifestly regarding this deed of violence with interest and with consent; he approved the thing, whatever might be his views of the mode. Those who were engaged in the act of persecution knew him. They understood somehow that his heart was with them, so that they might safely lay down their clothes at his feet, the outer garments laid aside on such an occasion. Many years afterwards he refers to this scene, and says, as if he had at the time been a real participator in the persecution of Stephen, “I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him” (Acts 22:20).

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Acts  7  8

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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13.                  God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                            November 13, 2014                  

Good Morning!

Sometime in his early youth, probably about 14 or 15 years old, Paul was sent to Jerusalem to be educated in Jewish laws and practices. His bright mind would have been noticeable to the great teacher Gamaliel, who took him under his supervision.

PAUL WAS ZEALOUS TOWARDS GOD:

Acts 22:3. “I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.”

It was the act of a Jewish father, a Pharisee, deciding that his son should be trained up in the most perfect knowledge of the Mosaic law, and placing him, for that purpose, under the instruction of the most celebrated Jewish teacher of his time, Gamaliel. Possibly, also, it might have been the wish of his father to separate him, at the forming period of his life, from influences in a Greek city that might tend to weaken his attachment to the Hebrew faith. Tarsus was steeped in idolatry and vice of every sort and would have been very detrimental to Paul’s religion.

We know what the character of Gamaliel was; and we can estimate what would be the nature of his influence on the mind of a young man like Saul of Tarsus. He was of the class to whom Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus belonged:—a man thoroughly religious; thoroughly a Jew; thoroughly, and on principle, a Pharisee, as opposed to other Jewish sects; yet a man of noble principles, and well fitted as an instructor to form a mind to large and liberal views. So we must look elsewhere for Paul’s character which he displayed in persecuting the Christians.

There is always danger to a young man in regard to his morals when, for the sake of education, or in the pursuit of wealth or honor, he leaves the restraints and influences of the home circle. Saul of Tarsus would be exposed to such perils in leaving the home of his childhood; in being separated from a father's presence and immediate authority; in visiting even Jerusalem. Many young men, religiously trained, are ruined in such changes; but more young men—great as is the absolute number of those who are ruined—are safe. Their early virtue, their religious principles, their respect for law and for religion, are successful and triumphant in the new scene of trial. Saul of Tarsus was of that number, who were very zealous of the Jewish law. In later years, he remembered with deep repentance how he had “persecuted the church of God and wasted it” (Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:13;).

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Acts   9  10

James &  Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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14..               God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

 Today’s First Thoughts                             November 14, 2014                 

Good Morning!

We are now, therefore, to contemplate Saul of Tarsus as a persecutor under the sanction and authority of law.

SAUL’S MAD FURY AGAINST THE CHURCH:

Acts 8:3. “As for Saul, he made havock (devastation, great harm) of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.”

Saul was young man. He had finished his education, and was about to enter on the public work of life. We may find something of interest in this fact itself. That a young man, an educated young man, should engage in the work of persecution strikes us at once as contrary to what we expect to find at that period of life, and in one that had been brought under the liberalizing influence of education. It is at the same time unusual, unnatural, and shocking; and it is all the worse, when by a vigorous self-discipline such an one restrains himself from the outbreak of passion until he can give indulgence to it under the forms and the protection of law.

The Sanhedrim at Jerusalem that condemned the Savior was composed in a great part of the “elders” of the nation—aged men. The “Council” that condemned Stephen was made up of the same old men; the General of the Inquisition (in the middle ages), and the principal functionaries of the “holy office” (popes) were commonly men of advanced years; and, in all ages, from the same source originates most of the opposition which is made to new suggestions in religion. Yet few men, young or old, have been so furious in persecution as was Saul of Tarsus; and the fact that he, so young, entered on the work of persecution in the manner in which he did—“breathing out threatening and slaughter”—is one of the things that strike us as most remarkable in his career. He “made havoc of the Church, entering into every house, and, haling men and women,” he tore them from their homes, and “committed them to prison” (Acts 8:3).

He engaged in this work under the influence of conscience, as a service which he felt he was bound to render to God, putting forth all his energies because he thought that he “ought to do many things”—these things—“contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth” (Acts 26:9). He “punished” that is, scourged them “in every synagogue” in the very places of public worship; he used every effort to make them “blaspheme” or revile the sacred name of their Redeemer; he became “exceedingly mad against them,” and drove them from town to town—away from their own homes “to strange cities;” he was present when they were sentenced to death, and he “gave” his “voice against them” (Acts 26:9-11). Three times the fact is especially adverted to, that his fury raged against women as well as men (Acts 8:3; 9:2; 22:4), thus making war on all that is tender and delicate in domestic relations, and spreading everywhere the terror of his name.

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

Acts   11  12

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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15. 16.                  God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                       November 15 & 16, 2014                     

Good Morning!

It is almost certain that Saul of Tarsus never met the Lord Jesus while He ministered in Jerusalem before His crucifixion, but we could wonder what would have been the reaction of Saul if they had come in contact with each other.

CONVERSION OF SAUL OF TARSUS:

Acts 9:3 “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4. And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5. And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

The conversion of a great mind may be an event more important than the capture of a city, or the founding of an empire. It is the mind that effects the great changes in human things; and the influence of a single mind may be such that, while all other things change and decay, that will never die. The cities and empires founded by Cyrus, Alexander, Tamerlane, have long since ceased to exist; yet the influence of Paul still lives, and thrives, after 20 centuries. 

If the commander of a great army is killed in battle his country simply loses his services,, but if that commander suddenly changes his mind and goes over to the opposing forces, the army not only loses his services, but the enemy gains a valuable asset to add to their ranks. The same is true in the army of life. Luther might have been struck dead by the flash of lightening which killed his companion by his side, instead of being convicted of sin, as he was, by that display of Divine power and sovereignty; and then there would have been simply but just so much undeveloped talent withdrawn from the world. Instead he was spared and became a Christian man; and all his influence and power were transferred to Christianity, and he became a force in the Protestant Reformation.

The same is true of Saul of Tarsus, God could have simply killed His greatest enemy with a lightening bolt and His Saints would have been free of his terror. But God wanted Saul’s talents and service on His side in the war against the devil. Aren’t you glad that God saved Saul’s life and chose him to be a leader in His great conquering army?

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

Acts  13  14

James  1  2  3

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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17.                God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                                November 17, 2014                   

Good Morning!

This is the brief account in the New Testament of one of the most remarkable changes which ever occurred in a human mind. Not many make a radical change in life after they have reached adulthood and formed a settled opinion.

SAUL FELL TO THE EARTH:

Acts 9:4. “And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5. And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

1 Corinthians 1:26. “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:”

It is so hard to win a wise (highly educated) man, or a high ranking official, or a rich man, to the service of Jesus Christ. They have too much going for them, too much to give up. Few men had more going for them than Saul of Tarsus when he was on his way to Damascus to further persecute the people who believed in Jesus Christ. When suddenly, according to his own account of the matter, a light appeared in his path, above the brightness of the sun. It bewildered him; blinded him; smote him to the earth. A voice addressed him, “Why persecutest thou me?” It said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.”

“But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:14-18).

This is the brief account in the New Testament of one of the most remarkable changes which ever occurred in a human mind, and connected materially with one of the most marked and important of the revolutions that have taken place in the progress of human events,—the establishment of the Christian religion in the world.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

James  4  5

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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18.                       God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                                          

Today’s First Thoughts                                   November 18, 2014                  

Good Morning!

No one who gives credit to the history at all, or to any history, can doubt that a change occurred, in Saul's views, purposes, feelings, and aims, and that it extended its influence over his entire subsequent life.

SAUL RECEIVES NEW ORDERS FROM A NEW COMMANDER:

Acts 9:5. “And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”

There is every mark of reality, genuineness, and thoroughness in this conversion, whatever may be said about the cause of it, I mean, when I speak of the “reality, the genuineness, and the thoroughness,” of his conversion, that it was sincere; that it was not feigned. He ceased to be a persecutor; he became the friend of the cause which he had persecuted. He sought no longer to destroy the religion which he had opposed; but he labored most earnestly to spread it abroad throughout the world. The injury which he had done to the cause he endeavored to counteract.

He could not indeed undo the wrong that he had done; he could not bring back to life those who had been put to death when he “gave” his “voice against them;” he could not blot out the record of the sorrows which he had caused, and the tears which he had made to flow. The penitent and regenerated man may, in some degree, repair the evil which he has done to society. Saul did this; he lived to diffuse the Christian religion with a zeal corresponding to that which he had exerted to destroy it. And this fact is as clearly attested as any other fact of ancient history.

The change was substantially that which always occurs in conversion. It was a change in the governing purpose of the soul; in the great aim and object of the life;—a change of the will, of the heart, of the affections. It was a change from a hatred of the new system, to the love of it; from a rejection of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, to a cordial reception of Him as such; from trust in his own righteousness for salvation, to reliance on the merits of the Savior; from zeal in serving God under Judaism, to zeal in serving Him under the form of Christianity. Such a change could not be otherwise than sincere, real, and genuine. It has never been doubted, however it may be explained.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Acts   15  16

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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19.                     God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                                  November 19, 2014                     

Good Morning!

I shall here refer to the manner in which God addresses mankind, or indicates His will to them; the purposes for which He addresses or calls them; and the importance of obeying such a “call” or “vision.”

PAUL OBEYS THE HEAVENLY VISION:

Acts 26:19. “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I (Paul) was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: 20. But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.”

The will of God was made known to Saul of Tarsus by a direct communication from the Redeemer Himself. The “vision” which appeared to him was such that he could not doubt that it was Divine. He who spoke announced Himself to be the Savior of the world, and the purpose for which He thus addressed Saul was distinctly made known to him: “I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee, delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:16-18).

God could address each one of the human race as an individual and by name, and thus indicate to us His will as to what we should believe and do. He could speak to us by dreams or visions, as He did to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Eliphaz; He could address us by a voice, as He did Samuel; He could send a special messenger to us, as He did to Ahaz, to Ahab, to David, and to Hezekiah; He could direct an angel to convey a message to us, as He did to Daniel, to Zacharias, and to the Virgin Mary; He could call us to His service by an internal voice which we could not disregard, as He did Jeremiah and Ezekiel; or He could speak to us in His majesty and glory, as He did to Isaiah in the temple, to Saul on the way to Damascus, or to John in Patmos.

Has God so withdrawn from the world, As we cannot rely on dreams, and visions, and voices, and the visitations of angelic beings to guide us, what methods are there by which our Maker makes known His will to us? There is, first, His holy Word, the volume of Revelation, containing the standing and permanent intimations of his will. The Bible does not address each one of the race by name, but it gives directions and counsels adapted to our common nature, and what he shall do to prepare for the life to come.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Galatians  1  2  3

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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20.                      God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                                          

Today’s First Thoughts                                 November 20, 2014                

Good Morning!

Paul went on an absolute ‘fast’ for three days following his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus

BLINDED AND HUMBLED SAUL FASTS FOR THREE DAYS:

Acts 9:8.  “And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.”

This is not the first time Paul had fasted. As a dedicated Pharisee he would have fasted twice a week like all of his fellow Pharisees. But this is the first real spiritual encounter with God he had ever encountered and the experience humbled him, and like Isaiah, in his first encounter with God, he felt ‘undone’ (Isaiah 6:6), and in need of cleansing. Every person who has a ‘real’ encounter with God feels this way. Isaiah had been a prophet for a considerable time before his humbling experience in Isaiah chapter 6. But the vision of the “High and Holy One” brought him face to face with his human weakness and sinful nature. “I am a man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). Simon Peter realized, and confessed, his sinfulness when Jesus called him (Luke 5:8).

“And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.”

God Reassures Ananias: “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized” (Acts 9:10-18).

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Galatians  4  5  6

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.

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21                    God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                                                 November 21, 2014                     

Good Morning!

We will look into the Psalms for a few days. For every person in the journey of life the road will lead in many different directions. We can never know in advance which way it will turn, for we do not have a map that shows all the details for us. We must walk on until we come to the sharp curve, the dip, or the steep uphill climb that has been set in the path of each of us. Then we look to God for grace to help meet that moment of difficulty. 

MANY TRAVELERS, MANY ROADS:

Psalms 23:4. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

I love the word pictures of the Bible characters in their journey through life. Each was written to help us in our journey through our life. John Bunyan paints a classic masterpiece in Pilgrims Progress as he describes Pilgrim’s journey towards the celestial city. Life is a journey, and we all must walk the path. In the words of the old song, “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.”

Many of the Psalms are written for us pilgrims on the path. As we read Psalms 121, we can hear the psalmist crying out, “Lord, I need guidance for my journey, I’ve lost my way. Can’t you show me the right way to go?” In this Psalm of eight verses, we’re encouraged to trust God even for things we haven’t asked for. The Psalmist’s confidence is rooted in his vision of how great God is, Maker of Heaven and Earth. He lifts his eyes to the hills above the valley and sees the One Who is not only the destination, but also the strength for every step of it.

Psalms 121 is one of those ‘Songs of Degrees (Ascent)’ there are fifteen of them, beginning with Psalms 120. In those ancient days the Israelites would travel from the surrounding towns and countryside to Jerusalem. They were eager for good times in the Holy City, seeing old friends and worshiping in the temple. As the travelers walked up the natural incline towards Jerusalem, they would sing one of theses joyful songs of accent at each level of the climb. If you read them in order you can see and feel each new stage of the climb, moving onward towards the temple.

Has your family ever enjoyed a sing-along while on a trip in the car? Have you sung on the way to Church, preparing your hearts for worship? I hope you have. These Psalms are the music for the uphill journey.

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

Acts  17 18 1-18

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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22. 23.                 God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                    November 22 & 23, 2014                      

Good Morning!

There is something grand and majestic about mountains. They set the landscape and the people in perspective; they make us look so small in comparison. Something about the majesty of mountains invokes the majesty of God.

I NEED YOUR HELP, LORD:

Psalms 121:1. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       2. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” KJV

The Bible tells us about ‘mountain-top’ experiences. Many great things happened on mountain-tops; the sacrifice of Isaac on Mount Moriah, the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Herman, Elijah’s showdown with the  prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, then most important the crucifixion of Jesus on Mount Calvary. There are many other places in both the Old and the New Testament that describe the mountains as a place of blessings.

Almost all translations of the Bible puts a hyphen in between the two phrases of Psalms 121:1 “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills-from whence cometh my help?” First the writer makes a statement, “I will lift up mine eyes to the hills.” Then he breaks off and asks a question, “From whence cometh my help?” What a difference a dash makes. The traveler looks at the hills ahead, then he looks inward. As he looks inward, he asks himself the question, “Where am I going to find help? This traveler feels all the hesitance and concern many of us do before we set out on a long journey.

Traveling has a measure of insecurity about it. What if something terrible happens while I’m on the road? Who can I turn to? We call this, ‘talking to ourselves.’ In Psalms 121 the traveler is talking to himself. He feels a little anxious about the hills that lie ahead, “will anyone help me if something happens?” He looks around, he looks within, and then finally, he looks above. In the second verse we find the solid foundation of this Psalm: “My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” At last the psalmist comes to the point that provides the heart of his song. He is telling himself, “I’ve looked to the mountains, and I find no help. I’ve look within, and I find no guidance. But finally I’ve look up, and I realized the source of my help. It comes from no one but God. What a lesson for us travelers on this earth, “My help comes from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

1 Thessalonians   1  2  3

1 Thessalonians   4  5

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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24.                 God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                            November 24, 2014                           

Good Morning!

After creation God is intimately involved in the work of His hands.

WE CAN LOOK ABOVE FOR HELP:

Psalms 121:2. “My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”

The Lord is described here as the God who made heaven and earth. These words were not written just to take up space or as a poetic expression. No not at all. These words were chosen deliberately. The idea of being loved by a Creator who hung the stars in space and set the earth on its course is a powerful source of encouragement. If He can guide the stars and the planets, surely He can guide our little steps. That’s why we find this phrase so often used in blessing the people.

Psalms 115:15. “Ye are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth.”

Psalms 134:3. “The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.”

Psalms 146:5.“Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:

Psalms 145:6. Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:”

The power of this statement is wrapped up in the idea that since God is the creator of all things and since all things are His handiwork, His power is not to be questioned. The Creator has made everything we can see or touch or imagine; when we cast our hopes on Him, we’re not only coming to a God who cares, but to a God who can. God is not merely the Creator of all things, He is the sustainer of all things.

Colossians 1:16. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

On that day when your journey brings you to the dark defile, you’ll be filled with a sense of helplessness. You’ll cry out, “Lord I need help.” In your moment of deep anxiety remember this: the One to Whom you are praying is the one Who made heaven and earth. He is the Creator God. He is the Sustainer God also. In your moment of despair, take a deep breath and a new look, in the perspective of the One who created and sustains every atom of the universe. He’s up to the challenge, don’t you think? That thought renews our strength to carry on.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

2 Thessalonians   1  2  3

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net 

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25.                     God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                            November 25, 2014                          

Good Morning!

We can’t see God, but you need to know that He sees you--always. He knows you. Aren’t you glad that God knows who you are? The God who made heaven and earth knows you by name. He knows the very hairs of your head by number. Jesus assures us of that Matthew 10:30. That’s very intimate knowledge.

THE LORD IS INSTINCTUALLY AWARE OF US AT ALL TIMES:    

Psalms 121:2. “My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. 3. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 4. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.”

In the first verse of this Psalm the writer asks himself, “From whence cometh my help?” In he second verse he tells himself that his help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and the earth. Then he continues in the rest of the Psalm to exclaim the Lord’s watchful oversight of all of us pilgrims. As he writes the ‘I’ and ‘my’ of the first two verses changes to ‘you’ and ‘thy’ and ‘thee’ in the rest of the Psalm indicating he was writing this, not only for his benefit, but for our benefit as well.

I read where a minister was working far into the early morning hours, burning the mid-night oil, trying to finish various problems and prepare a morning sermon. It happened that his Bible was lying open to Psalms 121. As he read the third and fourth verses where the Lord does not slumber and sleep. It was as if the Lord was saying to him “There is no need for both of us to stay up all night. I’m going to stay up anyway, so you go on to bed and get a good night’s sleep.”

How many of you have paced the floor at night because of your kids, a financial problem for which you did not know the answer, a sickness or other problems in your life? We all worry and wonder who is taking care of things. Then you read in your Bible that the God in whom you trusted, the One you ask for help, never sleeps. He never takes a day off; He’s never out of town. You don’t even need a secret cell phone number or e-mail address. God is right there watching over you.

I have a book written by Ron Mehl, “God Works The Night Shift.” Isn’t it a great thought? God is always there, no matter when it is that you need Him. In the loneliest, darkest hour of the night, He is there because He doesn’t slumber or sleep. 

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Acts   18 :19-28     Acts 19 :1-41

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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26.                   God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                                                November 26, 2014                     

Good Morning!

Now we come to another promise in this Psalm 121, and we remember the traveler whose eyes have looked up toward the horizon before his dangerous journey. He feels reassurance that God is watching over him by night and shading him during the noonday heat. Can you imagine a more devoted God than that?

GOD IS THE TRAVELERS SHADE ON THEIR RIGHT HAND:

Psalms 121:5. “The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. 6. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.”

“Shade:” The word shade is very important. Sunstroke is a serious issue. If you have ever visited Israel you know how oppressive the heat can be. I was on the Sea of Galilee on the Fourth of July one time on a barge-like boat and the temperature was 122 degrees and there was no shade, oppressive, and stifling, to say the least. How we would have liked to have some shade. The Psalmist realized how much we need the shade of God’s Right Hand. The Right Hand of God has always stood for His strength and power. God protects you round the clock, with mighty power.

Then, when the day is over, He’ll protect us by night, “nor the moon by night.” We all have heard the phrase “moonstruck.” In ancient time there were all kinds of superstitions concerning the moon. Matthew 17:15 tells about a man who brought his son to Jesus for healing describing him as “lunatick.” The Greek word for this expression original meant “moonstruck” and reflects the ancient superstition that these kinds of seizures were caused by changes in the moon. People believed that the moonlight brought dangers, and the moon could be as deadly as the sun.

Maybe we are a little beyond primitive lunar superstitions, maybe not. In any case people still suffer from night fears. Nearly every child has begged for a night-light. Aged people often come to fear the night as well. The darkness and loneliness of it hold special terrors for them. Suffer from insomnia and the long dark night becomes even longer—a difficult time to endure.

For all of us who have struggled, or been struck by fear, whether of the sun or the moon or anything else on the horizon, the message is this: God is great. He will provide safety for you in the heat of the day, and in the terrors of the night He will never leave your side.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

1 Corinthians   1  2 3

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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27.                  God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                                            

Today’s First Thoughts                       November 27, 2014                   

Good Morning!

It’s foolish to believe things have gotten out of God’s control; it simply can’t happen.

THE SOUL OF MAN SHALL NEVER DIE:

Psalms 121:7. “The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.”

“Preserve:” There are two promises in this verse. First the Lord preserves us from evil. God has promised to help us make it through when evil and danger rears its head against us. Think about the worst that can happen, the most evil thing that can befall you. Nothing is outside God’s control. Every kind of disaster you can name is subject to God who preserves you. Bad things do happen, but they happen within His guidance and supervision. You must remember Satan is on a leash like a bad dog, and God is holding the leash.

The second promise, The Lord preserves our existence. “He shall preserve thy soul.” Our fellow traveler in this Psalm reassures us that God will keep our souls from all harm. Our soul is our life. God in the beginning breathed into Adam’s nostrils and he became a living soul Genesis 2:7. In other words the Psalmist says God is going to keep your life. Life doesn’t end when you draw your last breath. There is much more to life than “birth to tomb” mentality. As we grieve at the funeral of our loved ones in Christ, we need to understand that we have only come to a punctuation mark in their life. And that’s what it is, but that mark is not a period, as some assume, but merely a comma.

We need put no question mark on that one. You are an eternal creature. And God is the keeper of your existence, guarding your soul through this earthly life and on into eternity as well. The traveler looks at the road ahead of him, the hills, the curves, the pitfalls, and then he remind himself that this is one short journey in this world, set within a joyful journey in God’s eternal world.

“The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.”

Put you trust in him today.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

1 Corinthians   4  5  6

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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28.               God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                                            

Today’s First Thoughts                           November 28, 2014                    

Good Morning!

God watches over you and preserves you in your daily routine and eternally.

 THE LORD PRESERVES US EVERY DAY. I LOVE THAT PHRASE:

Psalms 121:8. “The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”

“Preserve:” Let me assure you that God does care. Sometimes when we arise in the mornings and look at the day’s schedule we sigh and feel like a slave to the world’s demands. Do you ever feel that way? Go out, come in, go out, come in; know what I mean? All the days begin to look alike, as they entangle themselves into urgent appointments; this meeting that appointment, take the kids here and there, meet this person then off to another place. Then get up the next morning and start all over again. You look at the next day and say this is just like the day before, and in your darker moments you begin to wonder, is God involved in all of this? Does He really care about the routine treadmill of my life?

“Lord of all pots and pans and things, since I have no time to be a saint, by doing lovely things, or watching late with Thee, or dreaming in the daylight, or storming heaven’s gates, make me a saint by getting meals and washing up the plates.” (Author unknown, obviously written by a woman working at home). God uses the kitchen filled with pots and pans or the desk filled with memos, our ordinary daily routine, as a place of testing and training for Sainthood.

The Lord preserves us eternally. The Psalmist says, “He will preserve thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” God’s care extends not only to every place and to ever setting, but it also spans all of time and eternity. As we age we begin to see time as our enemy. It accelerates faster and faster until it frightens us. If time is cold and uncaring, we think, then God must be to—but don’t ever think such a terrible thought, for it is not so. God cares for us in time and in eternity. Time is only God’s instrument to teach us wisdom and bring us into His favor and get us ready for eternity. Time only exists on earth.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

1 Corinthians   7  8  9

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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29. 30.                  God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

 Today’s First Thoughts                             November 29 & 30, 2014                    

Good Morning!

“The Lord keeps thee both now and forevermore.”

THE KEEPER OF OUR LIVES:

Psalms 121:8. “The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”

“Preserve:” A very religious Jew keeps certain things in his home in keeping with the traditions of his faith. On the outside and on the inside of his door there is a small metal container called a ‘mezuzah’ with small pieces of parchment on which are written words from Deuteronomy chapters 6 and 11. It is a sacred remembrance for him, in a physical way the words which tells us that we are to train up our children in the way they should go and that we are to teach them as they go out and as they come in. So there at the doorway is the ‘mezuzah’ and as the Jew leaves his home to travel to his place of work, he touches this little metal box with his right hand and repeats aloud some of the words contained within it, asking God to preserve him as he goes out and comes in. His final words will always be, “The Lord keep thee both now and forevermore.”

 Eugene Peterson writes about God’s watchful care over us.

“The Christian life is not a quiet escape to a garden where we can walk and talk uninterruptible with our Lord, nor a fantasy trip to a heavenly city where we can compare blue ribbons and gold metals with others who have made it to the winner’s circle—No, the Christian life is going to God. In going to God, Christians travel the same ground that everyone else walks on, breaths the same air, drinks the same water, shops in the same stores, reads the same newspapers, are citizens of the same government, pay the same price for groceries and gasoline, fears the same dangers, are subject to the same pressures, get the same distresses, and are buried in the same ground.

The difference is that each step we walk, each breath we breathe, we know we are preserved by God, we know we are accompanied by God, we know we are ruled by God, and therefore, no matter what doubts we endure or what accidents we experience, the Lord will preserve us from evil, He will keep our life.”

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

1 Corinthians   10  11  12

1 Corinthians   13  14  15

 James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

 

 

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