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December 2014

Daily Devotions, December 2014

Winter In Norway

                                                              Winter In Norway

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                     God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

 Today’s First Thoughts                               December 1, 2014                  

Good Morning!

There are many Psalms that speak of deliverance.

WHO OF US DOES NOT NEED TO BE DELIVERED:

Psalm 6:4. “Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake.

“Deliver:” The word David uses here, ‘deliver,’ means “to rescue” only in one form found only in The Psalms, Job and Proverbs. In this verse, David calls on God to show His hand of compassion by rescuing him from his circumstances. There are many Psalms that speak of deliverance. David's experience with God often included cries for help. It's no different today. Sometimes our moments of greatest need are the gateways that bring God closest to us. Everyone needs rescue.

David tells us why God is open to our cry for help. It is because God is merciful. It is the Hebrew word ‘hese’ and it means a good deal more than mercy. It is tied to God's promise to us, God's desire to be a benefactor toward us and God's character as the protector and provider for us. David does not ask for God's help because he deserves it. He doesn't say, “God, I believe in you. I trust you. I have been a good and faithful follower. Therefore, come and help me.” David knows that he cannot negotiate or manipulate God. Instead of implying that he should be rescued, David throws himself entirely on who God is. He bets on God's character.

He is really saying, “God, you have told me that you are full of loving kindness toward us. Remember your loving kindness now and bring it to bear on me.” David sees that his rescue is up to God and he knows God is faithful. But notice what David doesn’t do he doesn't tell God how he wants to be rescued. He doesn't say, “Give me the money I need” or “Take these terrible circumstances away” or “Fix this mess I'm in.” He leaves the method up to God.

Everyday we each have the opportunity to experience the character of God in an expression of deliverance. God is always open to our cries for help. “Rescue me” is good theology. But take a hint from David. Throw your cares entirely on God’s mercy but don't begin telling God how you want Him to fix things. He has a much better plan than we do.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

1 Corinthians   16         2 Corinthians  1  2

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                               God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                                       December 2, 2014                      

Good Morning!

The word “kingdom” means “the realm over which a king rules.”

THE KING OF OUR HEART:

Mark 4:30. “And he (Jesus) said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?

When the word “kingdom” is applied to God, it could refer to all creation, since “his kingdom ruleth over all” (Psalm 103:19), but the kingdom more often applies to His rule in and through those who are submitted to Him. "The Kingdom of God” more specifically refers to Jesus living and ruling in our hearts. So praying “thy kingdom come” is praying for the expansion and influence of God's rule in the hearts of men everywhere and, ultimately, the establishment of His physical Kingdom at His second coming.

Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry, the Jews kept looking for Jesus to establish a physical kingdom here on the earth and deliver them from the oppression of the Romans. Although the Kingdom of God will physically rule over the nations of the earth, Jesus' Kingdom is spiritually established by His Word and not by carnal weapons (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Jesus said, “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you  (Luke 17:20-21).

Paul says we are already in the Kingdom of God, Colossians 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” The Kingdom of God is therefore Christ's “invisible Church,” His body. The Kingdom began during His earthly ministry and is still ruling the hearts of men today.

The new birth ushers us into the Kingdom of God which is infinitely greater in wonder and benefits than our finite minds can comprehend. To the degree that we do begin to understand how God's Kingdom works and apply our lives to it, we can experience heaven here on earth. Pray for a release into the physical of what is already present in your spiritual being. Is He the King of your heart?

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

2 Corinthians   3  4  5

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                   God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                                December 3, 2014               

Good Morning!

“Trials” is the word we want to look at today. When it is used of God, it means to test in order to prove something.

THE TRIAL OF YOUR FAITH:

1 Peter 1:6. “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7. That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

The word picture here is testing an object by perforating it to look at what it is made of. Think about slicing through an apple to see if it is rotten inside. A trial has the same purpose. In most cases, this word indicates underserved suffering, not inner mental struggles and not the results of disobedience. Notice that Peter says we can rejoice in these perforations. There is a reason for joy in the midst of adversity. God is looking right through us to see what we are made of. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons Hebrews 12:6-8.

God picks up my life and turns it around in His hands. “This looks pretty good,” He says to Himself. “I see that he/she is putting aside those things that hindered him/her in the past. I see that he/she is seeking Me everyday. I like what I see.” Then He decides to examine the motivation and inner strength of our faith. He perforates our outer layers, carefully examining us as He probes into our heart. “Now I know his/her real longing for My presence. Now I feel the hunger in his/her heart for holiness. He/she really is one of my children. Come on, everyone. Let's rejoice!”

Those trials, the events and people and situations that afflict me, show God what I am really made of. And more than anything, I want Him to find a heart that depends entirely on Him. I want Him to see a man whose purpose is to live for Him, who has been cleansed of the old self-motivation. I want to rejoice too.

“Father, get under my skin today. I rejoice that you love me so much you want to see the real me. I am jumping up and down in excitement that You care enough about me to shape me into what you want through the many colored tests of my faith. Go ahead and slice into me. See if I have a heart set on You. I am depending on You to bring me through.”

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

2 Corinthians   6  7  8

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                  God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                   December 4, 2014               

Good Morning!

Did you know that baptism is really a burial service?

BAPTISM IS A BURIAL:

Colossians 2:12. “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

“Buried:” In the context of the word “buried” as Paul uses it here we are “buried together” with Christ in baptism. This means that Jesus goes together with us into the waters of baptism. “Buried with Him in baptism.” Most of the time we think of baptism as a symbolic resurrection. Coming out of the water is our way of expressing new life, a deliberate choice to put us in the hands of Jesus. But this focus is what happens after baptism. The first part of baptism is sinking under the water being buried. Dying, you can't come up a new person unless you died when the water went over you. You symbolically died in repentance, the “old man” (the old way of life) died and we “bury” him in water baptism. 

Now we see why Paul uses this verb. He is not saying you were dipped, immersed, sprinkled or splashed. He says that you died. There was a funeral. Someone put you in the grave and covered you over. The world mourned (but not the believers). Your old ways of living ended because you heard the bell toll for you. But this is a very special kind of funeral. You were buried with Jesus. You shared the same casket, the same tombstone and the same plot. Sometimes in this life we do bury people together. A mother and a child who died in the same tragic accident. Perhaps a husband and wife, devoted to each other for years, inseparable in death. But most of the time, we die alone. We are buried alone.

Paul tells us that we are never alone as believers, even in death. Jesus is right there beside us, dying with us, being buried in the same grave. And then the most amazing thing happens. Because he is buried with us, we stand again (that is the Greek meaning of resurrection). We come out of the tomb. But instead of the old me or you, we come out hand in hand with Jesus in a new me and a new you. The old life is still in that grave, dead under the water. It is supposed to stay there. That is what baptism means let it go, it is your funeral at sea. Baptism is wonderful. It is the choice to die now, while I still have a choice. It is the chance to attend my own funeral and rejoice that my old life has passed away.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

2 Corinthians   9  10  11

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                         December 5, 2014               

Good Morning!

In water baptism we are transported (carried over) from our old way of life into the very realm of Jesus Christ.

BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST:

Romans 6:3. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?”

Yesterday we looked at the thought that baptism is a funeral. We are buried with Christ. Today we see that Paul makes the point even clearer. We are baptized into death. "Baptized" is a Greek word that has come into English without translation. The Greek is baptize. English simply transmits the word as it is. In Greek, the word means "to immerse, to submerge, and to overwhelm". It is usually associated with religious rituals. But notice that Paul adds an important preposition, "into" (eis). This preposition indicates movement from one place to another. And that is exactly what Paul wants us to understand. When we are immersed into Christ, we have been moved from one place (the life of this world) into another (the life in God's world). There is only one way to leave this world. Die!

The next time you decide to travel from you house to the store, try leaving some of you behind. Put you feet in the car, but leave your hands at home. It doesn't work very well, does it? If you are going to go from one place to another, all of you must make the trip. This is certainly true when you die. Unfortunately, the old saying is really true; “You can't take it with you.”  Paul tells us that in baptism we die and are buried. He wants us to see that we need to leave everything behind. We can’t make the trip into God's world without completely separating from the old life. God does not resuscitate us. We are resurrected. That means we died. It is over, done, finished. No sense in trying to keep a little of the old life. That life has had it.

Have you experienced baptism into death? Or are you trying to go to the store with your feet and leave your hands at home? Immersion in Christ is intended to overwhelm you. It is designed to submerge that old life and leave it for dead. There is a great song that tells the truth about this: “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.” You can't get there without dying.. It’s time to die.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

2 Corinthians  12 13      Acts   20  21  22  23

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                       God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

 Today’s First Thoughts                        December 6 & 7, 2014               

Good Morning!

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself.

WORRY BRINGS ON DEPRESSION:

Matthew 6:34. “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

“Worry:” The Greek word is from the verb ‘merimnao.’ It means anxiety that disrupts the tranquil state of mind and disturbs the personality. In years past, we would say, “don’t fret.” This is not a word about being careful or cautious. It is a word about an emotional state that is preoccupied with concern. This is the place where we just can’t stop thinking about what might happen to us. Jesus is entirely practical about this. He points out that no anxious fretting will really make any difference in life. On the practical side, you just do what you can do and then leave it alone. But the reason that Jesus can tell us that worry is futile is not just because the future is unknown to us. Jesus tells us that worry is useless because worry does not take God into account.

As I write this devotion my wife and I have just had to change doctors after 25 years of unfailing service of the one we liked so well. He had to give up his practice because of severe depression. I do not know the cause of his depression but he would have been the last one I thought would have to suffer severe depression, so I pray for Him. 

Our scripture today comes at the end of Jesus’ famous discussion about seeking the kingdom of God as the highest priority of life. Jesus looks out on the hillside and He sees the flowers and the grass and the birds. Then he gives his followers an object lesson. “See all those tiny things living peacefully in the place God has provided for them. Don't you think that God cares about you at least as much? No, God cares for you so much more and He doesn't forget about these living things for a moment. Clearly, He won't forget about you either.”

Jesus says to each of us, “Aren’t you going to trust me?” That's when I need some history. I look back and see God's faithfulness through centuries. Then I look at the grass I am about to mow. Every blade is His. Yes, God has not forgotten me. He is faithful even when I cannot see what is happening.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Romans   1  2  3

Romans   4  5  6

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                                           December 8, 2014               

Good Morning!

Praise Him for His mercy. Without it, we would have been like letters in a book, wiped away.

GOD WIPES AWAY SIN:

Genesis 6:7. “And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.”

Exodus 32:33. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.”

“Eliminate:” The Hebrew word (maha) used for eliminating the problem of sin by means of the flood is the word for “to erase by washing,” like cleaning the dye or spot out of clothing. It is used in the Old Testament for erasing letters from a record by washing them off with water, and it is used as an expression for “washing away sins” (Isaiah 43:25). In ancient times, letters were made on parchment or leather so the proper idea here is to “wipe away” rather than “blot” the ink. This word is used 33 times in Scripture and nearly every time it is important. Even in the New Testament, Paul uses the same idea for wiping out a debt in God’s ledger.

Notice that sin affects not only man but also everything living. Sin is no small matter, even the innocent suffer because of it. In Genesis 6, God wipes away sin by wiping away the sinner. He drowns the earth. With the sacrifice of the Lamb, God wipes away sin by wiping away the judgment sinners deserve. Grace overshadows the original sense of erasing. I once saw a cartoon of two boys standing on the shore, looking at the ocean. One boy said to the other, “Yeah, and that's only the top of it.”

That is like my sin. I saw the surface but it infected everything around me into the depths. I had to let all of it be wiped away, not just what I could see on the top. If we are truthful about our past, we will see that the only hope we had for life was the radical extinction of that old existence. We had to let God wipe it out; erase it from us just as he erased sin from the world in the flood. Once we were drowning in our sin. No one needs life saving until they are drowning. But God did more than pull us from the water. He breathed new life into us. We left all that old life behind, dead under the sea of judgment.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Romans   7  8  9

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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         God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                                 December 9, 2014                                                                                                                              

Good Morning!

Not only was leprosy a terrible tragedy, it was also considered a sign of God’s punishment. A leper was isolated from both Man and God.

THE TOUCH THAT MAKES ONE WHOLE:

Mark 1:41. “And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.”

“Touched” - This is a form of the Greek verb hapto. It implies quiet a bit more than a simple touch. It means, “to be connected to, to handle something so that you exert influence on it.” There is another Greek word for “touch casually” like “brush against something,” but this word implies deliberate involvement. This is very important for the story here in Mark. A man with leprosy confronts Jesus. As you can well imagine, no one dared to touch anyone with this disease. In fact, any contact at all with such people was strictly forbidden. They were outcasts. They had to shout out a warning to anyone who came close. “Don't come any closer to me, Don't touch me, I have leprosy.” Jesus sees the heart-wrenching plight of this man. This is much more than a disintegrating body. This is a disintegrating life separated from community, consolation and concern.

The text indicates that Jesus was filled with pity. This is a word that means he was physically and emotionally distressed. Jesus was moved with deep compassion; So deep that it broke all the barriers of isolation governing this man's existence. Jesus deliberately handled this man's disease. He put his arm around him. He consoled him. He drew him close. He touched his face. There was a good deal more than the miracle of a healed body. Jesus brought this man back into the world of human beings. He healed the rupture of forced isolation by actively drawing this man into community with the Christ.

If we are going to follow in the Master's footsteps, we will have to touch people whose lives are separated from true humanity. They have been forced into isolation from men and from God. They are the “unclean” of our world. Homeless, handi-capped, druggies, body-piercers, obese, sick, whatever the cause of the isolation and separation, Jesus would reach out to touch them. That touch is the embrace of identity. We are all God's image, broken and diseased. Christ in us is found in the hand that touches what is “unclean” and reclaims it for God's purposes.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Romans   10  11  12

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                

Today’s First Thoughts                                  December 10, 2014               

Good Morning!

Jesus help me hear and feel your touch and make beautiful music of me.

LET JESUS TUNE-UP YOUR SOUL:

1 John 1:1. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;”

“Handled:”  Yesterday we looked at the Greek word for “touch.” We saw that it means “handle intentionally with purpose.” Here the English looks as though it is the same word, but it isn’t. In fact, this is a word that should be translated “touch lightly” instead of “handled.” It is the Greek verb ‘pselaphao.’ It is associated with the idea of playing a musical instrument with strings. If you are going to play well, you must maintain a light touch. No one plays the guitar by pawing the strings. It takes delicacy.

John tells us that he and many others heard Jesus, saw Jesus, and touched Jesus. Jesus was real, before he died and after he came back to life. John is offering an eyewitness account of physical interaction with Jesus before and after the event of the cross. These men touched Jesus. Knowing Jesus often requires a touch. But it is a delicate matter. Jesus rarely knocks us down with force. His touch is usually light. He is playing the music of our souls and that requires great skill. Sometimes the touch is so light that we can easily ignore it. If we are out of tune, the notes don't sound sweet. But when Jesus tunes us to His pitch, there is such a beauty in the music we make.

Once we know the truth of that light touch, we also know that heavy-handed approaches to the other souls in our lives only produce noise. If we are going to be disciples of the Master, we will have to learn the art of soul touching. It is a brush with the Spirit. It is gentle, calm and careful. But like every great musician, the instrument comes alive with this touch. There are days when my own soul strings are so tuned to me that I cannot hear the music of my Master. Those days I need to get away from the score I am trying to write and just listen to the music He is playing. It is that glorious melody that I want. It comes from listening to His tuning and matching my notes to His.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Romans   13  14  15  16

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                      God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                            December 11, 2014               

Good Morning!

Believing that Jesus is God requires a big change and some just are not willing to make that change.

MEN LOVED DARKNESS MORE THAN LIGHT:

John 3:19. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

“Rather:” Someone said, “It must have been so much easier for them to believe, they saw Him right there.” That seems to be true. His physical presence should have been convincing. Hearing Jesus, touching Jesus, seeing Jesus, both before and after the resurrection should have been overwhelming evidence. But there is one other factor that needs to be added. Believing is not just about the evidence. Even today, the evidence is overwhelming, but still people do not believe. Why? Believing is also about obedience. It is disobedience that keeps people from believing. People do not want to change their lives. Believing that Jesus is God requires a big change and they just are not willing to make that change. It is much easier to say, “I just don't believe it,” than to say, “I refuse to live according to what Jesus demands.”

John captures this thought with the Greek word mallon. In this translation (KJV) it is rendered as “rather.” But that doesn't quite tell us the whole story. The word typically means “more.” It is used over and over in verses for “much more,” “so great,” and “more than.” This is the real reason that people rejected the light of Christ. They loved their own darkness “more than” the light. They compared Christ's demands for holy living with their desire for selfish life and loved what they did “more than” what God wanted.

John put his finger on the real source of disbelief. It is a question of submission. If I am not willing to give up my own way of life, I will never believe. It has nothing to do with the evidence that Jesus is God or that God has His own purposes for me. It has to do with my choice, not my knowledge. I can collect all the facts, but that will not make me change my mind. Those who reject Christ do so regardless of the facts.

This is a very subtle trap. Even believers can easily fall prey to the power of refusal. God presses us to grow closer to Him. We must choose to love Him “more than” ourselves. It is a matter of the will, not of the head. Will you let God have His way, or will you say, “But it's such a small thing, and I really need it in my life?” The wheels of heaven grind to a halt until we are willing to let go of our darkness.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Acts   20  21  22  23

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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               God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion   

Today’s First Thoughts                          December 12, 2014               

Good Morning!

My mother used to say about a certain person that they were “true blue,” meaning that their word and their life was one you could depend upon.

GOD IS TRUE BLUE:

Romans 3:3. “For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? 4. God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

“True “- Paul is answering a question “If someone does not believe, does that mean that their disbelief undermines faith in God?” He shouts out, “Never let it be!” Then he says, “Let God be true.” The fact that some people do not believe changes nothing about the God of truth. God is true even if no one believes. Paul says that truth is personal. “God is true.” We think of true as impersonal. A true statement. A true fact. A true sum. But the Bible sees “true” as a description of a person. And above all, “true” means faithful. God is always reliable, always consistent, and always trustworthy. This is the essence of true.

How many “true” friends do you really have the ones that you can count on no matter what the circumstances? The ones who will always tell you what they think and not try to tell you what they think you want to hear, the ones that never lead you on, never run out on you, never give up on you. People like that are hard to find. Most of us have a lot of relationships that don't even come close. Sometimes the ones we think should be true turn out to be the most disappointing, like family and spouses. We all know how much it hurts to discover that someone we thought was “true” is really unreliable.

Jesus knew that life was full of people who would crumble when it mattered most. The Bible says that he knew the hearts of men and so he did not give himself to them. But he also knew the heart of God and he knew that God never fails. That is what it means to really be true. That is the kind of friend we really need the one who will never fail. There is only one Person like that. There is only One who never gives up, never placates, never keeps score and never ceases to be merciful to us. If you don't have Him for a friend, you will find your life very vulnerable because sometime everyone else will be untrue. Just like sometime we have been untrue. It is the nature of being human. How much better to have a friend who does not fall prey to human flaws. Let it be let God be true.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Acts   24  25  26

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                      December 13 & 14, 2014

Good Morning!

If any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

SPIRITUALY MINDED IS LIFE:

Romans 8:6. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

“Life:” - In this verse, Paul presents us with one of the most paradoxical truths of existence. What seems like “life” to those whose worldview is determined by the best the world has to offer is in reality only death. Real life is found only in life with God.

This Greek word (Zoe) is familiar to us; it is the root of zoology. It covers the entire range of all living things. This word is used to describe life with God, a life that is characterized by moral purity, spiritual purpose and divine blessing. Today we want see how “setting your mind” is connected to living.

Once in awhile I see the bumper sticker that says, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” What a sad mistake! He who dies after a lifetime of gathering “toys” really never lived at all. He spent his life minding the things that don't last. And he will inherit exactly what he collected nothing at all. Paul reminds us that the word that describes everything living is related to Spirit, not to this world. Here is the irony of the gospel. The more I grasp from this life, the less life I have. The more I struggle for the best the world has to offer, the less my life has real value. Real life, the life given by God, is opposed to all the patterns of this world. It will never be found in the latest toys, the biggest bank account, the greatest possession or the most prestige.

What everyone wants of life and peace is not available in the marketplace. I'm sorry, but it just can't be purchased, earned or collected. The great irony is that no matter where I look in the world, I will not find it. It's not for sale. What I want most is life and peace, and those are exactly the things that I cannot go out and get. They are gifts, given to me only by God and only in intimate relationship with Him.

If I am “minding” the Spirit, I do not need to collect “life” and “peace.” They are the automatic and natural results of a worldview that has God at the center. What I thought I needed turned out to be useless. What I found I inherited when I started “minding” the Spirit turned out to be all that I wanted.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Acts   27  28

Colossians

 James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                  God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion 

Today’s First Thoughts                              December 15, 2014               

Good Morning!

For ‘this’ I have been born, and for ‘this’ I have come into the world.

“This:” The word ‘this’ is an ordinary pronoun with an extraordinary meaning.

THE REASON JESUS WAS BORN:

John 18:37. “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To ‘this’ end was I born, and for ‘this’ cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”

 “Touto” is the Greek pronoun for ‘this.’ There is nothing spectacular about it, except here. Here Jesus says that his entire reason for being is “this,” to give testimony to the truth. As we celebrate the birth of the Savior. But we should never forget that he was born to die. His purpose for living was dying. Christmas is not a celebration of the glory of a new life. It is the celebration of the beginning of the death of the Son of God, of sin and of death itself.

Most of us have no idea why we are born. We spent our lives in search of purpose. And life does not give up its answers easily. We often discover that what we thought was our purpose in life is suddenly replaced by something else. We are unfocused creatures. But not Jesus. He knew absolutely what his life was all about. And nothing deterred him for completing his purpose. He came to die. The next time you read the story of the last week of his life, take notice about who is in charge of the events. Too often we think that the forces of evil pushed these circumstances onto the pages of history. But that is not so. Jesus himself was the active agent. He chose the timing. He chose the situation. He initiated, pushed and propelled the actions that led to the cross. Jesus knew why he was born.

I wrote an article called, “Dying Now.” That article confronts us with this fact: no one of us can choose when we are born, but every one of us can choose when we will die. We can choose to die now by identifying ourselves with the death of Christ and giving up our old lives, or we can try to postpone death by avoiding the call of God. That means we will die later at a time of His choosing. Only Christ could choose when to be born. But we are like him in this: we can choose when to die. We can take part in the purpose of life by choosing to echo his words, “For this I have been born.” We can die to ourselves in order to be born from above in Him.

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

Philemon   1     Ephesians   1  2  3

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                   God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                          December 16, 2014               

Good Morning!

How easy to pass a man—and how readily it comes to our tongue to call some people nobodies.

JESUS CALLS A NOBODY TO FOLLOW HIM:

Matthew 9:9. “And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.”

This is a man’s account of himself. Matthew is the writer of these words. Surely he was most modest, for I know not how his self description could have been shortened. He simply describes himself as “a man named Matthew,” and he said that Jesus saw him as such. There he understated the case. Jesus “saw a man,” He saw more than a man, a person keeping a record of taxes owed and paid, He saw the ‘ideal’ man, He saw an undeveloped man, like an acorn when planted it grows into a giant oak tree.

Hundreds of people passed the same man that day, Scribes and Pharisees, fishermen and shopkeepers, and common people, and most of them would not look at this man. He was a ‘nobody’ in their eyes, one not to be looked upon. And if Jesus had not passed that way, we would never have heard of him. He would have lived and died a ‘nobody.’ Every man is of some account, every man is ‘somebody,’ it takes Jesus to warm us into our best consciousness; it takes a look from those eyes in which the sun always shines to brighten our life. When Jesus Christ looks upon a man, He looks him into a nobler manhood. He wants to look at you—why do you turn your face? Turn to Him, let your faces meet, and you will never forget His look.

He was a ‘man named Matthew;’ that is the only foothold which the writer of this Gospel claims for himself. Matthew never speaks for us in the Gospels, but he has spoken to the world in the ‘Greatest Story Ever Told.’ His story has been one of the most widely read story ever written, read by untold millions every day for almost two thousand years. No secular story ever written has even come close to the fame and popularity of “The Gospel Of Matthew.” He writes about what he saw, what he heard, and what he felt as he follows the One who called him that day from his seat at the receipt of customs.

We want to take a good look at Matthew, or Levi, as he was called by Mark and Luke, and his Gospel, for a few days. I hope we cam feel what he felt that day in Capernaum.

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

Ephesians   4  5  6

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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               God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                     December 17, 2014               

Good Morning!

There is overwhelming evidence that Matthew was the author of the Gospel which bears his name.

MATTHEW WAS GIVEN AN HONOABLE NAME AT BIRTH, LEVI:

Mark 2:14. “And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.”

Matthew is called Levi by Mark and Luke (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27, 29). Luke 6:13 seems to indicate that Matthew and James the less were brothers as their father was named Alphaeus. Bible scholars think that there is also ground for believing that Matthew and Thomas, called Didymus (twin), John 11:16, were twin brothers. Their names are linked together on every list of the Apostles. The old name, Levi, referred to his legal attachment and dependence, the new name Matthew may be interpreted as meaning “God’s free man.” It may have been given to him by our Lord.

According to very ancient tradition, Matthew remained in Jerusalem for fifteen years after the ascension of the Lord. Like all the Gospels, it was many years (20-30) after the fact when Matthew wrote his Gospel from memory, which could account

of  him not following the chronological order of events. Jesus told his disciples that the Holy Ghost would bring all things to their remembrance (John 14:26). Many hold the view that  Matthew was the first of the Gospels, and that he wrote his Gospel in the common language of the people of his day, and was later translated into Greek. Matthew was writing to a people who knew the Old Testament Scriptures so he used the phrase ‘That the Scriptures might be fulfilled,” many times.

Matthew presents the life of Jesus in such great detail making our Lord known to us in all the certainty and depths of his relation to history. Nowhere else is that golden thread which connects all history, ever advancing, so clearly displayed, and nowhere else does the Eternal Christ appear so pure and bright, so free of the corrupt and perishable. Matthew presented Jesus as The Son of Man, The Son Of God, The Lamb Of God, The Savior Of The World, as King Eternal, and Immortal.

In the next few days we will spend some time in the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew was chosen the be the first book in the New Testament for many reasons and I think you will like what he had to say about his Lord.

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

Philippians   1  2  3  4

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                  God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion  

Today’s First Thoughts                                 December 18, 2014               

Good Morning!

The New Testament begins with a genealogical tree. 

JESUS’ RELATION TO THE PAST:

Matthew 1:1. “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

One wonders why such a list of names are in a book which is specifically known as a revelation of the will and love of God, and specifically of the life and death of Jesus Christ. Who cares to read a genealogical table? Most of the names are unknown, many of them are hard to pronounce, and once read, who can remember a single verse of the whole catalogue? Yet the names are here, and if here, there must be some purpose in the record. And if we fasten our attention upon this genealogical tree and study it we will find it does not end within this formal tree, but it become a tree that fills the whole earth and heaven and the entire universe itself.

Many view the life of Jesus as living only a few days or years upon this earth and then ceased to exist.  Jesus Christ is the contemporary of all ages. He is living as certainly upon the earth as he ever lived in Nazareth. He is the Man of today and all good things flow from Him. It is in this way I study Jesus Christ, and it is so that we come to live on the most intimate terms, so that every day He baptizes me with his blood, and I sprinkle Him with my tears. Do not go to the grave to find Jesus, you will only find an angel there who says, “He is not here He is risen.” He is the Christ of eternity past, presence, and future. He said, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day, he saw it and was glad.” He was the cloud by day and the pillow of fire by night, He was the angel who appeared to Hagar, He was the Man in the fiery furnace.

Do not vex your soul by thinking that Jesus lived only centuries ago. The centuries have nothing to do with his life except to continue it. This genealogical table continues on through His children, which I hope you are one of. God adds every born again child of God to this table. You will find proof of this in Revelation 20:12-15 where a Book called the Book Of Life was opened and all the names were searched, and those whose names were not found in The Book Of Life were cast into the lake of fire. Since the days of Adam God has been keeping a record of those who were worthy to inherit eternal life. There are thousands upon thousands whose names never appeared in any other record that are in the Book Of Life.

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

1 Timothy 1  2  3  4  5  6

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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               God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                        December 19, 2014               

Good Morning!

Sometimes we are puzzled as why the birth of Jesus Christ came through such a geological table as appears here.

THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS CHRIST:

Matthew 1:2. “Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; 3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;”

I find from these genealogical records that the most illustrious lines often dip into strange places and become lost in great moral pits, so much so that it appears to be impossible they can ever be elevated to greatness. There is many a bad man in the list. There are men who have broken every commandment of God. There are women who have done the same. And yet the grand purpose of God moves on; it is not in the power of men to break the thread of divine purpose. The Savior comes, regardless of the depraved conditions.

In our verse today, “And Judas begat Phares,” we could, by studying this phrase, wonder why God chose the tribe of Judah to be the line that would bring forth the Savior of the world. Genesis 38 tells us how contaminated Judah became. First by marrying a woman outside of the chosen line, and God killed two of his sons because of their wickedness. Then Judah himself had an illicit relationship with a woman he thought was a harlot who in fact was his daughter-in-law, who became pregnant with twins. When she brought forth the two boys, one put forth his hand and the mid-wife tied a ribbon around its wrist, his hand was drawn back and behold his brother cam out. The mid-wife was astonished and named him Phares, meaning one who breaks forth. That’s how Judah and his illegitimate son got into this genealogy.

In reading further these genealogical tables I find that Jesus Christ came through all kinds of people. If we were minded to upbraid Him with some of these names that are here, we could add bitterness to His cup. He tells me he came ‘through’ all sorts of people ‘to’ all sorts of people. He was depraved in His ancestry, in the very pit of shame. What a history lay behind Him; how He brought it all up into one focus and lived it over again in His tender sympathy, His universal understanding of human want and His infinite beneficence while ministering to all classes of humans. Jesus Christ lived in all sorts of men and women—He came out of, and through all kinds and classes, to all kinds and classes.

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

Titus   1  2  3    1 Peter  1

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                                      God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                          December 20 & 21, 2014               

Good Morning!

Do not drawback from the first chapter of Genesis or the first chapter of Matthew. If we cannot believe these chapters we might as well close the book.

THE WORD “NOW” INTRODUCES A NEW THING IN HUMAN HISTORY:

Matthew 1:18. “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

You may find a difficulty or two as to the acceptance of the story we have just read; will you suggest another story by which we can escape all difficulty? The object was to bring into the human race a man different from all other men, and yet a Savior and Redeemer of all mankind. How could this be done? Here is what had to be done; a Redeemer like ourselves in all points had to be introduced into the race, and yet so unlike us as to be wholly separate from sinners. It could not have been done except on the basis which is told in the Scriptural narrative.

Wherever and whenever Jesus Christ is born it is a miracle. When He is born in us it is by miraculous conception. A man does not become a Christian by some simple method which anybody can suggest and which any mind can understand. When Jesus is born in your heart and mine precisely the same operation is gone through as is indicated in this chapter of Matthew’s Gospel. Is is an unexpected event, it is an event brought about by the overshadowing and ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is associated with great joy and gladness.

Human history breaks away into a new line at this point, the 18th verse of the first chapter of the Gospel by Matthew. From this moment human history has an upward direction and focuses itself on a Person which, until now, is only dimly indicated by the voice of prophecy. A Person born by miraculous conception.

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

1 Peter   2  3  4  5

Hebrews   1  2  3  4  5  6

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                  God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                December 22, 2014                

Good Morning!

Jesus Christ was born into a human family with humans to look after Him while He was growing up into manhood. God chose two of the greatest humans of that day to care for his Son.

THE STORY OF JESUS’ BIRTH:

Matthew 1:18. “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

In these verses we see the wonderful union in Jesus of the human and the divine—the human on the mother’s side, the divine by the mysterious operation of the Holy Spirit. This is no angelic or imaginary Mary. This literal history was required in order to prove she was an ordinary woman. She was real, like ourselves, one of us, she lived the common human life, wept the common human tears, enjoyed the same enjoyments that fall to our lot; there is enough said about her in the Gospels to prove the pure human nature of the woman, and little enough said about her not to magnify her into a goddess.

She is here long enough to be seen, understood, spoke about, attested by every witness that knew human nature, and behold she is gone. The mother of Emanuel must not remain too long; she must be before my eye long enough for me to know that she is Mary, and none else, not glorified, nor canonized by the wild imagination of some religious order. But a woman, a sister, a friend, a sufferer, a loving one—and then she is gone and I cannot tell how. The Bible does not tell us about her funeral, her grave, her epitaph, and the eye cannot follow her.

Matthew informs us as to the problem facing Joseph concerning his wife to be. What shall I do. Shall I merely put her away and be done with it? But God had other plans for Joseph which He revealed to him in a dream. God gave Joseph the responsibility of giving Jesus’ name for the record when presented in the temple.

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

Hebrews   7  8  9  10

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                  God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                        December 23, 2014               

Good Morning!

This king of the Jews is not king of the Jews only, but He is the King who springs out of the Jews to be the King of all men.

WISE MEN FROM THE EAST ARE DIRECTED TO JESUS' BIRTHPLACE BY A STAR:

Matthew 2:1. “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”

In reading this text one is struck with the power of one life to arouse the interest of the world. Let us look who they are that are attracted by this young child. Wise men from the East, kings, chief priests and scribes, and there are shepherds who were keeping their flocks by night. A strange thing for these old Persian astrologists to cime four months from home to see one who was born, not king of the Persians, then their journey would have been easy to explain, but one born king of the Jews. Why should these Oriental star-gazers be interested in Jewish history to such extent? In a few years this king would give us the answers.

When Jesus Christ came of age he spoke of Himself and he explains this Persian interest. He gave Himself a name which is above every name, and by His spirit and His actions build up a kingdom of which there is no end. He will call Himself The Son Of Man. He will enlarge Himself away from His birth place until He covers the whole of the earth. Millions upon millions of every race and nationality will bow before Him, and be blessed by Him.

The wise men gave the reason that they had traveled so far to see4 Him, “We have come to worship Him,” literally meaning “to do homage to Him.” Why do we come to Jesus’ house each week? If we come to worship Him we shall go away larger and better men and women, the small distresses of our life will be suspended, and in our hearts there will be a peace, and love shall flow from our person. By so much as we have bowed the knee lovingly and loyally to the Son of Man we leave behind the worst part of ourselves, and take upon us the part of that which makes up His beauty and strength. Jesus Christ is not only king He the Savior of the world.

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

Hebrews   11  12  13

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                          December 24, 2014              

Good Morning!

Jesus Christ has very different effect upon men and women. Some come to worship Him, some come to kill Him.

WE’VE COME TO WORSHIP HIM: I’VE COME TO KILL HIM:

Matthew 2:2. “Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”

Matthew 2:16. “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.

This interest in the new born baby should each us a lesson First let su listen to Pharaoh of old. He said, “These Israelites will be too many for us one day (Exodus 1-8-12). He proposed then to “kill the boys, drown them.”  Pharaoh and Herod directed their attention to young life. Pharaoh and Herod felt in danger of being overthrown one day. The new-born will take my place if I don’t do something. There are those still living who are directing their fury at young Christians. If God did not intervene there would be no followers of God.

On the other hand there are literally millions who have come to worship the young child. I hope today, on the day we celebrate as His birthday, you will take time out from all other activities and join with the wise men of old and bow your knees to Him in worship. When the Christian man shouts, “Praise the Lord,” “Amen or Hallelujah,” he utters a fool’s language to those who have never bee in His presence. But there are time in the religious experience when only such a word as Hallelujah—a word not to be explained in smaller terms—expresses the dominate feeling of the excited and grateful soul.

Have you seen Christ’s star in the east? That is a sight which we may never behold. It will be a happy day when we are more eager to see Jesus than we are to see all the signs and symbols.  A greater sight than that we may see it will be himself coming, not as babe to wrapped in swalding cloths and laid in a manger, but coming in the Majesty the wise men expected.

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

2 Timothy   1  2  3  4

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                 December 25, 2014               

Good Morning!

Let us remember during the busy days of Christmas that we must remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.

ANNA ALONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN:

Luke 2:37. And she (Anna) was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

The feelings come unexpectedly triggered by Christmas carols, family traditions, or

Holiday smells. It is an intense sadness and unbearable loneliness if we have missing loved ones. Their place at the table is vacant, their laughter is heard only in our memory, and we long for the touch of a vanished hand.

Anna would have understood. She was a prophetess of the tribe of Asher, and she

missed the sound of her husband's voice. Though he has been gone many years, the ache remained. Anna learned, however, that God still had work for her, and she was on duty that first Christmas as the parents of the Christ child brought the Babe to the temple.

Luke 2:38: says, And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

We cannot ignore our feelings, and it is all right to shed tears. But the Lord still has work for us to do this Christmas. We must serve Him night and day, giving thanks to Him, and speaking of Him to those who love redemption.

During the Christmas Season say a word to someone about Jesus.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

2 Peter   1  2  3     Jude  1  

 James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                   God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                      December 26, 2014               

Good Morning!

Complete deliverance from Satan's bondage is available to every man.

PREACHING THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR:

Luke 4:18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of  sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

We only possess, it is evident, the very barest abstract of the words of the Teacher Jesus on this occasion. They must have been singularly eloquent, winning, and powerful to have extorted the wonder and admiration alluded to in the 22nd verse.

God is no respecter of persons. He loves the wealthy as well as the poverty stricken. But unscrupulous religious figures have always had a tendency to offer their services to those best able to show their gratitude in greenbacks. We can look at Balaam and his services for pay. The poor need the Gospel, (good news).

Their life on earth is the hardest; it is often one of unremitting toil; often one of severe privation, many are almost destitute of comfort and enjoyment; and often one of serious and hard oppression, in which the strong will of another robs them of all liberty of action. How precious, how necessary, to these are the joys which earth cannot give and cannot steal — the treasures which enrich the heart, the hopes which reach beyond the grave! The Gospel offers them the only treasure they will ever have.

But in the ministry of Jesus, it was noticeable that, while He did not neglect the rich, neither did He shun the poor. His compassion was evident in His equal ministry to all society. In fact, one of the proof's Jesus offered of His Messiah-ship to John's followers was this: “to the poor the gospel is preached” ( Luke 7:22). The common people still hear Christ gladly, while the wealthy and the strong and the famous are sitting at the feet of “the world,” to learn its wisdom and to seek its favor.

At first the wonder, the admiration, of the people that day is excited. If they had only yielded to the teaching, how mighty would have been the work of the day! But, alas! the small, petty feelings of the village prevent the work. The folks in Nazareth missed out on the “equal opportunity” gospel when they rejected Jesus that day.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

1 John  1  2  3  4  5

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                      God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

 Today’s First Thoughts                           December 27 & 28, 2014               

Good Morning!

There is no need for any person to suffer from prejudice, sorrow, bondage, sickness or oppression. All men can be free.

HEALING THE BROKEN HEARTED:

Luke 4:18. "… he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, …."

A Broken Heart is a Universal Affliction. Few have not had major disappointments in life. Jesus announced that the Healing Of Broken Hearts was now available. Let’s not pass by this lightly because it is second in Jesus’ Ministries. It comes before Physical Healing! This is not to minimize Healing of  the Body. Jesus would get to that later. But a Healthy Body often houses a Sick Heart. Actually, the Healing of the Brokenhearted is an Inner Healing. And  it is just as definite and essential as Outward Healing.

THE BROKEN HUMAN HEART: There are two things which break hearts:

One is intolerable shame; the shame which comes from a crushing sense of sin; it may be of flagrant sin, such as commands the deep indignation and strong censure of our fellowmen, and involves the loss of our own self respect; or it may be a sense of that common sin of which all the souls of men are guilty in the sight of God, the keeping back from him of all that has been due to him, all the reverence and love of our hearts and all the service of our lives. Under a deep sense of sin, and therefore of

condemnation, affected and afflicted with the consciousness of Divine disapproval and the fear of Divine punishment, the heart cries out for refuge.

The other is overwhelming sorrow; it may be some crushing disappointment, or it may be some wearing and trying sickness, or it may be some heavy and humiliating loss, or it may be some terrible bereavement and consequent loneliness of heart and life; under one or more of these overwhelming burdens the heart may be bowed down even to breaking.

When we come to really know Jesus We have the Opportunity to  have all the Hurts, Conflicts, Bitterness, and Inner Turmoil ended  once and for all. There is but one availing “Refuge of our soul” to whom we can flee with perfect assurance that in him we shall find what we need. Christ came “to heal the broken-hearted,” and he does so by: Offering us the most tender sympathy. He is the High Priest who is “touched with a feeling of our infirmities, having been in all points tried even as we are,” and therefore able to enter perfectly into our grief’s of mind, body, or estate.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

2 John  1    3 John 1   Revelation  1  2  3

Revelation   4  5  6  7

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                        God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion       

Today’s First Thoughts                                        December 29, 2014               

Good Morning!

It must be very bad to be blind, to look on no scenery, to read no book, to grope our way in thick darkness. It is worst of all to be spiritually blind-- blindness of spirit, a darkness in which the soul fails to see the highest of all beings.

SIGHT TO THE BLIND:

Luke 4:18.  “…and recovering of sight to the blind, …”

As a symbol of all physical healing, the announcement of sight to the blind should have had a happy reception. To think that, pains, struggles, and sicknesses could be relieved would make just about any diseased person joyful. The only thing which prevented these Jews from receiving  healing was their attitude: “It's too good to be true.” This particular prophecy could, of course, also apply to the opening of spiritually blinded eyes. But that possibility too was reduced by the negative reaction in Nazareth.

“It must be very bad to be blind,” we say; probably we but faintly realize what it means. It is bad to be physically blind — to look on no scenery, to read no book, to behold no countenance, to recognize no love in a human face, to grope our way in the thick darkness. It is worse to be mentally blind — to see, and not to see; to open the eyes on the beauty and wonder and glory of the universe and to recognize nothing beautiful, wonderful, glorious, there; to be as lonely in a library as in a cell! It is worse still to be morally blind — blind of soul, so that a man can see nothing degraded in drunkenness, nothing shameful in vice, nothing revolting in obscenity and profanity, nothing repelling in selfishness; so that a man can see nothing noble in generosity, nothing beautiful in beneficence, nothing regal in righteousness and duty, nothing sacred in human love.

It is worst of all to be spiritually blind — worst, because that is the root and source of all the others; blindness of spirit, a darkness in which the soul fails to see the Highest of all beings, the loftiest of all truths, the greatest of all facts; a darkness in which the soul fails to recognize the essential truth that in God we “live, and move, and have our being,” and that to him we are responsible for all we are and have; in which it is blind to our sorrowful state of guilt and condemnation in the sight of God. Praise came to “open the eyes of the blind” that they may see His glory.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Revelation  8  9  10  11  12  13

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                 God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                               December 30, 2014               

Good Morning!

Satan's grip on humanity has already been broken at Calvary's Hill. He has no more ability to afflict those who put their trust in Jesus. The only power he has over any person is the power that a person allows him to exercise.

DELIVERANCE FOR THE CAPTIVE:

Luke 4:18. “…to preach deliverance to the captives, …to set at liberty them that are bruised."

There is a bondage that is worse than any inflicted by stone walls and iron chains. Who among us is not-- or has not-- been the captive of emotions, desires, drives, thought patterns, some habit, or guilt? Every man is a captive to something. No man is free. The vast majority are captive to their own vicious lusts; A few are captive of Jesus Christ. Jesus freed humanity from their former slave-masters, but in order to remain free from negative forces, the liberated souls must remain the  captives of Jesus Christ. Paul delighted in calling himself “A servant (slave) of Jesus Christ.

Sin is at first a transgression, but it soon becomes a tyranny. It grows into a power; and it becomes a power which holds the soul in its grasp, so that it is practically enslaved; it attempts to rise, to move, to do that which befits it and for which it was created, but it finds that it cannot; it is held down; its way is barred. This is true of sin in all its forms, and it is true in a number of degrees, varying from an objectionable constraint down to an almost hopeless despotism.

LIBERTY FOR THE BRUISED: Bruised souls: Those who are bruised with the worries of life. Those who  are harassed and fretted by a multitude of conflicts with men and things. Those who are perplexed with the problems of life, and are thereby

troubled in soul. Those who are smitten by the persecutions of life, or they may be placed in human surroundings unfavorable to peace. He is ready, at our appeal, to strengthen us by his indwelling Spirit, and to grant us sustaining grace. These are “exceeding great and precious promises,” which not only cover the whole path of life, however long that may prove, but reach on beyond the horizon-line of death into the blessed and eternal future.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Revelation   14  15  16  17  18

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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                      God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion                                

Today’s First Thoughts                                 December 31, 2014               

Good Morning!

Complete deliverance from Satan's bondage is available to every man.

PREACHING THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR:

Luke 4:18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of  sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

We only possess, it is evident, the very barest abstract of the words of the Teacher Jesus on this occasion. They must have been singularly eloquent, winning, and powerful to have extorted the wonder and admiration alluded to in the 22nd verse.

God is no respecter of persons. He loves the wealthy as well as the poverty stricken. But unscrupulous religious figures have always had a tendency to offer their services to those best able to show their gratitude in greenbacks. We can look at Balaam and his services for pay. The poor need the Gospel, (good news).

Their life on earth is the hardest; it is often one of unremitting toil; often one of severe privation, many are almost destitute of comfort and enjoyment; and often one of serious and hard oppression, in which the strong will of another robs them of all liberty of action. How precious, how necessary, to these are the joys which earth cannot give and cannot steal — the treasures which enrich the heart, the hopes which reach beyond the grave! The Gospel offers them the only treasure they will ever have.

But in the ministry of Jesus, it was noticeable that, while He did not neglect the rich, neither did He shun the poor. His compassion was evident in His equal ministry to all society. In fact, one of the proof's Jesus offered of His Messiah-ship to John's followers was this: “to the poor the gospel is preached” ( Luke 7:22). The common people still hear Christ gladly, while the wealthy and the strong and the famous are sitting at the feet of “the world,” to learn its wisdom and to seek its favor.

At first the wonder, the admiration, of the people that day is excited. If they had only yielded to the teaching, how mighty would have been the work of the day! But, alas! the small, petty feelings of the village prevent the work. The folks in Nazareth missed out on the “equal opportunity” gospel when they rejected Jesus that day.

Read-Thru-The-Bible

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

Revelation   19  20  21  22

James & Mary Lee Thornton

www.Godsgrazingfield.net

 

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