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The Mustard Seed Ministries Blog

If you are interested in writing a devotional (or submitting any other type of entry) for Mustard Seed Ministries, please click here to learn about the writing process and how we accept submissions. Thanks for reading!

Friday
May202016

Don't Stumble Over Jesus

"Blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me" Luke 7:23 (NASB)


While practicing my new mission from God, I was stopped in my figurative tracts by todays verse.

Last month, The Lord laid on my tired heart that I needed to hear what Jesus says without feeling that I always had to study and understand the contextual items first. He wanted my heart and mind to open up in tender love to my dear Lord and hear what He had to say. This became my new mission from God-to listen to Jesus.

All that searching for the correct background and accurate details had been wearing me out as I tried to write yet another article. I needed Jesus. So, I yielded to the Holy Spirit to comfort me and teach me what Jesus meant. I needed wisdom, not more knowledge. I needed to understand what He was saying, not just hear the words He was saying. My red-letter edition Bible became my friend.

I was promised to be blessed if I didn't stumble over Jesus. What did that mean? Romans 9:32-33 answered my question when it said: "See I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble, a rock that that makes them fall and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame." (NIV)

Finally, I understood that if I trust Him, He will not be an offending rock, rather the foundation of a life of blessing. 


Dear Lord we understand there will be no stubbing of our toes because, You are no disappointment. You are our shepherd. You are in charge. Thank You.

Dr Bob (AZ)

Friday
May132016

A Red- Verse Bible

"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love." John 15:10


Feeling barren inside while I was writing yet another article, I had to find relief. Leaving my office, I walked over to a sitting room which has big stuffed chairs. Needing any chair that wasn't my office chair, I sat and allowed the plump cushions to comfort me. I bowed my head and went to the Lord as I was weak and burdened. All I wanted was what He had to say.

After a period of resting in His arms, it came to me that a red-letter edition of the Bible was what I needed. I wanted my child-like trusting relationship with Jesus back. Remembering Jesus' opinion of children given in Matthew 18:3-4, I felt I was on the right track. I needed to relax in His arms.

I found what I had found as a frightened 18 year old boy. Going away to a Christian College far away from home, I held onto Matthew 6:33 that told me that if I would seek first His kingdom, all I needed and more would be given to me. This has been a life verse, and I testify now as an old man to its truth.

Red-letter editions of the Bible find the words of Jesus and bring the light of a new day. Read with me and hear what Jesus has to say.


Dear Lord. all we really need is You, for what do we have without You? Warm our hearts to seek Your words that we might find Your peace that passes understanding. Thank You. Amen and Amen.

Dr Bob (AZ)

Friday
May062016

DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU

His mother said to the servants, "do whatever He tells you." John 2:5 NIV


More times than I care to admit, I have plunged ahead in an extremely challenging situation without taking time to ask for God's help. Then, when my frustration reaches its limit, I will usually come whining to God for help. When I do, I won't get my guidance in so many words as the servants in our story did. Bit it is amazing how much smoother my day goes from that point forward.

Perhaps a number of people had crashed the wedding party Jesus and his mother were attending. Or perhaps the host had miscalculated in his preparations for the wedding meal. At any rate, there was a culinary crisis. They had run out of wine.

Jesus had not yet revealed his identity. No one knew Him as the Son of God. They had an excuse for not turning to him for help. But when Mary said, "do what He tells you," they did it. 

I cringe when I read this scripture. The servants in our story did not know who Jesus was. I do Each time I open the scriptures, each time I hear the scriptures read or listen to a sermon, I am reminded that our Lord desperately wants to be there for me. He longs to empower me in all that I do. All I need to do is ask. And then "do whatever He tells me."


Lord, forgive us for ever thinking we do not need you every moment of every day. And thank you for wanting to be there for us. Amen.

MADELINE (NE)

Friday
Apr292016

Self-Love Contrasted with God's Love

"Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money . . . unloving . . . lovers of pleasure instead of God. Holding to a form of godliness . . . " (II Timothy 3: 1-5) NASB vs. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." (John 3:16)


Several years ago, when I was still practicing, many books were written upon the subject of loving yourself. Interestingly, II Timothy 3 says that this self-love is one of the signs of the end times.

Today this self-love approach is accepted by most professional counselors as an axiom (a foundational truth).

During this period, I can't remember ever hearing that loving yourself can be related to becoming unloving. I found that if a person stresses loving themselves before others, they easily lose focus on the needs of others, and the vulnerable trust that has been freely given (a person's children fall into this category). And, the divorce rate soared. Often, people were sorry later that they had sought their own comfort and pleasure first.

This "me first" is a deception that is one of the devil's "schemes" (Eph.6:11) as a Christian, that strays from selfless love (which John 3:16 tells us is essential godly love), begins to slide on a slippery slope leading into a toxic sea..

Lovers of themselves are lovers who are "unloving" as the love they give is primarily sell-centered. This does not surprise experienced adults, and it certainly does not surprise Almighty God.


Dear Father, please help me to be a channel of Your love in 2016. Everyday, let me practice and tell about the Christmas love You demonstrated so long ago. Work in my heart that I may have a constant desire to tell everyone about the living words of John 3:16. Thank You, in Jesus' name amen.

Dr. Bob (AZ)

Friday
Apr222016

Footprints of Faithfulness

“Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything He had spoken came true.” Joshua 21:45 (NLT)



Creeeak, creeeak, back and forth the rusty swing-set moaned as we listened to his unusual words. He’d gotten a new job. He’d be around more. Things would be different.

The crescent-moon stood witness, as a father spoke promise to his children in the faded backyard of yesteryear.

I’m certain he meant well at the time. I believe his promise was his wish. Sadly, it’s a promise that remains locked in the hazy summer air of that 1970-something night. Unfulfilled. 

Fact is, this world with all its imperfect humans (us included) is sometimes a place of disappointment. Such is the nature of life this side of heaven. While often well-meaning, we can’t always count on one another to follow through, to wholeheartedly commit, to keep a word. 

Oh, but there is One who never disappoints. One who is ever-true to generations of the faith. 

Never leaving us empty or wanting, this tender-loving God we serve satisfies every good promise His grace affords us. 

Sweet Father, may we seek out your footprints, following the example you set for us. Oh, how we thank you for your wild and aggressive faithfulness to every word spoken over us—from generations of old. 



(Sweet Father, may we seek out your footprints, following the example you set for us.

 Brenda (NC)

Friday
Apr152016

A Comfort Zone Christian

"Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those that seek Him." Hebrews 11:6 NASB


The Bible teaches God's children to walk by faith (II Cor.5:7); yet, I laid in bed last night confused as to what that really meant.

I knew that only the Spirit of God knows the thoughts of God (I Cor.2:11), so I asked the Spirit to teach me. I received some light from Hebrews 11:1 that told me faith provided evidence and assurance, but I was still confused. I still didn't know how to receive living faith.

I gave up and told my Father that I loved and trusted Him and that I was confused. Strangely, I then felt a surrounding warm blanket of love and kindness. I felt much better. All I wanted was Him and His presence. I wondered if I had been shown what living faith is, and fell into a comforting sleep.

At church, the next day, I learned about those in the faith hall of fame in Hebrews chapter eleven. They reached out of their comfort zones and accomplished great things. Noah built an ark, and Abraham moved to a new land.

Then, Hebrews 11:6 told me the answer to my question of what living faith was when it said: "Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those that seek Him." 

First, I had to come to Him personally. This coming had to have two qualities: strong as a rock knowing He was there, and knowing He rewards those who come. This is living faith. Living faith reaches out of comfort zones into a world that may frighten, and it always has the quality of feeling and knowing it's beyond us, unless He chooses to reveal it.


Father, all I want before I meet You on Heaven's shore is to love You and abide in Your Son. Please give me living faith that will produce much fruit through me. Thank You, I pray in Your Son's name. Amen and Amen"

Dr Bob (AZ)

Friday
Apr082016

Professions

I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4 (NKJV)


Once at a high school football game one of our hometown players was knocked out after being tackled. I remember this because just as the unsettling realization passed like a wave through the onlookers, a man rushed out on the field from the sidelines. He dropped to his knees beside the fallen teenager in an obvious posture for praying.

His was a visceral response to life-threatening circumstances; under pressure his faith surfaced and he didn’t give a second thought as to how this would play out in the court of public opinion. All he knew was that his son needed divine intervention and the best way to guarantee that was to throw himself on the mercy of our heavenly Father.

His prayer was honored; after a matter of minutes his son was revived and went back onto the field to resume play while his father disappeared into the crowd. The story still lingers in my memory all these years later because of the authenticity of this man’s spontaneous burst of faith. So rarely do we witness a person’s raw faith open and exposed. When I dip into this cache of memories I am repeatedly blessed anew.

By contrast my own faith falters when circumstances require the most basic of public professions of faith, such as joining in a blessing prayed over a shared restaurant meal with family. These situations find me feeling self-conscious and somewhat embarrassed. My desire is that when the time comes God will be able to use me like he did that boy’s father. Perhaps then I will be able to reach down inside of me and tap the reservoir of faith that God’s people have at their disposal and that I will have the courage to act on it.

Heavenly Father, with your guidance may I grow into a Christian who sets an example for being unashamed and unapologetic for my beliefs. Amen. 

Carol (NC)