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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!

Wednesday
Jan282015

I Need a Rest

By the sevent day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation. Genesis 2:203

 

Do warm and fuzzy images of your bed or favorite napping location pop into mind when you hear the word “rest?”

God designed our bodies for rest. In fact, rest is so important physically, spiritually, and emotionally that He modeled rest for us. Was God tired? Did he have sleepy eyes? No, of course not.

Rest and sleep are not synonyms.

Rest involves taking time to meditate on our actions. We are to rest in God alone and take comfort in His promises.

We are not to neglect rest and become frantic or idolize rest and be lazy.

Rest has a proper place. Rests in music provide dramatic pauses and time for musicians to take a breath. Half time at soccer matches provide athletes time to recover and strategize. What’s a song that’s only rests or a game that’s only half time?
When was the last time you rested? Not slept. Not napped. But rested? I was told that a private school in town does the same thing at the end of every school day – they take a quiet moment to reflect on their decisions during the day. Wow! We could all take a lesson from these students. How much better would we all reflect Christ if we took several minutes during lunch to reflect on our mornings’ decisions and think ahead to our afternoons.


Father, teach me how to rest. Provide me with quiet moments throughout the day, not to nap, but to meditate on your word and my actions.

Renae (TN)

Friday
Jan232015

GOOD SOIL

Some of it fell on rocky ground, and when the plants sprouted, they dried up because the soil had no moisture. Luke 8:6 TEV


As I prepared the soil for spring planting in my back yard garden, this parable came to mind. I remembered times when I had tried to plant a garden in hard, rocky soil. Few seeds were able to survive. Compost and sand needed to be brought in and mixed into it. Each year I am confronted with areas that have become depleted and need to be enriched. 

Jesus used this parable to help the disciples understand that not everyone will accept their teachings. The soil of their hearts was in no condition for the seed to grow and thrive.

By the same token, our hearts are not automatically "good soil." We can never assume that they are rich and fertile. Life's experiences can either harden our hearts or prepare our hearts for the planting of the seed. They can help us grow and mature, preparing us to become the soil He needs in which to plant the seed. Then as we water the seed with prayer, Bible study and Christian fellowship, our "rich and fertile" hearts grow and thrive for service in His Kingdom.

The pleasure I receive as I watch my garden thrive has to be nothing to the pleasure God receives as the Kingdom grows.


Lord, prepare our hearts for the planting of the seed. Amen.

 

Madeline (NE)

Wednesday
Jan072015

HIS FLOCK -- SUCH AS IT IS!

We are His people, we are His flock. Psalm 100:3b TEV

 

Growing up on a farm, I have many recollections of my father's frustration with farming. As I read Psalm 100, one of his greatest frustrations came back to me.

He had decided to try raising sheep on a small scale. Fortunately, he started with only three lambs. These lambs were convinced the grass was greener on the other side of the barbed wire fence. And since their wool made them immune to the barbs of the fence, they were outside of the fence more than they were inside of it, oblivious to the fact that they could be hit by passing cars. it was not long before we were eating lamb chops.

Considering how often we think things look better on the other side of the fence, it is probably not by accident that Jesus uses the analogy of sheep when referring to us. Foolish sheep that we are, we think we know best, oblivious to the dangers out there.

Fortunately for us, our Heavenly Father is not a frustrated farmer, but rather a loving shepherd. In 1 Peter 2:25 we read: "You were like sheep that had lost their way, but now you have been brought back to follow the Shepherd and Keeper of your souls." Fortunate sheep indeed!


Good Shepherd, help us to live in obedience to your will trusting always in your guidance. Amen

 

Madeline (NE)

Wednesday
Dec312014

SHORTCUTS

" I am the WAY." (JESUS) John 14:6 (AMP)


Ever take a shortcut? Sometimes they work; sometimes they don't. I'm reminded of one shortcut I took while pastoring in Appalachia. In thirty minutes I had circled the mountain and was right back where I'd started from. Obviously, there are no shortcuts for companies producing products of integrity if they wish to remain in business. 
Shortcuts that endanger employees in the workplace are definitely out of the question. 
Another place shortcuts don't work is on your way to Heaven, The world is quick to point out that it doesn't matter which way you choose. Why, they all lead to Heaven sooner or later. 
Bottom line - there are no shortcuts. Jesus said, "I am the WAY" (not the shortcut). It's His WAY - the only WAY. He is not one way among many and we get to choose which way to go. 

Proverbs 14:12 (AMP) 
"There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, BUT at the end of it is the way to death. " 
In contrast Jesus had this to say in the Gospel of John, 14:6 (AMP)
"I am the way and the truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by (through) me. "
That's it - no other way - no shortcut. Jesus is the One and Only way.


Thank you Heavenly Father that we have the perfect Way available to us. Amen

 

Danny (IN)

Wednesday
Dec242014

Intellectual Rubble

Matthew 22:37 – [Jesus] said to [the expert in the law], “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (HCSB) Deuteronomy 6:5 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. (HCSB)

 


I collect Biblical facts and assemble them like Legos in my mind. I jump at the chance to put my skills on display by quoting the Lord’s Prayer in Old English, using the original Greek and Hebrew language to end an argument, or even referencing a theologian’s ideas.

Knowledge is my safety net, my excuse for reclining in my navy blue chair with a good book and a piece of paper to jot down data. I bubble wrap myself with information so that I can look impressive without making myself vulnerable.

Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength. Our access to information these days is astonishing, anything I could possibly want to know I can research from my phone. And yet, both the Old and the New Testament – including our Savior Himself – begin the list with our hearts.

I can rattle off statistics about my husband all day long – his height, allergies, even his favorite sports teams. But marriage without love is dead. So too, our walk with God without love is dead.

Christianity is more than a feeling, more than a whim or an emotion. We love God because He first loved us. Rather than wallow in pity due to the intellectual tower I have created for myself, I am asking God to tear it down and form it into a foundation.


Father, give us a faith that is firmly rooted in Scripture. Remind us that knowledge is not the fruit of our labor, just the roots. 

 

Renae (TN)

Wednesday
Dec172014

TODAY

There in the desert they all complained to Moses and Aaron and said to them, "We wish that the Lord had killed us in Egypt. There we could at least sit down and eat meat. Exodus 16:2b TEV

 

Sam didn't hate his job. But it wasn't his favorite place to be either. By mid-afternoon he was watching the clock, anxious for closing time. And about the first of June he was counting the weeks until he would be leaving on vacation. Now that he had turned 55, he had begun counting the years until he could retire. Sam was living in the future. 

The Israelites soon forgot that they had been slaves in Egypt. During their years of wandering in the wilderness, they remembered only the good things, grumbling about their present circumstances. And when they did reach the promised land, they were unhappy because they had to start working for their food. Then the wilderness years became the "good old days." The Israelites were living in the past. 

Where we live geographically matters not so much as where we live in time. Today is all that we have. Today I can give a smile to someone who has none. I can bring a gift to share my plenty with someone who has little. I can push a crippled neighbor's wheelchair out into the sunshine. I can't do that yesterday -- and I may not be able to do it tomorrow.

 

Lord, help me to serve you well this day, this moment, which is your special gift to me. Amen

Madeline (NE)


Wednesday
Dec102014

Clay In His Hands

But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8 (NKJV)


When an artist paints a picture, or a composer writes a song, there is a finished product. Think of your favorite song or a favorite painting in your home, or in an art museum or gallery. The idea was conceived, the work was mastered, and the product was brought to completion. 

I ask myself sometimes, what is God, the Master artist, doing with me? What is He making, shaping, molding, out of me? Why can’t I see the finished product? 

Because I am not a finished product! He is still working on me. I am clay and He is the potter. I am clay…in His hands. 

And having lived for many years now, I have learned that He does not work in a hurry.

I have also learned that much of the time it is an invisible work He is doing, work I wish I could more easily see, but that would be my impatience showing! He’s working on that in me, too.

I am His workmanship, on the potter’s wheel, and I am being changed. He is still working on me. The Creator of the universe—who spoke into existence a whole world and its expansive heavens—is working on me! In His hands, the hands of the Potter, I am being made beautiful.


Dear Heavenly Father, 
Thank you for loving me enough to keep working on me through all the stages of my life. Amen.

 

Kathy (TX)