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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
Jun242016

SHINING LIGHT

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (NIV)


I first knew Letha as the sweet older lady who taught our small daughters’ Sunday School class. They loved her, and my husband and I appreciated her excellent teaching.

I, also, learned from her. Whenever I felt disturbed, she always had the right words to comfort me. She spoke the truth. When I needed a stern word, she challenged me.

When our teen-age son’s problems put him in jail, I decided I should not teach classes at the church anymore. After all, how can anyone who can’t handle her own child teach other children or parents how to live?

Then I learned that Letha had a son in prison—a total contrast to her godly life. I realized then that her son being in prison had not deterred her from being such an excellent teacher and counselor. What an example.

That lesson, requiring no words at all, was probably the most valuable one I ever learned from that remarkable lady.


Thank you, Lord, that we don’t have to be perfect to be shining lights in this dark world. Use us in your service. Amen.

Thought for the Day:
God can use our failures to bring about good.

Catherine (OR)

Friday
Jun172016

FROM WE TO ME

God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)


I’d done it again! In my hand I held a birthday card that read, "We wish you the best birthday ever."

The problem? There was no more we, only me.

After all the years of togetherness I was now alone, and the transition had been too abrupt for me to adjust. What happened to the "two become one" at our wedding? Someone to share my dreams and problems with, someone who cared what happened to me--that was a welcome adjustment.

Now there was no more waking up to a cup of coffee brought to my bedside, no plans to be discussed for the day or day’s events to be shared in the evening. The solitary meals were barely choked down, and the privacy I’d often longed for through the years of child rearing now screamed in my ears.

Yes, I still trusted God. How anyone can go through severance from a loved one not believing that God is sovereign is more than I can imagine. Though now I couldn’t share thoughts and questions about the Bible with my life-companion, I was spending more time in prayer and reading scripture than before. Comfort, purpose for tomorrow, any strength I had came from God’s Word.

I looked again at the card in my hand. We? Then I realized I was not alone. When I accepted Christ into my life He and I became one in spirit, and His living within me will never cease. He promised me he’d never leave me or forsake me. I won’t ever have to face the devastation of losing my spiritual husband from desertion or death.

I’m still part of "we."


Lord, help us to remember You are always with us. In busy days or quiet, crowded rooms or solitary, may we really know Your presence and never-ending love.

 SHIRLEY (CA)

Friday
Jun102016

THE LITMUS TEST

Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We shall know by this that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before Him, in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. 1 John 3:18-22 (The New American Standard Bible)


I was pawing through a drawer in the mineralogy lab recently while looking for something and discovered a bottle of small strips of purple paper. The label said they were pieces of litmus paper, an absorbent paper impregnated with a purple dye sensitive to the presence of acids. If a paper strip is dipped into a liquid and it turns pink, the solution has acidic properties. If it remains purple, the liquid does not contain acids.

It seems to me the heart of a Christian is like a piece of litmus paper. Once it has absorbed the litmus of the Holy Spirit of God, when dipped into the circumstances of life that surround us each day, it is capable of reacting by condemning or giving assurance to the character of those surroundings. Without the litmus, it merely absorbs all without regard to quality or character - a sure formula for adverse reactions and conflicts.

So for all who go about “dipping” into the circumstances of life, I pray that you will listen to the Spirit of God in your heart.


Father grant us the courage to acknowledge our litmus paper hearts, and to react to its assurance and/or condemnation in whatsoever circumstances we find ourselves. Amen.

 

DON (NY)

Friday
Jun032016

GODS PLANS FOR YOU 

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)


My mother-in-law's father died when he was quite young, leaving her mother with five children under the age of ten. Providing for five children during the Great Depression was more than she could manage. She placed the two oldest girls in an orphanage.

Now that Mrs. Martha is eighty-nine, she talks mostly about those years spent in the orphanage. The superintendent was a Godly man who took his responsibilities seriously. He soon realized that young Martha was gifted in music and arranged for her to take piano lessons. She mastered the piano and the coronet and was offered a music scholarship.

However, there was someone else in the picture by the time she graduated. The superintendent had a brother attending the university, who came to visit the orphanage frequently. He and Martha fell in love and were married soon after graduation.

While it makes her sad to remember how much she missed her family, she realizes that God had a plan for her life. At the orphanage, she learned all the skills needed to maintain a Christian home and to be a good wife and mother. The most remarkable thing is that she met the love of her life there, a man who loved and cherished her as long as he lived. She understands now that God was busy working out the plans He had for her life. What seemed like a bad situation turned out to be a wonderful thing.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the plans you have for us. Help us to trust you completely, knowing the plans you have for us are far better than anything we can imagine. Amen.

Ann (NC)

Friday
May272016

Living With Either Riches Or Poverty

"Woe to you who are rich for you are receiving your comfort in full" Luke 6:24 NASB


Recently, my wife and I were celebrating our anniversary at a luxurious resort. We had been surprised by receiving an upgrade to the over the top Grand Mayan section. 

As I was standing on our fourth floor balcony looking over the valley, that the Resort owns, and looking at the several mile private beach that we had to enjoy, I was troubled by today's verse.

I didn't want to be a comfort zone Christian. I wanted to live a spiritual life, not a materialistic one. I wondered whether we should get in our car and run from luxury. I had to find balance that would grow from the words of the Word. Calming down, I remembered that Paul had said that he had learned to be "content" whether he "abounded " or was in "need". (Phil. 4:11-12)

Perhaps the word "content" is the most important word in understanding prosperity or poverty

Being thankful for and content in our relationship with Jesus we can accept and be thankful for whatever our Father chooses to give us. Truly, our Father knows best. I realized that humble thankfulness cancels pride, jealousy, and being fooled by materialism. I thought of: "Thou does not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it . . . The sacrifices of God are a broken heart, O God, Thou will not despise." (Ps. 51:16-17)


Help us Father to not be either fooled by the schemes of the devil or by a spirit of ingratitude. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Dr Bob (AZ)

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)