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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
Jul302014

Sanforized

But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God…and now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.” Acts 20:24-27 (The New American Standard Bible)

Not long ago I noticed that the Levi’s I had been wearing were getting smaller, or at least it was slightly more difficult to button them unless I made an effort to temporarily move body mass to another location. The effort reminded me that many years ago my mother bought clothing because it had the label “Sanforized” displayed in plain sight. In the garment industry at that time a process had been developed that prevented fabric from shrinking when washed in warm water with harsh detergents. No doubt today’s fabrics are of a different quality or material, and I haven’t noticed a Sanforized label in years. So, my sense of an ever-tightening waist band (waste is probably more appropriate) couldn’t be blamed on material shrinkage.

Evidence strongly suggests that the Apostle Paul was Sanforized! The Holy Spirit empowered him to not shrink from speaking the Gospel of Christ – the whole purpose of God. So I wonder what label(s) you’re sporting these days. Have you been stamped with the Spirit label, and is shrinkage still a problem each time you’re dunked into a harsh situation? When the circumstances heat up does the collar feel tighter and you find it harder to reach out through shrinking sleeves? If so, perhaps it is time to move to a new suit of clothes that never shrink. For proper fitting information, please consult the garment description in Ephesians 6:10-20.


Father grant us the power and courage to not shrink from declaring your Gospel to all those with whom we have contact.

By Don (Maine)

Wednesday
Jul232014

Love Your Neighbor

Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39 (NKJV)

One summer evening I was watering flowers and my husband was mowing our lawn when an elderly woman he didn’t know approached him and asked if we had seen her cat that had wandered away from home. After my husband informed her we hadn’t seen the cat she described, the woman eagerly continued to speak with him.

She told him she had been widowed eight years, and spoke of the life she shared with her husband that spanned nearly half a century. She told of raising a family, and how they had weathered many storms, but the storm she weathered now was missing him.

She was lonely and God provided a listening ear. My husband stood there and patiently listened, although the mosquitoes were out and the sky was darkening. But he listened, and he could tell by her changed countenance that she walked back to her house with a lighter step and lighter heart.

Loving our neighbor as Jesus teaches should keep us attentive to the heavy hearts around us that are burdened by a depth of loneliness that we can help ease. Sometimes, all we have to do is provide a listening ear to show we care.


Dear Heavenly Father, Please help me to always have an attentive and caring heart for those who are lonely around me. Amen.

By Kathy (Texas)

Wednesday
Jul162014

SINGING IN THE RAIN

"Rejoice in the Lord always." Phil. 4:4 (rsv)

Half awake, I could hear through my open window a chorus in the treetops. I heard a cardinal's shrill call, the busy chatter of sparrows, and the sound of the robins conversing. I lay there for a while enjoying the sounds of spring. There was no particular rhythm or beat, no particular harmony. Yet all the varied tones blended into a beautiful melody.

My pleasure was interrupted by a clap of thunder -- then a sudden downpour. I pulled the covers over my head, thinking how miserable it would be to get out and go to work. But even through my covers I could hear robins, blackbirds and sparrows still chattering away. Their attitude did not seem to have been altered by the rain.

Paul said, "Rejoice in the Lord always." He did not say to rejoice only when the sun is shining and everything is going well. He did not tell us to withdraw when the clouds of trouble dump misery upon us. Instead, he told us not to be anxious. With a thankful heart, we shou ld bring our problems and requests to the Lord. Then we will know peace and contentment that will support us through each day.

Dear Lord, give us thankful and accepting hearts so that we may trust always in you. Amen.

By Madeline, Nebraska 

Wednesday
Jul092014

KISS THE SON LEST HE BE ANGRY

Psalm 2:12 (NKJV)

"Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him."



Prodigals, such as me, sooner or later learn that the lack of affection toward Jesus produces bad results. The Holy Spirit, by means of inspiration, says that if we don’t “Kiss the Son”; we will “perish from the way”. Hard questions should drive God’s children to the manual for life, the Bible, so that the answers can be looked up. For me, this is a hard attitude that the Lord is taking and I needed to find out why He is so firm on this point.

Because Jesus is “The Way”, John 14:6, and God the Father gave Him up to suffer a terrible death on the Cross, Matthew 27: 33-50, He gets angry (and so does the Son), when we disrespect Jesus. If we don’t feel tender love for The Father’s only begotten Son, we place ourselves on dangerous soil. When He says: “I have something against you because you have left your first love”, Revelations 2:4, He means what He says.

The last thing that Revelations 2:4 taught me is that a person must “repent” if they lose their “first love”. Evidently, keeping first love is not all about emotion; it also involves confession and repentance.

Today, let us repent if we have left our first love for Jesus.



Prayer: Dear Father, I turn away from this world and its trivial pursuit and open my heart and mind completely to You and Your blessed Son. Help me to reach out to Him and give Him the offerings of my hearts kisses. Thank You, I pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.

By Rev. Bob Segress, Ph.D. Th.M.

Wednesday
Jul022014

GOD'S ROCK POLISHING

Jesus said to them, "Come with me, and I will teach you to catch men." Matthew 4:19 TEV

When our son was younger, his heart's desire for Christmas was a rock polisher. In preparation for the day he would have this prized possession, he spent weeks collecting rocks. There were rocks in pockets, rocks in the carpet, rocks in the washing machine. It was a relief to finally have them in the polisher.

I remember hearing the hum of the polisher in the garage, day after day. And when the rocks came out, their beauty was overwhelming. They shone with a colorful brilliance that one could never imagine would be hiding in a piece of rock picked up from a gravel street.

Jesus did not go into the temples, the courthouses, or any of the learned, upperclass establishments to pick His disciples. He went out to the seashore, to the laboring class, even to the despised and rejected people and said, "Follow me." And what did He do with these "rough stones?" He polished them. He refined them. We have but to read the Acts of the Apostles to see the re sults of Jesus' teaching and the power of the Holy Spirit in these disciples' lives. Rough stones? The roughest. Can God likewise use us? We can be sure of it.

Thank you, Lord, that You still use ordinary people to be Your disciples and share Your message. Amen.

By Madeline, Nebraska 

Wednesday
Jun252014

CHOICES

And after the fire, there was a soft whisper of a voice.
1 kings19:12b (TEV)


Mumbling an apology to the committee members, Roger scrambled to silence his ringing cell phone. "Maybe it's God calling," Tom joked. "Better not put Him on vibrate." This from Todd.

A week later, this silly conversation would not let me rest. Guilt kept me replaying the phrase, "better not put Him on vibrate." I was reminded of Elijah. He experienced severe storms on that mountain top. Strong winds; an earthquake and even a fire. But he still had not heard God's voice. It was in the calm after the storms he heard His still small voice. It was then that Elijah became empowered to go and do as God directed.

During the crises -- the storms -- of my life I naturally spend much time in prayer. But most days I hurry through morning devotions and rush out the door. I fret and stew over the day's problems and challenges rather than asking His help. I go day after day without taking a quiet time to "just listen" to His still small voice. Figurative ly I am putting Him on vibrate so His call does not interrupt my important schedule. By doing so, I am telling Him that the things of the world come first and when I get around to it I will take His call. And I am denying myself both a tremendous blessing and the empowerment I need for daily living and to do His work.





God of peace, quiet our souls in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life. May we never use methods to drown out your voice. Amen.

By Madeline, Nebraska 

Wednesday
Jun182014

THOSE THREE MEN

"CHRIST HAS MADE US FREE" Galatians 5:1

As I walked past garbage and drunken men, I heard gospel music. I continued walking because I was seeking relief from the gloom. Walking into a little store-front church, I found three men praying in a circle. One turned to me and said that they were there to pray for me. I almost ran out the door, but I felt a strange deep feeling that I was supposed to stay. As I walked over, they circled around me and I almost started to fight my way out, but that strange feeling came again, so I stayed. They laid hands on me and prayed for my soul and that I would be used all of my days. I actually believed what they were praying.

When they had finished , they just stood there not saying a word, but that strange feeling seemed all around. Then they parted and I walked quickly for the door. I left there wondering what had happened.

From that day until today, 55 years later, I have understood that my best friend is Jesus. I have learned that if we abide in him, we will bear fruit, without Him we can "do nothing" (John 15:5). I've also learned by hard experience that fruit bearing comes in its season and is often hindered by the schemes of Satan and the lusts of the flesh. But, the Holy Spirit lives inside each of God's children, even me, and my best friend, Jesus, will never "leave" me (Heb.13:5).

Halleluiah, Halleluiah, Praise You Lord for saving me and sending those three men. Tears are filling my eyes right now, but my heart is free. Halleluiah.


How could we thank You enough Lord for your kindness?
Many times we've sought the mud again, yet you've help us stand back up and washed us clean.

Thank You Lord, Thank You Lord, Praise Your Name.

In The Name of your Son, Amen and Amen.


By Dr. Bob Segress, Surprise,Az