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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
Jul312015

"The Help Of My Countenance"

"Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God." Psalm 43:5 NKJV

 

Depression colored my horizons. Looking afar, I could not see through dark bellowing clouds that touched my clothing. I stumbled onward, for what was I to do but that? Unseen potholes caused me to fall and I wished to lay there. I desired to cease my struggles. But, I remembered my children at home and had to go on one halting step at a time.

These words describe the world that I lived in for several years when I had to learn to be both a father and a mother. I had lived in a world only a conscientious mother can make.

I had never made a cake before, so I went to the store sure that I could do what she had done. At home again, I thought that one or more boxes of pre-mix per pan would make a good fat cake. The pans sure were heavy when I took them out of the oven. I laid them out on the counter and thought it would be good to put the frosting on while the layers were hot so that it could soak in.

When I was finished, I had a giant cake that was a lot shorter on one side than the other and weighed a ton. The frosting was sliding off the plate. The kids didn't laugh (much) and our dog, who would eat anything, wouldn't touch it. I forgot my troubles for awhile.

Strangely, the Lord used this to lighten my countenance, and to help my broken and lonely heart. Place you broken heart in His hands and gradually learn to laugh at yourself. He will lighten your load through silly things.


"Dear Lord, sometimes our hearts just break so badly that we just can't go on, but You will never leave us or forsake us, and that's really all we need. Hold our hand and help us stand. Amen and Amen."

 

Dr. Bob (AZ)

Friday
Jul242015

Recognizing God’s Voice

So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.’” I Samuel 3:9 NLT


Listening to the right voices determine one’s life course. 

My cousin and I were simple country boys who loved romping in the woods. Times were simpler then. No cell phones. No video games. Just our youth and imaginations. Our parents and grandparents didn’t fear for our safety. We were allowed to roam as long as we listened for the voice—a car horn. We may have heard other horns, but our grandmother’s we recognized. When we heard, we listened. 

Young Samuel assisted Eli the priest in God’s work, but he’d never heard God’s voice. God’s messages were rare. To follow God’s directive, Samuel had to recognize his voice. 

Recognizing God’s voice requires training just as young Samuel had to learn to distinguish it from the other voices that commanded his attention. Samuel may have heard an audible voice. Presently, however, I won’t be so fortunate. God speaks through his Spirit to my spirit, so I must learn to hear him with spiritual ears. 

When God speaks, what he says will agree with his Word. Anything I think I’ve heard that contradicts that comes from my soul’s enemy. Just as becoming a good listener takes practice, so learning to listen to God requires the same. Hearing God isn’t an automatic process. 

Listening to God also demands silence. Silence is difficult in my noisy world. Even doing good things can steal my listening time from God. Jesus left the crowd for a mountaintop meeting with his Father. He also rose early in the morning to speak with his Father. I must be still and know he is God. 

Have you learned the art of recognizing God’s voice?


Father, give us the spiritual wisdom to recognize Your voice so that we might obey Your directives.

 

Martin (SC)

Friday
Jul102015

They Were Sawed In Two

"They were stoned, they were sawn asunder" KJV Hebrews 11:37


Sitting in Church yesterday, I became distracted. The last few weeks we have been studying the subject of faith from the book of Hebrews. Chapter four had stirred deep and warm feelings when I was reminded that there is still a Sabbatical rest in existence.

That was a bit confusing to me until I realized that all I had to do to enter into a Sabbatical rest was to cease from my works and rest in what He has done. That felt right and strong, but it wasn't what distracted me.

Hebrews 11:37 is what distracted me. This is not a verse for the faint of heart. I read about my brothers and sisters being cut in two, and my mind got stuck. Knowing that my family members around the world today are being beheaded and tortured just because they love Jesus brought powerful sorrow to my heart. But, this also brought a righteous anger and determination to my soul to resist evil and defend God's people anyway I can.

I remembered that the blood of martyrs is the life blood of the Church, but I still had small tears in my eyes for my brothers and sisters.. Then, I pictured Jesus on the Cross and understood that God's love is more powerful than man can understand. I also remembered that life is in the blood and God's children often have to sacrifice for the Kingdom. And, that the death of God's children is precious in His sight. Praise the Lord, the Holy Spirit brought peace to my soul as He taught me about the things of God,

I was very grateful and could finally lift up my head..

Fear strikes us sometimes Lord when we see what's happening. We come to You right now for your peace that passes understanding. Amen and Amen.

 

Rev. Dr. Robert (AZ)

Wednesday
Jul082015

BEWARE OF SPIRITUAL TOXINS!

Psalm 34:8 "Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who goes to him for safety”.


Did you know? .....Food laced with toxins doesn't necessarily look or smell bad. Consuming it can make us mildly ill or even cause death, depending on the type and amount of toxin.

I got to thinking .... it's that way with "toxic" spiritual food too! Meeting our deep spiritual needs except through Jesus can seem appetizing and satisfying..... but be careful! Lurking behind the pleasure and self-satisfaction of food behaviors, work, shopping, sex, self-image, attention-seeking … or whatever else we turn to besides Jesus … are “spiritual toxins”. They may look appetizing on the surface but inside them is the potential for an unhealthy spirit, soul and body.

The only trustworthy spiritual nourishment is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Let’s cling to God’s promise in Psalm 34:8 "Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who goes to him for safety”. Jesus says He is the "Bread of Life" in John 6:35 proclaiming that whoever comes to Him will not hunger and whoever believes in Him shall never thirst.

I love how definite God is about how He feeds us spiritually through Jesus! Going to Him we will be satisfied; believing in Him, our thirst will be quenched. That's not an assurance we can get from any other person, thing or experience.

I urge you to turn to Jesus for satisfying, life-giving spiritual nourishment...... free of harmful effects. And I pray that you will stay hungry for Jesus!


"Father God, you are the one who gives us the deepest longings of our heart and you are the one who truly satisfies those longings. We ask for your Holy Spirit's strength to keep our spiritual appetites fixed on you, not on the things of this world that can harm us. Thank you for Jesus, the Bread of Life, who meets all our needs. We praise you in the Holy name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen"

 

Judy (Ottawa, Canada)

Sunday
Jun282015

WORRY AND MORE WORRY

Be patient and wait for the Lord to act. Don't give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble. Ps. 37:7a & 8


"Don't worry, Grandma!" This was my grand-daughter, Samantha's favorite saying during her self-confident pre-school years. "Don't worry, Grandma! I know my way through the woods." "Don't worry, Grandma! I know how much lemon to put in a lemon pie!"

I thought with a smile of Samantha's word as I prayed for my husband as the surgeon worked to remove a melanoma from his arm. I again thought of her words as I prayed over our daughter who lay critically ill in intensive care. 

While Samantha was asking me to put my faith in her 3-year-old over-confidence, her words remind me to trust in the promises of Psalm 37. He is saying to me, "Be patient, my child and don't worry, it will only cause you grief." This promise comes from a very Great God through whom all things are possible.


Heavenly Father, we know worry is nothing more than lack of faith. Help us always to trust in Your loving care and divine guidance. Amen.

Madeline (NE)

Friday
Jun192015

"Lightning"

"Out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise" Matthew 21:16 NKJV


"My youngest grandson, Rhys, came to me one morning as I was working at my desk and asked me to write out what had come into his mind. As a grandfather who loves what my grandchildren create, I took pause from my writing schedule for the day and took up a pen to write down whatever he would tell me. As he is barely six, I didn't expect much-I was wrong!

He told me that he didn't know how to write yet and that he needed my help. At the end of the first sentence, I thought he was through and began to put down my pen. He said: "Not yet Papa, I'm not through saying what's in my head." Then, after thinking for a few moments, he told me what was bursting to come out. Each of the following words is his, I only gave the title; "Lightning" to his little Holy Spirit given prose.

Rhys, then said with an uncharacteristically mature sounding voice the following words; "Lightning is made of God because the Lightning is made by God. God is parading the Lightning of His voice calling the angels."

Why he was thinking about lightning on a clear Arizona day, only God knows.

Strangely, later he asked me what "parading" meant. At this my heart grew still and paused.

"Thank you Lord for speaking to us out of the mouths of babes. What would this world be without little ones?" "Amen and Amen."

Rev. Dr. Robert  (AZ)

Monday
Jun152015

A Royal Hotline

Pray at all times. 1 Thess. 5:17 TEV


The text of an old gospel hymn reads: Telephone to glory, oh what joy divine. You can talk to Jesus almost any time. Built by God the Father for his very own. You can talk to Jesus on the Royal Telephone.

In the communication era, something our ancestors could not have dreamed of, we expect to be able to reach others instantly and we expect them to stay in touch with us. If our cell phone goes through the laundry it must be replaced within the hour.

Do we feel the same about prayer? Jesus encourages us to beg and plead with the Father for his help (Luke 18:7). Do we even bother to call just to chat?

In a world that clamors for our attention, God does not demand it. It is our choice. We can allow Him to be crowded out of our busy lives or we can take advantage of the help He offers. The Royal Cell Phone is never turned off, it is never busy, and it never accidentally goes through the laundry.


Lord, help us to lay claim to the incomparable resource we have; a direct line to you. Amen.

 

Madeline (NE)