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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
Jul152016

Living Under God’s Roof

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33 KJV)



Why? We often ask when our circumstances become difficult, yet surely God doesn’t owe us an explanation. How many times have our earthly fathers thrown up their hands in frustration and said “Because I said so,” in response to us pestering them. The answers they could give us would be beyond the realm of our understanding, as I feel is true of the answers we seek from God.
We may not feel so as children but ultimately many of us feel our fathers are acting in our best interests. Why then is it such a stretch for us to feel the God of the Universe is too? How many times have we heard our parents say, “You’ll understand when you grow up, but for now you are under my roof and you will do as I say.” It could easily be argued that we are “under God’s roof” and as so we are obliged to obey him and show him the same deference we show our fathers. God’s discipline is fair because it is tempered with love and understanding---it is never in short supply.
While like our earthly sojourn with our families, our spiritual lives are pock marked with difficult patches, there is one major difference. At the end of our lives our issues with our parents often remain unresolved, yet God promises us a final resolution when we come into his Kingdom. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21:4) . We cannot always depend on having our parents or other loved ones around to soothe us, but we can depend on our eternal God.


Dear Heavenly Father, Please guide us to fully embrace your role as Father and our roles as sons and daughters in order to deepen our earthly relationship with you. Amen

Carol (NC)

Thursday
Jul072016

BROKEN PIECES

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18 (NIV)


My pastor, a former missionary, shared with me an incident that happened when she and her husband served in Nicaragua. One morning as she was in the kitchen washing dishes while the children played in the living room, a loud crash resounded, followed by a whimper. With trepidation my pastor rushed into the living room to find her beautiful teapot, a special wedding gift, shattered on the floor. Sinking to her knees, she covered her face with her hands and wept. She realized it had been an accident, but no amount of glue could mend her precious teapot.
Fourteen years ago my life was shattered when my husband passed away suddenly. We had been married twenty-seven years, and my future seemed bleak without him. I struggled through each meaningless day, then a friend told me about a bereavement group for those who have lost a spouse. I attended all eight sessions, and gradually healing began. Also, I began a ministry of writing poetry to comfort hurting people. Unlike my pastor's teapot that could not be mended, God took the broken pieces of my heart and restored my life into something beautiful.


Thank you, Lord, for healing my broken heart. Amen.

Bonnie (Me)

Friday
Jul012016

Integrated In Jesus

"That They May Be One, Even As We Are One" John 17:11 NASB


Hopefully, after reading this prayer of Jesus, we gain the wisdom that He desires oneness for His disciples. Bonded relationships are at the heart of the life Almighty God desires for His children. Relationships are central to finding abundant life.

A major example of this truth is that warm relationships with our family members are more important than any amount of success or prosperity. What do we have without family and, what is more important than being friends with our individual family members?

These relationships grow from the seeds of experience, both good and bad. Neglect, trauma etc. can cause a relationship to lose the ability to grow unless the frozen ground of a winter of neglect is allowed to soften by the warmth of spring's warm rays and then new life can begin.

As we grow, we share more and become vulnerable with each other. Good loving family relationships are a process, not a static thing just because we are related. In a family, we should not only love each other, we should be friends. "A man who has friends should show himself friendly." (Prov. 18:24)

When we find Spirit directed loving relationships, we find a preview of Heaven where facts, figures and details will be swallowed by the presence of God, who is love. (I John 4:8)


Dear Father, please help us to live a life that is homogenized, not pasteurized. Bless us with the power that comes from being integrated into your Son's sufficiency. Give us oneness even as you are One. Thank You, In Jesus' name, Amen."

DR. Bob (AZ)

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)