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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
Apr162014

Life ... More Abundant

“Jesus said, ‘the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’” John 10:10 (KJV)

My husband and I retired from our careers last year. We are enjoying our retirement to the fullest because we had a plan. First, we maxed out our retirement IRAs where we worked, and the government added a percentage.

We also had a savings plan whereas money was automatically taken out of our earnings. We knew that we should always pay ourselves second after tithing, even in retirement. God loves a cheerful giver. When we give our tithe out of love, there is joy expressed in our giving. People will see and know there is something special in your gift.

Second, we prepared for retirement: The last few years prior to retiring, we started paying off all debt. Our home and new automobile were paid in full soon after we retired.

Third, we had a purpose, a reason to retire. We love to travel and take plenty of my books to give to those who might need a word of encouragement. The blessings of God are a gift to share with others — for we are blessed to be a blessing. When we give to others, our basket of life seems to overflow with the goodness of God.


Father, please open our eyes so we may see, understand and utilize the resources and blessings You have given through Your Son, Jesus Christ.

By Judy (Georgia)

Wednesday
Apr092014

Making the Most of Your Time

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Eph 5:15-17 (NASB)

As my children grew up I began to feel that I was walking through this life without direction, wondering what God's will was for me. In time, I realized that God was calling me to write for Him, but I knew I wasn't getting anywhere fast. Day after day beckoning lists of never ending chores easily distracted me. All these things were necessary, but where did writing fit into the list of "must do's?" Most days writing didn't even make the list.

Then a few months ago, as I read the book of Ephesians during my morning quiet time with the Lord, Ephesians 5:15-17 lit up on the page like a beacon meant to guide me in the way I should go. Studying the verse that morning, I understood something anew about the wise use of time: I realized that I had been foolish by letting the daily needs of this world - rather than the leading of God - guide how I was living my life. Because the days are evil our time here is limited, so we need to make the most of it. Why was I letting te mporary concerns take preeminence over my time? I bowed my head and prayed that I would align my will with His and truly make the most of my time here on Earth by making God's priorities my priorities.


Oh Lord, in these evil days let us walk in a way that is wise, which is Your will.

By Debra (Arizona) 

Wednesday
Apr022014

But This I Call To Mind

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” –Lamentations 3:21-23

How long do we dwell in difficult circumstances before we finally come to the But realization? How long do we allow our Christian cohorts to do the same before we speak this But truth to them? For some, only hours. For others, years. The wasted time! In the first 20 verses of Lamentations 3, the prophet Jeremiah describes the terrible state of the people and land of Judah: utter destruction following a war, idolatry, immorality, and (because of these things) the feeling of complete separation from God. Life was not exactly hunky-dory, and it seems that after years in this state both Jeremiah and the people of Judah had reached the bottom of the barrel, emotionally and spiritually. But…*

You may not have just been demolished by an opposing army or on your knees worshipping some stone (that never responds), but maybe you work with or for someone who drives you batty every single day. Or maybe your marriage is struggling. Or you recently lost a loved one. Or you just don’t have anything in life to be excited about. All of these things – both major and minute – can create separation between us and our heavenly Father if we allow it. But…*

Jeremiah hits us with that BUT as he recalls a truth that we’ve always known but we often forget: the Lord’s love for us and mercy toward us are not only always there, but they are brand-spanking new every single day, amidst and despite our circumstances! My job is the worst*, BUT I have a hope, and it is in the constancy of our Lord. The bills might be too much this month*, BUT I know my God loves and cares for me, so I have hope in His provision. I am afraid of what the future holds*, BUT the Lord’s mercies for me individually are new every morning, so I will praise Him! Can we challenge ourselves to say, “This is my situation, but I have hope…” and claim the truth of God’s personal, unending love and mercy? Then we can sing our song daily: Great is your faithfulness, Lord, unto me!*
_________________________________________________
* denotes phrases/sentences that should be italicized.

Lord Jesus,
We praise you for this promise of hope that we cannot find anywhere else. May we learn to greet your new mercies each morning with thankfulness and worship. The world will fail us, Lord, but your faithfulness to us is never ending; thank you, for Your consistency. We love you, Jesus, because You first loved us.
Amen


By Sally, Virginia

Wednesday
Mar262014

Wrinkled Shirts

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Exodus 9:16

A white shirt in my basement laughed at my iron and me. Each of the shirt’s embedded wrinkles seemed to mock us. “Can’t you do any better than that?” they hissed. “You may as well be using a banana!” Some of those creases had never seen the light of day. They were large enough to hide coins, bottle caps, and other foreign matter. While I stood there dumbfounded, my silver iron begged and pleaded for help. Being a good iron-owner, I eventually listened. I unplugged the miserable iron and gave it a refreshing drink of cold water. The iron smiled. I plugged it back in and turned the dial toward steam. Voila! Steam burst through the holes and charged forward. The shirt stopped laughing. The wrinkles ran for cover, and something else wonderful happened. I discovered an amazing thing about God.

His Spirit can move through us like steam through an iron and take the wrinkles out of our lives. He longs to do it. But it won’t happen, if we do not allow Him to pour Himself into us. And even if we’re full of holes and incompetent, like the iron, we can turn on our faith and let Him work things out through us.


Lord as You come into my life
To pour Your water in,
My heart begins to bubble up
My faith begins to spin.

Like steam moves through an iron
Your spirit soars through me,
And I am able to enjoy
The grace that sets me free.

And now my heart is able
To do what it must do,
To touch the people in my life
And give them more of You.

For one by one the wrinkles
That ripped my life apart
Are yielding to the power
That is working in my heart.

Amen.


By Sharon (Maryland)

Wednesday
Mar192014

Navaids

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." John 14:6 (The New American Standard Bible)

I was looking through some stuff on my desk this morning and I removed the cover and turned on my GPS 45 Personal Navigator (Global Positioning System). It has stored in its memory some old "waypoints" that were important to me during past trips into the Maine woods. Knowing my present position using a GPS is only part of any navigation equation. It is also necessary to keep track of where I’ve been and where I am going. Waypoints serve as electronic markers that let one keep track of starting points, destinations, navaids (navigational aids) and any other important position or point of reference. The GPS 45 is capable of making, storing and using up to 250 waypoints – generally enough to make certain one's location in space. Reading some of the names and locations of stored waypoints brought back some fond memories of easy and tough circumstances in the field.

Our walk through life with Christ has many waypoints. It's important from time to time to check them to see where we've been and where we are going. More importantly, it's critical that the power supply is fully charged and the receiver is properly tuned to the spiritual navaids supplied by His Word. I'm thankful for the one true Way through life and the most important waypoint of my life – the point in time at which I accepted the Lord as my personal Savior.


Father, remind us to constantly check the navaids you’ve provided in your Word and to be ever conscious of the many lessons we’ve learned at the waypoints of life. Amen.

By Don (Maine)

Wednesday
Mar122014

Out on a Limb

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)

My wife and I used to pick apples in the orchard on the McCurdy High School campus a number of years ago. Of course, many of the best-looking apples, with no holes from worms or birds, were located in precarious positions high up in the tree since all the ones close to the ground had already been picked. The trunk of the tree was quite sturdy and easy to climb, but I had to go out on a limb to get the good apples.

As I was jockeying for the safest position on the tiny branches to reach the good apples, one thought that crossed my mind (other than falling) was that Jesus demonstrated His love for you and me when He was laid out on a limb: the cross. I am thankful that Jesus did not choose the safe position, nor did He die just for what you and I consider to be the "good" apples.

Are you willing to go out on a limb so that others know that God loves them?


Father, please give us courage to dangle ourselves on your limbs in order to reach out to others. Graft us into your sturdy trunk so that we are not easily fallen. Amen.

By Todd (California) 

Wednesday
Mar122014

Out on a Limb

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)

My wife and I used to pick apples in the orchard on the McCurdy High School campus a number of years ago. Of course, many of the best-looking apples, with no holes from worms or birds, were located in precarious positions high up in the tree since all the ones close to the ground had already been picked. The trunk of the tree was quite sturdy and easy to climb, but I had to go out on a limb to get the good apples.

As I was jockeying for the safest position on the tiny branches to reach the good apples, one thought that crossed my mind (other than falling) was that Jesus demonstrated His love for you and me when He was laid out on a limb: the cross. I am thankful that Jesus did not choose the safe position, nor did He die just for what you and I consider to be the "good" apples.

Are you willing to go out on a limb so that others know that God loves them?


Father, please give us courage to dangle ourselves on your limbs in order to reach out to others. Graft us into your sturdy trunk so that we are not easily fallen. Amen.

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