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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
Mar042015

GOD'S CHAIN OF TALENTS

All of you are Christ's body, and each one is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27

According to Webster's dictionary, the word "talent" can refer to anything of value -- from gold coins to skills and aptitudes. On Stewardship Sunday, the president of our congregation passed out strips of construction paper to the worshippers. On the strips we were to write what we felt were our God-given talents. The council members came around with staplers and the strips were stapled together into a long chain which was then stapled into a huge circle.

The chain of talents was meant to represent how we, as Christians, are all given talents. However, linking those talents together, we become the body of Christ, capable of the many tasks Christ has commissioned us to accomplish.

Paul commissioned each member of the church in Corinth to do his/her part, according to the talents that person had been given. Some may be teachers; some healers. They each had his/her distinctive gifts to give.

The chain still hangs in the entry-way where we can all see it as we come and go for worship; a reminder that no talent is less important than the next. A chain is only a chain if each link does its part. 

 

Lord, You have made us in Your image. Help us to appreciate the uniqueness that is Your creation and use that uniqueness to your glory. Amen

Madeline (NE)

Wednesday
Feb252015

A Shelter in the Storm

Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength an ever-present help in trouble. NIV

The tornado sirens were sounding, as I grabbed my cat and ran to the basement shelter. The winds began to blow hard and the house groaned. As I sat huddled, my kitty began to purr in my arms. How could she be so calm when a tornado was just outside? In that moment, the Lord brought to mind the time the disciples were afraid in a storm. Waking Jesus, they asked him how he could be sleeping when they were going to drown. Jesus told the storm to be calm and it was calm. In that moment, I stopped listening to the storm outside and began praying. A peace like I had never known settled over me. As my kitty felt safe in my arms, in God, I am sheltered from any storm. As the tornado moved on, I knew my house had damage, but I also knew God was with me.

Lord thank you in the midst of trials and storms you are my strength and refuge. Help me today to keep my focus on you and to give you my cares and concerns.

 

Jenny (Wi)

Wednesday
Feb182015

NO! THAT'S MINE!

Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Isa. 58:7a TEV

From sun-up to sun-down, my back yard bird feeder is a popular place. It is, however, not a friendly place. A tiny finch tries to sneak in for a quick snack. Soon a much bigger black bird swoops down and chases him away. A cardinal stops by for a bite, only to have a whole family of black birds rudely interrupt his meal. One black bird feels enough ownership of my "free food" that he fights off other black birds.

As I sip my morning coffee, I smile. The birds are my morning entertainment. But I have to accept the fact that I am all too much like the black bird who declares the bird feeder his private domain. I forget that all that I have is a gift from a benevolent God -- a free meal. My body, my mind, my ability to work and bring home the pay check that purchases my daily bread; all are a gift from God. Yet like the black birds, when asked to share (Isa. 58:6), I tend to screech "No That's mine"!


Benevolent God, thank you for your many gifts. Teach me to share. Amen

 

Madeline (NE)

Wednesday
Feb112015

A MODERN DAY CHRISTMAS

 The angel said to them: "Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring joy to all the people." Luke 2:10 TEV

 

Just suppose -- you are out walking your dog. It's late -- almost bedtime. It's a pleasant night; the temperature is mild. Suddenly someone is standing before you. The area is at once aglow with light. Trembling uncontrollably, you drop the dog leash and cover your eyes!

This is most certainly no ordinary person. The "being" speaks: "Please don't be afraid," he says. "I have come with the best news you could ever be given. A baby has been born who is going to bring peace to this troubled world. He has come to save this miserable world from itself."

 "Well," you say to yourself, "there is certainly a need for that."

 He goes on. You won't find him at the hospital. There wasn't any more room on the obstetrical floor. But if you take highway 281 north five miles, turn left on the graveled road, you will find an abandoned farmstead. All that is left of the farmstead is a dilapidated barn You will find the baby there with his mother.

 "Okay, I'm dreaming. That's it. Any minute now I'll wake up," you tell yourself.

 Then the sky is filled with these "beings". And they are all singing -- all about peace on earth and they're praising God with every fiber of their being.

 Then as suddenly as they came, they're gone. And it's like nothing happened. Except you know you will never be the same again. Do you run home, get in the car and head down hiway 281 in search of this child? Do you bow before Him and worship Him? Will your life be forever changed? Or will you be too embarrassed to tell anyone about your encounter, go home, set the alarm, get up and go to work as if nothing has happened?

 This the challenge we are given every time God breaks into our ordinary lives with the Good News of Jesus's birth. It is God's gift to us. We can accept it and be changed forever. Or we can go home, set the alarm, get up and go to work as if nothing has happened.

 

Lord, help us to put the world on hold as we treasure the gift you offer us. May our lives truly reflect that we have accepted it. Amen.

 

Madeline (NE)

Wednesday
Feb042015

THE TENDONS OF LOVE

Let us outdo each other in being helpful and kind to each other Heb. 10:24b Take tender care of those who are weak, and be patient with one another. 1 Thess. 5:14b


"Jesse tore a tendon in his elbow. There will be no more football for him this season." My first thought when I got this message from my daughter was that my grandson was going to be terribly disappointed. But before we had finished our phone conversation, the focus of my concern had shifted. Only three doctors in the country were qualified to repair this type of tear. This would involve time, travel and expense.

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews is writing to a group of Christians who were in the midst of turmoil. Many were on the verge of abandoning their faith. "Let us outdo each other in being helpful and kind to each other." The writer knew the importance of unity -- of being there for each other in Christian love.

The church at Thessalonica also faced opposition. Paul urges them also to take loving care of each other.

My grandsons arm would never have been fully functional again had he not been able to have the tendon properly repaired. It "held everything together." By the same token, love "holds us together" as believers. This cannot happen without some effort, but the tendons of love are vital for holding the body of Christ together and to keep it strong.


Lord, teach us to love as You first loved us. Amen.

 

Madeline (NE)

Wednesday
Jan282015

I Need a Rest

By the sevent day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation. Genesis 2:203

 

Do warm and fuzzy images of your bed or favorite napping location pop into mind when you hear the word “rest?”

God designed our bodies for rest. In fact, rest is so important physically, spiritually, and emotionally that He modeled rest for us. Was God tired? Did he have sleepy eyes? No, of course not.

Rest and sleep are not synonyms.

Rest involves taking time to meditate on our actions. We are to rest in God alone and take comfort in His promises.

We are not to neglect rest and become frantic or idolize rest and be lazy.

Rest has a proper place. Rests in music provide dramatic pauses and time for musicians to take a breath. Half time at soccer matches provide athletes time to recover and strategize. What’s a song that’s only rests or a game that’s only half time?
When was the last time you rested? Not slept. Not napped. But rested? I was told that a private school in town does the same thing at the end of every school day – they take a quiet moment to reflect on their decisions during the day. Wow! We could all take a lesson from these students. How much better would we all reflect Christ if we took several minutes during lunch to reflect on our mornings’ decisions and think ahead to our afternoons.


Father, teach me how to rest. Provide me with quiet moments throughout the day, not to nap, but to meditate on your word and my actions.

Renae (TN)

Friday
Jan232015

GOOD SOIL

Some of it fell on rocky ground, and when the plants sprouted, they dried up because the soil had no moisture. Luke 8:6 TEV


As I prepared the soil for spring planting in my back yard garden, this parable came to mind. I remembered times when I had tried to plant a garden in hard, rocky soil. Few seeds were able to survive. Compost and sand needed to be brought in and mixed into it. Each year I am confronted with areas that have become depleted and need to be enriched. 

Jesus used this parable to help the disciples understand that not everyone will accept their teachings. The soil of their hearts was in no condition for the seed to grow and thrive.

By the same token, our hearts are not automatically "good soil." We can never assume that they are rich and fertile. Life's experiences can either harden our hearts or prepare our hearts for the planting of the seed. They can help us grow and mature, preparing us to become the soil He needs in which to plant the seed. Then as we water the seed with prayer, Bible study and Christian fellowship, our "rich and fertile" hearts grow and thrive for service in His Kingdom.

The pleasure I receive as I watch my garden thrive has to be nothing to the pleasure God receives as the Kingdom grows.


Lord, prepare our hearts for the planting of the seed. Amen.

 

Madeline (NE)