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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
Mar272015

A HOTLINE TO GOD

I was jealous of the proud when I saw that things go well for the wicked. Psalm 73:3

 

An avid gardener, I am planting almost before the ground has thawed. Radishes 
can be planted early, so in the ground the tiny seeds go. Then I watch for the slender, green sprouts to poke through the brown earth. Every year I marvel anew at the ability of a tiny seed to send it's sprout the right direction. Never do they rebel and go the other direction They reach for the sun. Do they have a hotline to God?

The psalmist was annoyed. He felt God was not doing His job well. As he saw it, evil men were doing far better than the godly and God was not being just. Not until he spent time in the temple did he have an awakening. He decided God was not doing so badly after all.

How often we complain about the job God is doing. The weather's too hot. The weather's too cold. Couldn't God stop all the suffering if he really wanted to?

Unlike the God-questioners of the world, the tiny seeds seem to be tuned in to Him. They do what they were created to do -- no questions asked. An interesting concept -- humans learning a faith lesson from a tiny radish seed.

Lord of the universe, creator of all things great and small, help us to stay closely tuned to your will for our lives. Amen.

 

Madeline (NE)

Wednesday
Mar112015

Lesson Learned!

"Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." James 1:19 (NIV)


I’ve had that verse hung throughout my house, indicating the importance I’ve felt in “eating those words”, and digesting them.  Neither of which I’d done, successfully. In fact, I’d recently discovered how good I was at becoming angry, quickly.

The day came when the tables were turned and I was involved in a conversation with someone who, like myself, was quick to become angry.  Throughout the conversation I was thinking about how I really just needed this person to listen to what I was saying. Instead of listening to me, this person spoke over me with great anger.

Then I had the “Ah-Ha” moment in which I realized the importance of James 1:19 and how ridiculous I sound when I’m acting in opposition to it.  I was embarrassed that I had allowed my ego to override what was written in my User’s Manual.

Be quick to listen: I need to value the thoughts of others more than my own. I need to stop neglecting myself from the wonder of learning from others. I’m not always right and by listening, my perspectives can be bettered.

Slow to speak: by slowing down, I change from being a reactive person to a processing and praying person. What wonderful changes could be made if I really only spoke after seeking wisdom from the Creator?

Slow to become angry: Once I remove myself from the equation, I can refocus on the needs of others and how I can best serve them. 

How much better would relationships be if we listened, prayed and served?


Father, Help us be quick to listen, slow to speak and even slower to become angry. Amen.


Vicki (AL)

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)