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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
Apr292016

Self-Love Contrasted with God's Love

"Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money . . . unloving . . . lovers of pleasure instead of God. Holding to a form of godliness . . . " (II Timothy 3: 1-5) NASB vs. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." (John 3:16)


Several years ago, when I was still practicing, many books were written upon the subject of loving yourself. Interestingly, II Timothy 3 says that this self-love is one of the signs of the end times.

Today this self-love approach is accepted by most professional counselors as an axiom (a foundational truth).

During this period, I can't remember ever hearing that loving yourself can be related to becoming unloving. I found that if a person stresses loving themselves before others, they easily lose focus on the needs of others, and the vulnerable trust that has been freely given (a person's children fall into this category). And, the divorce rate soared. Often, people were sorry later that they had sought their own comfort and pleasure first.

This "me first" is a deception that is one of the devil's "schemes" (Eph.6:11) as a Christian, that strays from selfless love (which John 3:16 tells us is essential godly love), begins to slide on a slippery slope leading into a toxic sea..

Lovers of themselves are lovers who are "unloving" as the love they give is primarily sell-centered. This does not surprise experienced adults, and it certainly does not surprise Almighty God.


Dear Father, please help me to be a channel of Your love in 2016. Everyday, let me practice and tell about the Christmas love You demonstrated so long ago. Work in my heart that I may have a constant desire to tell everyone about the living words of John 3:16. Thank You, in Jesus' name amen.

Dr. Bob (AZ)

Friday
Apr222016

Footprints of Faithfulness

“Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything He had spoken came true.” Joshua 21:45 (NLT)



Creeeak, creeeak, back and forth the rusty swing-set moaned as we listened to his unusual words. He’d gotten a new job. He’d be around more. Things would be different.

The crescent-moon stood witness, as a father spoke promise to his children in the faded backyard of yesteryear.

I’m certain he meant well at the time. I believe his promise was his wish. Sadly, it’s a promise that remains locked in the hazy summer air of that 1970-something night. Unfulfilled. 

Fact is, this world with all its imperfect humans (us included) is sometimes a place of disappointment. Such is the nature of life this side of heaven. While often well-meaning, we can’t always count on one another to follow through, to wholeheartedly commit, to keep a word. 

Oh, but there is One who never disappoints. One who is ever-true to generations of the faith. 

Never leaving us empty or wanting, this tender-loving God we serve satisfies every good promise His grace affords us. 

Sweet Father, may we seek out your footprints, following the example you set for us. Oh, how we thank you for your wild and aggressive faithfulness to every word spoken over us—from generations of old. 



(Sweet Father, may we seek out your footprints, following the example you set for us.

 Brenda (NC)

Friday
Apr152016

A Comfort Zone Christian

"Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those that seek Him." Hebrews 11:6 NASB


The Bible teaches God's children to walk by faith (II Cor.5:7); yet, I laid in bed last night confused as to what that really meant.

I knew that only the Spirit of God knows the thoughts of God (I Cor.2:11), so I asked the Spirit to teach me. I received some light from Hebrews 11:1 that told me faith provided evidence and assurance, but I was still confused. I still didn't know how to receive living faith.

I gave up and told my Father that I loved and trusted Him and that I was confused. Strangely, I then felt a surrounding warm blanket of love and kindness. I felt much better. All I wanted was Him and His presence. I wondered if I had been shown what living faith is, and fell into a comforting sleep.

At church, the next day, I learned about those in the faith hall of fame in Hebrews chapter eleven. They reached out of their comfort zones and accomplished great things. Noah built an ark, and Abraham moved to a new land.

Then, Hebrews 11:6 told me the answer to my question of what living faith was when it said: "Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those that seek Him." 

First, I had to come to Him personally. This coming had to have two qualities: strong as a rock knowing He was there, and knowing He rewards those who come. This is living faith. Living faith reaches out of comfort zones into a world that may frighten, and it always has the quality of feeling and knowing it's beyond us, unless He chooses to reveal it.


Father, all I want before I meet You on Heaven's shore is to love You and abide in Your Son. Please give me living faith that will produce much fruit through me. Thank You, I pray in Your Son's name. Amen and Amen"

Dr Bob (AZ)

Friday
Apr082016

Professions

I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4 (NKJV)


Once at a high school football game one of our hometown players was knocked out after being tackled. I remember this because just as the unsettling realization passed like a wave through the onlookers, a man rushed out on the field from the sidelines. He dropped to his knees beside the fallen teenager in an obvious posture for praying.

His was a visceral response to life-threatening circumstances; under pressure his faith surfaced and he didn’t give a second thought as to how this would play out in the court of public opinion. All he knew was that his son needed divine intervention and the best way to guarantee that was to throw himself on the mercy of our heavenly Father.

His prayer was honored; after a matter of minutes his son was revived and went back onto the field to resume play while his father disappeared into the crowd. The story still lingers in my memory all these years later because of the authenticity of this man’s spontaneous burst of faith. So rarely do we witness a person’s raw faith open and exposed. When I dip into this cache of memories I am repeatedly blessed anew.

By contrast my own faith falters when circumstances require the most basic of public professions of faith, such as joining in a blessing prayed over a shared restaurant meal with family. These situations find me feeling self-conscious and somewhat embarrassed. My desire is that when the time comes God will be able to use me like he did that boy’s father. Perhaps then I will be able to reach down inside of me and tap the reservoir of faith that God’s people have at their disposal and that I will have the courage to act on it.

Heavenly Father, with your guidance may I grow into a Christian who sets an example for being unashamed and unapologetic for my beliefs. Amen. 

Carol (NC)

Friday
Apr012016

The Lion Who Roared

"Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" I Peter 5:8 NASB


Once there was a lion who prowled around trying to make people afraid. Making his prey cower, he never had to miss a meal.

He began to make his pride follow his example. He felt that he would surely conquer the world.

The lion was crafty, you see. He felt that he had found a win-win. Either his prey joined his family or they were a part of the menu and strengthened his family.

Strangely, he found some who believed that forgiveness and faith were stronger than fear. He knew he could kill their bodies; but he didn't know he could not kill their souls. (Mat. 10:28)

Once he learned this truth, he had his family roar louder and leave proof of their bloody hunts in more and more obvious displays. Still, these people hide behind the cross.

He became frustrated and sharpened his claws and killed even more.

Then, one day the One who had been on that Cross came back and stood on a mountain. Later, he and his pride were thrown into a lake filled with fire.

Finally, a different lion laid down with a lamb that felt no fear or terror ever again.

This completed the story of the lion who had to follow his nature and roar.


Dear Father, protect your children from the terrorists who are seeking to destroy. Confound the god of this world by teaching us by taking refuge in Jesus we find peace, are safe, and are strong. In Jesus name, Amen and Amen

Dr. Bob (AZ)

Friday
Mar252016

REDEMPTION'S PRICE TAG

The blood of Christ....(shall) cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Hebrews 9:14b


Redemption. According to Webster's dictionary it is the act of gaining or regaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt.

In the 18th & 19th centuries, land in the American colonies was plentiful but laborers were few. Meanwhile, the people of Ireland were starving. In order to obtain laborers in the colonies, land owners paid the price of their ocean voyage in order to bring labor into the country. Escaping starvation in Ireland did not come without a price. Yes, they got free passage to America. However, their new title was Indentured Servant. They were owned by the person who paid the price of their passage and worked (usually without pay) often for from five to seven years before they were redeemed -- their indebtedness paid off.

Without Christ, the human race is starving spiritually. Christ did indeed pay our ticket to freedom. And a high price it was -- his suffering and death on the cross. But unlike the American land owners, He does not demand our servitude Our ticket to spiritual health is free -- a gift of God's grace. "All are put right with Him through Jesus Christ." Romans 3:24 (TEV)

Thank you, Lord, for paying the price for our freedom from slavery to sin. Amen.

MADELINE (NE)

Friday
Mar182016

Puzzle Pieces

"so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others" Romans 12:5


Several years ago, while my church choir was on tour, we attended a Bible study at one of our host churches. The pastor started us off with splitting the group into teams and seeing who could put together a puzzle the fastest. After that, he went on to speak about how all of us as believers, no matter who we are or where we’re from, all form together as one body of Christ. Alone, we may not amount to much, but together, we form something beautiful, just like the pieces to the puzzle fit together to make a picture. At the end of lesson, he encouraged everyone to take a piece of the puzzle.

Some time later, I spent a day cleaning out my closet. I came across a backpack that I hadn’t used in quite awhile. Stashed away inside, I found the puzzle piece that I had taken years back. I began thinking about who had the other pieces of the same puzzle. Some are still good friends who keep in touch with me on a regular basis, and others I haven’t seen since that day. Nevertheless, we are all neighbors. We each have a piece to the big picture, and when we get to heaven, I know that my brothers and sisters in Christ will once again put the puzzle pieces back together. 


Lord, I pray that you be with my brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter where they are in this world. When I feel lonely or incapable, remind me that I am part of Your body, and together we can accomplish powerful things. Amen.

Jessica (OR)