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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
Sep242014

THE RIGHT DIRECTION

"He leads the humble in the right way and teaches them His will. Ps. 25:9 (TEV)

Six-year-old Brandon was as ready for his first Little League softball game as he was going to be. Now it was his turn to bat. He did eventually hit the ball. Everyone shouted, "Run, Brandon, run!" And he ran -- to third base.

The next time he was up to bat, he ran the right direction. But he saw the opposing team running to get the ball and -- deciding that looked like fun -- joined them.

Brandon could be excused. It was his first game. As Christians, we too often run the wrong direction or -- even worse -- help the opposing team. All too often, we play into satan's hands. And most of us cannot use the excuse that we have had no experience at Christian living.

Father God, we, your disciples, often stray from you. Help us to stay focused on you and your will. Give us a clear sense of direction for our lives. Amen.

By Madeline, Nebraska

Wednesday
Sep172014

A CHILD'S MITE

Honor the Lord by making Him an offering from the best of all that your land produces. Prov. 3:9 TEV

As the offering is received on Sunday mornings in our congregation, the children drop a :"noisy offering" into a metal urn in front of the altar. This offering is sent to a Christian school in Tanzania to pay a student's tuition. One Sunday four-year-old Brandon couldn't find his coins. Oblivious to the chuckles coming from the congregants, he stood in front of the congregation, turning in circles as he dug through one pocket after another. It was obvious to all that Brandon was not returning to his seat until he found and gave his offering.

The first fruits of God's gifts to us might not be literally hiding in our pockets. But they are often hiding behind our lack of faith that God will adequately provide for us. They may be hiding behind our materialism and selfishness. Are we as determined as Brandon to find them and offer them back to our Lord, the giver of all good things?

Good and gracious God, you love and care for us in spite of or faithlessness. Help us to trust you enough to give back to you the first-fruits of our labor, trusting you always. Amen.

By Madeline Peterson Nebraska

Wednesday
Sep102014

When Our Road Diverges

“They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us* while he was talking to us on the road… That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem.” Luke 24.32-33a NRSV

Some time ago, I spent over an hour with someone who had come to a crossroads. She had to go, she had no choice, but didn’t know where. Her road diverged, but should she go north or west?
It is good to wait on the Lord. We should gather as much information as we can and seek the wise council of friends. But some times we can’t wait. Time is up.
There are moments in our life we must step out in faith and trust God to direct our paths. Ray Bradbury is credited with saying, “Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.”
These are frightening and exhilarating times when we learn our destination only as we move. We trust God that if we make an honest mistake, God will correct it further down the road. This is not the same thing as asking God to bless our plans when we have not consulted, considered and prayed first.
If we will acknowledge Him in our plans, God will direct us even if it means a 180-degree turn. Like Abraham, we will not know exactly where we are going or what we are to do when we get there. But we can be sure of the Who is going with us.


Lord, today I have to move. I’m not sure I want to and can’t see how this all plays out. Glad we’re together in this together.

By Michael Sanders

Wednesday
Sep032014

THE BREATH OF LIFE

"God said to me, "Mortal man, prophesy to the wind. Tell the wind that the soverein Lord commandes it to come from every direction, to breathe into these dead bodies, and to bring them back to life. Ezekiel 37:9 TEV

What an experience! We are told that Ezekiel found himself right in the middle of this valley full of dry bones. He is immersed in the image. It would seem God wanted him to really experience the desolation that exists when the spirit of God is absent.

God wants Ezekiel to let his people know that He and He alone can restore them. Only His breath can breathe life into their dry bones. "I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live." vs 14

Could the "dry bones" story be our story? Might God be grieving as He sees us foolishly going days, even weeks or months, relying on our own strength to solve our daily problems? Might a modern-day Ezekiel be given a messge from God that goes something like this? "Tell my people: 'I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live.'"

Lord, we are nothing but dry bones without your life-giving Spirit. Oh Holy Spirit, restore us and help us to be all that you have intended for us to be. Amen.

By Madeline, Nebraska

Wednesday
Aug272014

Beauty from Ashes

"and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."
Isaiah 61:3

I didn’t set out to be a statistic. All the ambition I once had included the proverbial frame house with a white picket fence and two children playing in the back yard. I’m ashamed to say I missed the mark altogether, and now stand in the divorce hall of fame along with half of America. Multiple times. I don’t like it much, but it’s a fact.

However, and Hallelujah!—true to His Word, the Lord has made beauty from my ashes.

The guiding voice of God became more recognizable when I actually practiced listening for it. Other hurting women who have walked the paths I have walked have found themselves in the presence of my testimony and been reassured. The hope in another woman’s eyes shines through the tears that well up in them. My shame is turned to victory and I praise God for making it possible to touch another heart. To stand bold and courageous in His name and bear my soul to a room full of broken hearts.

I didn’t set out to turn a deaf ear to my Savior’s leading. But it happens. And when it does, He is always waiting for our return; willing to weep with us over loss, and shout with us in victory.

Take heart, broken women of the world. God still makes beauty from ashes; and He is waiting for us to offer Him ours. The transformation is a beautiful thing to see--and even more beautiful to experience.

Grant us your peace, O Lord. Allow us to experience the miracle of your artistry. Bring us under your favor so that we may see our ashes transformed into Your beauty.


By Kathleen, United States

Wednesday
Aug202014

Sifted

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. (Luke 22:31-32)

I watched her turn the handle on the old sifter as I had many times before.
My wife is a young woman who cooks the old way. And yes, she still sifts flour. “Cake won’t turn out right if you don’t,” she says. Some cooks have given up sifting since lumpy flour and extra protein (bugs) aren’t normally issues anymore. Sifting is painless for the flour but tiring for the one cranking the handle.
I’ve discovered some things that seem unnecessary really are-if you want the cake to turn out right. Peter was about to be sifted, and Jesus warned him.
According to his testimony, Peter was ready to be imprisoned and die for Jesus-but he wasn’t. Jesus tried to prepare him for the sifting, but Peter thought everything was under control. So Jesus burst his confidence bubble with news he would deny him three times. Sure enough, when the chips were down, Peter failed.
Satan sifted but God used it to form Peter into more than he was. Proud Peter became humble. Fearful Peter gained courage. Lumps were smoothed and unhealthy attitudes removed. But not before doing the unimaginable and enduring a look from the one who would die for him.
God sifts us and sometimes uses Satan as the instrument to do it. But God, not Satan, controls the intensity and length of the sifting. The enemy can’t proceed one millimeter beyond God’s determined measure. God’s sovereignty provides the knowledge of just what and how much is needed to get our attention and move us where we need to be.
Overconfidence, stubbornness and lack of complete trust have caused God to crank the handle a few times in my life. When I endured patiently and learned the lesson, life improved, rebellious lumps were crushed, and faith grew stronger.
God sifts because God loves. Let him remove the lumps hindering your faith journey.


Merciful Lord, may we endure Your sifting with joy instead of reluctance.

By Martin, Greenwood, SC

Wednesday
Aug132014

GUESS WHO'S BACK

This son of mine was dead, but now is alive; he was lost, but now he is found. v 24

One day our daughter found a stray cat on our front porch. Without asking permission, she fed him and the inevitable happened. He moved in.

Old Tom made himself at home and soon his furry, grey body and quiet purring became an important part of our lives. But he had not given up his street life. He would disappear for weeks at a time, and just when we decided he was gone for good, he would return -- a torn and bloody skeleton of a cat.

The prodigal son, and most of us, have a little of Old Tom in us. While we enjoy the comfort of being part of God's family, our independent nature at times gets us in trouble and we end up spiritually, and sometimes even physically starved and wounded.

No matter how many times Old Tom wandered off, it was a day for rejoicing when someone shouted, "Guess who's back?" Someone would pour him a bowl of milk. And, against his better judgment, someone else would prepare him a warm bath.

Our scriptu re tells us that God's welcome mat is always out no matter how many times we stray. Imagine the cheering in heaven when someone shouts "Guess who's back?"





Lord, our sinful nature causes us to foolishly stray from your loving care. Thank you that your love is great enough to welcome your foolish children back home. Amen.

By Madeline, Nebraska