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In Times of Need: If Only …

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionIf Only …

In the Word

For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life — is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16

Of the Word

How many times have those two little words been uttered, “If only”? “If only I can get that raise … that new car … that new outfit … the right diet … the right exercise plan.” Well, then what? Will everything be okay? Will I really be happy? Will I be safe? Will I live forever?

The world relentlessly chases after such things in the hope that once that certain “something” is attained, then everything will be fine and all anxieties will fade away. Christ Jesus gives a better answer.

Jesus says in Matthew 6:25b “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

You are worth more than the consumption of food or the wearing of clothes. You are so precious that Jesus came into this world and died on the cross that you might be forgiven of sin and freely receive God’s unfailing love. Worrying about material things does not add one hour to your life, but the grace of Jesus gives us life and life eternal!

Walking with my Lord

Lord, thank You for caring for me in this life and in eternity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: In Times of Need. Authors: Rev. Larry Krueger, Rev. Mike Mattil, & Rev. Kris Whitby. 26/30 ©2015 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118. Code: #40197
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 

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In Times of Need: Speaking Boldly

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionSpeaking Boldly

In the Word

[Jesus said,] “And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you might say.” Luke 12:11–12

Of the Word

Many followers of Christ have faced severe persecution and, in the midst of such circumstances, have given courageous, clear expressions of their faith in Jesus. Stephen faced stoning, and even as death drew near, he gave a gracious witness, asking the Lord to not hold his executioners’ sin against them (Acts 7:54–60).

The Apostle Paul faced persecution time and again, and yet, the Spirit gave him the right words to say to speak the Good News of Jesus! From prison, Paul encouraged the Colossians: Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23–24).

We may never face martyrdom or be hauled before a ruler to bear witness of what Jesus has done for the salvation of the world. Yet, the same Lord who was with Stephen and Paul gives us His Holy Scriptures that tell what Jesus has done for the salvation of mankind. Because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we can be confident to speak to a neighbor about Christ’s redeeming love. 

Walking with my Lord

Jesus, calm my heart, and let me boldly speak of the joy of knowing You as my Savior. In Your name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: In Times of Need. Authors: Rev. Larry Krueger, Rev. Mike Mattil, & Rev. Kris Whitby. 25/30 ©2015 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118. Code: #40197
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 

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The Word: Wisdom for Living: Soft and Sweet

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionSoft and Sweet

In the Word

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

Of the Word

Two classrooms, two sets of children, two teachers. One stood at her door, loudly reminding her children, “Don’t run! Don’t push! And don’t talk!” The other smiled and quietly said, “Remember your manners.” It’s not hard to guess which class demonstrated better behavior.

What harsh words do we hear today? How do our hearts and minds react? The writer of Proverbs uses the words “wrath” and “anger,” both probable reactions to harsh demands. It can be hard to give a soft answer when we are hurt, put down, and disgusted.

But Jesus’ words remind us, “… let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). He promises, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

Only He can give the desire and strength to turn from anger and instead be an instrument of peace.

A Point to Ponder: Where and when can I give a soft answer rather than an angry one?

Walking with my Lord

Lord God, when I am confronted with harsh and angry words help me to take a deep breath and respond with kindness and love. Help me glorify You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Word: Wisdom for Living. Authors: Marcia Gomulka and Myrna Lou Meyer. 27/32 ©2015 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118. Code: #40198
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 

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The Word: Wisdom for Living: Glory be … to Whom?

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionGlory be … to Whom?

In the Word

It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory. Proverbs 25:27

Of the Word

Everybody loves a feast, whether it is a church dinner, a family smorgasbord, or a restaurant buffet. Imagine all that delicious food — and then imagine eating only the desserts. Lots of them, nothing but the desserts!

Dessert is fine, but too much does not provide a balanced diet and can even make one physically ill.

Solomon compares eating too much honey with self-glorification. A honey overload can lead to stomach ache; self-glorification can lead to something worse: spiritual illness.

Jesus, God’s own Son, had all glory. Yet He stooped low, grabbed a towel, and washed the dusty feet of His disciples (John 13:4–5). He demonstrated no pride, no arrogance, only loving service. That is the example He set for His disciples, and it is the example He sets for His people today.

A Point to Ponder: How can I demonstrate a servant attitude like Jesus did?

Walking with my Lord

Lord Jesus, when I am tempted to “toot my own horn,” remind me that I am Your servant, redeemed by You, chosen by You, commissioned to serve You. In Your name I pray. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Word: Wisdom for Living. Authors: Marcia Gomulka and Myrna Lou Meyer. 26/32 ©2015 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118. Code: #40198
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 

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The Word: Wisdom for Living: Cheerleaders

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionCheerleaders

In the Word

… a word in season, how good it is! Proverbs 15:23b

Of the Word

Bright smiles, cute outfits, rousing chants, rhythmic dances, dazzling cartwheels! Who are they? The cheerleaders, of course! No matter what the score, they shout out their encouragement to both players and spectators.

Scripture has a few cheerleaders, too. Take Barnabas, for example. Former persecutor, newly converted Paul needed a cheerleader, and Barnabas rose to the occasion. He encouraged fearful, reluctant people to listen to Paul’s story. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus (Acts 9:27).

Is there a Paul among us today, someone for whom we can be an advocate; someone for whom we can speak a good word? No cartwheels, no pompoms, no high kicks are needed, just willingness to speak encouraging words to those who need them.

A Point to Ponder: Who needs my encouraging words today?

Walking with my Lord

Loving Lord, send me to someone who needs a word of encouragement today. Help me to share Your light. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Word: Wisdom for Living. Authors: Marcia Gomulka and Myrna Lou Meyer. 25/32 ©2015 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118. Code: #40198
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 

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Everyday Celebrations: A Big Step

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionA Big Step

In the Word

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)

Of the Word

Confirmation is a special day! Many parents remember the day they brought their child to be baptized into the body of Christ. Now that child is making a personal promise to remain faithful to the Savior throughout life.

For some, confirmation is translated as, “Whew! That’s done!” The fact is, it is not the end. It is just the beginning of a journey of faith. Confirmation instruction provides the foundation of scriptural truths that enables a young person to truly begin the life God has planned. A life centered in the cross of Christ gives strength, courage, and joy to each day.

One’s service to God is not limited because of youth. Remember, Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example … (1 Timothy 4:12a NIV).There are opportunities to set an example at school as well as at church. People see faith in action whether it is in band or orchestra, playing sports, or participating in service projects. Confirmation is an important step in a Spirit-filled life. The adventure has begun!

Walking with my Lord

Lord, confirm my faith, trust, and hope in You every day! In Your name I pray. Amen.


Mustard Seed: Everyday Celebrations. Authors: Elaine Bickel and Jan Struck. 24/28 ©2015 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118. Code: #40195
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
 

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Everyday Celebrations: New Life in Christ

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionNew Life in Christ

In the Word

… and went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:39b

Of the Word

When an adult is baptized in church, it draws the attention of the entire congregation. A mature person is receiving the Sacrament that many individuals received as babies and remember only through photos or videos.

Luke records for us an inspiring account of an adult baptism in Acts chapter eight. The disciple Philip encounters an Ethiopian official returning from worship in Jerusalem. Philip overhears the man reading from Isaiah and offers to discuss it with him. That discussion leads to the Good News of Jesus, which in turn leads to the Ethiopian’s Baptism. Filled with the Holy Spirit, the man … went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:39b).

To anyone caught in the pain and hopelessness of sin, the Good News of salvation through the death and resurrection of our Savior is life changing. The gift of Baptism, washing away of the “old self” and receiving the new life in Christ, is a true transformation by water and the Word. The adult recipient as well as those who witness it can go on their way rejoicing!

Walking with my Lord

Jesus, I rejoice daily in my Baptism and the new life it gives to me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: Everyday Celebrations. Authors: Elaine Bickel and Jan Struck. 23/28 ©2015 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118. Code: #40195
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 

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