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Water of Life: Riddle Me This

nullRiddle Me This

In the Word

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”  John 3:5

Of the Word

Scientific studies show that activities such as solving riddles greatly decreases one’s chance of memory loss. When Nicodemus came to Jesus, he thought Jesus was speaking in riddles, for how could a grown adult enter his mother’s womb and be born again?

Jesus was not referring to our physical entry into this world. Instead, He was talking about Baptism, our spiritual birth through the water and the Spirit. In this new birth, faith is created. We are made children of God and are assured of eternal life. … he saved us, … according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit … (Titus 3:5).

A physical rebirth, or even a hundred of them, could not wash away our sin. Only the water of Holy Baptism along with God’s Spirit can purify us from our sin. And this is no riddle!

Walking with my Lord

Savior Jesus, through my Baptism I have been reborn as a child of God. Strengthen my faith and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, may I always confess You as Lord. In Your holy name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: Water of Life. Michael Heckmann, author. 23/28 ©2013 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
 
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Water of Life: Life in the Blood

nullLife in the Blood

In the Word

Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood.”  Exodus 7:17

Of the Word

Dye can quickly change the color of water. Though the outward appearance may change, the chemical makeup never does. Even after adding dye, water is still water.

When Moses struck the Nile River with his staff, God did not just change the color of the water. He actually changed the water into blood. The Egyptians had no water for their crops or livestock. They could not use the blood for drinking or cleaning.

Unlike the blood of the Nile, which brought discomfort and death, the blood of Jesus brings life and salvation. Unlike dye poured into water or even water changed into blood, Jesus’ blood changes our whole being. His sacrifice changes both our hearts and our lives.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace … (Ephesians 1:7).

Walking with my Lord

God of all miracles, in Jesus’ blood I now have a new life as Your child. Change me, mold me, and use me in Your service here on earth. In Your Son’s name I pray. Amen.


Mustard Seed: Water of Life. Michael Heckmann, author. 22/28 ©2013 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
 
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From Quiet Times to Noisy Love: Thanks in Advance

nullThanks in Advance

In the Word

… in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

Of the Word

The four-year-old was literally bouncing with excitement. He could barely contain himself. His mother handed him the first birthday present with the reminder, “Can you say thank you to Grandma for the gift?” “Not yet,” the little boy innocently responded, “I don’t know what it is!”

Isn’t that just like a kid? The grandmother, who knows him well, chose something just perfect for him. He should have trusted her and thanked her before opening the gift. But wait a minute! Haven’t we responded to our Heavenly Father in the same way?

The apostle Paul tells us to take every request to God by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6a). We can trust His loving response. Our generous Father, who sacrificed Jesus to make us His own again, most assuredly knows what we need. We need not wait to see what we get before we express our gratitude. It will be the perfect gift from the Perfect Giver.

Walking with my Lord

Lord, every time I come to You with a request, help me acknowledge Your compassion and grace by thanking You in advance. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: From Quiet Times to Noisy Love. Jan Struck, author. 24/30 ©2013 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
 
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From Quiet Times to Noisy Love: Surrounded…

nullSurrounded Every Moment

In the Word

You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.  Psalm 139:5

Of the Word

It was the little girl’s first trip to the state fair, and she was excited when her father offered to buy funnel cakes. There were hundreds of people in the way, and each one towered over her. She pushed forward on her own. Then, overwhelmed by the crowds, she cried out in panic, “Daddy!” She felt his hand on her shoulder, and heard his reassuring voice, “I am right here.”

There are many moments in our lives when the world is crushing us. Each worry or problem seems to loom so large. We struggle to find our own solution, but finally — in desperation — we pray “Abba” (Daddy). As promised, we feel His hand of peace on us.

Yet, God provides even more! The psalmist states, You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me (Psalm 139:5). God surrounds us with His presence; we don’t make a move without His protection. In moments of fear and panic, what blessed assurance it is to know we are never alone. God’s love and grace shield us from every danger.

Walking with my Lord

Lord, in the moments when my fears try to crush me, give me the firm assurance that I am surrounded by Your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: From Quiet Times to Noisy Love. Jan Struck, author. 23/30 ©2013 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
 
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From Quiet Times to Noisy Love: One Day at a Time

nullOne Day at a Time

In the Word

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life …”  Matthew 6:25a

Of the Word

“The family is healthy, my new job is good, and I actually have a positive balance in my checkbook,” muttered Heather. “Then why the sour face?” responded a friend. Without hesitation, Heather wailed, “I’m worried because there is nothing to worry about!”

If worry was an Olympic sport, some of us would win a medal every day. Constant anxiety robs us of sleep and peace of mind. Most importantly, it is a reflection of our lack of trust in God’s care. Jesus spoke about worry at great length, assuring us that the Heavenly Father generously provides for all His creation. God values us so much He sent His only Son Jesus to die on the cross for our redemption. We can never worry our way to a solution! Instead, we must place our trust in God’s loving provision.

Jesus tells us we cannot serve two masters — worry and trust. The old saying is true: “If you pray, why worry? If you worry, why pray?” With the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we can learn to trust in God every day.

Walking with my Lord

Lord, help me let go of my worries and place my cares into Your tender hands one day at a time. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: From Quiet Times to Noisy Love. Jan Struck, author. 22/30 ©2013 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
 
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Daughters of the King: Nothing Left but Hope

nullThe Widow’s Offering — Nothing Left but Hope

The Widow's Story: Luke 21:1–4

In the Word

“ … but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”  Luke 21:4b

Of the Word

All we know is that she was a poor widow who offered her last two pennies to God. Seeing her offering of love, Jesus compared her to the rich and commented, “ … this poor widow has put in more than all of them” (Luke 21:3b). How blessed she was to be so trusting of God! The widow’s hope for the future was centered on her Lord. Being impoverished, her financial situation wasn’t going to change anytime soon. Perhaps she knew and trusted in these words of the psalmist: For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever (Psalm 9:18).

God’s desire is that we, like the widow, would place our hope in Him. Whether our need is physical, financial, or spiritual, God alone has the power to see us through our trials from beginning to end. God alone knows His plans for our future. He wants us to surrender our troubles to Him because He knows we can’t bear them alone. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12).

Walking with my Lord

O God, remind me of the amazing things You have already done in my life. Reassure me that I have no reason to fear because You have heard my prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: Daughters of the King. Marcia Gomulka and Myrna Lou Meyer, authors. 24/34 ©2013 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
 
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Love, Laughter, and Lullabies: Nesting Instinct

nullNesting Instinct

In the Word

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”  John 14:1–2

Of the Word

I never experienced the phenomenon of “nesting.” I could say it’s because my house is immaculate to begin with, but I’m not really all that prone to uncontrollable urges to clean. I have heard that “nesting” in the last weeks of pregnancy usually means the baby is on its way.

We might say that Jesus has a nesting instinct. In fact, His nesting instinct was so strong that soon after His resurrection, He went home to heaven to prepare a place for each one of His children to live with Him forever. You don’t know the way? He’s got that covered, too.

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6b). Because of His great love for us, Jesus died on the cross and rose, thereby opening the way to reconciliation with the Father. Through faith in Him, we can enter the Father’s presence and live in the eternal home He has prepared for us.

Walking with my Lord

Dear Lord, thank You for providing the way for me to live forever with You in heaven. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: Love, Laughter, and Lullabies. DCE Amanda Stacy, author. 24/30 ©2013 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 3558 S Jefferson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
 
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