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Begin with God: He Gives Friends

nullBegin with God … He Gives Friends

In the Word

How can I be a friend to others?

A friend loves at all times … Proverbs 17:17a

Of the Word

Friendship is one of God's greatest blessings. Friends are there when we need to share our pain and sorrow, joy and laughter. Friends come in different shapes, sizes and colors, but they all have one thing in common: they like us! A friend loves at all times … (Proverbs 17:17a).

The writer of Ecclesiastes gives a wonderful description of a friend: If one falls down, his friend can help him up (Ecclesiastes 4:10a).

Friends listen to each other, comfort each other and look for ways to spend time with one another. Our very best Friend accepts us, wants to spend time with us, shares joy with us and, because He wants to spend eternity with us, He gave His life for us. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

This special Friend does ask one thing of us, "Come, follow me" (Mark 1:17a).

How can we refuse His invitation?

Walking with my Lord

Father God, I thank You for sending Jesus to be my best Friend. You knew I could not live a sinless life so You sent Him to live and die for my sins so that we could live together one day in heaven. I thank You also for my earthly friends. Lord, enable me to show them love. May I be willing to tell them about You and Your love. In the name of my best Friend, Jesus. Amen.


Mustard Seed: Begin with God. Authors: Marcia Gomulka, Dcs. Betty Knapp, Myrna Lou Meyer. 14/28 ©2007 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations 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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Begin with God: He Gives Joy

nullBegin with God … He Gives Joy

In the Word

Where do I look for joy?

Consider it pure joy, … whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance (James 1:2–3).

Of the Word

Dictionary definitions of joy include bliss, delight, and gaiety. These words can define our lives — some of the time. Scripture encourages us to Rejoice in the Lord always. (Philippians 4:4a) How is it possible to find joy in a job loss or a failed marriage? Where is the gaiety in an Intensive Care Unit hospital room or at a gravesite? Who can take delight knowing that war and famine are in the world?

"Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete" (John 16:24b).

Christians define joy a bit differently than the world does. We understand that our source of joy comes from knowing a faithful God who keeps His promises. We realize that, regardless of the circumstance, God is in control. God is there in the ICU room and at that gravesite; He is on the battlefield and in our homes. He will support us through failed marriages, job losses, and whatever else the world throws at us. He promises to bring us to a brighter tomorrow.

Consider it pure joy, … whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance (James 1:2–3).

Walking with my Lord

Heavenly Lord, in times of adversity help me find the joy only You can give. I confess that at times I become disheartened and discouraged. Teach me to keep my eyes on You. Fill me with joy as I strive constantly to trust Your Son as my Savior. May I find true joy in all that I do. In Jesus' name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: Begin with God. Authors: Marcia Gomulka, Dcs. Betty Knapp, Myrna Lou Meyer. 13/28 ©2007 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. www.lwml.org
Scripture quotations 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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Living in the Spirit: Gives Me God's Seal …

Living in the Spirit … Gives Me God's Seal of OwnershipMustard Seed Daily Devotion

In the Word

Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit …  Ephesians 1:13b

Of the Word

When St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, they understood the seal of which he spoke. It was the official mark of identification placed on a letter, contract, or document. The seal signified security, authenticity, ownership, and authority.

Centuries later, American cattlemen branded their cattle to protect them from rustlers. They burned their own brands onto the sides of their cattle, and at roundup time they were easily able to identify their own animals.

Christians are marked with a seal at Baptism — the sign of the cross on the forehead and on the heart "to mark you as one redeemed by Christ the crucified." (Lutheran Worship, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO, page 199)

We are marked, and we are His. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children (Romans 8:16). What a comfort it is to know that we are marked as His own dearly-loved children!

Walking with my Lord

Dear Lord, thank You for putting Your seal upon me. Help me to remember always that I belong to You. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.


Mustard Seed: Living in the Spirit. Authors: Marcia Gomulka, Dcs. Betty Knapp, Myrna Lou Meyer. 12/30 ©2007 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations 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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Living in the Spirit: Helps Me Set Priorities

Living in the Spirit … Helps Me Set PrioritiesMustard Seed Daily Devotion

In the Word

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. Romans 8:5

Of the Word

To Do List: ball game at 6:30; roast in slow cooker; library books due; package to post office; laundry.

Sound familiar? Most busy people make lists. Why? Important tasks may be forgotten without a reminder. Some go even further, utilizing the latest method to prioritize those lists.

Does devotional time make our list? Do we set aside time for prayer, Bible study, worship? Too many times those are the very things that slip by because the "to do" list is already too long. St. Paul reminds us, Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).

Keeping in step with the Spirit includes seeking God's will for our lives, even as we make the daily "to-do" list. Living in the Spirit includes keeping our minds set on His desires for us. Can we do it alone? No, but the Spirit is with us to give aid. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth (John 16:13a).

Walking with my Lord

Dear Lord, I am faced with daily challenges, and my schedule is often crowded with too many tasks to accomplish in too little time. Help me to set priorities according to Your will and purpose for my life. In Jesus' name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: Living in the Spirit. Authors: Marcia Gomulka, Dcs. Betty Knapp, Myrna Lou Meyer. 11/30 ©2007 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations 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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Living in the Spirit: I Receive Diverse Gifts

Living in the Spirit … I Receive Diverse GiftsMustard Seed Daily Devotion

In the Word

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:4, 7

Of the Word

The Scriptures are filled with examples of godly men and women who used their gifts in God's service.

Bezalel was a specially-gifted craftsman who could work with metals, wood, and precious stones. (Exodus 31:1–5) Aged Anna served faithfully in the Temple, worshipping, fasting, and praying. (Luke 2:36–38) When Jesus visited in Bethany, His good friends Mary and Martha graciously opened their home to Him. (Luke 10:38–42) What a diversity of gifts — and all for use in God's kingdom!

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us (Romans 12:6a).

What are your gifts? Are you a greeter, a cook, a seamstress, a gardener, a plumber, a flower arranger, a painter, a listener, a prayer warrior? No matter what the gift, it is from God and it is meant for giving Him glory.

Walking with my Lord

Dear Lord, Giver of all good gifts, thank You for making me and blessing me with gifts and abilities. Forgive me for ignoring them or misusing them. Make me more aware of being a good steward of all You have given me. In Jesus' name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: Living in the Spirit. Authors: Marcia Gomulka, Dcs. Betty Knapp, Myrna Lou Meyer. 10/30 ©2007 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations 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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With This Ring: Work and Children

Work and Children: Who will care for the children?Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

In the Word

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Of the Word

When children join the family, one issue that will test the couple's emotions is deciding whether or not to have two incomes. Do both parents continue to pursue their vocations or does one put work on hold until the children are in school? Legitimate arguments support each option.

On one hand, no one can raise your child the same way you can. On the other hand, both incomes may be needed in order to survive month to month. Ultimately, only you and your spouse can determine what is right for your family. Talk through the values you want to instill in your children. Discuss the goals you have for your family, and share how reaching them might benefit all of you. Being a family means investing quality time in being together. Determine to make that happen no matter which option you choose.

Walking with my Lord

Dear gracious Father, rearing children raises many questions. Guide us as we seek to honor You and parent our children according to Your will. Help us to teach our children what is truly important in life. In Jesus' name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: With this Ring. Authors: Rev. Wes and Deaconess Sonja Baumeister. 12/28 ©2008 Lutheran Women's Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide.
 

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With This Ring: Having Children

Having Children: Now? Later? Never?Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

In the Word

The person who is truly wise is called understanding, and speaking sweetly helps others learn. Proverbs 16:21 (God's Word)

Of the Word

Crumb crunchers, arrows in the quiver, ankle biters, or gifts of God. No matter what you call them, the prospect of having children often raises questions, emotions, hopes, and fears. For some, becoming parents is simply a natural product of marriage. For others, career choices or infertility may yield a different outcome.

If the decision is made to have children, more questions arise. How soon? How do we know when the time is right? Should we be financially stable before we have children? Should one parent stay at home or work from home? Do we consider daycare? Only you can answer these questions for your unique situation.

As you ponder these questions, seek God's wisdom in His Word. Ask for His guidance through prayer. Talk to people you trust who have "been there." A perfect time may not be apparent, but God is with you in every situation. As you seek His will, He gives courage and strength as you rear the children He gives you, whenever that may be.

Walking with my Lord

Dear Lord, whether children are or are not to be part of our future, help us to live as Your children, treasuring each day of Your love and grace. In Jesus' name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: With this Ring. Authors: Rev. Wes and Deaconess Sonja Baumeister. 11/28 ©2008 Lutheran Women's Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture passages with the notation of (GOD'S WORD) were taken from GOD'S WORD a copyrighted work of God's Word to the Nations. Quotations are used by permission. Copyright 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. All rights reserved.
 

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