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Water of Life: Life of a Sheep

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionLife of a Sheep

In the Word

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.  Psalm 23:2

Of the Word

Sheep are peculiar animals. They are by nature flocking creatures and will instinctively follow a leader, even to their demise. The psalmist pictures the Lord as the Good Shepherd who leads His flock to pastures where they can eat and rest and to quiet waters where they can drink and be refreshed.

Jesus Himself says, “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11a). He abundantly provides for our daily needs. He does not lead us to dried-up pastures with dangerous waters, but lovingly leads us to green pastures with still waters.

In Jesus we will never be lacking. In Jesus we will never be in want. God promises … those who seek the Lord lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10b).

Walking with my Lord

Jesus, my Shepherd, lead me to the green pastures and still waters of this life. Give me the confidence to know that in You I lack nothing. In Your holy name I pray. Amen.


Mustard Seed: Water of Life. Michael Heckmann, author. 16/28 ©2013 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. 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: Lost and Found

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionLost and Found

In the Word

“And when she had found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  Luke 15: 9–10

Of the Word

Can’t find your car keys? Glasses? Checkbook? How irritating! You look everywhere, checking every nook and cranny, even searching the same places over and over. Finally, the lost is found. Your level of joy is directly proportionate to the time spent searching.

When Jesus told the parable about the lost coin, He knew His listeners could relate. They understood as Jesus explained that the joy in heaven when a sinner repents is greater than finding a lost coin. “A sinner … like me?” we think. “The angels of God rejoice over ordinary me?”

It is hard to grasp the immensity of this truth. We can do nothing to earn the value He places on us. God, in His grace, loved us while we were still lost sinners. Jesus’ death and resurrection changed us into precious treasures.

Walking with my Lord

Lord, help me live each moment of today as a precious, restored treasure and share this message of joy with those around me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: From Quiet Times to Noisy Love. Jan Struck, author. 18/30 ©2013 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from the ESV Bible® (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: Judgmental Moments

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionJudgmental Moments

In the Word

Why do you pass judgment on your brother?  Romans 14:10a

Of the Word

She noticed him the minute he entered her checkout line. He had multiple tattoos, body piercings, and a T-shirt extolling an oddly-named music group. “Another one of them,” she thought. “How are you?” she asked. “Blessed!” he answered, “I’m blessed by God!”

How often our first impressions become final judgments! We look at style of dress, skin color, nationality — even facial expressions — and decide a person’s worth. We gravitate toward those who are most like us. Yet we forget the world’s most common denominator — our sinfulness. We have all fallen short of God’s demand for perfection; everyone has sinned. How foolish to pass judgment on those who are exactly like us!

Because Jesus died and rose again, God the Father now sees us in the perfection of Christ. We are new creatures. How blessed we are when we see others through Jesus’ eyes, loved and saved by Him. They, too, belong to the family of God.

Walking with my Lord

Lord, when I am tempted to pass judgment on someone, please enable me to see instead through my Father’s eyes. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: From Quiet Times to Noisy Love. Jan Struck, author. 17/30 ©2013 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from the ESV Bible® (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: Joy vs. Happiness

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionJoy vs. Happiness

In the Word

“But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.”  John 17:13

Of the Word

Years ago, a popular T-shirt read, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Many people, including Christians, believe that God wants us to be happy. But happiness is often confused with the joy we read of in Scripture. Being happy is a feeling of bliss or a mood that is dependent on other people and circumstances. Joy is a gift from the Holy Spirit — not a moment or a mood.

Joy is God’s intentional gift of His presence. Jesus came to live among us, speak the truth of God’s unconditional love for us, and take away our sin through His death and resurrection. No matter what circumstances surround us, we can live in the joy that we are His precious children. We are made whole in the promise of Jesus, “that they may have my joy fulfilled in them” (John 17:13b).

Moments of happiness are a delight, but we can rejoice in the always-present joy that is the foundation of our life in Christ!

Walking with my Lord

Lord, I thank You for moments of happiness and, more importantly, for the never-ending joy of being Your redeemed child. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: From Quiet Times to Noisy Love. Jan Struck, author. 16/30 ©2013 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from the ESV Bible® (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: Esther

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionEsther — Woman of Courage

Esther’s Story: The Book of Esther

In the Word

Then Esther told them … “I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”  Esther 4:15a, 16b

Of the Word

Like a TV drama, Esther’s story had a beauty contest, sinister plots, betrayal, and courage. Esther, a Judean, was taken captive by an edict of the king because he was looking for a replacement wife. From all the women in the king’s harem, beautiful Esther was the one chosen. God had a plan for her!

An evil plot had been laid to destroy all the Jews of the kingdom. Esther, being a Jew, would not have escaped. After three days of praying and fasting she summoned the courage to go before the king unannounced, which could have resulted in her death. Esther was not turned away. The king learned of the evil plot, and the Jews were saved.

Confronting problems isn’t easy but ignoring them can cause serious consequences. Where can we find courage to say what has to be said or do what has to be done? … fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). Our God is bigger than any problem we will ever face. We can rely on God’s promise to always be with us.

Walking with my Lord

Holy Spirit, embolden me with courage to do what I must. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: Daughters of the King. Marcia Gomulka and Myrna Lou Meyer, authors. 18/34 ©2013 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from the ESV Bible® (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: Naaman's Servant Girl

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionNaaman’s Servant Girl — A Bold Missionary

Her Story: 2 Kings 5:1–14

In the Word

Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife.  2 Kings 5:2

Of the Word

In all of the accounts of the great Syrian army commander Naaman, only three verses speak of the servant girl and yet God used her in a powerful way. All we know for certain about her is that she was young, she had been kidnapped, and she knew of the prophet Elisha. She must have sensed the heartbreak Naaman’s leprosy caused, for she said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy” (2 Kings 5:3b). Because the servant girl spoke up, Naaman did go to Elisha; he was cured of the leprosy; and most important of all he professed “… Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel … ” (2 Kings 5:15b).

Age doesn’t matter when it comes to serving God! We learn from this girl that we can be missionaries wherever we are. While she could have kept quiet, her actions teach us to speak boldly about what our great God can do. What a beautiful example she is of one making the best of an unpleasant situation.

Walking with my Lord

Father, please open my eyes to the opportunities You give me to serve others. May I speak to them boldly of Your love, mercy, and strength. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


Mustard Seed: Daughters of the King. Marcia Gomulka and Myrna Lou Meyer, authors. 17/34 ©2013 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from the ESV Bible® (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: The Widow of Zarepath

Mustard Seed Daily DevotionThe Widow of Zarepath — Nothing Left but Trust

Her Story: 1 Kings 17:1–24

In the Word

Then the word of the Lord came to him [Elijah], “Arise, go to Zarephath … I have commanded a widow there to feed you.”  1 Kings 17:8a; 9b

Of the Word

Because of a drought, a widow’s flour and oil was nearly gone. She would bake a bit of bread then she and her son would lie down to die. Enter the prophet Elijah who asks for some bread and water. Explaining her situation to Elijah, he tells the widow not to be afraid. Miraculously, the flour and oil lasted for days.

This story has yet another miracle. The widow’s son dies of an illness and even Elijah doesn’t understand why God let the child die. He fervently prays for life to be returned to him. Miraculously it was! This woman, led to despair, thought circumstances couldn’t get any worse, and yet they did. And we cry, “Lord, I, too have been there.”

God doesn’t want us dangling at the end of a rope. He wants to be our strength. Just as He told the widow not to be afraid, our Father gives us that same assurance. “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

Walking with my Lord

Lord, when life is difficult help me freely surrender my troubles to You. Then help me trust in Your promise to always be with me. I pray in Your Almighty name. Amen.


Mustard Seed: Daughters of the King. Marcia Gomulka and Myrna Lou Meyer, authors. 16/34 ©2013 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. www.lwml.org
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations were taken from the ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
 

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