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The Race of Faith: Paul, Finishing the Race

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

Paul, Finishing the Race

In the Word

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).

Of the Word

While sitting in jail, believing his death was imminent, the Apostle Paul penned his final letter, the second letter to Timothy. Paul knew his Savior, had remained faithful to Him, and confidently stated he had finished the race.

His race route took him far away from home, shipwrecked, beaten, chased out of towns, bitten by snakes, and jailed multiple times. Yet Paul rejoiced in all that Christ had done in him and through him. He was ready to finish his earthly race.

While believers have the same finish line destination, we each have our own obstacles and celebrations along the race route. In all of those things, be like Paul. Let God lead. Praise Him in all circumstances and encourage others until you arrive in God’s eternal rest.

Walking with my Lord

Heavenly Father, thank You for the encouragement and work of Paul. Help me run my race like he did — following You wherever You may lead. At the end of the race, let me also confidently say, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


Mustard Seed: The Race of Faith. Author: Amanda Stacy, DCE. 25/28 ©2015 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. Code: #40196

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: God is Always Near

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

God is Always Near

In the Word

“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).

Of the Word

It was 3 a.m. and Shelly had been awake for hours. Her mind raced and would not let her rest. There was always so much to do and she felt burdened by the relentless grind of daily living. The feeling of loneliness began to settle in and make itself at home in her heart. And then Shelly felt the hand of her husband reach out and gently rest over hers. She didn’t face life alone! God had given her the love of a caring helpmate.

We live in a fast-paced world where the demands of everyday life can overwhelm us. Fear can take over and convince us that we are all alone in our struggles. It is then that we have to slow down, tune out our worries and frustrations, and quietly listen for the voice of our Heavenly Father. No matter our situation, God is never far away — He is always with us! He is our everlasting Helpmate.

Our daily agendas may be full, but the most important to-do on it should be setting aside quiet times to spend in devotion, praise, and prayer with our Lord. During these times of togetherness is when we often sense the loving presence of our Savior. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18).

Walking with my Lord

Blessed Savior, thank You for the assurance that You are always with me and that I never have to face life alone. In Your name I pray. Amen.


Mustard Seed: In Times of Need. Authors: Rev. Larry Krueger, Rev. Mike Mattil, & Rev. Kris Whitby. 27/30 ©2015 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. 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: If Only …

Mustard Seed Daily Devotion

If 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, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. 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 Devotion

Speaking 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, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. 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 Devotion

Soft 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, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. 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 Devotion

Glory 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, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. 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 Devotion

Cheerleaders

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, 801 Seminary Place Ste. L010, St. Louis, MO 63105. 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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