Mustard Seed Faith (Reblog)

MustardSeedFaith

As long as we have unsolved problems,
unfilled desires, and a mustard seed of faith,
we have all we need for a vibrant prayer life. 

—John Ortberg

Mustard seed faith is sometimes a difficult concept but one that is very important to understand. The mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds found in the Middle East, but that smallest of seeds grows into one of the largest of plants. Jesus therefore used this illustration several times to show us that even the tiniest grain of true faith can do very great things.

And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.
So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”

Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him;
and the child was cured from that very hour.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said,
“Why could we not cast it out?”

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
—Matthew 17:14-21

We see here the central need of faith, without which nothing can happen. When Jesus spoke about removing mountains he was using a phrase which the Jews knew well. A great teacher, who could really expound and interpret scripture and who could explain and resolve difficulties, was regularly known as an uprooter, or even a pulverizer, of mountains. To tear up, to uproot, to pulverize mountains were all regular phrases for removing difficulties. Jesus never meant this to be taken physically and literally. After all, the ordinary man seldom finds any necessity to remove a physical mountain. What he meant was: “If you have faith enough, all difficulties can be solved, and even the hardest task can be accomplished.” Faith in God is the instrument which enables men to remove the hills of difficulty which block their path.
—William Barclay 1

Beloved, having and holding onto true faith is difficult in hard circumstances, but it is possible. In our own physical strength we cannot move mountains. We can’t make something from nothing. We cannot by ourselves change someone’s heart and mind about something. These are under God’s care and control.

What it does mean is that if we rely on the fact that God knows what is best for us, we can rest on the assurance that His ways and means are perfect. And if we believe—have true faith—in that fact, we will be able to pray with a faith that will steadily grow.

Just like that tiny mustard seed.

We will then understand that what we may regard as unanswered prayers are actually part of God’s grand design to mold us into becoming who He wants us to be—completely and absolutely trusting that His ways are best.


1 Barclay, William. “Commentary on Matthew 17:1“. “William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible”. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dsb/view.cgi?bk=39&ch=17 . 1956-1959.

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Praying Psalms 34 – 36

Have you ever prayed the Psalms? This post by Pauline of Uniquely Designed 4 Purpose is a wonderful example as she prays Psalms 34 – 36 for us.  This was originally published at The Isaiah 53:5 Project on August 14, 2015.

Praying Psalms 34 – 36

By PAULINE on AUGUST 14, 2015

Hallelujah! Glory to Your Name, O God, for You alone are worthy of all our praise! Father, we bless You at all times and the praises of who You are will continually and always be on our tongues and upon our lips because You are a good and gracious God to those who walk upright before You.

Father, we will make our boast in You, for You are the Lord our God who hears the desperations of our hearts. You are the Lord our God whose Angel always encamps around those who humble themselves before You. You are our Abba, You are our Daddy and our Papa and when we approach You with our requests, You will provide the need and not the want.

Read the rest here.

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Let’s Reach Out with the Gospel to Women Victimized by Abortion

One of the great devotionals I receive daily via email is from Randy Alcorn’s Eternal Perspective Ministries blog. Amid all the disgusting information uncovered in the videos that reveal how Planned Parenthood has been selling body parts from aborted babies, we have neglected an important fact. There is a huge population of women who are mourning the loss of these babies. I’m sure all this news and the videos being splashed abundantly around the internet are dredging up horrific memories.

Randy Alcorn’s article is an excellent reminder that we need to keep these women in prayer and reach out to them with the Gospel message.

Let’s Reach Out with the Gospel
to Women Victimized by Abortion

by Randy Alcorn

Millions of women and men, both in society as a whole and in our churches, are suffering under the guilt of abortion. The heavy emotional burden of abortion isn’t limited to those who’ve had one. A schoolteacher in her forties said, “Advising my daughter to have an abortion led me into a long, suicidal siege. I’m not over it yet.” [i] (Another group of people affected are those who work in abortion clinics. Check out this article,“Mugged by Ultrasound,”about why so many abortion workers have turned prolife. Wow. Also, see Justin Taylor’s blog for the sixth video released about Planned Parenthood.)

I encourage you to read through the following perspectives from Diane Meyer, a close friend of ours. In fact, she’s like a third daughter to me and Nanci. She lived with us when our daughters were small and she was a young unwed mother. We had the joy of seeing her come to Christ, and helped her place a baby for adoption.  (Just this last year she was reunited with her 33-year-old son and it was our privilege to be there with Diane’s family and the adoptive parents.)

Read the rest here.

Shared by permission of Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries, 39085 Pioneer Blvd., Suite 206, Sandy, OR 97055, 503-668-5200, www.epm.org

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Lean on God for powerful strength

No matter what is going on in your life:

  • if  you are alone and lonely
  • if you are in dire financial straits
  • if you are living with chronic pain
  • if you are in the midst of the worst valley of your life

leaning on and trusting God for strength and direction always produces a mighty faith, joy, and hope. And how can you not share all of that with those who need to hear it? 

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When a man has no strength, if he leans on God, he becomes powerful.
—D. L. Moody

As I’ve written about before, the short version of our church’s mission statement is “Therefore GO and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 29:19). To be able to do that effectively, we pray for each mission. We also pray over our bikes and riders, that God will use these to spread His Gospel message, for His glory.

Each year we also gather in several different places for the annual bike blessing. These are photos from the bike blessing on March 15, 2015 at the Grand Canyon Harley-Davidson dealership in Mayer, Arizona. The prayer blessing was led by Pastors Joe and Tim of our Full Throttle Biker Church. I thought it particularly appropriate to make up a collage using photos from one of this year’s bike blessings to illustrate D. L. Moody’s wonderful quote.

Please visit Full Throttle Biker Church and Celtic Cross Ministries on Facebook to find out more about us.

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What does it mean that iron sharpens iron?

Another good one from GotQuestions?

 

Question: “What does it mean that iron sharpens iron?”

Answer: The phrase “iron sharpens iron” is found in Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” There is mutual benefit in the rubbing of two iron blades together; the edges become sharper, making the knives more efficient in their task to cut and slice. Likewise, the Word of God is a “double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12), and it is with this that we are to sharpen one another—in times of meeting, fellowship, or any other interaction.

The proverb also indicates the need for constant fellowship with one another. Man was not made to be alone, for did not the Lord God say this, even before the Fall (Genesis 2:18)? How much more, then, after the Fall of Man, do we need to come together with our brothers and sisters in Christ for seasons of fellowship and prayer? Clearly, this was recognized by the saints of the early church (Acts 2:42–47), who “devoted themselves” to teaching, fellowship, communion, and prayer, all corporate activities that provided opportunities for sharpening one another.

There are two points to make about the above proverb. First, the meeting of two together in the Lord’s name will always guarantee blessing. It is a means of grace that the Lord Himself promised—where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is among them (Matthew 18:20). Also, we see a similar meaning in Malachi, for those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard (Malachi 3:16). When we sharpen one another in real Christian fellowship, the Lord bends an ear from heaven and is pleased. Not one word about Him which brings Him glory escapes His notice.

Read the rest here.

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God is Looking for Intercessors

This is another of Greg Laurie’s great daily devotionals on his Harvest.org site. Why not browse his site while you’re there reading the rest of his post?

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God is Looking for Intercessors

By Greg Laurie

Then the Lord said, “I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. Now leave me alone so my fierce anger can blaze against them, and I will destroy them. Then I will make you, Moses, into a great nation.”

 

Moses had many frustrations with the Israelites. He had complained to God on multiple occasions about them. But when God told Moses that He was going to wipe them out, Moses pleaded with God to relent.

Read the rest here.

Used by permission from Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, PO Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

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Holy Spirit, You are welcome here

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I hope you enjoyed last Sunday’s Holy, Holy, Holy Praise and Worship post. I’m excited to see what God has planned for these Sunday posts!

Our lives are so filled with activity and work that even though we attend church on Sunday (those of us who can), do we allow ourselves to relax and rest in our corporate praise and worship? Or do thoughts of all the to-do’s on our lists keep us from fully worshiping and praising our Creator?

I’ve been listening to this song so much that it is always playing in my mind lately. Whether you are able to worship with your church congregation or are in the privacy of your home, allow the Holy Spirit to saturate your heart and mind while viewing this video.

Holy Spirit
(Chorus)

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory,God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord

The video below is a version of “Holy Spirit” sung by  Francesca Battistelli with lyrics:

If for any reason you cannot view the video, go here to read the lyrics, written by Bryan & Katie Torwalt.

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An Old Telephone

AnOldTelephonePTZ-25--AMP

The trumpet-shaped hand-held listening device is suspended from a metal cradle on the side of the imposing oak cabinet. While listening to conversation with one instrument, one would talk into the protruding snout on the front of the large, antique telephone. The old, original telephone is now mounted on the wall in my parent’s home. The wood has been refinished but stress marks remain from years of use.

By the time I was enamored with the telephone in my teen years, the communication apparatus had diminished in size to a small plastic box with an all-in-one listening and speaking hand set. I was physically limited only by the length of the cord attaching the hand set to the phone box.

Today I use either a cordless telephone or a cell phone, an electronic wonder the size of a deck of cards. I can use the cordless phone throughout my house and around the yard. The amazing cell phone seems limitless with the ability to send electronic messages, click photographs, or transmit and receive messages even as we travel in a vehicle. What incredible changes have occurred during the century since Alexander Graham Bell invented the first rudimentary telephone in 1876!

IncredibleChangesInPhonesPTZ-50--AMP

The concept of a massive network of telephone cables transmitting messages between countries, traversing oceans, and penetrating remote areas would have seemed unfathomable to its original inventor. Yet, electronics have now significantly shortened the distance between people and nations. The universal 911 emergency call system, providing immediate medical response, has proved an unforeseen adjunct to the telephone.

As sophisticated as we consider our present day system of communication to be, there are still dead spots with cell phones or power interruptions with land-based telephones. Isn’t it a relief that we don’t have to depend upon a man-made device in order to communicate with God? 

Do we operate on the assumption that God is in heaven and we are on earth, creating light years of travel between us? God’s Word dispels that notion: “Those who obey His commandments live in Him, and He in them” (1 John 3:24).  The Creator spoke earth and its inhabitants into existence. He walked and talked with the first humans in the Garden of Eden. Ever since those early times, God has communicated with man and encouraged His children to talk with Him. God desires to live within our hearts, creating a unique, intimate emotional and spiritual relationship.

Our finite minds misconstrue our human boundaries with God’s omnipotence, minimizing His power. We dare not expect God to conform to our human limits. He is the Almighty God, our sovereign Lord, and supreme Creator. We are His creation. God merely speaks and His children hear His voice. Because He loves us, God desires to fellowship with each of us. “And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). Not all of us understand the technology of sound waves, but we respond by talking. When God speaks through the Holy Spirit, we readily hear Him, although we may not fully understand the intimacy of the Trinity.

When God spoke, Elijah didn’t hear Him in the fantastic windstorm, the earthquake, or in the fire (2 Kings 19:11-12) as might be expected, but in a gentle whisper which Elijah clearly heard. God is not in the habit of shouting to converse with His children. He speaks in love and peace, just as a parent cradling a child closely speaks in a soft voice. As His children, we are attuned to the voice of our heavenly Father. “He who belongs to God hears what God says (John 8:47).

Some people may hold the view that love and verbal communication developed among men as they evolved into social beings. However, we are commanded, “Let us love one another, for love comes from God”  (1 John 4:7). God is the author of love and conversation, which He initiated with the first people He created and promises with all who follow Him. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

It is to our advantage that our conversation with God is quiet and reliable. The Holy Spirit can discern our thoughts; able to convert our mere groans into requests to God, for He hears everything we say (Romans 8:26). Occasionally interferences occur with man’s inventions, but with God there is never a loss of power or bad connections with heavenly communication. God hears and responds to every one of our prayers. “This is the assurance we have in approaching God:  that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14). 

Try casting your cell phone aside for a day and grasp the confidence that assures your connection to the greatest source of power in the universe. God is only a spoken word away, lovingly inhabiting our inner being, always waiting to hear from His creation.  Spend time in heavenly conversation, pouring out the needs and desires of your heart, tempered with praise and thanksgiving for your Lord and His marvelous works.

Over thePs46-10-StarryCometSky--AMP years, as the telephone has transitioned into more sophisticated technology, usage and maintenance fees have sky-rocketed, presenting us with the opportune time for conversation with our heavenly Father, with absolutely no associated financial costs.  We need never consider prayer a burden, reminding us of the towering, imposing antique telephone, but a joyful privilege with the One who loves us with holy passion. It simply requires that we express our emotions to the God who always hears our words and answers in His precise timing.

Don’t ever hang up prematurely on your call to the Lord; keep an open dialogue. And, remember; don’t do all the talking. Listen for God’s quiet voice. Prayer, like a good phone call, is the conduit for a two-way conversation. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).  In the stillness, God will speak to you.

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31 Specific Prayers for Your Children

One of my favorite sites is Greg Laurie’s Harvest.org. I receive his daily devotional emails, and although I’m a little late in sharing this because it was for Father’s Day, it is always appropriate for parents to pray for their children.
PrayForYourChildren--AMP

31 Specific Prayers for Your Children

By Greg Laurie
 …..
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.
….. 
Happy Father’s Day! For Dad (or Mom), here is a prayer list you can use to pray for your kids! 
…..
  1. Pray that your child will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
  2. Pray that your child will have a healthy fear of the Lord.
  3. Pray that your child will have a heart for the lost.
  4. Pray that your child will love obedience.
  5. Pray that your child will develop godly character.
  6. Pray that your child will love and want to live God’s Word.
  7. Pray that your child will recognize God’s voice.
  8. Pray that your child will love learning.
  9. Pray that your child has an appetite for truth.
  10. Pray that your child will love the things God loves.

Read the rest here.

Used by permission from Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, PO Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

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