Faith, Jesus, Uncategorized

The Mustard Seed

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He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 17:20

One of the tiniest seeds grows a very large plant. Mustard bushes at maturity, can reach heights of six to twenty feet with a twenty foot spread. That’s pretty big considering its small beginning. When Jesus tells his disciples to have faith as small as a mustard seed, he was responding to their question. The disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t drive out a demon from a boy. (Matthew 17:19) His answer was their lack of faith.

Seeds grow when they are planted and watered. Our faith too grows when we plant it in the firm foundation of God. Jesus tells us that even small mustard seed sized faith will cause Him to move on our behalf. The mountain is just the metaphor for whatever obstacle we are facing. Many times it can feel like an insurmountable mountain. It looks impossible. This is where our faith comes in. Do we believe that Jesus is who He says he is? Do we believe He truly can do absolutely anything?

Our faith will be refined our entire lives. Jesus tells us to start with a tiny amount of faith in Him, and what He can do to help us. He can do anything. Nothing will be impossible with Jesus.

I’m sharing a story that beautifully illustrates having mustard seed faith. I have kept this article for many years after tearing it out of a magazine. It’s edges are frayed and the paper has yellowed. About once a year I read it to remind myself what a little bit of faith can accomplish. Enjoy this wonderful story of one woman’s faith.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

The Mustard Seed By Patricia Anand

My husband and I had enjoyed raising our family in the San Fernando Valley in California. Yet as retirement neared, we felt we wanted to live in a quieter, cooler area. We began house hunting farther north along the coast.

     During the years that I had been thinking about our retirement home, a set of mental “specs” had evolved. We needed a two-story house (for cardiovascular exercise), a den/bedroom downstairs (to use as an office) and a kitchen area that gave me something interesting to look at. We wanted no yard work (after all, we had mowed a lawn for years).  Oh, yes, a crystal chandelier in the dining room, a fireplace and a water view would be nice.

     As I began praying for our dream home, the Bible I had in my hands fell open to Matthew 17:20: “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘move hence to yonder place,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” I thought, Yes, Lord, that’s right. All I need to do is have faith. On impulse, I went out and bought a pair of pillowcases for our future bedroom, some pot holders for the kitchen, and a crystal lamp finial for the living room.

     I shouldn’t have been surprised when one day our real estate agent led us to a house on a marina that exceeded my expectations. It had main channel water views from the kitchen, living room and master bedroom. Instead of a backyard, there was a large redwood deck! All the rooms were exactly as I had prayed for! The kitchen counters were 37 inches high-a loving Heavenly Father had even provided a comfortable working height for a tall woman.

     We went happily into escrow. Then a period of testing began. We had planned to sell a piece of property and use that as a part of the down payment, but it stubbornly refused to sell. We tried everything.

     One day, in desperation, we talked to the vice president of a small local bank near us. As we explained our problem, the man began to smile. He had relatives in the town where we wanted to move, and he went jogging on weekends over the bridge near our dream house. He knew exactly  where it was and what it was worth. He told us to pick up our “swing loan” check the next day based on our signatures alone. We floated home.

     We have been happily retired for some years now. I often think of the day when the realtor first showed us our dream house. For there, beside the front door, a previous owner had written in the cement: THE MUSTARD SEED.

 

*This Article is from Family Circle 4/3/01 written by Patricia Anand.

Faith, Uncategorized

A Treasure in the Trash Pile

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“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17, NIV)

On a typical Sunday morning, I sat in church and grabbed my purse digging through the cavernous interior for a pen. As I was placing my purse back on the floor, I noticed the broken zipper, worn spots on the exterior, and a few small tears. I said in my head, “Lord, this looks really bad. I need a new purse.” And that was it. I didn’t give it another thought.  

Two days later my boys had just arrived home after one of their many outings. Dylan let me know they found some stuff at the neighbors curbside “free” pile. This house had been vacant for years and the owner was there cleaning things out, and left a sign to take the free items. If you know my boys they don’t pass up opportunities like that. They grabbed some random potential treasures and came home.

Dylan said he wanted to show me a purse he found. I thought it would be disgusting, and would need thrown out. He hands me this large, black, nice looking handbag. Still skeptical, I tell him to bring it inside to get a better look. We start to look it over and see a designer name on it, and notice it looked brand new. I still doubted this handbag was an actual treasure and say, “It must be a fake.” But no, after a serious examination from both myself and Dylan, and some online research, we realized that the fancy black handbag was indeed a genuine designer, made in Italy creation.

After a few minutes, I was reminded of my tiny little comment to the Lord just two days before. “Lord, this looks really bad. I need a new purse.” It wasn’t even a prayer. Just me sharing a moment with God. He always hears and is full of surprises. I know it’s just a purse. And I know there are bigger, more important prayers. I have so many seemingly big prayers that I am still waiting for answers on. But in this unexpected moment the Lord said, “This is from me. I hear every one of your prayers. I have answers for those burdens you’ve got. Trust me. Keep praying. Keep asking. Enjoy this blessing.”

I would never spend this kind of money on myself, especially for a handbag that costs hundreds of dollars. That’s just not me. So it took me a while to accept this gift. At first I didn’t know what to do with it. I used it a few times then put it in my closet. About a month ago I decided to sell it, even though I knew God wanted me to keep it. I thought, “I don’t need it and could use the cash.” I put the handbag on one of those designer consignment sites and it sat there for about a week. Message received. I took it off the site and have accepted this gift from the Lord.

The other day I used my fancy lady handbag to meet a friend for lunch. On the drive there the handbag was on the passenger seat. The lord spoke to me, “Why do you have a hard time accepting gifts from me?” I felt so convicted. I’m supposed to enjoy this surprise blessing, but instead I’m telling God, “I don’t need it nor do I deserve it.” How many times have I done this with God? With practical blessings, material blessings, spiritual blessings. I have rejected His perfect gifts for me, thinking, “I don’t deserve this.”

Grace is unfair, and my awesome God is all about giving me and you what we don’t deserve. I will never be good enough or worthy on my own for His perfect gifts. But the gifts won’t stop. God is not a person. He’s not human. I’m looking for fairness, and worthiness. He’s looking out for you and me, no matter what. He will pursue us and our hearts until the end. Not because we are worthy, but because of Jesus, who is so worthy!

What gift from God have you rejected?

Do you accept His love?

Do you accept His forgiveness?

Have you accepted His free gift of salvation?

Maybe you’ve thought that you are not worthy for such extravagance. Guess what? You’re right. We are not worthy, but God is. Accept these beautiful gifts from Him! He loves you with an everlasting love!

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3, NIV)

Love you all,
Meghan

 

 

Faith, Family, Food, Uncategorized

It’s Only a Pound

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I am very happy to share with you my latest article on Mustard Seed Sentinel. I love to bake, and this pound cake is easy and delicious. I came across this fantastic recipe several years ago in Southern LivingInstead of a bundt pan, I prefer loaf pans. I use three regular size pans, and freeze at least two of them. They thaw quickly, and it’s nice to have a dessert on hand.

This new column has been so much fun for me. Baking and cooking are a passion of mine. Pound cake came to mind right away for June. It made me think of summer when topped with fresh berries and homemade whipped cream. Give this simple, yummy dessert a try. You’ll get a lot of smiles from this one. Make your life sweeter with some cake now and then.

Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your support.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

 

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/post/meghan-s-corner-it-s-only-a-pound

 

Bible, Faith, Jesus, Uncategorized

What’s Your Nickname?

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Meghan Magoo was my dad’s chosen nickname for me. It eventually morphed into Magoochi. Strange. I know. That’s how nicknames are. Whatever the particular name is, it’s meaning is something special to the giver, and the receiver. The message that’s being sent is you are special. Upon hearing my nickname from my dad, I knew it was a sign of affection.

We’ve got nicknames for our children, spouses, and pets. We love them, so the standard name just won’t do. An adorable name must do the job of saying, “I love you.” Bubbies, Bubba, Boo Boo, Dilly, Dilly Jo, Joshy, Joshaboo are just a few of the names my husband and I have given our sons over the years. These cutesy names say, “you are adored.”

Jesus was known to give out a few nicknames as well. He changed Simon’s name to Peter, which in the Greek means rock or boulder. Peter is The Rock. That is a super cool name. You can’t get a much better nickname than that. To be clear, Jesus Christ is the Rock, and Peter was used by God as a small pebble atop that foundation.

16 “Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:16-18, ESV)

Jesus saw more than just Simon the fishermen. He called him Peter because He was calling him to something different. Peter was the first leader of  the early church, and he didn’t get there overnight. It took a lot of mistakes and maturing in his faith along the way for old Pete. He thought he knew better than Jesus and rebuked Him (Mark 8:32). He loses faith (Matthew 14:30). And, Peter denied even knowing Jesus (Luke 22:61-62). But Jesus calls him to greatness before Peter was even ready. Jesus knew Peter’s potential and He sees our potential too. He’s calling each of us to something greater than ourselves.

The Son’s of Thunder were brothers James and John.

“and to James the son of Zebedee,
and to his brother John,
He gave the name “Boanerges”
(that is, “Sons of Thunder”);” (Mark 3:17 HCSB)

Once again, Jesus is calling them into what they will become. These two had a lot to learn as well, before they were up for the challenge of leadership. James and John’s mother asks Jesus to have her sons sit on his right and left in His kingdom (Matthew 20:20-21). The brothers also asked Jesus if they should call fire down from heaven to destroy a Samaritan village (Luke 9:54). Not exactly signs of maturity.

Peter, James, and John were the only disciples to experience the transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-9). With all of their mistakes and shortcomings Jesus still calls them to greatness for His kingdom. It gives me hope. I can be used by God in spite of myself and so can you.

There are other instances of name changes in the Bible.

Abram becomes Abraham. (Genesis 17:5)

Jacob becomes Israel. (Genesis 32:28)

Saul becomes Paul. (Acts 13:9)

These name changes signify a change in their calling, and identity. Abram, Jacob, and Saul each were given a new mission. They had encounters with God that changed them.

Have you had an encounter with God that changed you? Are there old habits or old ways of thinking that need to go? Do you have a nickname that’s negative? Maybe a parent gave you an awful nickname, or a sibling, or teacher, or fill in the blank. It was long ago, but that name comes in your head, and you believe it.

If you know Jesus as Lord and Savior, then you are a son or a daughter.

“I will be a Father to you,
and you will be sons and daughters to Me,
says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18, HCSB)

Sons and daughters of God are chosen, forgiven, set apart, free, accepted, loved, protected, blessed, and highly favored. Sons and daughters have a new identity in Christ, no matter what nickname has been given to us negatively. God loves you and is fiercely committed to you. He’s calling you and I to something greater than ourselves. Let’s answer that call as His children.

“See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16a, NLT)

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Photo credit: BRRT from Pixabay

 

 

Family, Food, Uncategorized

Check Out My Brand New Column

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I am so excited to share my brand new monthly column “Meghan’s Corner“, featured in Mustard Seed Sentinel. I love writing about my faith on here, but this new column will have a variety of topics, with my faith woven through. This first article is about my love of cooking. It’s something I am passionate about. Cooking is a fun, creative outlet for me, when I’ve got the time. I’ve included two very easy recipes. I was inspired by spring, and the fresh ingredients available. I used the cilantro from my garden for the pico de gallo.

It’s a blessing for me to have an opportunity like this. I am truly grateful to Joanne, the publisher of Mustard Seed Sentinel. Thanks for dropping in, and sharing in my good news. I hope you enjoy my article and recipes. Your support means so much to me.

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/single-post/2019/05/22/Meghan%E2%80%99s-Corner-For-the-Love-of-Cooking

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

Bible, Faith, God, Jesus, Trials, Uncategorized

God Makes Dead Things Alive

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Have you ever had a dream die? You were sure that “thing” was going to happen and change everything. But it never did, and you gave up. Too much time passed. Too much heartache. It’s dead and buried. You even marked the tombstone with the title of your dream. Gone forever. Or is it?

God is in the miracle business. He can bring dead things to life. It may be that the dream was supposed to die, so that God can turn around and raise it up again. Some things are just supposed to die. Dreams that are not from God should be left alone. Sure, we can pursue all sorts of endeavors in the name of God, that really have nothing to do with Him. I’m talking about the deep desires that He places in our hearts. The ones we barely tell anyone about. The seeds that He has planted.

We get impatient. We think, “It will never happen”. And so we walk away. We give up. We bury the dream. God does things different than we do. He’s God, and we are not.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
    declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts,” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV).

It’s easy to think we’ve got God all figured out. Like there’s some formula, and if we follow it, we get everything we want, whenever we want it. Following Christ means surrender to Him and His plan. And He does have plans for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11). And He does have dreams He gives us. God’s plans cannot be stopped.

“I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted,” (Job 42:2, NASB).

 

Lazarus

The story of Lazarus in the book of John is well known, and is the only place in the Gospel’s it’s told (John 11:1-44). Jesus gets word that his friend Lazarus is sick.“When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s son may be glorified through it,” (John 11:4, NIV). I can only imagine that Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary, were sure that Jesus would show up and save the day. God had a different plan.“Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,” (John 11:5-6, NIV). 

Jesus tells the disciples it’s time to go back to Judea. They think this is a bad idea since the Jews there tried to stone him. This doesn’t stop Jesus. “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to wake him up,” (John 11:11b, NIV). The disciples tell Jesus that Lazarus will get better if he sleeps. They thought he meant natural sleep. Jesus was talking about Lazarus death (John 11:12-13). He finally tells them Lazarus is dead and they must go to him (John 11:14).

By the time Jesus and the disciples arrive, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days (John 11:17). The damage was done. Death won and there would be no victory for Lazarus, or so it appeared. Martha went to meet Jesus, but Mary stayed home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask,” (John 11:21, NIV). 

“Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again,” (John 11:23, NIV). Martha and Mary still didn’t understand that Jesus was about to do something miraculous. Jesus asks to see Lazarus tomb. “Take away the stone,” he said (John 11:39a, NIV). Martha thinks this is a very bad idea since Lazarus body had been in the tomb for four days. She tells Jesus it’s going to smell pretty bad (John 11:39b). “So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have always heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me,” (John 11:41-42, NIV). 

“When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go,” (John 11:43-44, NIV). 

Wow!! Jesus could have immediately healed Lazarus when he was sick. Instead, he waited, even when the sisters asked for Jesus help. He had a bigger plan; To raise Lazarus from the dead. Your God-given dream can be resurrected too!

God makes dead things alive. He is the same God as during Lazarus time. God does not change (Malachi 3:6). What has died in you? Faith. Peace. Hope. Trust. Maybe the dream that God gave you died. For your marriage to be restored, a loved one who’s not following the Lord, physical healing, emotional healing, fill in the blank. What is it that you need God to breathe life into once again?

 

 

Dear Lord,

I lift up every hurting soul right now. You see them. You know them. You love them. Bring new life to their God-given dreams. The ones that died. You are in the miracle business. We love you, thank you, and praise you for who you are. Perfect, Holy, God.

Amen

 

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

P.S. The picture is from Elvis’ grave site at Graceland.

 

 

 

 

 

Faith, God, Jesus, Prayer, Uncategorized

My Prayer Closet

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Joshua made this card for me at church when he was seven. I love it because he made it, and because of the misspelling of “Lord”. That makes it all the more beloved. It shows the pureness of his heart. No spellcheck. No concern over spelling errors or perfection. It’s about the message, “Wait for the Lard”….I mean, “Lord”. He handed it to me with pride and joy for Mother’s Day. That’s the stuff that melts a mama’s heart. This precious card sits at the top of the bulletin board in my closet. I see it every single day.

My prayer closet is my actual closet. That sweet card sits among a few other little treasures that encourage me as I kneel and pray. There are pictures of my boys as toddlers, a picture of me and Tom as newlyweds, a few special cards from my husband, and a card or two from friends and family. It’s my hideout where I close the door and talk or cry out to God.

I have been flat on my face in deep pain asking God where He was. I have lifted my hands in praise thanking Him for His faithfulness. I have asked for wisdom, answers, direction, help, mercy, and forgiveness. I have laid on my back with tears streaming down my face. Looking up. Hoping for something from God to relieve the suffering. There’s plenty of room for me to stretch out. It’s all my space since Tom has his own closet.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:5-8, NIV)

The Greek word tameion means “an inner chamber”. This doesn’t mean we all need to have a prayer closet or special “prayer room”. It means you need to be in a quiet, uninterrupted place. Praying to the Father requires focus and no distractions, if possible. There are plenty of times when we pray in crazy moments of chaos. We can and should pray at all times. “Pray continually,” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NIV).

It’s important to set aside some time each day to pray. You can use a “prayer closet” if you’ve got the space, or almost anywhere can become that sacred space. When I commuted to work years ago before having children, I would pray in my car. Some people walk and pray. Many times I sit in my living room. Supposedly John Wesley’s (founder of the Methodist movement) mother, Susanna, would pull her apron over her face and pray.  The point is not where, it’s who you’re talking to.

When we first moved to Texas over six years ago we stayed in a hotel. There was no privacy, so I would go into the tiny bathroom to pray. Not pretty, but God knew my heart. He wants our heart. Not perfect, beautiful “prayer rooms” with the right Christian words in our prayers. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7-8, NIV) Be honest with God when you pray. He already knows what we need and we can be simple and direct in our words with humility.

I have several scraps of paper on my bulletin board in my closet. Each with a Bible verse I scrawled out during our two months in the hotel. They remind me what God has done in the past and what He will do again. That is a nice benefit of having a designated prayer space. You can personalize it with scriptures or whatever is needed to keep focused on God. I also have a list I keep written out of things Tom and I are praying for that’s taped to the wall in my closet. I cross things out as they get answered.

The point to all of this is pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. And then pray some more. When we quiet ourselves before the Lord we have the marvelous opportunity to hear His voice. Listening to God is just as important as talking to Him. Expect an answer in His time. That’s always the hardest part of praying, at least for me it is. I want an immediate answer. We have to wait. Just like Joshua’s card, “Wait for the Lord”. So many times I have been praying for the same thing, and waiting, and waiting. Then I look up and see that card with the faith of a child and I’m encouraged.

Love you all,

Meghan