Mustard Seed

Discipleship Devotional Study Guide - The Parable Of The Mustard Seed- Matthew 13:31-32 - Growing As Disciples

Discipleship Devotional Study Guide – The Parable Of The Mustard Seed- Matthew 13:31-32 – Growing As Disciples

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32  (NIV) 

Small Beginnings

How do you feel about a day of small beginnings? That is a question that I’ve never considered. It takes a lot of faith to believe when something is very small and just starting out. The potential and possibilities can’t even be seen. Only the eyes of faith can see them. Take yourself for example. I sowed a tiny seed of faith in you. Do you think anyone knew or took notice? No, certainly not. Nothing they could see about me would ever indicate that faith would grow and flourish in me. Who would you say was most surprised to see faith growing and flourishing in you? That would be me, that is for sure. Isn’t it interesting that the seed of faith I planted in you was so small that not even you could perceive it?  Yet, there were those who took you on as a faith challenge. They had just enough faith to pray for you. They believed that one day you would turn around and give your life to me. Yes, they did. Look at you now; you have come from having no faith in me at all to being a person that I can use to encourage others to come to me in faith. Yes, and I am so very thankful for that.

Well, that brings me back to the question that we started with. Ask me again. How do you feel about a day of small beginnings? I’m not exactly sure what you mean by that. What if I gave you a small assignment? Would you take it on? I’m pretty sure that I would. That does not sound like a very strong commitment. No, I suppose it doesn’t. If I could have just one thing from you then I’m certain that I would take on whatever assignment you give me. What’s that? I would want to know for certain that you were really asking me to do something for you. Then it wouldn’t matter to me how large or small the assignment from you was.  It would be enough for me to know that I was doing what you were asking me to do. That’s it? That’s all you would need? Yes, that’s it. Why would that be enough for you? There has to be something that you aren’t telling me. Yes, there is. I know that you will help me to do whatever you have given me to do whether it is a small or large assignment. Yes, I will.

You used an interesting word there. What’s that? You used the word “seems”. Yes, I did. Tell me why you did? I know what seems small or what seems like a day of small beginnings may not be small at all. What do you mean by that? Well, when a carpenter called twelve men to follow Him that may have seemed like a day of small beginnings. But, in reality it was God coming to earth to plant seeds of faith that changed the world forever. Yes, it was. What does that have to do with you? You planted your seed of faith in me. Yes, I did. Now, you may want me to plant seeds of faith in others. It would be a mistake to think of any assignment from you as a day of small beginnings. Yes, it would. I am pleased that you understand this.  So, Lord I’m saying to you now, that I will do anything and everything you give me to do for you.

Lord, you planted your seed of faith in me. It was a day of small beginnings. Thank you for nurturing faith in me so that it could grow. Use me now according to the faith you have given to me, to accomplish your purposes and plans. Amen

For today’s complete 4 page Discipleship Devotional Study Guide click here:

Parables – Matthew 13-31-32 – Mustard Seed – 4 Page Discipleship Devotional Study Guide

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By Jon Ulrich © All rights reserved                                                        Copying not permitted                                                                                    www.GrowingAsDisciples.com
 

Weeds In The Field

Discipleship Devotional Study Guide - The Parable Of The Weeds In The Field - Matthew 13:24-30,36-43 - Growing As Disciples

Discipleship Devotional Study Guide – The Parable Of The Weeds In The Field – Matthew 13:24-30,36-43 – Growing As Disciples

He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. Matthew 13:37-40 (NIV)

Awake And Listening

It’s not your job to judge or condemn evil people that are in the world. Leave that up to me for the end of the age. If it were your job now, someone would have already judged and condemned you. I suppose so. Well, you would be right then. Yes, I once lived as one of your enemies. I was headed in the wrong direction walking away from you and doing evil of every kind. But, you rescued me. Yes, I did. How did I do that? I’m not sure what you mean? Did I use anyone to help rescue you from the darkness that you were walking in? Yes, you used several people, at just the right time, to help me to come to you. What did they do for you? They prayed for me. They showed me your love and acceptance by the kindness that they showed me on your behalf. Yes, they most certainly did. What else? They spoke up and showed me how I could have a new life in you. So, it was their prayers, love and testimony that I used to draw you to me. That’s right.

I have a few questions that I would like to ask you. Go ahead, I’m listening. It’s funny that you just used the word listening. Why is that? My first question is what would have happened to you if the people who helped you were not awake and listening to me? They would not have prayed, loved or spoken to me. Where then would you still be now? I would still be living as your enemy, walking in darkness. Yes, you would. What if they had been busy, judging and condemning you as an evil person? Their judgment and condemnation would have driven me even farther away from you. Their assessment would have been completely correct and their actions would have been totally wrong. Yes, and who would have won in the end? The devil would have won because I would have been lost to him. Yes, you would have. But, I would not let that happen, nor would the people that I used in your life. How fantastic is that? It is fantastic beyond words. Because your servants fulfilled their role as good seed in the world they bore real fruit for your kingdom. In this case I was the fruit of the labor that you gave to them. Yes, you were. What will happen to you now? One day, I will join you in heaven and I will be able to shine like the sun in your kingdom for all eternity. Yes, you will, along with all my followers.

One final question, but it’s a question that I want you to ask me. I know what it is. Are you sure? Yes, I’m sure. Let’s hear it then. Who can I love, pray for and talk to about the new life they can have in you? Yes, that’s exactly what I want you to ask me. That’s what I am asking you right now. Be awake and listen to me and I will give you your answer.

Lord, it is a good thing someone wasn’t given the job of judging and condemning me. I would have been judged to be an evil weed. Thank you for planting your good seed in me and giving me a new life to live, bearing fruit for you.  Amen

For today’s complete 4 page Discipleship Devotional Study Guide click here:

Parables – Matthew 13-37-40 – Weeds In The Field – 4 Page Discipleship Devotional Study Guide

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By Jon Ulrich © All rights reserved                                                        Copying not permitted                                                                                    www.GrowingAsDisciples.com

Sower And The Soils

Discipleship Devotional Study Guide - The Parable Of The Sower And The Soils - Matthew 13:34-8,18-23 - Growing As Disciples

Discipleship Devotional Study Guide – The Parable Of The Sower And The Soils – Matthew 13:34-8,18-23 – Growing As Disciples

But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:23  (NIV)

Fruitful Heart

What is the condition of your heart? That depends, I suppose. What do you mean by that?  I wish that I could say that the condition of my heart is always soft and fertile, like a very well cared for garden. What is it that changes the condition of your heart? How can you continually take care of your heart so that it will be like a well cared for garden?

I know that the condition of my heart can become hard. How is that? There are any number of possibilities. Can you name one? I’ll try. When I allow myself to be filled with pride my heart can become quite hard. How so? My pride tells me that I know it all. I can become so certain of something that I am completely unteachable. That’s not good. I know. In this condition I’m not able to receive anything from you or anyone else. You don’t want that. No, I don’t. I can’t tell you how many dumb mistakes I’ve made because I failed to hear and understand what you or others have wanted to say to me.

What else would you like to say about the condition of your heart? I know that my heart can be fickle and fragile. Can you give me an example? One day I can be so excited to know that you have a purpose and plan for my life. Yes, I do. I know, that’s what your word says. But, the next day I might be completely discouraged. How is that possible? It’s easy. Why is that?  Sometimes, I let difficult circumstances. delay or roadblocks cause me to forget the promise that you have a purpose and plan for my life. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve sometimes lived as if I don’t believe or haven’t heard your word.  It’s as if I haven’t taken a firm grip on your word or let it take a firm grip on me. This is not good either. I would have to agree with you.

Is there one final thing that you would like to say about the condition of your heart? I know that my heart can become entangled in the things of this world. What do you have in mind? It seems like I’m constantly being bombarded with the message that I don’t have enough. I shouldn’t be content with what I have. I should want or need more. It almost doesn’t matter what the “more” is. It’s the pursuit of this “more” and my lack of contentment that causes me to chase after what I don’t need or shouldn’t have. It’s this pursuit leading me to run in the wrong direction that does damage to my heart. What direction is that?  It’s any direction that leads away from you and all that you have for me. It’s any direction that replaces what you have for me with the things of this world. You don’t want that. No, I don’t.

What do you think will guard your heart so that you will be fruitful for me? Guarding and tending my heart all comes down to one thing. What’s that? When I spend time with you in your word; it is you that will guard, keep and protect my heart. Yes, I do. You will sow your word into my heart and mind. You will mold and shape my life by your word. It is you that will make me fruitful for you. Your word being lived out in my heart, mind and life will bear a rich harvest for your Kingdom and Glory. Is that what you want me to do in you, for you and through you? Yes, more than anything else. Make my heart fruitful for you. Yes, I will.

Lord, prepare my heart so that your word will take root and grow in me. Help me to hear and obey all you say to me. Transform my heart and mind by your word. Make my life abundantly fruitful for your kingdom and your glory.  Amen

For today’s complete 4 page Discipleship Devotional Study Guide click here:

Parables – Matthew 13-23 – Sower And The Soils – 4 Page Discipleship Devotional Study Guide

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New Cloth, New Wine

Discipleship Devotional Study Guide- Parable Of The New Cloth / New Wine - Luke 5:36-38 - Growing As Disciples

Discipleship Devotional Study Guide – Parable Of The New Cloth / New Wine – Luke 5:36-38 – Growing As Disciples

He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.'” Luke 5:36-39 (NIV)

Mismatches

What are some things that don’t go together? I’m not sure what you mean. What does not match? What doesn’t fit together? You mean things like a square peg in a round hole? Yes, now you have the idea. Let’s hear a few more. How about black shoes and a brown belt or a fool in leadership? Those are good. They say you can’t compare apples and oranges, I’m not sure why though. Plaids and stripes don’t go together. How about shouting in the library or laughing loudly at a funeral, those don’t fit the situation. You’ve given some good examples, how about a couple more? Cats and dogs are not a good combination. I’ve always liked oxymorons like jumbo shrimp, flight food, or military intelligence. Let’s stay away from sarcasm. Alright, how about one more? That would be good. Light and darkness can’t exist together. That’s the ultimate miss match. Yes, it is.

Why do you think I’ve asked you to consider what doesn’t go together? I’m not exactly sure. Take a stab at it. Well, I know that my old life in the world doesn’t match or go together with my new life in you. Why not? It’s kind of like light and darkness don’t go or can’t exist together. Tell me more about that.

When I started following you, I had to be willing to leave my old life behind. That wasn’t easy at the time. There were things from my old life that I thought I liked. I would’ve said they tasted good to me. If it were possible and if I had thought of it, I might’ve asked you to just make some minor adjustments to my life. You mean something like putting a few patches on the holes in your life? Yes, that’s it. How do you think that would’ve worked? Not at all. Fortunately I reached a point of desperation. I really saw the darkness of my life and how much in need I was. What were you willing to do? I was willing to turn completely away from my old life to begin to live the new life that you wanted to give to me. What did I do for you? You forgave and cleansed me of all my sins. Before I felt dirty and unacceptable. You made me clean as you showered me with your mercy, love and forgiveness. Yes, I did.

 You used an expression that I want to ask you about. What’s that? You said you “turned completely” away from your old life. Yes, I did. Can you say more about that? I’d be happy to. When I began to follow you, I thought that I had confessed all my sins and turned completely away from my old life. That was my intent. But as I follow you, every so often, I see things that don’t fit or match the new life that you have given me to live. Like what? I’ll give you two examples. How about anger and love or lust and purity, those combinations don’t fit the new life I have in you. No they don’t. So, when you show mismatches like that to me I once again have an opportunity to leave them behind and follow you. In this way you are making my life new, again and again, bit-by-bit, and day-by-day. Yes, I am. I’m sure you will continue to change me and remove mismatches from my life until the day we meet together in heaven. Yes, I will.

Lord, you are my Savior. Thank you for the new life that you have given to me to live as I follow you. You have changed my heart and mind, tastes and desires. The old is gone. The new is here. I’m excited to live my new life in you.  Amen

For today’s complete 4 page Discipleship Devotional Study Guide click here:

Parables – Luke 5-36-39 – New Cloth, New Wine – 4 Page Discipleship Devotional Study Guide

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By Jon Ulrich © All rights reserved                                          Copying not permitted                                                                        www.GrowingAsDisciples.com

Wise And Foolish Builders

Discipleship Devotional Study Guide - Parables - Wise And Foolish Builders - Matthew 7:24-27 - Growing As Disciples

Discipleship Devotional Study Guide – Parables – Wise And Foolish Builders – Matthew 7:24-27 – Growing As Disciples

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25 (NIV)

Two Choices

You have a choice to make, two choices actually.  What are they? The first choice is easy to miss. People take the first choice as a given, forget it and move on. What’s the first choice? Will you hear my words? That sounds easy enough. Yes it does, but it is actually quite difficult. It doesn’t seem so. Hearing my word is not the hardest part. What is then? It’s choosing to hear my word that is difficult. Why is that so hard? You tell me, what would distract you from hearing my word? How much of my word is enough for you to hear? Is hearing my word once or twice a week enough for you? Do you want all my word to be spoon fed to you by others or do you want to be able to feast on it for yourself? If my word were more valuable than silver or gold, which it is, how much of it would you want? How many, do you think, really desire my word and value it above silver, gold or anything else? You certainly have a lot of questions for me. Yes I do, tell me what you think.

I think that your word is not valued as it should be.  There have been times in my life when I have let just about anything distract me from prayerfully reading and hearing your word.   It pains me to know that I’ve spent more time watching television or playing on the computer than I have spent prayerfully reading and hearing your word. That’s like trading garbage for gold.  Yes, it is.  Why has all this changed for you? You led me to carve out a specific time and place to meet with you in your word everyday.   That’s an interesting choice of words. Why is that?  Why did you use the word carve?  It took a real rock solid commitment to set apart an uninterrupted time to meet with you. What helped you do that? I realized that our special time together would only be consistent if nothing was allowed to compete with it.  I knew that I should start very small and let our time together grow over time.  That’s why you chose to meet with me just before you went to bed every night?  Yes, I knew that nothing would compete with that time and place. That became a sacred time and place for you didn’t it? Yes, it did. Have other things tried to compete with this time that you have set apart to meet with me? No, not really.  It’s like there has been a wall of protection over our time together that distractions of any kind are not allowed to penetrate.  Very quickly our meeting together became an automatic pattern that is as regular as clockwork.  Actually, as we’ve met together, my hunger and desire to spend more time with you has grown. Yes, it has.

Have you noticed anything about the second choice? What’s that? It’s putting my word into practice. Yes, actually I have. What’s that? I’ve noticed that when I’m hearing and praying over your word; obeying you and putting your word into practice has become the desire of my heart. I don’t obey you because I should or because I must.  You don’t?  Why do you obey me? I obey you and put your word into into practice because I love you. I want to do whatever pleases you. The more I’m with you in your word the less interest or attraction I have for the things of this world. You have been transforming my heart and mind by your word. Your word is helping me to think your thoughts. You are molding and shaping my life by your word.  You are making me into who you want me to be by your word. Yes, I am. Your word has become a firm foundation for me.  It is now a wall of protection around me.  I have discovered that your word really is more valuable than silver or gold. Yes it is.  Continue hearing my words and putting them into practice. Yes Lord, I will.

Lord, in the past I have allowed shaky materials to be the foundation of my life. These will not help me to withstand the storms of life. Give me a firm foundation that is built on your word. Help me to continue to come to you to hear your word and to put it into practice. Amen

For today’s complete 4 page Discipleship Devotional Study Guide click here:

Parables – Matthew 7-24-25 – Wise And Foolish Builders – 4 Page Discipleship Devotional Study Guide

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By Jon Ulrich © All rights reserved                                                                    Copying not permitted                                                                        www.GrowingAsDisciples.com

Lamp Under A Bowl

Discipleship Devotional Study Guide - Lamp Under A Bowl - Matthew 5:14-16 - Growing As Disciples

Discipleship Devotional Study Guide – Lamp Under A Bowl – Matthew 5:14-16 – Growing As Disciples

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16  (NIV)

 Say Yes

Do you know who you are? Do you know what I want to do in you and through you? Do you know what is the purpose of your life? Those are very significant questions that aren’t that easy to answer. Would you be willing to help me out with the answers? Yes, I would. In fact the answers can’t and won’t come from you. If they did then they wouldn’t be correct. So, it is a good thing that you’re relying on me for the answers.

You are the light of the world. You know why that is possible and true? I think so. Tell me what you think. I am the light of the world because I am your child. A child is like his parents. You are my Father. You rescued me from the darkness that I was living in. You saved, forgave and cleansed me through all that Christ did for me on the cross. You sent your Holy Spirit to live inside of me. Now, day-by-day, you are transforming me and making me more like you. Each day I shine a little brighter for you as I allow you to mold, shape and change my life. Yes, that is exactly what I’m doing in and through you and for you.

As I change you and you shine more brightly, what am I leading you to do for me? You are leading me to let the light that is you, in me, shine out into the darkness of this world. Yes, and how does that actually happened? It happens when I say yes to what you’re asking me to do for you. What happens when you say no to me and just sit around and do nothing for me? That would be like putting my light under a bucket or bowl. What would happen then? My light would grow very dim and others would not see that your light was shining through me. Can you see how my light will shine even brighter through you as you serve me? Yes, I can. The light that you give me is to be shared; it is not meant to be kept hidden or secret. It is for all to see.

What will happen to others when they see my light shining through you? They will see the good things that you have done in me for me and through me. They will know that it has been you at work. They will want to give thanks and praise to you because you are the source of light shining through me.  Yes, I am. What else will others want to do because of what I’ve done in you? They will want to give their lives to you as well. They will want to love you, follow you and serve you. Yes they will.

What then would you say is the purpose of your life? The purpose of my life is to say yes to you so that I can shine brightly for you and bring glory to you. That is what I will do with all my heart and mind and soul because I love you. I am your child. I am all yours. Yes, you are. 

Lord, help me to say yes to all that you want to do for me, in me and through my life so that I can shine brightly in the world. Let all the good deeds that you lead and enable me to do bring thanks, praise, honor, and glory to you. Amen

For today’s complete 4 page Discipleship Devotional study guide click here:

Parables – Matthew 5-14-16 – Lamp Under A Bowl – 4 Page Discipleship Devotional Study Guide

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Individual users may save the Discipleship Devotional Study Guide to their desktop for private use.  All the blanks in the study guides are fields that allow typed responses. To use the fields on the study guide you may need to open the guide with a free version of adobe reader.

By Jon Ulrich © All rights reserved                                                                    Copying not permitted                                                                        www.GrowingAsDisciples.com