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Pastor Nelda’s Notes – July 18

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Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed uses one of the most extreme examples of growth – the mustard seed. The smallest of seeds that becomes the largest of garden plants. Without proper care and attention, the seedling will fade away. … So too is the growth of our faith.

Whether you’re a gardener or not, you’ve probably planted seeds at some point in your life. Most gardeners are fascinated to see the first tender sprouts poke through the soil and reach for the sun. It’s similar to watching our children grow, they change everyday right before our eyes. The daily growth is magical to watch until, at last, they grow into young adults, and the fruit of the plant is ready to be harvested or the flower blooms in brilliant color. So, what can we learn from gardening about growing Mustard Seed Faith?

Without proper attention and care, the plant will fade away. But with proper care and nurturing, the reward is a hearty, thriving plant that sustains life.Our faith, if nurtured and cared for for through prayer and studying God’s word will grow to what is said in Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. Our faith is so strong that we have that blessed assurance that God will take care of everything. All we have to do is have faith and trust God. Faith starts as a tiny idea, a concept we are taught as children, or maybe even in adulthood. It’s an abstract theory. Nothing we can touch or feel or smell.
How do we nurture it? Are we able to impact its growth?
The seed needs care and attention. It needs water. It needs sunlight. It needs to be weeded and fed. So how do we nurture our tiny seed of faith into a beautiful, life-sustaining plant that leads us to the Father?
Our walk with God is a choice. It’s a decision we make as to whether we care enough to make the effort it takes to get to know Him and nurture a relationship with Him. It’s our choice what friends will get a piece of our free time. We choose whether we try hard at our job. We choose all the priorities in our lives. The choice is ours. No one can force or convince us if we don’t care enough to take the first step, to put that seed in the soil.
How much do you care to get to know God?
A relationship can’t grow without dedicated time and effort. Commitment.
Make a choice to walk with God. That means treating Him as a mentor, a coach, a parent, a friend. Talk to Him often. Ask Him to help you. Thank Him. See God’s majesty in everyday life. See God’s majesty in sunrises and sunsets, in daily miracles of birth and the stunning wonders in our oceans. See the beauty that surrounds us and thank God for it. Giving God your daily mindfulness will help you get to know Him and your seedling faith will start reaching up to the sun.
Water sustains life. How do you water your faith? Listen to God. God normally speaks very quietly and sometimes just gives a gentle nudge. Sometimes God sends us messages through the actions of people, sometimes He will speak directly to your heart with no words.
It can be hard to discern God’s messages, but one thing is certain. You have to listen very closely. Pay attention and God will be known to you.
Study and Learn. Read the Bible. Go to Bible study. Read books by notable Christians. Learn about Christianity and its history.

Oh, the beautiful warmth of sunlight! How do we add sunshine to our journey of faith?
Sunlight represents the positive influences we choose in our lives. Those who are like-minded Christians that we either know personally, or get to know in our Bible study, or meet in Church. Even social media can help us mingle within Christian groups. Hold tight to positive influences you find. Their sunlight will strengthen your stem and deepen your roots.
Don’t let your sprouting plant get choked out by weeds! Like we discussed in the Parable of the Sower, Weeds are darkness, such as doubt, fear and the negative influences in our life. When in doubt, seek out more sunshine. Find a mentor who can help you when you’re struggling, a trusted friend, or your pastor. Weed out the negative influences, you know who they are. It doesn’t matter whether they are doubters who crit to icize you or fellow Christians who aren’t walking the talk.
Weeds can be anywhere. Ask God to help you discern whether you are faced with a weed or not. The beautiful part of weeding is that one little tug will destroy the weed and you’ll have nothing stopping your faith from growing again.
FEEDHow do you feed your plant to sustain its growth? Pray. Prayer is a scoop of Miracle Gro. Pray without ceasing. Make praying a habit. 
Plan at least one dedicated time each day for quiet reflection and a prayerful conversation with God. As you’re rushing through your hectic day, you can also find many opportunities for an impromptu ‘Thank you’ for the countless blessings you will discover in your life, or to whisper short prayers for those who need it, such as for your sick co-worker or people struggling in a natural disaster.
I don’t know where the easiest place will be for you to offer prayer. Maybe it’s when you’re lying quietly in bed or on your porch, or a specially designed prayer closet. Make time for prayer, and be sure it includes thanksgiving for the blessings you do have.
Prayer will bring your heart closer to God. The more you know Him, the stronger your faith will become. 
NURTURE YOUR FAITH AND THE REWARD WILL BE GREAT, AS JESUS PROMISED. Before you know it, your tiny mustard seed will have flourished into a big beautiful bush, giving you a glimpse of the majesty and beauty that awaits us for all eternity.

Join us for our live streamed Worship Services on Sunday mornings at 11:00 a.m.
“I don’t know how, but I know WHO!”Peace, Pastor Nelda
Reverend Dr. Nelda Barrett Murraine is Pastor at First United Methodist Church PO Box 146 – 229 W 4th St. – Kennedale, TX 76060

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