Advancing the Kingdom

Open Your Bible

Matthew 13:1-23, Matthew 13:31-32, Matthew 28:16-20, Ephesians 4:4-14, James 5:7-8, 1 Peter 2:11-12

Our King calls us to share in His kingdom work and participate in its growth.

Jesus’s parables are diverse in length and content. Some last for several paragraphs; others are mere one-liners. Whatever the length or topic, He used the metaphors of each parable to drive home the truth of God’s Word. Today’s reading includes one of those shorter word pictures used to describe God’s kingdom. 

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field” (Matthew 13:31). Throughout the Gospels, Jesus constantly shows us what His kingdom looks like and what it doesn’t. The upside-down kingdom functions in ways that are uncharacteristic of this world. God’s kingdom is great and powerful, and we’d expect a more appropriately sized seed to represent it instead of the smallest of them all. Yet Jesus uses the imagery of the mustard seed to show us what His kingdom looks like. It starts small, Jesus says, but it continues to grow and grow.  

Since the days of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19–20), God’s kingdom has expanded exponentially. Just as He charged Peter and company to make disciples, Jesus calls us to share in His kingdom work and participate in its growth. Kingdom work is not exclusive to those with official church titles; it is the privilege of all believers. What a diverse—unified, but diverse—group of people we are. We all have different gifts that God uses to promote growth and harmony in the Church body (Ephesians 4:16).

When we share the gifts that God has given us with each other and with the world, we allow His power to work in us, transforming all. It isn’t our efforts or inner genius that produce results. It is all God, working through us to share the good news of the kingdom in various ways, powered by His Spirit. 

Kingdom work doesn’t equate to easy work. We are kingdom people, but our bodies and minds remain tethered to this earth. That means sin, with all its devastation and brokenness, is still present and active. In the midst of this brokenness God calls us to grow together and bring His example to the world (1Peter 2:11–12). No, kingdom work isn’t easy work. But as my boss often says, it is worth-it work.

What gifts has God given us? None are too small, none too insignificant—like the mustard seed. Let’s continue to ask the Lord for insight into how we can encourage and challenge each other as we grow and work together in His kingdom.

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57 thoughts on "Advancing the Kingdom"

  1. June Pimpo says:

    Lord, help me evaluate my own heart, motives, actions, and thoughts – do they line up with what your kingdom is all about ? Am I proactively making disciples ?

  2. Lois East says:


  3. Aimee Rogers says:

    When my husband and I first got together we were trying to sell his house and find one we could afford. I told him with the faith of a mustard seed he could move mountains and if he didn’t have the faith I would have have faith enough for both of us until he did. It worked out in the end even if it was only for 3 years at that house. We have been here almost 2. He is just a country boy and not used to rules and regulations. We looked at 2 places today and both were awful. So maybe he will be happy with what we have for at least a little while longer.

  4. Claire B says:


  5. KimN says:

    “Worth it work” – love this!!!

    Lifting up all your prayer requests and praying you all have a wonderful day sisters!

  6. Cee Gee says:

    AIMEE ROGERS – prayers for wisdom and that you and your husband can show each other grace through this trial. Today’s read in the Mark study fits so well for your situation. Just click on the link above if you want to see it. Praying God helps you and your husband present a united front and shows you the way through this. Thank you for sharing this need!

    DOROTHY, I love reading the memories of your grandmother – what a legacy! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Samantha Jenkins says:

    This really stood out to me in todays reading “12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. – 1 Peter 2:12”. I think as a follower of Jesus I want to try go focus on helping others and becoming more selfless so that people see the love of Jesus

  8. Samantha Jenkins says:

    This really stood out to me in today reading, “

  9. Dorothy says:

    Whenever I read the story of the mustard seed it brings back memories of my paternal grandma’s watch. She had a charm with a magnified mustard seed in it on her watch. Anytime someone asked her about it she would tell them the story Jesus told of the mustard seed. My paternal grandmother was a very simple woman but she was a very Christian woman, I also would love to hear how she and my grandfather met. Her brother played basketball outside the church with my grandfather but my grandfather didn’t go to church at the time. My grandmother was the reason for him to start going to church. After he started he became a devout Christian and they raised their family in the church. True love can change people.

    Sisters be blessed and realize anything, yes ANYTHING, is possible with God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

  10. Searching says:

    AIMEE ROGERS – praying for you and your husband, the stress of decisions, effects of the immense grief you have both gone through. We have faced challenges with our HOA over the years and there has been a lot of frustration over the rules and restrictions – deed restrictions we agreed to before buying and rules that the majority has agreed to before or since – and some variances requested & approved by going through their process (unless written in stone by deed restrictions). Praying for your relationship, your husband’s frustration, options/allowed workarounds to become apparent and especially that you will both draw closer to the Lord.

    DOROTHY – thankful you had a great first day at your new job!

  11. Casey Evans says:

    Love the image of us each faithfully using our gifts, big or small, for God to work through and build his kingdom. Beautiful

  12. Brandy Deruso says:

    I habe faith in god!

  13. Paula Strong says:

    The verses in James really spoke to me. I kept reading through verses 19-20. It said not to write anyone off that has wandered off from Gods truth. Get them back. That really spoke to me because my sons have wandered so far off track it seems impossible. Thank you God for this reminder.

  14. Laurie Crary says:

    Angela and Natalie, some of my family has also been deceived by the world. It breaks my heart. I will write your names on my “please remember” list and lift you and your families in prayer.

  15. Kayla Albano says:

    Angela, your reflection really spoke to me. I am praying for your family, and I’m grateful to you for articulating some of my own family’s struggle in a way I haven’t been able to. Our soil needs healing, too. I feel like we are the children being tossed around, too. And I feel distracted even when I’m with God, too. Praying for the good soil that will come for both of our families in Jesus’ name! And the kingdom work we will do because of it.

  16. Tre'Shonda Sheffey says:

    I appreciate the parables selected to remind us about the part we play in advancing the kingdom.

  17. Tre'Shonda Sheffey says:

    Wow. I love that and will say that instead.

  18. Susie H says:

    @ERB, I highly recommend the book “Not God Enough “ by J. D. Grear . It’s a great book resetting our minds on just how amazing God is.

  19. Jennifer Ficklen says:


  20. Nichole Tost says:

    Please pray for my husband and unspoken. And for my daughter today something was really upsetting her about fears today. Trusting God to show them both peace with their hearts and needs. Thank you!

  21. M K says:

    Praying for your cousin’s spouse and daughter in this difficult time. Praying for you and your extended family. EOW’s are extremely hard especially when it’s family. They are for me even when they are not. You and your family are loved greatly. ❤️ Blessed are the Peacemakers.

  22. Kelly M says:

    I read a quote today that said “yea, hurt people, hurt people. But how about we focus on healed people heal people” and now it’s my favorite!

  23. Sheryl Gunderson says:

    Praying, BESSIE H. I am so sorry for your loss…

  24. free indeed says:

    Praying for you and your children, Angela White!!

  25. Mercy says:

    Salvation is by faith, but expanding the Kingdom is by works. Both are necessary and important. I appreciate the emphasis of Temeshia that Kingdom work is HARD. They are also very inconvenient, 100% requiring self-denial, leaving behind comfort zone to allow disruptions.

    But GOD!!!! the REWARD from God is incomparable to all the inconvenience and sacrifice combined. Honestly, I will say it again loudly, the reward (right here right now on earth) for us is soooo worth it. The presence of God, the response from Heavens, the assurance that He is there, the miracles that show up that make your jaw drop and keep you in awe for months and months!!!, all of this is just so amazing that I would say yes to Him again and again. After a long while, I started to realize that it is by His goodness that He allows the work to be hard. Our God is attracted to difficult situations, “Is anything too difficult for the Lord” (Genesis 18:14a), the greater the trouble, the greater He shows up with power, wisdom and solutions. He does not want us to settle in a comfortable small life. He wants us living large, for Him and for Him. God is always bringing something new, and the more I say yes to his assignments (at a cost), the greater adventure and greater reward He has lead me to see and experience. Mighty God! God can do all things, but are we willing? May we say YES. Baby steps. Baby steps. A mustard seed is the smallest (baby) size of all seeds, but it becomes the greatest among all. Just like a great prophet who once said, Then I heard the Lord’s voice, saying, “Who can I send? Who will go for us?” So I said, “Here I am. Send me! (Isaiah 6:8). May we say yes to Him also, putting fear aside, and volunteer ourselves for His Kingdom work.

    Praying for you dear sisters on your prayer requests. My heart breaks reading some of them. Covering you in prayers and lifting you into God’s merciful hands. Shared joy is double joy, shared sorrow is half a sorrow. God bless you sisters!

  26. Stacy Smith says:

    This weeks podcast was so good – inclusive yet exclusive. Hurt people hurt others. The church is made up of a lot of Hurt.

  27. Victoria E says:

    Bessie. I am so sorry to hear of this loss. I will pray for you and your family.

  28. Victoria E says:

    Rita Ann! So happy to hear this :)

  29. Victoria E says:

    Angela I will pray for you and your family. I hear genuine desire to seek God in your words, and I rejoice in that for you! God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. It may be difficult to talk to Him now but don’t give up! I believe 100% He can give you and your family a breakthrough.

  30. Pam Williams says:


  31. Pam Williams says:


  32. MARTHA HIX says:


  33. Gwendolyn Vincent says:

    Bessie sending prayers and condolences to your entire family. I pray God’s blessings upon his wife and child. Thanks to your cousin for his service.

  34. Churchmouse says:

    Sometimes I’m impacted by the Scriptures presented by SRT. Sometimes I’m impacted by the guest devotional. Sometimes I’m impacted by an SRT sister’s comment. Today I’m following the Holy Spirit’s call to pray for the requests that are mentioned and to spend a longer time praying for boldness in planting seed and a willingness to nurture and water the same at every opportunity. No more procrastinating and no more focusing on how I might feel if my sharing is rejected. Lord, help me to focus on their need, not my comfort level. AND, as I hold my 3 month old granddaughter, I pray for the Christians who will cross her path and I pray that they would be bold in sharing the good news with her. Lord, I don’t want them to be quiet about salvation. Her eternal destiny is at stake. And Lord, may we see everyone we meet as someone’s grandchild, daughter or son whom someone longs to know Jesus. Let us not pass by and leave them at the side of the road.

  35. Natalie Tilly says:

    My family no longer practices the faith or I think even believes. I love them very much, and sometimes it seems that’s what makes it so hard to talk to them about God. I fear their judgment. I’m afraid I’ll be written off or my faith invalidated. Lord, help me to remember that God is bigger and stronger than all the worlds problems and all the worlds glories, and yet needs only a tiny seed to grow faith in a person.

  36. Angela White says:

    I realized today what has happened to my heart and even my kids’ hearts. The soils of our hearts have gone bad. The thorns. We have been deceived by the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches. I don’t know how it happened but I know now what to ask prayer for. We have been like children tossed to and fro with all the doctrines and it’s been difficult to see through all the thick fog. Please pray for the healing of our soil. It’s become hard for me to even talk to God without getting completely distracted with worries and cares that I know I can just give to him. Thank you for reading this if you did.

  37. CeeGee says:

    TAYLOR, prayers for you on this busy day and weekend and for strength and commitment to follow God’s leading in ridding your life of the thorns!It is a privilege to pray with you on that. May opportunities be present to sow some seeds of grace also. ☺
    RITA ANN, praise God!
    TINA, still praying for healing for OLLIE and his mom.

  38. CeeGee says:

    I love gardening so the parable of the sower always speaks to me. Today I reflected more on the sower than the seed or the soil. In my garden I am somewhat in control of the ground in which I sow. I can remove the rocks, thorns, and other hindrances and provide the right water and nutrients to give the seed the best opportunity to prosper. In the world, however, I have no control in that but I am called to sow anyway. God will honor our seed sowing: we need only be faithful in sowing. I fear I fall far short in this call and pray for courage and boldness to do better.

    HEIDI, you, your husband, and the client will be in my prayers. How sweet that he heard your thoughts and is considering them. Prayers for clarity, discernment, and recognition of opportunity for ministry in this situation and also recognition of growth opportunities that God is giving him. Thanks for allowing us the privilege of praying with you!

    BESSIE H, prayers for comfort, peace, and healing for your cousin’s family. God bless and protect these who work to protect us.

  39. Maura says:

    It is so good to be in God’s word daily, I feel like today’s scripture has so much in it that we could spend a season and glean so much. I was really drawn into the mustard seed, as it is the smallest seed of all and produces such a tree that the birds of the air would rest in it’s branches. Matthew 13:31 And we know if we have faith this small we can move mountains Matthew 17:20 Praise God Sisters He multiplies the tiniest faith and His Kingdom is like this tiniest of seeds that grows into such a splendiferous tree. Love this!! Angie, love what you shared, how fun for those girls. I have read about a company and I don’t know the name, that makes dolls for physically handicapped children that look like them whether they are in a wheelchair, or missing a limb. I think sometimes there is comfort in having someone, something that looks like you, in that you feel you are not alone, and it takes away some of the shame we might feel in our differences that are really many times the beauty God uses in us to glorify Him. I love that you let them choose the dolls. I wonder if you had given them each one that looked like themselves how many of them would have traded as well. So interesting the different perspectives. Rita Ann, so happy for you and your husband. Praise God!
    ERB, I love Chapter 11! Right from the start we see the stump again. “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest in him. (we see this when John the Baptist baptizes Jesus, the Spirit remains on him John 1:32) the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord and He will delight in the fear of the Lord.” Isaiah 11:1-3 I have been learning about the Holy Spirit and there is so much to learn. This thrills me the laying out of all the Spirit has and as Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our Helper/Counselor we are blessed by these traits. Thank you Tameshia for your words this morning, so so good. His love poured out Sisters, empowered by the Holy Spirit, that’s who we can be today, His Light like a beacon on a hill.

  40. Maura says:

    Bessie, I am so sorry for your loss, will be praying for you and his wife and precious child, and your community. Lord God please wrap this family in your love may they find comfort in your arms in this time of such pain and loss. Lord pour out Your Love. In Jesus name I pray. Hugs and love to you Bessie may you know He is there with you in your sorrow.

  41. Christina Fowlkes says:

    Praying for your family Bessie! So sorry to hear this

  42. Rita Ann says:

    Praising our Holy Father this morning for his healing hands and love. ❤️ Many thanks for you prayers -my husband will be coming home today. We have an AWESOME GOD!

  43. Amy Zumdahl says:

    Thank you Angie, for sharing such a great example this morning. It’s very helpful for me.

  44. Deb Ireland says:

    Lord, help me to weed out the distractions in my life.

  45. Mom to many says:

    Praying for your husband Heidi that He can be light to his coworker/employee in this situation, for God to make His path abundantly clear.

  46. Bessie H says:

    Please pray for our family. Our cousin, a sheriff in Texas, was killed in the line of duty. He leaves a wife, a 3 year old daughter, and a devastated extended family and community.

    1. LeAnn Schmitt says:

      Bessie, praying for your cousin’s family and all affected by his loss. I’m so sorry. I live in Texas too.

    2. Pam Williams says:


  47. Jill Lee says:

    Lord, help us use our gifts and talents, no matter how small we think they are, to bless others and expand your kingdom today. Amen!

  48. ERB says:

    Reading about the mustard seed made me think of a quote from The Hobbit movie:
    “Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
    …a deep and important reminder, that it is our everyday choices, that truly make a difference. Which brings me to 1 Peter 2:11-12 all for the Glory of God!!

    The verse that really impacted me today was
    Ephesians 4:9-10 “But what does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower parts of the earth? 10 The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, to fill all things.”
    I have never quite looked at the ascension this way before and it really blew my mind!!! God thank you for this new look and insight, help me to glean everything You want me to from it. Amen!

    Maura, isn’t it so cool how Mathew 13:14-17 comes from a prophecy in Isaiah!!!
    I also noticed that the Lord’s hand was “upraised” in anger, and it also made me think of Moses having his hands held up for him.. and the battle was won, only when his hands were lifted up! It’s such an amazing metaphor, and another encouragement for us to live a higher existence, an existence where we see/hear only with our heavenly citizenship.

    When I read Isaiah chapter 11 this morning, verses 3-5 really stood out to me
    “and he will DELIGHT in the FEAR of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.”

    Delighting in fear is a new concept for me… I don’t allow myself to be fearful, because I know I should be trusting in God… but I do this out of my own strength…and it’s not healthy or honest.
    I think God wants me to let go, and let HIM… a young person recently said to me, “Emily, I don’t get why people are all so focused on being buddy-buddy with God… He’s a GOD!! We should be in reverence, don’t you think?” This young person’s question really hit me, hard!! I explained how God created us for a deep and personal relationship with Him, and it was important to cultivate that type of open and honest relationship with God, but that this young person had a great point!! How often do I allow myself to sit in reverence and awe of Who and ALL God is… a lot of times it’s easier to make God smaller, just so we can relate to Him better… definitely something that God is working on in me!! Anyways… just some food for thought…

    I hope all you wonderful ladies have a day full of blessings and answered prayers!!

  49. Kate says:

    The soil parable really stood out to me today. I have recently been planting my seeds amongst the thorns, being distracted by my daily to-do list. This reading has clearly brought this to my attention. I pray that God gives me the strength to rely on him when my schedule gets busier and busier, placing my quiet time with Him as my top priority.

  50. Kelly Gibbons says:

    Lord I am so thankful for your goodness of the word and the encouragement it brings in my life. My your word by my guiding light in everything I do, so that the light of Christ can shine and bring others to you.

  51. Taylor says:

    I have 8 patients lined up for today and then leaving right after work for my sister’s bachelorette party this weekend/bridal shower on Sunday! Busy times but great times for celebration :) I was convicted by the seeds in the thorns today. I have some things going on in my life that are stealing my joy and peace, and God is clearly showing me the way out… but I am stubborn. I need strength to allow myself to be “uncomfortable” for a time so God can work and move in this area in my life! Lord please give me strength to lay down this burden before you!

    Have a great weekend sisters <3

  52. Aimee DiCicco-Ruhl says:

    Praying with you

  53. Angie says:

    This year our bookkeeper and I spent a lot of time finding mini-American girl dolls that would look like the girls in my class. A couple of the girls had been reading the books and I thought in this year of so many things they could not do, maybe reading and writing stories about themselves as American girls would help. It was a wonderful idea. However, what surprised me is that when I allowed the girls to chose the doll they wanted to play with, read about, and then write about…most did not chose the one that looked like them. Some chose total opposites, others chose ones they wanted to look like, and a few chose the ones we thought they would. As I was contemplating our parables for today I wondered how often I do not see my self as I really am? Am I focused on trying to be the total opposite of who I’ve been created to be, do I have my sites set on someone I think is best but was never meant to be, or do I have eyes to see clearly? I also wondered how much of what my Father puts before me I don’t get at all (path seed). I get at first but do not retain or understand the depth of the lesson (rock seed). I get but other things crowd out applying to to my life to make a lasting change (thorny seeds). And…how many things, thankful are planted small and grow into a plentiful harvest. Once again this morning I walk into my day thankful and in awe of a Father that loves, a Son that redeems, and the Spirit who indwells so patiently and generously in my life. Thank you God.

  54. Heidi says:

    Hello all!!❤️ I am asking for prayer for my husband who is in a frustrating ongoing work situation (nothing unethical or anything like that..) with someone who feels burned from the past and has zero desire to be collaborative or helpful. My husband holds the cards and can walk away if he wants to. However, after talking though it I’ve come to a possible recognition that this is something God wants to use to help refine him and burn off some of the more “me-first/self-protect at all cost” tendencies that were taught to him from early on in life. He wants to step away from the situation because “I’ve grown this company enough I don’t have to deal with this- I don’t NEED to put myself through dealing with *this person* so why should I..” I gently advised praying over it and seeing it/reframing it as opportunity to allow God to demonstrate His ability to use him even in annoying circumstances. That we are not here for self-focus and maybe God is wanting him to take this time to be an influence in someone else’s life. I felt strongly God speaking through me to him to say “start praying to see His thumb print in *the client’s* life. This person is another creation from God and no matter how hidden it may be, evidence of Him IS IN this person. Pray for your eyes to be open to see that, and pray for how you can be changed even more into His likeness through this situation”… I don’t know. It’s a really really tough thing for him to purposely allow discomfort. So i really need prayers over him today and these coming weeks that his heart and mind will be more burdened with how he can be used by God in all of this, than how he can self-protect.

  55. Kelly says:

    Just as Adam and Eve were to tend the garden, so are we to tend to the things of the Kingdom! Praying that we all will find joy in co-laboring with God.

    Continuing to pray for you sisters.

    STRUGGLING – “When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me” Ps. 86:7. Glad to see your post yesterday. You are loved ❤