From One Tiny Mustard Seed……
Hi, I’m Jill McIlreavy,
Thank you for visiting Mustard Seed Blog – so named after the mustard plant growing at my front door, grown from a single mustard seed, given to me by my friend Alice who said, as she pressed it into my hand, “the Lord said that’s all it takes, Jill” (just a mustard seed) Unbeknown to her, that very morning God had brought to mind a promise, more than 20 years before, that He would lead me into the field of creative writing.
I took that little seed home and planted it in a tiny 5ml medicine cup on the kitchen windowsill. It grew and grew, and several pot transfers later it is now a flourishing shrub, in a heavy earthenware pot outdoors, reminding me daily, each time I look at it, that our Faithful God is always true to his promises!
Jesus is alive! He works through his followers, every single day. It’s good to share what he’s doing, because we can encourage one another that way.
And that’s The aim of Mustard Seed Blog – encouragement. I hope my blog posts never come across as ‘this is how you do it’ – as though I’d ‘arrived’ myself, because I definitely haven’t! Like most other people, I mess up on a regular basis, but I’m a work in progress in the Potter’s loving hands.
Isaiah 35:3-4 is the mission statement of Mustard Seed Blog: “With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.”
Who is Jill?
I am married to my best friend, David, have 4 grown-up children and 3 beautiful grandchildren. I was born Belfast, Northern Ireland and currently live in the beautiful Victorian railway town of Whitehead, on the North East Antrim coast. I graduated from Bible college in the 1980s, and although I’ve been involved in various types of ministries over the years, I believe there’s no more ‘important ministry’ in the world if you’re blessed with children than being a mum.
At the end of 2019, I published my first book, ‘A Mustard Seed Life’, and my second book is a work in progress. My personal time is divided between my passion for writing, the Bible study and research that necessitates this, the great pleasure found in designing and creating jewellery, and my most recent discovery ~ how much fun gardening is! During the first lockdown in 2020 I started my first flower bed. I now have several to tend, as well as a wildlife pond, greenhouse filled with various things at different stages of growth, and I’m in the process of transforming one end of our garden into a ‘kitchen garden’ for vegetables.
What I believe (very briefly)
I believe in God The Father; I believe He is the only living and true God, eternally existing in three Persons: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory; that this triune God created all, upholds all, and governs all. He is infinitely perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love; I believe that He spoke creation into being in 6 literal days. I believe He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men and women; that He hears and answers prayer; and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. I believe He is the Way, the Truth and the Life – He is the only way to salvation – by faith. Salvation cannot be earned through ‘being good’ or even going to church. It is a gift that is received by repentance and faith in Christ and his death on the cross and resurrection from the grave. I believe unequivocally in the virgin birth, and in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. I believe Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, the believer’s advocate and mediator and will return, to fulfil the eternal plan of God. And, of course, I believe in the divinity of Jesus: in other words, I believe He is God, and when He came to earth…..He was still God. Fully man and fully God.
I believe in the The Holy Spirit, who convicts the world of sin and gives new life to those who put their trust in Jesus Christ alone. He indwells every believer, an abiding Helper, Teacher, and Guide who empowers us to lead Christ-like lives. He gives us spiritual gifts* (see footnote) with which to serve fellow believers and reach out to a lost and needy world.
I’m a firm believer that we don’t just ‘go to church’, we are the church. The local church building is a place for a group of believers to gather for worship, prayer, instruction, mutual encouragement and community with each other, and to go out from, to take the good news of Jesus Christ to the world. Believers are not designed to ‘go it alone’.
I believe that the Bible is God’s unique revelation to mankind, and as such it is infallible; the supreme and final authority. No other writings are vested with the same divine authority as the Bible.
I believe in these two ordinances: 1) Water baptism by immersion, on the basis of a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. 2) The Lord’s Supper, or as it’s also commonly called, ‘breaking of bread,’ which should be open to every believer.
I Believe in the laying on of hands for the for ordination of pastors, elders and deacons. And also for healing.
PS: You will notice when you click on the highlighted scripture references in my blog posts that they direct you to BibleGateway.com
This is because I recommend the use of Bible Gateway as a Bible study tool. I have used it myself for years; Bible Gatway is so much more than just a Bible app; Bible Gateway assists with deeper study; offerering more than 200 versions of the Bible, commentaries, original language tools, Bible dictionaries, daily devotionals, blogs and many other interactive resources, suited to beginners right through to ‘veterans’ in Bible study.
Mustard Seed Blog’s website Copyright Policies are stated at the bottom of this page.
*footnote: I have stated that I believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit (as outlined below in 1 Corinthians 12) are available to us as believers today, (the correct but widely misused and misunderstood term is charismatic gifts)
Obviously this clearly means I am not cessationist in my theological viewpoint, although I have great respect for my cessationist and Reformed fellow believers. However, while I believe that the ‘charismatic gifts’, are for today’s church, I wish to disassociate myself from any ‘hyper-charismatic’ /signs and wonders type of teaching, (such as N.A.R or W.O.F) which I strenuously believe to be erroneous.
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”
I recently decided to combine my shop, Miss Maisie’s Wee Shop, with my Blog. At Miss Maisie’s, I create jewellery and gifts from up-cycled vintage and antique watches and discarded, unwanted industrial materials. In so many way, this is a picture of what the Lord does ~ He takes our broken, discarded lives and makes them beautiful: gives us “beauty for ashes”.