The Disciples failed to cure a boy, and the desperate father asked Jesus to do it, if He could. Jesus healed the son’s convulsions and helped the father come to believe more fully. The letter of James reminds the faithful that unanswered prayers result from asking with the wrong desires. People noticed that Jesus’ followers didn’t fast the way the Pharisees did. Jesus advised the people to engage in fasting, prayer, and almsgiving at appropriate times and without fanfare. The Lord doesn’t want fasting while ignoring the hungry or coming

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Jesus had multiplied meager supplies of bread and fish on two separate occasions to feed thousands. Nevertheless, even His closest Disciples failed to understand what the Lord meant by His warning to guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod—people who rose to the occasion when defending the letter of the law and ignoring its spirit. Things looked a little brighter when Peter called Jesus the Messiah and received the keys to heaven. Although held responsible for our sins, we have hope in God’s mercy made evident through Peter and

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Pharisees and scribes focused on rituals such as washing hands and dishes before meals. A little dirt might not be ideal for digestion, but it had nothing to do with a clean heart. Meanwhile, as Jesus walked by, sick people lying on mats begged to touch a tassel on His cloak. Healing rewarded their faith. When a Greek woman asked the Lord to cure her daughter, she couldn’t claim ancestry among the “chosen people.” Jesus used the opportunity for an impromptu skit, saying that helping her would be like giving food meant for children to the

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When Joseph and Mary presented Jesus in the temple, a devout man named Simeon recognized the Christ Child as Light for all people. Years later, in the pagan territory of Gerasene, Jesus healed a man by sending all that tormented him into a herd of pigs which then drowned—a scary scene. A synagogue official needlessly feared that he had come to the Lord too late to cure his daughter. A woman fearfully admitted that she had touched Jesus’ cloak when He realized that healing had come through Him without anyone asking. When we experience fear,

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Somehow, Jesus slept through a gale and crashing waves until the Disciples woke Him in fear of perishing and, worse yet, fear that the Lord didn’t care. Calming the storm left them in awe, although they still lacked understanding. Fortunately, the Lord has patience, sowing the seeds of His Word to take root, grow, and yield more than enough to share. Following His example of patience takes cultivated faith because we cannot understand exactly how God’s plan will blossom in our lives. When erosion of our faith occurs, do we seek to add some

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Jesus let the Disciples pick and eat heads of grain as they walked along on a Sabbath day, and He cured a man’s withered hand right in the synagogue. His rejuvenating conduct on a day of rest never went against the grain of God’s purpose. Like new cloth that would pull at a tear if used to patch old fabric, or like new wine that would burst an old wineskin already stretched to the limit by prior fermentation, Jesus offered new ideas and showed us how to use them. Do we listen to Scripture with attentiveness to new relevancy of God’s Word

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In the Old Testament, Samuel heard God’s voice but didn’t recognize it. Eli figured it out for him. After John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Son of God, Andrew and Peter followed Him. Later, when the Lord saw the two brothers out fishing and invited them to become “fishers of men,” they jumped at the opportunity. People listened in amazement as Jesus taught, even though, at times, it seemed that He got carried away. For instance, friends lowered a paralyzed man through the roof to get to Jesus. First, the Lord forgave the man’s

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