Author Archives: Heart of the Nation

Jesus used down-to-earth examples when He compared the Kingdom of heaven to a tiny mustard seed that becomes a huge plant, a little yeast that raises a whole batch of dough, or one treasure worth more than all other belongings combined. In His hometown, people took offense when Jesus, son of the local carpenter and Mary, taught in their synagogue without the usual credentials. A friend named Martha wanted Jesus to tell Mary, her sister, to help with serving. Jesus said that Mary had the right idea by listening to Him with undivided attention. A

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Conquered and brought to Egypt as slaves, ancient Israelites endured before God appointed Moses to lead them to freedom, parted the sea for their escape, and provided food in the desert—all signs of the Lord’s love. Scribes and Pharisees wanted Jesus to give them a new sign. Instead, He said that the notoriously sinful people of Nineveh repented when the prophet Jonah warned them of God’s anger. The lesson still applied. To a vast crowd, Jesus told a parable of seed falling on hard, rocky, weed-choked, and good ground. When God’s Word t

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Pharisees demanded the observance of hundreds of rules and rituals. Jesus lightened the load. For example, He allowed the Disciples to pick and eat heads of grain while walking along on a Sabbath day. On the other hand, the Lord encountered people who saw miraculous works but failed to look at their need to repent. Now, that was a problem! Towns and even families disputed what to believe as the Lord ministered among Jews and Gentiles. Jesus taught anyone listening that abandoning the weight of sinfulness provides strength to carry the crosses o

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In the Book of Genesis, Abraham’s grandson Joseph got sold into slavery, while his jealous brothers led their father to believe that a wild animal killed him. Joseph rose to power and forgave them, pointing out that God can turn treachery to salvific purpose. In the New Testament, Jesus mercifully cured a woman of hemorrhaging, restored life to an official’s daughter, and enabled a mute man to speak. Comparing crowds around Him to sheep without a shepherd, the Lord sent the Twelve to heal in His name and proclaim the Kingdom of heaven at ha

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Matthew, newly called as a Disciple, invited Jesus to a party among tax collectors and sinners. They needed Him! When scribes regarded Jesus’ forgiveness of sins as blasphemy, He showed His authority by telling a paralytic to rise and walk. Although Peter denied knowing Jesus right before the Crucifixion, the Risen Lord forgave and said to keep on following Him. Saint Paul became an Apostle later and compared Jesus to an archway’s capstone that prevents the wall from collapsing. Jesus holds believers together as Church and provides the door

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God promised Abraham land and a long lineage upon it. Abraham believed, but his wife laughed at the idea that she would give birth at age 90. Generations later, Zechariah and Elizabeth had a son in their old age, despite Zechariah’s doubts. Their son, John the Baptist, introduced Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus acknowledged that following Him entails hardship, but He taught in easy-to-remember parables and sayings. He also rewarded faith. A leper approached Jesus, hoping that the Lord would desire to cure him. A centurion, accustomed to issuin

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Jesus challenged His followers to “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” It seemed like a goal for the day of salvation—the day that Saint Paul said to call “now.” God takes in hand what we give and makes the most of it: Perfect! If we store up shining treasure but have lackluster love for all but a few, if we fret about tomorrow until today has passed, or if we get wordy in prayer but stay wanting in faith, we miss opportunities in the moment at hand. When we find it hard to go the extra mile in helping or forgiving o

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