Author Archives: Heart of the Nation

Frustrated with people refusing to believe without seeing a miracle, Jesus declined to go with a royal official to heal his gravely ill son. The official had faith that healing could occur sight unseen, and his son lived. When the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would become the Mother of Jesus, she went from fear to pondering and finally to faith-filled acceptance. Guards sent to seize Jesus let Him go, because no one had ever spoken like the Lord did. Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin, recommended hearing Jesus before

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A scribe asked Jesus to name the greatest Commandment. The reply to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength seems to leave no room for love of neighbor. But wait! Peter wanted to know if Jesus expected him to forgive someone as many as seven times, and Jesus said seventy-seven. Love overflows our hearts. Having learned of Mary’s pregnancy, Joseph needed reassurance. An angel provided it. People knew what Mosaic law required and what the prophets had taught, but they needed more. With complete lesson plans, Jesus came as Te

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In grade school, “show and tell” lets children learn by listening and seeing. Our Lord advised listening to the Pharisees but not following their show of hypocrisy. On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus had no sooner told the Twelve of His looming Crucifixion than the mother of James and John asked Him to promise her sons places of honor alongside Him in the Kingdom. Despite Jesus’ example, even His friends had trouble seeing how humble and lowly service fit together with greatness. In a parable, the father welcomed his prodigal son home in high

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Pharisees focused on the letter of the law. Jesus spelled out what it meant. Treating people the way we want to be treated will not always come easily, though. We move away from poverty, isolate the sick, dehumanize the prisons, and fear a stranger standing on the welcome mat. We can ask God for anything, but He knows that many things would leave us wanting. We can knock, even on the trapdoor of sin, but Jesus provided the keys that unlock the door of heaven for us. How often do we long for specific answers to our prayers and seek the Lord only

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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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