Jesus Cries.

Have you ever lost a friend or family member because they passed away (died)? Even though you know they’re with Jesus, it still hurts when they’re gone. When Jesus was on the earth, He had friends that He loved very much. These friends believed in Him, trusted Him and even invited Him to stay in their homes. One family Jesus especially loved was Lazarus’ and his sisters.

Lazarus had 2 sisters, Mary and Martha, and they all three loved Jesus very much. Just like most brothers and sisters, they were very different. When Jesus would visit Lazarus, he and his friends loved to hear Jesus teach. Mary liked to join them because she loved to hear Jesus’ words, too.

Martha loved Jesus, but she was always busy in the kitchen, cooking and preparing food to be sure everyone had plenty to eat. One day Martha got frustrated with her sister because Mary wasn’t helping her; she was sitting and listening to Jesus instead! Martha said, “Jesus, don’t you care that my sister is not helping me? You should tell her to help me!”

Jesus looked at Martha with kindness in His eyes and said, “Martha, you’re so worried about cooking and cleaning, but Mary is doing the right thing. She’s taking the time to learn from Me.” Martha knew that Jesus loved her and wanted her to stop being distracted by housework and take time to learn from Him.

One day, when Jesus was in another town teaching, a man ran to Him and said, “Lord, Lazarus, your friend that you love, is very sick and he needs you.” Jesus told the friend that He would come to see Lazarus soon and the friend left to go back home.

Instead of leaving right then, Jesus waited for two days. When Jesus decided it was time for them to go to Lazarus’ house, He told His disciples, “Lazarus has died, but I am glad we were not there so that you can see something amazing to help you believe.” Jesus disciples were confused. Why wasn’t Jesus sad if His friend had died?”

As Jesus got closer to Lazarus’ house, his sister Martha ran to Jesus crying. “Lord, if You had been here,” she said, “Lazarus wouldn’t have died!” Jesus said, “Martha, Lazarus will live again.” Martha knew that Lazarus would live in heaven but she wanted him to be with them now. Jesus said, “Martha, do you believe in Me?” “Yes Lord,” Martha said, “I believe that You are God’s Son that He has sent into the world.”

As they walked to the house, Mary was also crying and sad that Jesus had not been there to heal her brother. Jesus said to them, “Take me to Lazarus’ grave.” The sisters took Jesus to Lazarus’ grave where many of his friends were crying. Lazarus’ sisters began crying, too; they missed Lazarus so much. Jesus heart was broken over how sad they all were and He cried with them.

Jesus told the sisters to roll back the stone from Lazarus’ grave. The sisters were shocked! Mary said, “Jesus, he has been dead for four days – by now he stinks!” Jesus said, “Didn’t I tell you to trust Me?” So they had some of their strong friends push the stone away from the grave. Jesus lifted His head and prayed, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.  I know that You always hear Me, but I said that so the people standing here would know that I am Your Son and that You have sent Me.”

Then, Jesus said with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” As everyone watched, wondering what would happen, Lazarus came walking out!! He was wrapped in cloths, so Jesus said, “Unwrap those grave clothes and let him go.”

Wow! What a wonderful, TRUE story from the Bible this is and we can learn so much from it. Like Martha, we should never let anything be more important to us than learning about Jesus. Like Mary and Martha, we should always take our problems or things that bother us or make us sad to Jesus because He cares about everything in our lives. Even though things don’t always turn out the way we want them to, Jesus loves us and will always do what is best for us. Like Lazarus, sometimes Jesus heals people while they’re alive on earth because He can do anything; but sometimes He heals them by taking them to heaven. No matter what, Jesus always, always does what is best for the ones He loves. And Jesus loves us so much.

Jesus and the Rich Young Man

Did you know that Jesus loves little children with all of His heart? 

One day, as a great crowd of people gathered around Jesus, several mommies and daddies brought their little children to Jesus for Him to touch them.  But when Jesus’ disciples saw what was happening, they told the parents to keep their children away from Jesus because He didn’t have time for them.  

Jesus was not happy with his disciples for saying that!  In fact, Jesus said, “Don’t you dare keep these children away from Me!  I came for them – they are Mine and I love them.  They belong to Me!”  

Then Jesus took the children in His arms and blessed every one of them.

A nicely dressed young man came up to Jesus and said, “Excuse me, Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?”  Jesus said, “Why do you ask Me what good thing you can do?  God is the one who is good.  Keep the commandments that He has given you. ” The young man asked Jesus, “Which commandments do You mean?”

Jesus said, “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.”  The young man confidently smiled and said, “I’ve kept all of those commandments since I was a little boy!  Is there anything else I should do?” 

Jesus looked at the young man and said, “Yes there is something else you need to do.  Sell everything that you have and give the money to help the poor people.  Then you will have treasure in heaven and you can follow Me.”

The young man’s smile went away. His heart sunk.  What Jesus said made him very sad because he had lots of money and he loved all of his many possessions.  With a frown, the rich young man turned and walked away from Jesus.

It’s so sad that this young man decided to walk away from Jesus. We all like to have nice things, don’t we?  We enjoy our toys and our clothes and our houses and our cars and all of that’s okay; but we should never love any of those things more than we love Jesus.  Everything on the earth will one day be gone because things can’t last forever.  But what does last forever is the love of Jesus!  Nothing should ever be more important in our lives than Him!  

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

When Jesus was about 30 years old, He left home and began His ministry. Jesus’ ministry was to share the love of God, His Father, with the Jewish people, teaching them that they should love God and love each other. He also did many amazing miracles! A miracle is something only God can do so people always wanted to be wherever Jesus was!

But not everyone was happy with Jesus…the religious leaders were jealous of Him. These religious leaders were men who worked in the temple (like a church) and sometimes they thought they were better than everyone else. They sure didn’t like all of the attention that Jesus was getting.

Jesus loved everyone. He was kind and compassionate, even to people that the religious leaders called “sinners” (people who do bad things). One day, Jesus was eating with these sinners, sharing God’s love with them. When the religious leaders saw it, they couldn’t believe that Jesus would be sitting and eating with people like these sinners!

Jesus knew what the religious leaders were thinking so He shared a story with them. Jesus said, “One day, a shepherd was counting his sheep. The shepherd knew that he had 100 sheep; but when he counted them, there were only 99 – one sheep was missing!

The shepherd left the 99 sheep out in the field to graze while he went to find the one missing sheep. The shepherd looked everywhere! He searched day and night – he would not stop until he found his lost sheep!

Finally, in the distance, he heard a faint cry and he knew right away it was his sheep! The shepherd ran toward the sound of the cry until he saw his little lamb tangled in a briar bush. He carefully pulled the prickly briars from the sheep’s wool and gently picked him up. The shepherd was so happy that he had found his precious sheep! He put the little lamb on his shoulders and carried him back home.

When the shepherd saw his neighbors, he said, “Celebrate with me!! I have found my sheep! He was lost but now he is found!”

When Jesus finished telling His story, He looked at the religious leaders and said, “Just as this shepherd celebrated when he found his lost sheep, all of heaven celebrates when one of these sinners is saved. In fact, there will be more rejoicing over one of these sinners being saved than over you who think you have no sin at all.”

The Bible tells us that Jesus came for all the lost people because He loved them and wanted to save them. Jesus wants us to love others that way, too; to show kindness and compassion to everyone, no matter what. That’s how we change the world for Jesus! And when a lost person believes in Jesus and asks for forgiveness for their sins, all of heaven celebrates because that lost person is now saved!!

The Good Samaritan

One day as Jesus was teaching a crowd of Jewish people, He told them that they should love their neighbors as much as they love themselves. A man in the crowd raised his hand and said, “Tell me, who is my neighbor?” To help the man understand, Jesus told this story:

Jesus said, “A Jewish man was making his way into town when suddenly, he was attacked by robbers. The bad robbers beat the man until he was almost dead and took everything that he had. They left the man in the ditch to die.”

While the man lie there in terrible pain, a Jewish priest (a religious leader in the temple or church) came walking by. He saw the man and knew that he needed help, but instead of stopping to care for the man, he walked to the other side of the road and passed him by.

After awhile, another Jewish man came by. He was a “Levite”, also someone who worked in the temple, and just like the priest, he passed the man by, refusing to stop and help him.

A third man came by who was a Samaritan. The Bible tells us that for many years the Jewish people had hated the Samaritan people and the Samaritan people had hated the Jewish people. They refused to speak or even look at each other! But this Samaritan man had compassion on the Jewish man and stopped to help him.

The Samaritan man applied oil and wine and wrapped up the wounds of the Jewish man. Then, he placed the Jewish man on the back of his donkey and walked him into town.

When the Samaritan man found an Inn, a place where travelers could spend the night, he paid the innkeeper for a room so that the Jewish man could rest and heal. The Samaritan man paid for the room with his own money and even told the Innkeeper that if he owed him any more, he would pay him as soon as he returned for his new “friend”.

When Jesus finished the story, He turned to the man in the crowd and said, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by the robbers?”  The man said, “The one who showed him mercy.” He was talking about the Samaritan man. The Samaritan showed love and compassion and didn’t care that he was helping someone that his people hated. Jesus said, “Exactly. And that’s the way you should be to all people as well.

God loves everyone in the world so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for every person in the world. Jesus doesn’t care what we look like or where we’re from, He just wants us all to believe in Him and be saved. When Jesus lives in our hearts, we should treat everyone like our “neighbor” and love them like Jesus does.

The Prodigal Son

Today, our story will show us how selfishness can actually hurt us. Jesus is not pleased with selfish people because selfish people always think of themselves before everyone else.

Jesus taught that we should always put others ahead of ourselves. He even told a story, a parable, to His followers explaining how sad we will be if we are selfish.

Jesus said, “There once was a father who had 2 sons. The father had plenty of money and lots of land and his sons helped him farm the land.

One day, his youngest son came to his father and said, “Father, I am ready to leave you.  I don’t like following your rules and I want to live on my own so that I can do anything I want.  Give me my inheritance now so that I may leave here and live on my own!”

The young son wanted his father to give him his inheritance, which is the money he would receive after his father died.  But the boy’s father was still alive!  When the young son said, “Give me my inheritance now”, he was basically saying, “I don’t want to wait for you to die, I want your money now.” Isn’t that so mean and selfish??

This made the father sad.  But he was a wise man and he loved his son very much.  The father gave his young son his inheritance and the boy took the money, packed his things, and left for the city.

Jesus said that while the boy was in the city, he spent his money on useless things like fancy clothes and expensive food and drinks. When the people around him saw that he had lots of money, they wanted to be his friends! But these new “friends” didn’t ‘really care about the young man, they only wanted him to spend his money on them.

The boy was doing anything and everything he wanted to make himself happy; but before long, his money ran out – it was all gone. When the boy’s newfound “friends” saw that he had no money left, they no longer wanted to be with him.  The boy was all alone and hungry in a city far away from home with not enough to even buy a piece of bread.

Jesus said that the boy was starving and desperate for food but no one would help him. Finally a pig farmer said he would pay the boy to feed his pigs, but he wouldn’t get paid any money until after the job was done. The farmer gave the boy buckets of slop, or old, moldy food to feed to the pigs. Jesus said that the boy was so hungry that even the slop looked good to him!

As the boy was feeding the pigs, he began to think about home.  He thought to himself, “My father’s servants have plenty to eat and a safe place to sleep. I’ll go home and beg my father to just let me work for him as a servant so that I can at least have food to eat and a place to sleep.”

So the boy started on his journey home, but as he got closer to home, he got more and more nervous about seeing his father. He had been so selfish and mean to him! Would his father let him stay or would he tell him to leave and never return?

The boy didn’t know this, but every single day since he left, his father had been watching for him to see if maybe, just maybe, his son would decide to come home. He missed him so much and even though his son had been selfish and unkind, the father still loved him and wanted him to come home.

One day, as the father looked down the road, his heart jumped! Could it be?? There, coming down the road, was his son!  

The father was so excited and happy to see his son that he ran down the road as fast as he could to meet him! 

When he reached his son, the boy fell on his knees before his father and apologized. He said, “Father, I have been wrong. I’ve lost everything and I have nothing left to give you. Can you please forgive me? I am willing work for you as your servant to repay you. I just want to come home.”

The boy’s father pulled him into his arms and said, “MY SON IS HOME!!  I thought I would never see you again!! I am going to throw a big party to celebrate because MY SON, WHOM I LOVE, IS HOME!!” 

The boy couldn’t believe how much his father loved him and that he was willing to forgive him for all he had done.  The father told the servants to get the finest clothes and a beautiful ring to put on his son so that everyone would know that he was back home where he belonged.

When the older brother came in from working in the fields, he heard lots of music and laughter coming from the house. It sounded like a party! He asked one of the servants what was going on. The servant said, “Your brother is home and your father has thrown him a party to celebrate his return!”

Do you think his older brother was happy that he was home? He was not! Actually, he was furious! He even refused to join the party! His father came out to check on his older son and to ask him to please come in and celebrate with them. The older son said, “Why should I celebrate that your younger son is home? He left and took your money, but I have never left you. I have worked for you every single day but you have never thrown such a party for me!”

The father put his arm around his older son and said, “All that I have belongs to you. I love you and I am so thankful for the wonderful son that you are to me. But today, we can celebrate because my younger son, your brother, whom I also love so much is alive and safe at home. Please come inside and let’s celebrate as a family.

Both of the brothers showed selfishness; the younger brother was selfish by taking his father’s money and leaving home and the older brother showed selfishness when he became jealous over how his brother was being treated when he returned. When we only think of ourselves, we become selfish. But even when we act selfishly, when we ask Jesus to forgive us, He always will. And He will help us to show to others love by putting them first.

The Unforgiving Servant

Matthew 18:21-35

Did you know that Jesus was a great storyteller? When Jesus was teaching His disciples and the people who gathered around Him, He would tell stories to help them understand what He wanted them to learn. These stories are called “parables”.

One day, Jesus was teaching the crowd about forgiveness and the importance of forgiving others. Do you think it’s important to forgive others? Have you ever had to forgive someone?

Jesus told His followers a story to help them understand forgiveness. Jesus said, “One day, the king of the land decided to bring in everyone who owed him money. If anyone owed him any money, he was going to make them pay at once. The King called in one of his servants and said, “Tell me, what does this servant owe me?” The servant was very nervous as the king’s treasurer said, “This servant owes you over a million dollars.”

The servant was shocked! There was no way he could pay that money back to the king! What would the king do to him? Would he throw him in jail? Or worse?? He begged the king to please give him more time to pay him!

The king understood that this servant owed him a huge amount of money that he could never pay back. He heard the servant as he begged for more time and the king’s heart felt compassion for the servant. The king turned to the servant and said, “I forgive you. You do not have to pay me back any of the money that you owe me.”

“Also,” the king said, “you are free. You no longer have to be my servant. Go in peace.” The servant couldn’t believe it! He did NOT have to pay back the money and he was NOT going to jail! And he was no longer a servant to the king – HE WAS TRULY FREE!

Immediately the man went to tell his family and his friends how the king had forgiven all of his debt AND set him free!!

As the man shared his good fortune, he noticed another slave passing by and remembered that this man owed him money. The forgiven servant stopped him and said, “I haven’t forgotten that you owe me $50.00! You need to pay me now!”

His fellow servant said, “Please be patient with me. I don’t have your money right now, but please give me just a little more time and I will pay you!”

The forgiven servant said, “No! No more time!! I demand that you pay me back all that you owe me now or I’ll have you thrown into prison!”

There were several other servants who heard what the forgiven servant said and they couldn’t believe it! This man who owed the king over a million dollars was forgiven but he refused to forgive his fellow servant who only owed him $50.00! They knew this wasn’t right so they went to the king.

When those concerned servants told the king what had happened, he was furious! The king couldn’t believe it!! He had shown so much grace to the servant by forgiving him, but the same man wasn’t willing to forgive someone else? He had the forgiven servant brought in at once! The king said, “I forgave you so much and yet you are unwilling to forgive others? Because you are not willing to forgive, I do not forgive you! You have to pay me back ALL the money you owe me, over a million dollars! Take him away! He will be a servant until he can pay me!”

Can you believe how unforgiving this man was? It’s interesting why Jesus told this story. He wanted the people listening to understand that anytime we don’t forgive, we’re like that unforgiving servant. Jesus died to take our sins away – He gave His life as payment for all of our sins. If Jesus was willing to die, to give His very life, to save us and forgive us of our sins, shouldn’t we be willing to forgive others, too? I don’t want to be like the unforgiving servant, do you? I want to be like Jesus who loves and forgives.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.