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11 praying-makes-a-or-no-difference-event feeling-13 feeling-17

A prayer (Our Father)

From the book of Luke: chapter 11

Often we don’t know what exactly we should pray. What are we allowed to ask of God? Jesus himself helps us and gives us a prayer for our entire life.
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One day, when they were alone with Jesus, the disciples came
to him and said, “Lord, teach us how to pray.”
They had been listening to his stories and wondering how
they could follow his teaching in their lives.
Jesus sat down with them and said, “You don’t need many
words. Pray simply – don’t babble on for hours, like those who
think they will be heard for their endless chanting. Pray like this:

‘Our Father in heaven,
May your name be kept holy.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
Forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Do not put us to the test,
But deliver us from evil.’”

Simon, James, John and all the others sat there, listening to every
word, repeating the prayer quietly, trying to understand one of the
greatest secrets of all. They knew that Jesus spent a lot of time
alone, praying to his Father, and that prayer filled his whole life.
“You must pray and never give up,” Jesus told them. “Be
persistent!” He could see from their faces that they did not
find it easy to pray – and to keep on praying.

“Listen,” Jesus said. “Imagine you go to a friend’s house in
the middle of the night and knock on his door and say, ‘Lend
me three loaves of bread because an unexpected visitor has
arrived at my house.’
“‘Don’t bother me now!’ your friend shouts. ‘I’m in bed and
all my children are asleep!’”
The disciples laughed at the thought of the man turning over
and refusing to answer the door.
“But you keep knocking,” continued Jesus. “Bang, bang,
bang! Eventually, the man has to get up and give you the
bread, not because he’s your friend, but because he can’t stand
the noise. You won’t give up!
“That’s how it is with prayer,” Jesus said. “You must never
give up. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened!”

Reprinted with permission of 'The Story'.
Murry Watts, Lion Hudson plc, 2006
12 caring-for-somebody-event i-want-to-follow-jesus-feeling i-am-compassionate-feeling

The good Samaritan

From the book of Luke: chapter 10

What would you do for an enemy in need? The good Samaritan doesn’t need much time to think about this. He straight away knows what to do and doesn’t mind spending some money in the process.
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On another occasion, a teacher of the Law came to Jesus and
said, “Teacher, what’s the secret of getting into heaven?”
“You’re an expert on the scriptures,” said Jesus. “Tell me
what you think.”
“Well,” argued the man, “Jewish Law says that we must love
the Lord our God with all our hearts and strength and minds,
and we must also love other people as much as we love
ourselves.”
“Correct,” replied Jesus. “Do all that and you’ll find eternal
life.”
“But, Teacher,” said the man, “who are these other people?”
Jesus looked at the man, who was smiling and rather pleased
with himself. “Let me tell you a story,” Jesus said. “There was
once a man going down the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. He
was walking through the steep gorge all alone when suddenly
robbers attacked him, took all his money, and left him for dead.
Now along came a priest, but when he saw what looked like a
dead body, he crossed to the other side of the road and walked
on.”
The crowd listened eagerly to Jesus’ story, but the lawyer
shifted uncomfortably. He guessed this story had a painful
message for him. “Another important person from the temple
came along,” said Jesus. “He was also an expert in the Law,
and he thought it was wrong to touch a dead body, so he
moved on very quickly. Finally, a Samaritan rode along on his
donkey.”
The crowd gasped, because Samaritans were the most
unpopular people. Jews and Samaritans hated each other, and
they did not believe the same things about God. Why was
Jesus bringing a Samaritan into this story? Jesus went on, “The
Samaritan stopped and took pity on the man. He bandaged up
his wounds and carried him on his donkey all the way to an
inn. He gave money to the innkeeper and promised to pay for
any expenses as he recovered.”

Jesus stopped and looked at the crowd. He turned to the
lawyer and asked, “Which of those three men was the true
friend?”
“The one who showed such love,” answered the lawyer
quietly.
“You go then and do the same,” said Jesus.

Reprinted with permission of 'The Story'.
Murry Watts, Lion Hudson plc, 2006
13 easter-event

Jesus’ last supper

From the book of Mark: chapter 14

A last meal with your best friends, just before something terrible takes place. It happens to Jesus. And he even – rightly – accuses one of his friends. The atmosphere at the table must have been something else.
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The time for the Passover festival was drawing near, so Jesus
and his twelve disciples went to an upper room of a house in
Jerusalem to eat the Passover meal together.
Normally, Passover was a time for joy, celebration and
laughter when people remembered how God had set his
people, the Israelites, free from Egypt. But on this night, they
all sat quietly around Jesus, who was very serious and
sorrowful.
It was evening, and the lamps were lit. Jesus suddenly said,
“One of you will betray me tonight.”
“Surely it can’t be me, Lord?” said Peter, outraged at the
thought. “I’ll never betray you.”
“Nor will I!”
“Nor I – never!”
They all protested, every single one of them, including Judas.
“Surely you don’t mean me, Teacher?” he said.
Jesus whispered, “As you say, Judas.” Then he added, “Go
and do what you have to do. Do it quickly.”
Judas left the room immediately. None of the others realized
what was happening.
“I will never betray you, never!” Peter banged the table.
“Even if I have to die with you!”
“Peter,” replied Jesus, “before the cock crows tomorrow
morning, you will have said three times that you don’t even
know me.”
Peter looked at Jesus, shaking his head in confusion. How
could he – Peter, the rock – do such a thing, when he was one
of Jesus’ closest friends?

Jesus took the bread on the table and gave thanks to God.
Then he broke it very slowly. The way he did it made all the
disciples stare, because he seemed to feel the pain and the
brokenness himself, as if a great sorrow were tearing him apart.
“Here.” Jesus offered the pieces to his friends. “This is my
body, which is given for you.”
“His body…?” someone whispered. It was so hard to
understand.
Then Jesus took the cup of wine.
“This is my blood, which is poured out for many for the
forgiveness of sins. All of you must drink it.”
They took the cup and drank, one by one, as Jesus spoke to
them of how God had made a new agreement with
humankind, promising to forgive sins and show his love to the
world.
After they had sung a hymn together, they got up and left
the house to go to the Mount of Olives.

Reprinted with permission of 'The Story'.
Murry Watts, Lion Hudson plc, 2006
14 easter-event

Jesus is crucified

From the book of Matthew: chapter 27

And then, suddenly, one night, it happens. Jesus is betrayed, humiliated, condemned by the prefect Pilate, and finally killed in a horrible way: on a cross.
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The soldiers took Jesus into their courtyard, shouting and
jeering at him, pushing him and shoving him, spitting in his
face. They stripped him and flogged him. Then they put his
purple robe onto him and twisted a crown out of sharp thorns.
They pressed it onto his head so the blood ran down his face
and bowed down to him laughing, “King of the Jews! Hail,
mighty king!”

All this time, Jesus stood there alone without saying a single
word. Finally, the soldiers led Jesus out into the streets where
they placed a heavy crossbeam on his back and whipped him
forwards. Jesus struggled onwards, stumbling and falling. Then
the soldiers seized a man from the crowds named Simon of
Cyrene, who was visiting Jerusalem for the Passover festival.
They forced Simon to pick up the cross and carry it instead of
Jesus.
So Jesus walked on, followed by Simon with the cross, all
the way to the place of execution, Golgotha, which was a skullshaped
hill.

In that lonely place outside the city walls, the soldiers
crucified Jesus, watched by the priests and the religious leaders,
and by the crowd which had followed the procession out of the
city.
The followers of Jesus watched in horror as Jesus was nailed
to the cross beside two thieves and hauled up with ropes.
They heard his cry as the cross fell into the socket. Then
there was silence and the sound of the wind that was rising,
hurling clouds through the sky. The three crosses stood, dark
silhouettes against the fading light of the sun.

The priests turned to each other and said, “If he is the Son
of God, let him come down now!”
“If he is the chosen one, the Messiah, why doesn’t he prove
his power?”
“Yes,” said one of the thieves, grimacing in his pain, “why
don’t you save us too if you’re the Son of God?”
“Don’t you fear God at all?” asked the other. “We deserve to
die for our crimes, but this man has done nothing wrong. He’s
innocent!”
Then he turned his face to Jesus and whispered, “Lord,
remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus looked into his eyes and said, “Today you will be with
me in paradise.”

Then Jesus saw Mary, his mother, standing there at the foot
of his cross, and beside her was one of his closest friends, John.
“Woman,” he said, struggling to breathe, “there is your son.”
And to John he said, “There is your mother.”
John looked after Mary from that day onwards, taking her to
live with him and his family.

At about twelve noon, the sun vanished into the rolling
blackness of the clouds. Thick darkness came over the whole
land, and all the people watching, including the soldiers, were
filled with terror. It was as if the whole world had come to an
end. Suddenly, Jesus cried out, “Father! Father! I am giving you
my spirit!” With one last, agonizing breath, he shouted, “It is
finished!”
His body hung down, dead, and at that moment a great
storm shook the whole city of Jerusalem. The wind howled
through the sky, rocks were split open, and the great veil which
separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was
ripped apart.

The centurion in charge of the crucifixion looked at Jesus in
fear and amazement. “So this man really was God’s Son!”

Reprinted with permission of 'The Story'.
Murry Watts, Lion Hudson plc, 2006
15 easter-event im-feeling-sad-feeling happy-with-gods-love-feeling

Jesus is alive!

From the book of John: chapter 20

Jesus has died and his friends have laid him in a tomb in a rock. But when Mary comes to have a look a few days later, the gardener gives her a big surprise!
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Jesus’ followers sat quietly, overwhelmed with sorrow. Their
Lord and master was dead, nailed to a cross and then buried
deep in the tomb.
The disciples, the closest friends of Jesus, were hiding in the
upper room with the huge doors bolted. They were afraid, and
they were bitterly ashamed that they had run away when Jesus
had been arrested. Peter sat with his head in his hands,
refusing to talk to anyone. He had denied Jesus, and now he
wished that he, too, were dead.

Mary Magdalene wept alone, sighing, “My Lord… my
Lord… he’s gone, he’s gone…”
Mary waited until the first light of day on that Sunday
morning so she could visit the tomb and be near to Jesus once
again. She had sat there through the long night, waiting for the
daylight to come.
At the very first hint of dawn, Mary set off for the place
where Jesus had been buried. She carried her precious spices
and hurried to the garden.
When she arrived, the first rays of the sun were pouring
through the trees, and the birds were beginning their dawn
chorus. Everything seemed normal, except… the stone!
Mary gasped. She looked around, but she could see no one.
Who could have rolled the huge stone away from the grave?
Jesus was gone. Immediately, she ran and told the disciples.
At once, Peter and John ran to the garden and saw the empty
tomb for themselves.

They walked in, Peter first of all, crouching down, touching
the linen shroud that lay there, picking up the headcloth that
was rolled up nearby.
The body had vanished. But could Jesus really be alive again?
In wonder, Peter and John returned to the city.
Mary remained in the garden, crying. Then she stepped
down into the tomb, and there she saw two angels sitting, one
where the head and the other where the feet should have been.
But there was no body, no Jesus, and in her confusion she did
not know who these strangers were.
“Why are you crying?” they said to her.
She replied, “Because they have taken my Lord, and I don’t
know where they have put him.” She stumbled back out into
the garden and sat down, sobbing bitterly. She was crying so
much that she did not see a figure come and stand beside her.
The figure spoke very gently to her. “Why are you crying?”
he said.
“O sir,” she said, “you must be the gardener here… If you
have taken the body, please tell me where you have put him.”
“Mary,” said the figure.
She turned. She knew that voice. It was the voice of Jesus.
Jesus! It couldn’t be… but he was looking at her, straight at
her, with such love. She reached out her hands and clutched at
his feet, calling out, “Master!”
“You don’t have to cling to me now,” he said. “Just go and
tell all the disciples that you have seen me, and that I am on
my way to my Father – and your Father – in heaven.” So Mary
ran back to the disciples and told them what she had seen and
what Jesus had said.

Reprinted with permission of 'The Story'.
Murry Watts, Lion Hudson plc, 2006
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