ZMI Family Ministries International > Daily Dose of Encouragement

Jesus Wept

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept. So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’”
John 11: 33-36 ESV

I have always remembered John 11:35 ESV “Jesus wept” as the shortest verse in the Bible. When I was a child, if a Sunday school teacher asked us to memorize a verse, someone would jokingly suggest that one because it was the easiest. Also, the question ‘What is the shortest verse of the Bible?’ would come up in trivia, and I always knew the answer! Recently though, this verse has given me a deeper meaning, and it has caused me to see the two words “Jesus wept” in a whole new way.

One evening last fall after the kids were tucked in bed, I was watching TV with my husband, and my phone rang. We both looked at each other because it was the time of night when no one usually calls, and we all know that feeling of dread that washes over us when this happens. I answered the phone and received the shocking news that a young family member of mine had died tragically. This type of life event usually causes us to stop our daily routines and spend time reflecting on questions that we do not normally think about. Over the next days as I drove 18 hours to the funeral and spent time grieving with my family, I struggled with this news and tried to find answers. Through it all I asked God ‘Why weren’t you there?’

In John 11, Mary and her sister Martha had lost their brother, and when Jesus arrived, they both said to him “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21 and 32 ESV). It strikes me that they asked the same question that I did. Jesus responded in a very human way. He knew God’s plan and what was about to happen, yet he was deeply moved and wept. This scene in the Bible reflects how Jesus is both God and man. He had flesh like us and therefore knew sorrow like we do, and yet he is God and we can go to him for comfort when we are grieving.

The words “Jesus wept” are no longer the answer to a trivia question to me. These two powerful words mean that when I am struggling (and we will experience tragedy on earth), that Jesus is with me and he knows grief too. Jesus is both my savior and comforter, and I am not alone.

Your sister in Christ,

Erin Tabor

On the Way

“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Mark 10:17

During a recent trip to Cincinnati, a twenty-something lady sat down beside me on the plane. After a brief response to my greeting, she connected her earphones to her mobile device and put them in her ears. Shortly after takeoff, she added dark glasses to her travel attire and remained plugged in—or should I say out—for the duration of the flight.

I might have been offended had I not been familiar with this hallmark of our day which is fast becoming the norm. I wondered who she was, where she was going, and what her felt need was. We all have them, you know.

On my next connecting flight, a forty-something lady was my seat mate. After our initial greetings, she revealed she was on her way home to offer her final good-bye to her father who’d passed away the day before. For the next hour, we shared portions of our lives, looked at family photos and agreed to become Facebook friends. As we prepared to depart, she thanked me for the conversation that had kept her grief at bay.

“Ships that pass in the night” is a line from a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem penned over 150 years ago. You’ve probably heard and used this phrase yourself as you’ve brushed shoulders with someone while you were both on the way to your respective places.

The metaphor speaks of two sailing vessels that pass in the night and shine their lights to acknowledge one another’s presence. After passing, they slip into the darkness, never to see the other again.

The Enemy of this world is a master deceiver. He uses multitudes of devices to create division and separate us from the people God places around us on the way to where we’re going. Satan will stop at nothing to keep us from shining a light into someone’s darkness. Our lights may appear dim. What we do may seem insignificant. But the simple offering of our presence may be all someone needs to keep their flickering flame alive.

Daily, Jesus met the needs of people. Some he met while on the way to the next place. His presence always meant life for their souls.

Who will God place along your path today? On the way, listen to the gentle whisper of his Holy Spirit. Acknowledge someone’s presence with yours. Shine a light into their darkness. Your paths may never cross again.

Starr Ayers



Photo credit: Pixabay image

Hanging On Every Word

“And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him, and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said.”
 Luke 19:47-48 NASB

Over the past few months, my prayer life has consisted of intense intercession for specific friends and loved ones. They’ve experienced major hardships and sufferings such as becoming a widow before the age of 50; ministry friction due to inappropriate actions; grievous marital issues; and significant health concerns. Truth be known, interceding for others can be heart-wrenching and exhausting.

God’s Word and His presence are my lifeline during such seasons. I find myself like the people in our theme verses for today – hanging on every word that Jesus says. God never fails to speak to me in my times of need. He spotlights nuggets hidden within the verses of the Bible. It’s as if every Scripture or devotional thought I read is centered on what I need for that moment, that day.

However, I wouldn’t find those nuggets if I didn’t spend time in God’s Word. For instance, what nuggets do you see in the Luke passage above? Did you notice that Jesus was teaching daily in the temple? That’s EVERY day – and the people were making time to go and listen to Him. Are you making time for Jesus day after day? Do you hang on to each word He is saying? We can never adequately know how to pray for ourselves or others if we aren’t regularly meeting with Him.

Jesus’ enemies, the ‘religious’ leaders of the day (yes, sad but true), tried to put an end to His life (vs. 47). But they couldn’t. Our enemies will try to destroy us to get at God. But they can’t. His words are inextinguishable. His words are truth. His words are powerful. His words are Life! Do you know them?

Whether you are interceding on someone’s behalf or trudging through your own tough stuff, yearn for God like the deer longs for streams of water (Psalm 42:1). Rise early in the morning to meet with your Lord like the people in Jesus’ day who hurried to the temple first thing in the morning (Luke 21:38). In the distractions of life, be like Mary – stop, sit at Jesus’ feet, and listen to Him (Luke 10:39). Hang on to His every word. He has so much to tell you.

[Digging deeper – Psalms 77:11-12, 119:131; Luke 17:21; John 8:2]

Longing for Him,

Beverly <><



Photo Credit: by Beverly Lussi