The Rocks Will Cry Out

28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?”34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” – Luke 19:28-40

But could the stones cry out? Assuredly they could if he who opens the mouth of the dumb should bid them lift up their voice. Certainly if they were to speak, they would have much to testify in praise of him who created them by the word of his power; they could extol the wisdom and power of their Maker who called them into being. Shall not we speak well of him who made us anew, and out of stones raised up children unto Abraham? The old rocks could tell of chaos and order, and the handiwork of God in successive stages of creation’s drama; and cannot we talk of God’s decrees, of God’s great work in ancient times, in all that he did for his church in the days of old? If the stones were to speak, they could tell of their breaker, how he took them from the quarry, and made them fit for the temple, and cannot we tell of our glorious Breaker, who broke our hearts with the hammer of his word, that he might build us into his temple? If the stones should cry out they would magnify their builder, who polished them and fashioned them after the similitude of a palace; and shall not we talk of our Architect and Builder, who has put us in our place in the temple of the living God? If the stones could cry out, they might have a long, long story to tell by way of memorial, for many a time hath a great stone been rolled as a memorial before the Lord; and we too can testify of Ebenezers, stones of help, pillars of remembrance. The broken stones of the law cry out against us, but Christ himself, who has rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre, speaks for us. Stones might well cry out, but we will not let them: we will hush their noise with ours; we will break forth into sacred song, and bless the majesty of the Most High, all our days glorifying him who is called by Jacob the Shepherd and Stone of Israel.

– Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

Embarrassing Situations

Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:1-5

CHECK any of these embarrassing situations that have happened to you:

_____ Tried to bleach your hair and it turned fluorescent orange.

_____ Discovered your jeans had a revealing rip up the backside.

_____ Got a red zit on your forehead that looked like a third eye.

_____ Figured out that your socks didn’t match.

_____ Was told your wardrobe was really lame.

_____ Smelled an awful odor nearby, then discovered it was you.

You wouldn’t like walking down a crowded hallway in school in any of those conditions. You would hear whispers and worse. You definitely wouldn’t feel confi­dence oozing out of your pores.

When you wonder whether you are going to feel accepted or not, you feel inse­cure. When you look at yourself and all you see is shortcomings, you start wonder­ing why anyone would ever want to spend time with you.

But you don’t have to feel that way. Why? You are accepted by the one who matters most-Jesus Christ. He takes you just as you are-fluorescent orange hair, red zit, ripped pants, mismatched socks and all He’s promised never to ditch you be­cause he wants to be with you no matter how you feel about yourself.

If Jesus Christ-Creator of the universe-accepts you, what does it matter if no­body else accepts you? You don’t stop needing people. But you do stop needing their acceptance to make you feel okay. If valuing yourself depended on being accepted, Jesus himself and most of the disciples wouldn’t have done very well. They weren’t exactly popular among their peers.

When you realize that Christ accepts you unconditionally, you don’t have to fo­cus on yourself. You can shift your attention to others. Most all of your friends feel insecure, whether they act that way or not. They need someone to help meet their needs by reaching out to them and pointing them to Jesus. Knowing that Christ ac­cepts you cuts you loose from insecurity and lets you be a confident, accepting friend.

REFLECT: How does knowing that Christ accepts you make you more accepting of others?

PRAY: Tell Jesus now how grateful you are that he accepts you completely.

– Josh McDowell, Today’s Youth Devotional

Five Things You’ll Leave Behind in Heaven

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”   And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” – Revelation 21:1-5

Popular culture tells us many myths about what Heaven will be like. Much of it isn’t grounded in the Bible. The truth is, describing Heaven is beyond the capacity of the greatest writers. It’s just far more amazing than mere words can describe.

But we do have some clues to what Heaven will be like. I mentioned before five things that will be a part of Heaven. It may be, though, that the most profound part of the Bible’s description of Heaven is what it says won’t be there.

Here are five pieces of our earthly existence that won’t be part of our heavenly one.

  1. Sickness. (1 Corinthians 15:42-43) You’ll have a body in Heaven, but it’ll be a perfect one. No more disease. No more illness. No more hunger. You won’t even have gas in Heaven! Heaven is a perfect place. Your body will be perfect, too.
  2. Sadness. (Revelation 21:4) You’ll never get your heart broken in Heaven. You’ll never be rejected. You’ll never grieve. The Bible actually says God will wipe away every tear from your eyes. You’ll spend billions and trillions of years in Heaven, and you won’t spend a second of that time being sad.
  3. Suffering. (Revelation 7:16) The Bible says, “No more hunger, no more thirst, no more scorching heat.” In Heaven my wife and I won’t need different controls on the thermostat! Every need we have will be satisfied.
  4. Sin. (Jude 1:24) Heaven is a perfect place. That’s what Jesus came to do — die on the cross so that imperfect people, like you and me, can get into Heaven. The Bible says that when we’re face to face with Jesus, our character will be instantly changed to be like his. You’ll have your personality but Jesus’ character.
  5. Death. (Revelation 21:4) You’ll live forever in Heaven, but you won’t live forever with all the sickness, sin, and imperfections that you now struggle through. You’ll get to live forever with a perfect body.

I don’t know about you, but that’s exciting to me! I can live without all five of those things.

– Rick Warren, Daily Hope

He Loved Us in Our Unloveliness‏

31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:31-35

One of my all-time favorite moments in television history happened on Seinfeld, when Elaine comes into Jerry’s apartment after just having another frustrating interaction with someone. I don’t remember if it was the “low talker” or the “sidler” or what, but she comes in flustered, declaring, “I hate people!” And without missing a beat, Jerry looks up from what he’s doing and says, “They’re the worst.”

This frustration is a universal human experience. The level of dislike I can generate toward someone who cuts me off in traffic is very disturbing to me. I may usually be Dr. Jekyll, but my inner Mr. Hyde is always lying in wait.

So Jesus’s “new command” (v. 34) is already starting to cause a problem for me. “Love one another.” Like, always? Even the clown in the Lexus convertible who didn’t even look before careening over into my lane? But then, Jesus isn’t finished. “As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (v. 34). So it’s not enough to love people in our self-satisfying, when-we-feel-like-it human way; we have to love as Jesus loves us! This is a reality check that Jesus is giving to the people He’s talking to.

Yet God’s Word is creative. Jesus continues, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (v. 35). Miraculously, you find yourself loving and being loved. Now, we might admit freely that we love because Jesus first loved us, but we don’t love because we owe it to Him or because He told us to. We love because love for us brings out love for one another. We are loved by the Jesus who loved the people who weren’t good enough. We are loved by the Jesus who loved the people who came up short. We are loved by the Jesus who planted His love in our hearts.

The good news of the gospel is that Jesus did not wait until we were loving before He loved us; He didn’t even wait till we asked Him to love us before He loved us—He loved us in our unloveliness. And His love for us births love in us, which bleeds love through us to those around us.

Tullian Tchividjian, It Is Finished: 365 Days of Good News

Weak Disciples and the Gospel

Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night,before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same. – Matthew 26:31-35

This brings us to Peter’s denial (vv. 31-35). We do not have to look into Peter’s failure in detail here, because we will come to it again at the end of this chapter where Peter actually does deny Jesus. But we can say this. There is no doubt that Peter loved Jesus and that he was fiercely loyal. Peter was in dead earnest when he answered the Lord’s predictions by protesting, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will” (v. 33) and “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you” (v. 35). But Peter did not know his own weakness, and when the crisis arrived he fled into the darkness with the others and later denied Jesus before servants as he stood in the courtyard of the priests.

It had been predicted, of course, and not just by Jesus in these moments before his arrest and crucifixion. It was found in Zechariah 13:7, as Jesus understood it: “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.”

Jesus was smitten. The sheep were scattered. But it was because Jesus was struck for the disciples that their sins of denial, as well as all their other sins, were forgiven, and it was by the drawing power of Jesus’ glorious resurrection they were eventually brought together again and reestablished as the church which is Christ’s true body on this earth.

It should be a comfort to us to know that Christianity is for people exactly like these weak disciples. It is not very often for the strong, the powerful, the rich, the successful, or the self-sufficient, because people like this do not often think that they need Jesus. Paul noticed this and wrote about it in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29. It is hard to get self-sufficient people to see their need of Christ and come to him. Therefore, Christianity is most often for those who are weak, ignorant, and often failing, but who know their need, turn from sin, and trust Jesus, just as Peter did.

You need to become one of these people. If you do, you will have ceased trusting in yourself and will have come to trust and love Jesus, and you will know that all the blessings of the gospel are for you.

Think and Act Biblically Devotional

Walk in the Spirit

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

– Galatians 5:16-24

St. Patrick

Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. – Philippians 1:18-26

St. Patrick, “the patron saint of Ireland,” has captured the fancy of millions of people through the ages. Even those who haven’t a clue what the man really stood for pay him tribute on this day by marching in parades and wearing green. Some people even get drunk to celebrate the occasion, but these people dishonor the memory of that great man who first brought Christianity to Ireland!

Patrick, who was actually born in Scotland, was kidnapped as a young lad by a band of marauding pirates. These pirates bound Patrick, took him to Ireland, and sold him as a slave to a druid chieftain. Patrick said of this experience, “It was while I ate the bitter bread of that hateful servitude in a foreign land, that the light divine broke upon my benighted soul and I called to remembrance the holy things which I had been taught in my dear old home…” Patrick’s heart was transformed, and he became a new creature in Jesus Christ. By faith in the Redeemer, by a trust in the blood shed for his sins, this young man in the depths and darkness of the forests of Ireland found the Savior of the world.

After six years of slavery, Patrick escaped. But he had vowed revenge—the noble revenge of sharing the gospel with the very people who had held him captive! Patrick believed that God had called him to return to the land of his slavery. The Encyclopedia Britannica declares that Patrick himself baptized one hundred and twenty thousand persons.

St. Patrick—echoing the apostle Paul, who said, “For me, to live is Christ”—said, “For me, life is Christ.” If you would know life to its fullest, then you, too, would echo what St. Patrick came to learn—that to live is Christ…that life is Christ!

How can you live your life for Christ on this St. Patrick’s Day?

God’s might to direct me, God’s power to protect me. —ST. PATRICK

– D. James Kennedy,
Daily Truth