Jesus and the Flood

“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:38-39)

The Lord Jesus Christ not only believed in the special, recent creation of all things by God (note Mark 10:6-8), but also in the worldwide Flood of Noah’s day, including the special preservation of life on the Ark. The Flood in which He believed was obviously not a “local flood,” for He compared it to the worldwide future impact of His Second Coming.

Neither was it a “tranquil flood,” nor a “selective flood,” for Jesus said, “The flood came, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:27). It is clear that He was referring to—and that He believed—the Genesis record of the great Flood! There it says that the whole earth was “filled with violence” (Genesis 6:13), having first been filled with people, and that the resulting world-cleansing deluge was so cataclysmic that “every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth” (Genesis 7:23). Indeed, “the flood came, and took [literally ‘lifted’] them all away.”

This is what Jesus said, and what He believed, and therefore, those who are truly His disciples must also believe this. The destructive effects of the Flood can still be seen today not only in the biblical record, but also in the abundant evidences of cataclysmic destruction in the rocks and fossil graveyards all over the world. To refuse this evidence, as do many modern intellectuals, can only be because they “willingly are ignorant,” as Peter said in referring to this testimony (2 Peter 3:5). HMM

Walking the Waves to Jesus

Matthew 14:22-33

AFTER feeding the five thousand, our Lord got away from the multitude eager to make Him king and retired to a mountain to pray alone. He knew the danger of the superficial enthusiasm of crowds. Again and again in His ministry, we see such a reaction to the threat of popularity (John 2:23-25; Luke 14:25-33; Mark 1:37-38; John 6:22-26). Today we measure men by the approval of the multitude; but Jesus only had compassion upon them, as sheep without a shepherd.

While He was at prayer, the disciples were caught in a furious storm out on the sea. It must have been fearful to alarm seasoned fishermen! Our Lord once again proved His mastery over nature by an act which cannot possibly be explained away. He went to them walking on the waves. The storm-beset disciples, already terrified by the tempest, took Him to be a ghost. His answer, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid,” carries the answer to fear. Notice the negative, “Be not afraid,” and the positive, “Be of good cheer”—and between the two observe our Lord Himself, “It is I.” He always changes negative to positive!

Impetuous Peter would walk to Jesus on the waves. He did not walk far, but at least he walked farther than any other man has gone! However, he took his eyes off Jesus and fixed them on circumstances, saw the wind boisterous and was afraid, and he sank. It is always so when we fail to look unto Jesus.

But the Lord rescued him. Are you afraid by faith to walk the waves, first this foot, then that, to Jesus? We will not have the boat of self-security if we commit ourselves to the walk of faith. We may be afraid that we will sink, but we should remember that even though we should sink, we will not drown! Peter sank, but he did not drown. We have no business getting our eyes off Jesus and going down, but if we do, let us remember that He is out there with us and will rescue us.

Our Lord rebuked Peter’s weak faith: “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” We are not believing when we are doubting. What must He say to us today, afraid to walk to Him in the smallest matters!

When He was received into the ship the wind ceased. Matthew tells us that they worshiped Him and Luke that they willingly received Him, but Mark adds they were “sore amazed” and “wondered” (6:51), for they considered not the miracle of the loaves, and their hearts were hardened. If they had rightly valued and appreciated the feeding of the five thousand they would have expected no less than His walking on the sea! We forget today what Christ has done, and it lessens our expectation of what He can and will do. Our hearts are hardened! We have no right to censure these stupid disciples, for we are even as they.

Coming to Gennesaret, our Lord at once began to heal throngs again. “As many as touched Him were made perfectly whole.” If only we believed, might not a touch of Him who bore our sicknesses and infirmities still work its wonders?

The Humble Man Says: “The Mistakes Are Mine”

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:29

A page in church history reveals that the godly Macarius of Optino was once told that his spiritual counsel had been helpful.

“This cannot be,” Macarius wrote in reply. “Only the mistakes are mine. All good advice is the advice of the Spirit of God; His advice that I happen to have heard rightly and to have passed on without distorting it.”

There is an excellent lesson here which we must not allow to go unregarded. It is the sweet humility of the man of God who was enabled to say, “Only the mistakes are mine.”

He was fully convinced that his own efforts could result only in mistakes and that any good that came of his advice must be the work of the Holy Spirit operating within him.

Apparently this was more than a sudden impulse of self-depreciation, which the proudest of men may at times feel; it was rather a settled conviction that gave set and direction to his entire life. His long and humble ministry which brought spiritual aid to many reveals this clearly enough.

It is our belief that the evangelical movement will continue to drift farther and farther from the New Testament position unless its leadership passes from the modern religious star to the self-effacing saint who asks for no praise and seeks no place, happy only when the glory is attributed to God and himself forgotten!

“Remember Lot’s wife.”

Genesis 19:1-3, 15-26

Genesis 19:2

Bad as his neighbours were, Lot had not forgotten to be hospitable. Grace does not flourish in bad companionship, but still it lives.

Genesis 19:3

Then at nightfall followed a horrible scene in which the angels saw for themselves that Sodom was filthy, cruel, malicious, and abominable. Those holy beings, therefore, shut to the door, and waited till the morning to execute the sentence of God upon the city. It was time that such a den of abominations should be swept away. Meanwhile, Lot went to his sons-in-law, and urged them to fly with him, but they thought him mad, and refused.

Genesis 19:15

It is true kindness to men to warn them earnestly of their danger; and we cannot be too pressing in urging them to escape.

Genesis 19:16

We must repeat our warnings, and use holy violence with sinners. At the same time let us beware of lingering ourselves. We are never safe a single moment till we have fled to Jesus.

Genesis 19:17-22

Though Lot was not such a believer as Abraham, yet being a good man his prayer was heard, and at his request a little city was saved. Was not this also an answer to Abraham’s prayer?

Genesis 19:26

Lot’s prayer saved Zoar, but could not save his wife. A minister may bring thousands to Jesus, and yet his own household may perish. The Scripture says, “Remember Lot’s wife.” Remember that she was Lot’s wife, and yet was destroyed. She was half way to Zoar and out of Sodom, and yet escaped not, and all because her heart was still with sinners, and she could not leave them. She started to escape, but she started aside. O for grace to persevere.

Remember Lot’s wife, and beware of even a desire to return to old sins, lest we prove ourselves unworthy of eternal life. This terrible chapter should make us tremble if we have not reached the mountain of atoning love. Let us not delay, but flee to Jesus now, and put our trust in him.

Hasten, sinner, to be blest,

Stay not for the morrow’s sun,

Lest perdition thee arrest

Ere the morrow is begun.

Lord, do thou the sinner turn!

Rouse him from his senseless state;

Let him not thy counsel spurn,

Rue his fatal choice too late!

VIDEO How Could Someone Be So Ignorant!

Who are You, Lord?Acts 26:15

“The Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand…” (Isaiah 8:11). There is no escape when our Lord speaks. He always comes using His authority and taking hold of our understanding. Has the voice of God come to you directly? If it has, you cannot mistake the intimate insistence with which it has spoken to you. God speaks in the language you know best— not through your ears, but through your circumstances.

God has to destroy our determined confidence in our own convictions. We say, “I know that this is what I should do” — and suddenly the voice of God speaks in a way that overwhelms us by revealing the depths of our ignorance. We show our ignorance of Him in the very way we decide to serve Him. We serve Jesus in a spirit that is not His, and hurt Him by our defense of Him. We push His claims in the spirit of the devil; our words sound all right, but the spirit is that of an enemy. “He…rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of’ ” (Luke 9:55). The spirit of our Lord in His followers is described in 1 Corinthians 13.

Have I been persecuting Jesus by an eager determination to serve Him in my own way? If I feel I have done my duty, yet have hurt Him in the process, I can be sure that this was not my duty. My way will not be to foster a meek and quiet spirit, only the spirit of self-satisfaction. We presume that whatever is unpleasant is our duty! Is that anything like the spirit of our Lord— “I delight to do Your will, O my God…” (Psalm 40:8).


The great point of Abraham’s faith in God was that he was prepared to do anything for God.  Not Knowing Whither, 903 R

Acts 26:1-18 – Standing Before Kings

Seven Minutes of Terror

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

When the Mars rover Perseverance landed on that red planet on February 18, 2021, those monitoring its arrival endured “seven minutes of terror.” As the spacecraft ended its 292-million-mile journey, it went through a complex landing procedure it had to do on its own. Signals from Mars to Earth take several minutes, so NASA couldn’t hear from Perseverance during the landing. Not being in contact was frightening for the team who had put so much effort and resources into the mission.

Sometimes we may experience our own times of fear when we feel we’re not hearing from God—we pray but we don’t get answers. In Scripture, we find people getting answers to prayer quickly (see Daniel 9:20–23) and those not getting answers for a long time (see Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel 1:10–20). Perhaps the most poignant example of a delayed answer—one that surely struck terror in the hearts of Mary and Martha—was when they asked Jesus to help their sick brother Lazarus (John 11:3). Jesus delayed, and their brother died (vv. 6–7, 14–15). Yet four days later, Christ answered by resurrecting Lazarus (vv. 43–44).  

Waiting for answers to our prayers can be difficult. But God can comfort and help as we “approach [His] throne of grace with confidence, . . . [that] we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

What are you praying for, but the answer doesn’t seem to be coming? How can God increase your faith as you wait on Him?

Loving God, You know what’s on my heart. Please help me trust You as I await Your answer.

Sunday Reflection: Ready and Waiting

God already loves you, and He always will–no matter what you’ve done or will do

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the scriptures referenced throughout.

Can you think of a pivotal moment that led to your relationship with Jesus? Most of us can name a special person or set of circumstances that helped us get to know Him. Or perhaps you’re reading this out of curiosity, and you don’t know Him at all. Regardless of what state your relationship with God is in, the fact remains: He loves you and will never give up on you.

Paul writes, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). And John explains that the Lord doesn’t just love us, but He Himself is love (1 John 4:8). In other words, God doesn’t have to try to love or talk Himself into loving us—it’s simply who He is. 

No matter what we do, even if it involves deliberate sin against Him or drifting away in apathy, God won’t ever cease to be merciful and loving. He’ll never stop showing up, leaning in, and inviting us to the abundant life found only in Him—a life of peace, freedom, and joy. Whatever you were and are, God has great plans for what you will be, and He’s here for you.

Think about it

• Take a moment to imagine God’s open hand reaching out to you. How do you want to respond to Him?

Cities of Refuge

“Ye shall give three cities on this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge.” (Numbers 35:14)

When the Israelites entered the promised land, God told Joshua to provide six “cities of refuge” into which those who had slain someone could flee for refuge until a trial could ascertain the facts and render a proper verdict. As such, these cities are a type of Christ, through whom “we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18).

The names of the six cities are given in Joshua 20:7-8 as Kedesh, Shechem, Hebron, Bezer, Ramoth, and Golan. The meanings of these names seem planned especially to foreshadow this spiritual application.

Kedesh means “holy place,” and Christ in the New Jerusalem is the ultimate refuge, for “the Lamb [is] the temple of it” (Revelation 21:22). Shechem means “strong shoulder,” which answers to the “strong consolation” we have in Christ when we flee to Him for refuge.

Hebron means “fellowship,” and we who have come to Christ have been “called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). Bezer means “strong hiding place.” The Scripture assures the believer that “your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).

Ramoth means “high place,” and when we are hidden in Christ, God also has “made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). Finally, Golan apparently means “enclosure for captives,” and this would speak of our being set free from sin and death to become captive to Christ. “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive” (Ephesians 4:8). Thus, the cities are appropriately named both for their immediate purpose and as a picture of Christ as the Savior of sinners. HMM

Walking the Waves Toward Jesus

Matthew 14:22-33

PETER is the only mere human who ever walked on water. Probably he did not go very far, but he went farther than anyone else ever has gone.

It is a stormy night, and the disciples in the boat are “tossed with waves, for the wind was contrary.” Verily, we are in tempestuous times nowadays: the waves are boisterous, the wind against us. But Jesus is still walking the sea. Do not despair, however buffeted; in the fourth watch of your night He will come toward you.

The disciples are terrified when they see Jesus; they say, “It is a spirit!” They cry out with fear. How the old Book shows up the humanness of believers! It is a “spook”! Sometimes we do not know the Lord when He does come to our rescue.

Then comes the blessed reassurance: “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” No matter how dark the night, how nearly upset your frail bark, cheer up, the Lord is on the sea!

Peter speaks up: “Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water.” He is throwing a challenge to the Lord. Yet I rather like his daring proposition. He is impetuous, venturesome, and it often gets him into trouble, but there is nothing dull and commonplace about Simon Peter. He does not say, “Lord, if it be Thou, come to our aid,” but, “Let me come to Thee.” He wants God to give him something to do, and God likes to give such men a dare. So Jesus says, “Come.”

Peter walks some distance at least, but his characteristic weakness shows up. “When he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid.” He got his mind on circumstances—and when a believer looks away from Christ to circumstance, sink he must. He must cry for help—and the Lord rescues him, saying, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

Are you alarmed in your boat and afraid to walk toward Jesus? You put first this foot, then that, into the water. “Yes, I know I should walk by faith and not by sight, but it looks so dangerous. I shall not hold out; are you sure He will keep me?”

What if you do have a sinking spell! Suppose you do weaken out there and think of the wind! Jesus is looking at you! Better to walk by faith a little way and have to cry “Lord, save me” than to live the smug, safe life of those who never step out on His promises! If you wait until you are sure that you never will sink, you will never walk by faith. But you can be sure of this: If you walk toward Him and call to Him when your faith grows small, you may sink but you will not drown! If only we faltering souls could see that and live by it, how we might tread triumphantly every stormy sea! He does not guarantee you that your faith will not falter, that you will not forget and begin to sink. But He has promised to lose no life committed to Him.

You are going through this world but once. Have you been up to now a poor, terrified doubter in a battered boat? Walk the waves toward Jesus! Friends may discourage you, the skeptical may laugh, smug and safe souls may rate you a crank, but resolve for yourself: “Live or die, sink or swim, I will take God at His word and Jesus at His challenge. I had rather sink a thousand times and have Him pull me up again than never to have stepped out on His promise.”

As with Peter here, there will always be for those who dare a happy ending. Like him, you will walk with the Lord on the waves; the wind will cease; and you and those in the ship—believers who would not dare—will be constrained to cry, “Of a truth Thou art the Son of God!”

“I have prayed for thee.”

Luke 13:1-9

We must not suffer the intercession of Abraham to pass away from our thoughts till it has reminded us of the yet more powerful advocacy of our Blessed Lord Jesus. We see him in one of his own parables describing himself as preserving the sinful by his pleadings, and the passage is a fit sequel to our yesterday’s reading.

Luke 13:3

See the need of repentance. Philip Henry once said, “Some people do not like to hear much of repentance; but I think it so necessary that if I were to die in the pulpit, I should desire to die preaching repentance, and if I should die out of the pulpit I hope to die practising it.”

Luke 13:4-5

When we hear or read of terrible judgments upon sinners, such as these here recorded, and that which befell Sodom of old, we ought not to congratulate ourselves as though we were exempted because of our innocence, but rather we should regard these events as warnings to ourselves; since, if we fall into the same sins, sooner or later a doom equally overwhelming will come upon us. If any enquire why it has not come already, let them pay special attention to the parable which follows. There has been an intercessor at work, or we should have perished long ere this.

Luke 13:6

It was in good soil, and under the gardener’s care; it would therefore yield fruit, or prove itself to be good for nothing.

Luke 13:7

Three years was long enough for a test: there might have been two bad seasons to account for the absence of fruit, but when a third time the tree was fruitless the fault must be in the tree itself. God gives us time enough for trial. All of us have been borne with quite long enough to prove us, and perhaps at this moment the Lord is saying, “Cut it down.” How very like are some of us to the barren tree! In itself it is of no use, it fills the place of a good tree, it draws the goodness from the soil, and hurts others near it. It is thus that men live useless lives, and meanwhile are occupying wastefully positions in which others would bring glory to God.

Luke 13:8

It is the voice of Jesus the Intercessor. He is unwilling to see the axe uplifted, for he is full of compassion. See how unconverted men owe their lives to Jesus. They are not preserved by their own worth or worthiness, but they live upon sufferance, and will die as soon as the voice of Jesus ceases to plead for them.

Luke 13:9

May we who have been without grace till now hear the word of God at this hour and live; for this may be our last year of grace, and when it is over we may be cast into the fire of hell. Jesus has pleaded that we may be tried once more; but there is a limit to his pleadings. Note the two ifs, “And if,” “and if not.” Upon these two ifs hang eternity. The Lord grant that none of us may be cut down and cast into the eternal burnings.

See how the fruitless fig-tree stands,

Beneath its owner’s frown:

The axe is lifted in his hands,

To cut the cumberer down.

“Year after year, I come,” he cries,

“And still no fruit is shown;

Nothing but empty leaves arise,

Then cut the cumberer down.”

Sinner, beware! the axe of death

Is rais’d and aimed at thee:

Awhile thy Maker spares thy breath,

Beware, O barren tree!