Tag Archives: brandon

The Death to End the Duel | Bible Gleanings – Sept 11-12, 2021

According to plan, both men appeared on the plains of Weehawken to settle their squabble in a duel. The first shot rang vociferously. Alexander Hamilton fired his custom-made pistol and missed Aaron Burr, trimming off a nearby branch. The second shot produced two sounds: one was gunfire, the second was a thud from Hamilton’s body collapsing to the ground. The physician darted toward him, but there was nothing he could do, for as Hamilton declared, “This is a mortal wound, Doctor.” The bullet struck him above his hip, bounced off his rib, cut through his liver, and cracked his lower spine. Hamilton died the following day on July 12, 1804.

Hamilton’s death was not according to plan, however. Neither Burr nor Hamilton expected to walk away as the last man standing. They both intended to simply wound—to make a statement with a bullet—rather than kill. The resulting public humiliation forced Burr to flee to Georgia, which proved to be a saving grace for our fledgling nation. A conspiracy was afoot for the northeastern region of New England to secede from the rest of the country, with Burr as president. Hightailing it to the south destroyed those plans. You could say that Hamilton’s death, albeit accidental, saved the entire nation in its fragile infancy.1 

The political salvation obtained by Hamilton’s blood pales in comparison, however, to the spiritual salvation purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ, whose grim death also saved an entire nation—the nation of God’s people. Jesus of Nazareth achingly ascended the hill of Golgotha, bloodied and bruised from Roman whips, but He had not come to duel. He came to end the greatest duel of all: the war between God and man. As Jesus drank the whole cup of God’s wrath against sinners, the sound from the cross was not a gunshot, but a piercing cry of anguish: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). And His death was not an accident; it was according to God’s plan. “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him,” said Isaiah the prophet (Isaiah 53:10).

Although Burr’s story ended in humiliation, the story of Jesus Christ did not. God raised Him from the dead, exalting Him at His right hand (Acts 2:32-33). We are saved, then, not only by His humiliation on the cross, but by His exaltation from the tomb. As Paul perfectly stated,

“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:9-10).

The duel is over if you have believed in Christ for your eternal salvation. The fight died when Christ died; now you are God’s friend.

  1. No one narrates the famous story of Hamilton vs. Burr like Joseph J. Ellis in Founding Brothers (New York: Random House, Inc., 2000).

Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Beagle).

Nothing But Wax | Bible Gleanings – Sept 4-5, 2021

I stood beside Jackie Chan. I took a selfie with Nicholas Cage. I was in a room with Adam Sandler, Angelina Jolie, and all the big-name celebrities. They had all assembled at the Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge. They had, in fact, been assembled by professional wax artists who shaped and fashioned them to appear as real people.

It’s remarkable how much they look like real actors. However, they are dead despite the fact that they appear to be alive. They’re made of wax, not flesh. They are devoid of a beating heart and a rational mind. Sometimes, what appears to be alive may actually be dead.

It’s a pity, but when we are born into this world, we are nothing more than empty wax figures without spiritual life. Although we look to be lively, we are spiritually dead on the inside. We are spiritually deceased, unable to walk in obedience (Rom. 8:7), and incapable of seeing or hearing the truth (John 8:43; 1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 4:4). That is why Paul wrote, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins, in which you once walked” (Eph. 2:1-2a). That is also why Jesus commanded, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

It makes no difference how well-sculpted and painted you are on the outside. You are lifeless wax if you have not been born again by faith in Jesus Christ. You might be suitable for a museum, but you will melt before the scorching heat of God’s judgment. “As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away; as wax melts before fire, so the wicked shall perish before God!” (Psalm 68:2).

You will never be able to fashion and mold yourself into a righteous person. You will never be good enough to be accepted in God’s sight. You must come to the One who is good enough, whose finished work on Calvary is already accepted in God’s sight. Come to Jesus in repentance and faith, and He will make you new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17).


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English shepherd), and Dot (beagle).

Mirror, Mirror, in the Word | Bible Gleanings – Aug 21-22, 2021

“Magic Mirror, on the wall—who is the fairest one of all?” asked the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Mirror never lied, so the Queen was always confident in his answers and advice. But sometimes the truth hurts. As the mirror responded, “My Queen, you are the fairest here so true. But Snow White is a thousand times more lovely, fair and beautiful than you.” Despite the fact that the Magic Mirror was the Queen’s slave, he was no respecter of persons. He told the truth: the Queen was no longer the fairest.

Mirrors reveal reality—they show the naked truth. Mirrors uncover our imperfections. We cannot see our blemishes, scars, and wrinkles without them. Since the eyes cannot stretch out and glance backward (which would be a terrifying sight), looking at a glass reflection is the only way to see ourselves as we truly are. And for centuries, the mirror on the wall has shown that we are not the fairest of them all!

One mirror in particular reflects more than just the speckles on your face. This mirror exposes the specks and spots on your heart. It can be found on a pulpit or in a pew. You probably have one on your nightstand at home. It is made, not of glass, but of paper and ink bound between a leather or paperboard cover. It’s a mirror that isn’t gazed into nearly enough, but it is the one we need the most: the word of God, the Bible. 

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like” (James 1:22-24). 

You see the truth about who you are when you look in the mirror of God’s word. The Bible always gives an accurate reflection because its Author never lies (Titus 1:2). It perfectly reveals our imperfections and never comes short of uncovering our shortcomings. It points out sinful blemishes that need healing, smudges that need cleaning, and other unsightly things that need correction. And it shows that only Christ is fairest of them all.

The Bible is not just a mirror for reflection, however. It is also a mirror for restoration. It points out flaws, but it also gives guidance for how to address them. Looking in the mirror but overlooking a massive pimple defeats the purpose of using the mirror in the first place. Looking in God’s word but ignoring what it says about the solution(s) for your sin is also a waste. Gaze at the Bible to have an accurate analysis of who you are. But gaze even deeper into its pages so you can pursue God’s remedies for your imperfections.

Look in the mirror of the word today for an honest look at who you really are. And look to God’s solutions, and ultimately God’s Son as the healing for your blemishes.


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English shepherd), and Dot (beagle).

What Can Man Do to Me? | Bible Gleanings – July 31-Aug 1, 2021

On a square of papyrus, he wrote: “I don’t know what to do with these Christians!” Pliny the Younger, governor of Bithynia from 111-113 AD, was agitated and perplexed by the faithful witness of the early Christians, and once wrote Emperor Trajan a letter seeking guidance on how to deal with them. Their unwavering joy and resolute devotion to Christ bewildered him. Despite harsh interrogation and brutal chastisement, they never once renounced their faith.

According to some sources, one Christian was brought before him, and Pliny, finding the man innocent, proceeded to intimidate him.[1]

“I will banish you from Bithynia,” he said.

“You cannot,” said the Christian, “for all the world is my Father’s house.”

Irritated by this reply, Pliny said, “Then I will kill you!”

“You cannot,” the Christian answered, “for my life is hid with Christ in God.”

Pliny continued, “Then I will take away every possession you own!”

“You cannot, for my treasure is in heaven, Governor,” he replied.

Then came the final threat: “Then I will drive you away from man and you shall have no friend left!”

And the peaceful reply was as before: “You cannot, for I have an unseen Friend from whom you are not able to separate me.”

This faithful believer was right. The world can never take away what you have in Christ, if you are a follower of Jesus. If you live a godly life, persecution is a guarantee (2 Timothy 3:12). But it is also a guarantee that the world cannot seize the spiritual riches you possess in Jesus. The world hates Christ and they will hate you, too (John 15:18-25). Until the end of the age, when our Lord Jesus returns, the world will oppose, slander, and even kill you for your faithfulness to Jesus: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9). The world can only do so much, however. 

The world may oppose you, but God still approves you: “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33). The world may ostracize you, but the Lord is still your friend: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14, KJV). The world may deprive you of possessions, but you still have heavenly treasures: “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20). And even if you must die for Christ, you will be “absent from the body, [and] present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

When you are inevitably persecuted for faithfully following Jesus Christ, you may truly say with David, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6).


[1] You will find this story in many books. I read it first in Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7,700 Illustrations (Rockville: Assurance Publishers, 1979), 993.


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English shepherd), and Dot (beagle).

Rallying to Save the Fields | Bible Gleanings – July 24-25, 2021

A ten-mile stretch of highway suddenly transformed into a community of 50,000 passionate people united to save their fields. According to the New York Times, thousands of Indian farmers and like-minded supporters marched to the streets of New Delhi last winter to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s harmful policies that would suffocate India’s agricultural economy. They swarmed India’s capital like an unstoppable army. Unlike an army, however, there was more singing and dancing than fighting. In fact, their rambunctious gathering resembled a large-scale pep rally instead of a national protest. 

Surprisingly, although they rallied during the cold and rainy winter months, they never lost their zeal or excitement. The strength of their passion to save the fields was unhindered apparently because of the activities they did to keep themselves revitalized and recharged. Politicians and other leaders delivered rousing speeches on stages built specifically for them. Music blared from speakers attached to tractors, filling each tent with songs to keep everyone pumped. They even excommunicated troublemakers who threatened to disrupt their rallying.

They held an exuberant and sprightly rally for the sole purpose of saving their fields. And they did whatever it took to keep themselves focused on that goal.

Every time we gather as the church on the Lord’s Day, we are also hosting a rally to save our fields. The primary reason for assembling together on Sunday is to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24), but we should also get electrified and excited about saving our fields. We ought to get charged up each Sunday so we can go into the field of the world and bring the unsaved to the only One who can save them.

Jesus said the fields are ready: “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest?’ Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35). The fields are ready to be harvested—God is working the soil and preparing the “crops” of unsaved individuals to be brought into the barn of His kingdom.

But why do many of our churches appear to have little “grain” in their pews? Answer: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).

If you know Christ as Lord and Savior, you are a spiritual farmer called to labor in the fields with the gospel message of salvation found in Christ alone. But you cannot fulfill that task alone. To work the fields, you need to assemble with other spiritual farmers in the local church. And the greatest way to stay motivated and energized to fulfill that goal is to meet together with faithful believers in a biblical church, where every Sunday is a rally to save the fields.


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English shepherd), and Dot (beagle).

A Safehouse for Sinners | Bible Gleanings – July 10-11, 2021

They were sanctuaries for slaves—homes that made history. Lionhearted abolitionists all across the North volunteered their homes as safehouses for slaves seeking freedom prior to and during the Civil War. Homeowners from Indiana to New York partnered with antislavery activists like Harriet Tubman in a secret network known today as the Underground Railroad. They worked together to provide pathways to freedom for exhausted slaves. And over time, many of these homes were awarded landmark status because history happened within their walls.

When visiting places like the Johnson House in Philadelphia or the Levi Coffin House in Fountain City, one is filled with awe and humility because lives were transformed there. The hardwood floors are not divine. The brick walls are not holy. There is no mystical aura surrounding these historical sites. They are sacred sanctuaries because of what happened there: weary captives were liberated from slavery. 

The same can be said of any biblical church that faithfully preaches the gospel of Christ. A church that proclaims “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15) is a holy sanctuary, not because the carpet and stained-glass windows are sanctified, but because enslaved sinners are set free within their walls. It makes no difference if your church is massive or miniscule; what matters is whether miracles happen within its walls. God wants our churches to be “safehouses” for sinners—places where they can be emancipated from spiritual slavery. He wants our churches to be places where hopeless sinners can experience the reality of Romans 6:

“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness” (vv. 17-18).

Jesus came to release men, women, and children from spiritual bondage to sin, the devil, and the world. He said it Himself: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19). Such exhilarating freedom comes to weary sinners when they hear and believe the truth about Jesus: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). And it is the duty of every disciple to declare the gospel truth so people can believe it by faith. As God said in Isaiah, “[Say] to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’” (Isaiah 49:9b).

Does your church have “landmark status?” Is it a place where history is made, where sinners are redeemed from spiritual slavery? Is it a safehouse for sinners?


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English shepherd), and Dot (beagle).

The Lethal Venom of Lust | Bible Gleanings – June 3-July 4, 2021

An eight-legged hairy beast no larger than a teacup killed him. Pintu Sahoo, a man from West Bengal, died from tarantula venom after being bitten on a train commute to Chennai. Pintu jolted from a nap and complained of being itchy and restless, according to his wife, Pranati Sahoo. Anxiously concerned for Pintu’s health, they sought medical attention from the ticket examiner, but they were rudely rebuffed. Pintu was then examined by a worried fellow passenger who happened to be a doctor. He offered him painkillers to relieve his symptoms, though he wasn’t sure what was causing his agony. Upon arrival at the train station, Pintu was immediately admitted to the hospital. Surprisingly, the doctor downplayed the severity of the bite and merely prescribed medications to alleviate the symptoms.

Unfortunately, Pintu died because his bite was improperly treated. As reported by The New Indian Express, “Doctors [claim] that Sahoo could have been saved if treated on time. Delay in receiving medical attention spread the venom throughout the body of the patient.” Although the amount of spider venom was miniscule, and the bite itself was puny, it was lethal enough to kill him. One teensy bite from a tarantula turned fatal because it was treated carelessly.

There is another venom that is small but deadly, and if left untreated, it will kill far more than your body: lust. Jesus sternly warned about the deadly infection of lust in the Sermon on the Mount, and He said that radical measures must be employed to eliminate it:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell” (Matt. 5:27-30).

Lust, an insatiable and sinful sexual desire for another person, should be treated urgently since it is trying to kill you like a lethal venom. Although it seems insignificant because it is only a desire, it is dangerous enough to drag you to hell. Thankfully, Jesus is the right (and only) Doctor to treat it. As Paul said, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Rom. 13:14).

And once you receive His salvation, He gives many proven prescriptions for overcoming lust: immediately reject it (Gen. 39:11-12), flee from it (2 Tim. 2:22), desire God (Psalm 42:1-2), and pray for a clean heart (Psalm 51:10).


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English shepherd), and Dot (beagle).

The Uniform is Useless | Bible Gleanings – June 26-27, 2021

The truth always comes out—just ask John K. Giles, the failed escapee from Alcatraz Island. After an unsuccessful train heist, he began serving his federal sentence in the legendary Alcatraz Penitentiary. This maximum-security prison housed gangsters and thugs like Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly—and Giles landed himself behind bars with them. Such infamous criminals were sent to Alcatraz because it was considered inescapable. But Giles was cunning—and he found a way out.

The U.S. Army used to send laundry to Alcatraz Island to be washed—it kept the prisoners busy and kept our armed forces in clean uniforms. Giles worked at the loading dock where the military laundry was delivered to be washed. And piece by piece, he sneakily snagged a complete army uniform. Then on July 31, 1945, he merely dressed in the uniform and walked aboard an army boat, pretending to be an officer. Unfortunately for Giles, the boat was not headed for freedom like he expected. The boat docked at Fort McDowell on Angel Island, a major processing location for troops during World War II. As he set foot on Angel Island, he was back in cuffs again.

He fooled the army officials for a while, and may have fooled himself as well—but he couldn’t keep it up forever. He wore an army uniform on the outside, but he was still John K. Giles, the criminal, on the inside.

One of the most sobering truths in all of Scripture is that many people wear the Christian uniform on the outside yet remain unconverted on the inside. You can wear every piece of the suit and still be lost in your sins. You can be baptized, read the Bible, attend church regularly, give large offerings, and do other good works, but none of that matters if you aren’t changed by the gospel. According to Jesus, many individuals will fool others and even themselves into believing they are sincere believers, but they will not fool Him.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

How can you truly be saved, according to Jesus? By coming to know Him in faith. People trusting in their “many mighty works” will be cast away from the presence of the Lord into eternal hell. Only those who know Christ can be assured that their boat is headed for heaven instead of hell. Since you can’t fool the Lord, repent of your sins and believe that Christ and His work are enough for your salvation. 


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English shepherd), and Dot (beagle).

The Saint’s Supercharger | Bible Gleanings – June 18-19, 2021

As it zipped by in a hurry, I heard a whistle in my left ear—a Tesla apparently on its way to a supercharger station. Unlike most automobiles, the Tesla is electric and doesn’t require gasoline for travel. Their powertrain is electric from the ground up. Thousands of Teslas have been built in California and Shanghai, with the goal of moving away from fossil fuels toward a clean energy alternative. Because the Tesla eventually runs out of energy, it must be parked frequently at a supercharger station in order to keep on going. And supercharger stations may be found all across the nation so Tesla drivers can plug in, charge their batteries, and get back on the open road.

Christian, like the Tesla, you will run out of energy—spiritual energy. Therefore, you will need to recharge the battery of your soul to keep on going. And the local church is the supercharger station you must plug into weekly in order to continue driving on the straight and narrow road (Matthew 7:13-14). Without parking yourself in a pew to be renewed by the power of prayer, fellowship, and preaching that comes from the local church, the engine of your heart will not crank.

Your soul will be recharged when you gather and pray with other saints. The Bible actually says that spiritual healing and power comes to believers who pray together: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16).

Similarly, the spiritual energy gained from fellowshipping with fellow saints prevents you from falling away from the faith. The author of Hebrews wrote, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13).

And when you hear the faithful preaching of holy Scripture in the congregation, your soul is strengthened and invigorated by its spiritual nourishment. The word of God “revives the soul” (Psalm 19:7), and such revival occurs when it is proclaimed and publicly read (1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:2).

There is no alternative, friend. You cannot maintain spiritual energy without the body of Christ. Don’t let your battery drain out—go to church and plug in.

You are always welcome to charge your soul’s battery at Locust Grove Baptist Church. Come and see us Sunday morning at 11 am and 6 pm, or Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm. We’re on 1871 Locust Grove Road in Murray.


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English shepherd), and Dot (beagle).

Beat the Heat | Bible Gleanings – June 5-6, 2021

Beat the Heat

I would say we were crying for relief, but our bodies were too dehydrated to produce tears. The scorching sun spewed its wrath upon us as we hiked on trails desolate of shade. We sizzled like bacon in an iron skillet with every step on the preheated rocks. Although we guzzled water and paused for a break every half hour, the blistering heat convinced us that we had a fever.

We couldn’t sleep. We couldn’t eat. The boiling humidity evaporated every ounce of our strength, and all we wanted was one moment of cold refreshment. Fortunately for us, a nippy swimming hole lay only a few miles away. We dove into the rejuvenating oasis, rested on the surface a while, and swore off camping in the angry mid-July heat. 

You know how we felt if you’ve ever camped in the peak of summer or pushed yourself too hard in sultry weather. One man knew exactly how we felt: king David. He once wrote in the Psalms,

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer” (Psalm 32:1-4).

There is one difference between us and David, however. He wasn’t parched by summer’s searing heat waves because of a poorly planned camping trip. Instead, he felt the heat of God’s discipline sapping him of strength because he dealt poorly with his sin. 

He celebrates the blessedness and freedom of forgiveness, but acknowledges that he forfeited the enjoyment of such forgiveness because he failed to confess his sin. He kept quiet about it. He hid it inside. And his unconfessed sin caused the heavy hand of God’s fatherly discipline to come down upon him and drain him of all his vigor and joy, just as the torrid heat of summer dries up all your energy. 

I have felt the heat of God’s discipline. David felt the heat of God’s discipline. Have you?

The good news is that the discipline of the Lord is evidence that you truly belong to Him (Hebrews 12:7). However, the hand of the Lord will dry up your strength until you dive headfirst into the oasis of confession. The longer your sin remains unconfessed, the more God will vaporize your gladness and spiritual stamina. Crying out to God in confession is the only way to cease crying for relief. You must do as David in the following verse: “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (v. 4).


Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English shepherd), and Dot (beagle).