Tag Archives: Christ

Jesus at the Center | Bible Gleanings – October 15-16, 2022

The Last Supper is a world-renowned masterpiece painted in 1498 by Leonarda da Vinci. The mural depicts the well-known scene from the Gospels where Jesus celebrates the Passover with His disciples by breaking bread and drinking wine. The artwork has been praised for its aesthetic merit, but its theological merit deserves equal praise, as Christ is the focal point. Jesus is the “bullseye” of the painting, and therefore the first Person that catches your eye. The Lord isn’t an irrelevant extra who lingers in the shadows; He occupies the place of prominence at the very center.

This is also how our lives ought to be oriented as followers of Christ. Jesus is the preeminent Lord, and He deserves the prominent place in the center of your life (Col. 1:18). He will not settle for second place, nor is He satisfied with standing on the sidelines. Every area of your life must revolve around Him, just as the planets revolve around the sun. Jesus should occupy all the affection of your heart, all the thoughts of your mind, and all the sight of your eyes.

Jesus should be the center of our goal-planning and aspirations. “If then you have been raised with Christ,” said Paul, “seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:1-2). Far above all earthly pursuits, we should serve Him and the interests of His kingdom. As Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33a).

Jesus should also be the central focus of our churches. The preaching, singing, fellowship, calendar, and budget should orbit around Him. The right place for Jesus in the church is first place. As Paul said, “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23).

Jesus should be the focal point of our marriage and family, too. The mysterious marriage of Christ and the church should take precedence over our earthly marriages. And, when a husband and wife put Jesus first, spiritual harmony is created in the home (cf. Eph. 5:22-33). We’ll keep our vows to one another better when we first honor our vows to Christ. Moreover, we are to raise children who focus their lives upon Jesus (cf. Eph. 6:4). 

Additionally, Jesus should occupy first place in our jobs and careers. We must work for our ultimate Boss first and foremost. When we arrive at work, we should clock in for Jesus. As Paul commanded, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Col. 3:23).

If your life were a painting, where would Jesus be?

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

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 (Bluetick Beagle).

He Raises the Lame | Bible Gleanings – May 7-8, 2022

His dreadful condition made every passerby cover their eyes and whimper, “Lord, have mercy.” He was curled in a ball as he lay crippled on a dusty mat. He could not walk, limp, or even crawl. He was born lame—paralysis had arrested his body in the womb. And were it not for the sluggish rising of his chest and the stare of his sunken eyes, you would have assumed he was dead.

The man was the lame beggar whose story is told in the third chapter of Acts (3:1-10). His tragic story is really every sinner’s story. You are this man, too. He is a mirror image staring back at you. He is a visual of the pitiful spiritual condition in which we find ourselves before experiencing the lame-raising power of Jesus Christ.

You and I are born into the world afflicted with spiritual paralysis. We are incapable of running toward God, walking on the narrow way that leads to life, or even limping on the path of the godly (Romans 3:10-18). Sin has broken our spine and confined us to a mat of helplessness. And we are too weak and decrepit to lift ourselves on crutches of righteous works or religion. We need only to look in faith to the lame-raiser, the paralytic-healer—the Lord Jesus Christ—whose grace and power are sufficient to make us walk with God.

The saving power of Christ makes us leap from our crippled state with holy joy (Acts 3:8). Jesus raises us at our conversion so that we may walk the road of righteousness (Psalm 1:6). His all-sufficient grace sets us on our feet so we can run the heavenbound race with endurance (Heb. 12:1). His mercy pulls us up from the bed of sin so that we may stand in grace (Rom. 5:2). He strengthens our legs and limbs so that we may climb over walls of temptation and tribulation (Psalm 18:29).

There’s an old saying that reeks of hell’s smoke which says, “God helps those who help themselves.” But nothing could be further from the truth, for God helps those who cannot help themselves. Jesus raises spiritual paralytics who cannot raise themselves. And Jesus asks all those cursed by the crippling effects of sin: “Do you wish to get well?” (John 5:6). All who answer in the affirmative will receive the gospel cure from the Great Physician Himself, and they will discover that He raises the lame.

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

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 (Bluetick Beagle).

Christ Alone | Bible Gleanings – March 26-27, 2022

We can only be saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone (Eph. 2:8-9). And here are seven reasons why:

(1) The chasm between man and God is too wide to be crossed by good works: “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). The cross of Calvary is the only bridge across the canyon of separation: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18a).

(2) The distance between sinful man and holy God is too long to be climbed by the ladder of law-keeping (Psalm 113:5-6). Only the God-man who can bring man to God: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

(3) The stain on man’s heart is too black to be scrubbed by self-righteousness: “Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me, declares the Lord GOD” (Jer. 2:22). The blood of Christ is the only fountain that washes off sin’s stain (1 John 1:7).

(4) The contamination of iniquity is too unremitting to be washed off by the waters of baptism: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil” (Jer. 13:23). Sinners need a grace-bought spiritual bath administered by God’s Spirit, “the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5b).

(5) The weight of sin is too heavy to be outweighed by righteous deeds: “For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me” (Psalm 38:4). The nail-scarred hands are the only hands that can cast your sins into the sea depths: “You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19).

(6) The shackles of sin-bondage are too strong to be broken by “trying harder.” Only the Lord Jesus can “open the eyes that are blind, [and] bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness” (Isaiah 42:1).

(7) The gargantuan debt of sin is too great to be paid off by an offering: “For our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens” (Ezra 9:6). Only the offering of Christ Himself is sufficient to pay your sin debt: “[He canceled] the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:14).

Friend, Christ alone saves—we come to Him empty-handed.

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

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 (Bluetick Beagle).

Heart Transplant | Bible Gleanings – March 19-20, 2022

I am a walking miracle. I should not be alive today. Most people with my condition never pull through. Fortunately, I am one of the few people jerked away from death’s door thanks to a heart transplant that occurred at just the right time.

Impairments and limitations have plagued my life since the day I was born—all because of a bad heart. I couldn’t see or think clearly. My steps were always crooked. My diseased heart wrecked everything about me—and a new heart was what I needed above all.

The life-saving procedure happened in August of 2009, when I was just fifteen years-old. But it wasn’t in an operating room, and the operation was not performed by a surgeon. It was behind the shabby shed in my parents’ backyard, and the Savior of sinners executed the procedure. After hearing the gospel preached, I suddenly realized that my desperately wicked heart required conversion only Jesus Christ could provide. Kneeling in the dirt and in my soul, I turned to Christ in repentance and faith. “I have been wrong about everything,” I prayed. “Lord, forgive me. Please forgive me. I give my life to You.” And God’s promise came to pass: “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).

Every sinner needs a spiritual heart transplant. The Lord must take His scalpel of grace to remove your old heart and implant a new one that loves Him (Jeremiah 24:7). Why? Because the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart. It is utterly infected by evil: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The heart is responsible for all of your spiritual health problems. As Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:21-23).

This soul-saving spiritual surgery is what God performs for every sinner saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). Every Christian has a heart transplant story. Every believer in Christ is a walking miracle. Every follower of Jesus sings the words of Myron LeFevre’s hymn in their heart:

“Without Him, I could be dying,

Without Him, I’d be enslaved;

Without Him, life would be hopeless,

But with Jesus, thank God, I’m saved.”

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

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 (Bluetick Beagle).

A Free Offer | Bible Gleanings – Feb 12-13, 2022

In addition to receiving monthly bills in the mail, I also get a half-pound bundle of useless vouchers and coupons I never redeem. Limited-time cable and internet bargains, special fast-food discounts, and a membership form for AARP are all included in the colorful paper clump. The real prize lies buried within: a slew of slips emblazoned with the words, “FREE OFFER INSIDE.” And the offers are absolutely irresistible: a $100,000 life insurance policy for only $3 a month, a $200 gift card for a cable service that goes out when a raindrop hits the roof, and a free tank of gas when you purchase a truck with the low price tag of $50,000! 

However, if you read the fine print, you’ll find that the “free” offers aren’t actually free. There are always caveats and strings attached. And besides, none of the offers truly deliver on their claims. Fortunately, there is one free offer that is truly free. It always delivers on its promises, and it is clear of any belying fine print. It is not found in the mailboxes of every street, but it is offered to the heart of every sinner. And I found it, not when I opened a discount mailer, but when I opened my Bible, which says:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

God’s offer of everlasting life is free for all. You cannot buy it with an offering and you cannot earn it through good works (cf. Acts 8:20). Jesus purchased it in full by His atoning death, so you don’t have to (Eph. 1:7). That is why Paul declared, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

Furthermore, there is no small print excluding anyone from the offer of forgiveness and eternal life. Salvation is for every tongue, class, and culture. God doesn’t pass you by because of how you look or where you come from. Every person of every race stands condemned before the bench of His righteousness, and every person is invited and commanded to be made righteous through faith in Jesus Christ alone (Romans 3:22-23; 10:12-13).

Friend, this is an offer you can’t refuse. Reach out your hands and accept it by repenting of your sins and trusting wholly in Christ for your salvation (Acts 17:30; Gal. 2:16). And do so now while the offer still stands: “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

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 (Bluetick Beagle).

The Holy Spirit Doesn’t Need Your Help

“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.” — Acts‬ ‭10:44‬ ‭KJV‬‬

One of the most essential and encouraging truths in all Scripture about preaching the gospel is that the Spirit of God works mightily while we preach.

The Spirit of God punches His timecard when you proclaim the full gospel to the lost. The Spirit engages in CPR, reviving a heart once dead when you engage in evangelism (Eph. 2:1). He shines gospel light in darkened hearts when the blazing gospel torch is carried to those in darkness (2 Cor. 4:6). The Spirit opens blinded eyes when you call the unregenerate to look away from themselves to Christ (2 Cor. 4:4).

The very first thing He does is convict, according to Jesus. He said, “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). The Spirit puts a person’s conscience on trial when the gospel is published. And He says to them, “You are in serious trouble with God, and you are in serious need of salvation. Wake up! God is holy and you are not. You need Jesus!”

Furthermore, the Spirit converts a sinner’s soul. Paul said:

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:4-6).

He regenerates the unregenerate soul. He creates new life within a person devoid of spiritual life.

The Spirit does it all, and oftentimes in the very moment we present the gospel.

This does not mean that every person who hears the gospel will be saved. Sometimes your gospel preaching falls on deaf ears. Unsaved sinners still resist grace (cf. Acts 7:51).

What it does mean is that Spirit can penetrate the hardest heart, loosen the stiffest neck, and overcome anyone’s resistance to His call when He wills (John 6:37-40; Acts 16:4; Romans 8:29-30).

What it does mean is that you can faithfully present the gospel and walk away with a full heart, knowing that the Spirit leads a person to Christ.

What it does mean is that you don’t have to worry about whether your presentation of the gospel was eloquent or sophisticated enough to convince someone to believe.

What it means is that you don’t have to use gimmicks, tactics, bouncy-houses, potlucks, or concerts to win a person to Christ.

And it means that no amount of therapy, theories, or prescriptions make a person a better candidate for salvation.

The Spirit of God alone convicts and converts lost souls—and He doesn’t need any help. Just preach the gospel (Romans 10:14-17).

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).

Sermon: Don’t Miss the Point! (Acts 7:1-53) | Aug 29, 2021

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).

Jesus Is Comin’ to Town | Bible Gleanings [Advent Edition] – December 25-26, 2021

Children all across the world are excitedly waiting for Santa Claus to deliver lots of toys and goodies to their homes. The children are so eagerly awaiting Santa that they go to bed early and leave cookies and milk for him to enjoy. There are even songs about Santa’s coming which dominate the radio waves, such as “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” Little boys and girls are warned to be on their best behavior because, “he’s making a list and checking it twice.”

The excitement for Santa’s one-time visit pales in comparison to the Israelites’ anticipation of the Messiah’s arrival. They waited for thousands of years for the One who would bring them salvation by offering Himself as a substitute (Isaiah 53:4-6). They waited for centuries on the arrival of their Savior, the One who would crush Satan’s head and reverse the curse of sin (Genesis 3:15-19). Finally, He arrived on earth on Christmas Day. He was born in the likeness of men with a fleshly body (Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 1:22; Hebrews 2:14, 17-18).

His first advent was humble, quiet, and observed by only His earthly parents, lowly shepherds, and a few bystanders. Now that He accomplished the work God sent Him to do, we are waiting on His second advent. He will come to earth a second time, and this time, everyone will see it: “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen” (Revelation 1:7). He will not come as a helpless babe, but as the King of kings and Lord of lords riding on a white horse to “tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty” (Revelation 19:15). 

One glorious day, Jesus is comin’ to town. Have you made preparations for His second arrival? He is coming soon: “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done” (Revelation 22:12). It may be Christmas Day, tomorrow, or a thousand years from now. In any case, you must be ready: “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44).


Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

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 (Bluetick Beagle).

God’s Free Gift | Bible Gleanings [Advent Edition] December 11-12, 2021


There is something tender and heartwarming about a child’s unbridled anticipation as they race down the stairs to see what gifts await them beneath the Christmas tree. Giving and receiving gifts has been a Christmastime custom observed for hundreds of years, but how did this tradition begin? Many speculate that the tradition is based on the wise men who gave Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). Others believe that gift-giving follows in the boots of the historical Saint Nicholas, who gave gifts to poor children in his neighborhood. Whatever the historical roots of ripping open presents on Christmas morning, the tradition can remind us of God’s gift to us on Christmas Day: eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Paul famously said, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Eternal life is a gift, and this conveys several wonderful truths about the nature of eternal life. First, it cannot be earned. You can’t buy it with works of righteousness. You can’t earn it by baptism or church membership. You cannot do anything to deserve it. It is God’s free and gracious gift to you (Acts 8:20; Ephesians 2:8).

Secondly, it should be received with gratitude. You must come to God with empty hands in order to receive the gift of eternal life. All you must do is open your hands to receive it. Once you are “justified by his grace as a gift” (Romans 3:24), you can’t help but exclaim in gratitude, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Finally, it was purchased by the precious blood of Christ. Every gift has a cost paid by the buyer. Likewise, the gift of everlasting life came at a cost. It comes freely to you, but it was paid for by the blood of Jesus on Calvary. That is why Paul explained, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

If you have received the free gift of eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ, rejoice. Sing the words of Jessie B. Pounds’ little-know hymn, Blessed Gift:

“O Thou blessed gift from Heaven,

Words Thy worth can never tell!

Sweetest boon to mortals given,

Is our Lord Immanuel.”

Who in your life has not yet received God’s free gift? There is no better gift you could give them than the message of the gospel this Christmas. If you want to learn more about the traditions of Christmas, check out my new Christmas devotional on Amazon: Let Earth Receive Her King: 25 Daily Advent Devotions.


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).

Better Than Santa | Bible Gleanings [Advent Edition] – December 4-5, 2021

Santa Claus is slightly judgmental. He only brings presents to good boys and girls. Those who misbehave are on the naughty list and will receive only coal in their stockings. As J. Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie wrote in Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, “He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice, he’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.” Only youngsters most deserving of gifts can expect to find presents underneath the tree.

Jesus is the polar opposite of Santa: He gives the greatest gift to those who are the least deserving. He came to grant salvation and eternal life to evil people, not good people. As He Himself said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). Furthermore, He came to erase your name from the “naughty list” and write it in His book, the “Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). 

The fact that shepherds were the first to hear the good news of Jesus’ birth embodies Christ’s mission to save the undeserving. The glad tidings were announced by the exalted angels of heaven, not to kings or emperors, but to some of the most insignificant people in Judean society. Luke wrote, “And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them” (Luke 2:8-9a). Shepherds were thought to be insignificant and contemptible. Jews considered them to be unclean, deceitful, and uneducated. Nonetheless, they were the first to hear the wonderful news that the Savior had been born.

The Gospels reinforce the idea that Jesus came for the low-ranking people of the world. The first disciples were fishermen. Jesus healed social outcasts: lepers, paralytics, and the demon-possessed. He ate with tax collectors and sinners. He cared for widows and the sexually immoral. There’s no question about it—Jesus came to save the least qualified.

You don’t have to be outstandingly competent to receive His gift of eternal life. The Lord Jesus will grant salvation to you, no matter who you are or what you have done. Eternal life can be yours even if you are sexually immoral, idolatrous, adulterous, greedy, or addicted (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Jesus is the significant Savior who came for insignificant people. That is why Jesus is better than Santa. If you want to learn more about the significance of Jesus’ coming to earth, check out my new Christmas devotional on Amazon: “Let Earth Receive Her King: 25 Daily Advent Devotions.”


Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. 

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 (Bluetick Beagle).