Tag Archives: devotion

A Broken Compass | Bible Gleanings – November 21-22, 2020

A Broken Compass

“I’ve got some bad news—we aren’t heading north.”

That was the draining report I gave to my friend as we exhausted ourselves attempting to hike in the right direction. An enjoyable day hike quickly became a frustrating struggle to find our way back. The rain was against us, turning dusty trails into sludge hungry for unsuspecting shoes. The trail markers were against us—some contradicted the trail map and most were indecipherable from being timeworn. The whole afternoon was burned up backtracking and circling back to places we’d already been to.

Something was off—we were seasoned hikers—being on the hamster wheel made no sense. Besides, since we trekked this trail system on previous occasions, our feet were somewhat acquainted with it. Why were we wandering and lost? Days later I found that a broken compass was responsible for our aimless ramble. Apparently, the circular plate that allows the needle to point northward had locked up. We were wandering and wayward because our compass was damaged. Going in the right direction was impossible because the device created to guide our steps was wrecked and ruined.

I’ve got some bad news—the compass of the human heart is likewise defective and disabled. The word of God teaches that we wander from the Lord because our inner compass is broken. No man’s heart points in the right direction towards God. As a matter of fact, “No one understands; no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:11). Our sinful and corrupt heart points toward evil and we are, “accustomed to [doing] evil” (Jeremiah 13:23). The feet of every sinner is fastened to the wrong path—the path away from God (Isaiah 53:6). Until the Lord repairs the compass of your heart by giving you a new one, you will hopelessly wander on the wayward path that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13).

The good news is that God is ready to point your heart’s compass toward the path of godliness. He wants to give you a new heart and a new compass: “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. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

God will do this when you repent of your sin and trust wholly in Christ for your eternal salvation (2 Cor. 7:10; Romans 10:9-13). However, even after you experience this transformation, you are still prone to wander. Therefore, you must continually depend on God’s grace and the power of His Spirit to keep the compass of your heart pointing heavenward.

What direction does the compass of your heart point towards?


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 will 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 (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

A Frightening Flight | Bible Gleanings – Nov 14-15, 2020

A Frightening Flight

Every passenger thought this was the end. The aircraft was unsteady as it flew through rough air currents. The turbulence was extreme, causing screams of terror as the plane’s seats rocked. Luggage was spilling out. People held on to whatever they could. Some people were praying through tears. Flight attendants tried to keep everyone calm. Panic had seized everyone on the plane—except for one little boy.

How could this be? How could one youngster be peaceful in such chaos? Well, his father was the pilot. Although the plane was in turmoil, and life itself seemed to be coming to an end, the boy’s father was trustworthy and skillful enough to land the plane safely despite the pandemonium. He was experiencing a rocky ride just like everyone else—but he had no reason to panic because his father was in control.

Can we all agree that the year 2020 has been a tumultuous plane ride through turbulence from hell? Wildfires have burned through thousands of acres of our West Coast. Political and ideological wildfires have likewise burned in our major cities. The coronavirus pandemic has seized our normal way of life. This virus has robbed us of our income and our loved ones, in many cases. And without question, this election season (which is far from over) has been the most chaotic and divisive in our nation’s history. It definitely looks like this plane is going down.

Maybe you can relate. Maybe you are flying through turbulence and your life is marked by conflict, confusion, and commotion. Friend, the only way you can retain peace in the chaos of life is if you know the Pilot. If you know Christ as your Savior, then the Lord God of the universe is your heavenly Father and He is a trustworthy pilot. Your plane might seem out of control, but God is always in control and He will get you to your destination—even if you have to fly through turbulence. Psalm 93 says, “The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting” (vv. 1-2).

God is in control and He reigns in heaven upon His throne—nothing can ever change that—not a virus, not a president, or a personal trouble. That is why it is wise to obey the words of Solomon: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Will you trust the Pilot of your life to safely land your plane?


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 will 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 (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

Weeds of Worldliness | Bible Gleanings – October 31-November 1, 2020

Weeds of Worldliness

Russia has been infiltrated by an alien—an alien species of giant hogweed, that is. The invasive plant dominates thousands of miles of rural Russia like a million-man military. The hogweed began to conquer the wilderness of Russia in the 1980s, and continues to subdue fields and even villages. In fact, according to the New York Times, “The weed is expanding its coverage by about 10 percent every year.” The big issue with the alien weed is its toxicity. It contains deadly sap which causes third-degree burns and even blindness.

Why is this dangerous weed quelling Russia’s forests and neighborhoods? The answer is twofold. First, the weed loves soil that is fickle, weak, and unsettled. Dmitry Geltman, a botanical expert, remarked, “It takes over deserted fields because it likes unstable soil.” Second, the government has done practically nothing to eradicate it. The weed has advanced and increased due to government neglect and wilderness mismanagement. A mere hogweed plant has tyrannized land and puts people’s lives in danger—that is astonishing!

Infinitely more astonishing is that another kind of weed can vanquish your life and put your soul in danger: the weeds (or thorns) of worldliness. Jesus taught, “A sower went out to sow his seed . . . And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it . . . And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature” (Luke 8:5, 7, 14).

If you are preoccupied with worldly things—wealth, possessions, pleasures, and earthly pursuits—the word of God (the seed) will not be able to take root in your heart. The thorns of worldliness will occupy your heart and choke it out. If the “soil” of your heart is unstable, if you are distracted by the world’s worries and pleasures, the word of God cannot bear fruit within you—the weeds and thorns of worldliness will crowd it out. And as long as the weeds of the world are allowed to live, they will continue to spread and grow.

Do the thorns of worldliness rule in your heart? Do you love the world so much that you have no love for God? If so, then your soul is in serious danger. Forsake your sin and earthly pursuits, and come to Jesus Christ for salvation so that He may tear out the tyrannical weeds of worldliness. God will change your heart so you may bear spiritual fruit when you hear and believe the word of God.

However, even if you are a true believer, the world’s weeds and thorns can still prevent God’s word from going deep into your heart. Therefore, deny the lure of the world, hold fast to the word, and continually yield to the Sower so He may rip out the choking weeds of worldliness


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 will 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 (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

The Record of Sin | Bible Gleanings – October 17-18, 2020

The Record of Sin

There was a hardworking Englishman who was due for a holiday (or a vacation, as we call it). He loaded his car, a 1940’s Rolls-Royce, on a steady boat and set out across the continent to enjoy some rest from work. While he drove around Europe to experience its sights and sounds, he heard something rather unpleasant—an unusual ticking coming from the engine. He immediately contacted Rolls-Royce back in England and asked, “I’m having trouble with my car; what do you suggest I do?” Since Rolls-Royce valued excellency, they flew a mechanic to his location. That’s what I call customer service! The mechanic examined the engine and presumably made necessary repairs, then flew back to England to let the man continue his holiday.

As the story is told, the man began to question, “How much is this going to cost me?” When his holiday concluded, he wrote them a letter asking how much he owed. In no time he received a letter from their office that read: “Dear Sir: There is no record anywhere in our files that anything ever went wrong with a Rolls-Royce.”

There is a letter from God’s office that says the same thing about you, if you are a believer in Christ: “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14). The Lord God cancelled and cleared the record of debt that stood against you by nailing it through the hands of His Son. Because of this, there is no record anywhere that you ever did anything wrong. On the cross, a marvelous exchange took place so that the record of your sins could be canceled. Namely, God credited your sin to Jesus and credited His righteousness to you. At Calvary, the Son of God made your record His own and gave you His perfect record in exchange.

Paul said it like this: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Similarly, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13a). The registry of your sin and guilt is gone. The only record that remains is the Book that contains the names of all those who are covered by the blood of Christ, the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 13:8; 17:8; 20:15; 21:27).

The question is: what is God’s file on you? Does God have a full record of your sin? Or have you had your record of sin removed by trusting in Jesus Christ?


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 will 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 (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

Ready to Fight | Bible Gleanings – September 26-27, 2020

“If people wanted to fight me in the garage, then bring them on, and I will fight them in the garage,” said Ryan Garcia, a lightweight boxer from La Jolla, California. Garcia is among many boxers who are training for the ring despite most televised boxing being put on hold due to the coronavirus. According to the New York Times, Garcia and other boxers are disciplining themselves without missing a punch, and sharpening their skills so they will be prepared for the day when they step into the ring again. Garcia, who lives with his parents, installed a heavy bag and reflex bag in his parents’ garage to keep his punches sharp. The living and dining room areas were cleared out so he could hit the mitts with his father, and practice his techniques as though he were in the ring. Garcia understood that you can never win a fight without preparation. That’s why he did everything he could to train for and win his next one.

Likewise, as a Christian, you will be defeated in your fight with sin, the world, and the devil if you neglect spiritual training. The Bible says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:12‬). You are in the ring every day, wrestling up close against the opponents of God and godliness. In one corner, stands the flesh—the old sin nature that seeks to subdue you and make you its slave again: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions” (Romans 6:12). In the next corner is the world that aims to mold you after its pattern and entangle you in its system: “Do not be conformed to this world” (Romans 12:12a; see also 1 John 2:15-17). And in the last corner is Satan, the adversary whose desire for your spiritual destruction is insatiable: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

A corrupt flesh, a dominating world, and a busy devil all stand ready to take you down. The key to winning against them is spiritual training and preparation. You must keep your spiritual muscles strong and stay in shape. Therefore, diligently watch out for deceiving temptations and keep your fists clenched against them. Remain in the place of prayer with your Father to stay alert for spiritual danger (Matthew 26:41). Wear the right protective gear, the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). Wield the word of God as a sword to defend yourself (Matthew 4:4-11; Ephesians 6:17). Are you ready for your next fight?


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 will 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 (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

Small People, Big Impact | Bible Gleanings, September 19-20, 2020

Small People, Big Impact

Earlier this month, Americans and many nations abroad celebrated the 75th Commemoration of the End of World War II. The worldwide conflict initiated in 1939 when Britain and France declared war on Germany in response to Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Every major part of the world loaded their weapons and got involved, including the United States. After seemingly endless battles and bloodshed for over half a decade, the war officially ended on September 2, 1945 when the Japanese formally surrendered.

A little-known fact about the world’s bloodiest conflict is that a small business in New York City helped the Allies triumph victoriously. Over 70 years ago, Louis Pfohl founded Plaxall, a family-owned plastics manufacturing company, which still operates today. A New York Times article recounts that they have recently aided in the production of face shields to combat the coronavirus, but most notably helped us defeat the Axis powers during WWII. The federal government requested that their minuscule workforce produce plastic replicas of American, German, Russian, and Japanese airplanes so citizens and military personnel could better identify them during air raids. Plaxall even advanced the production of the atomic bomb as they were contracted by the Manhattan Project to build a five-sided pyramidal cone that was indispensable to the endeavor. 

Plaxall may have been small in number but they were big on impact. They helped us win the world’s deadliest conflict, although they never employed a huge workforce. They didn’t need a great army to help the greatest armies of the world. They didn’t need a big name to make a big difference. The truth is, you don’t need a multitude or a ton of resources to make a global impact. All you need are a few committed people working together for the fulfillment of a single mission.

Jesus Christ agrees: “I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (Revelation 3:8b). Jesus commends the Philadelphian church, acknowledging that they had been faithful despite being small. They had little strength—small numbers and little resources. They couldn’t produce much because of their little size and influence, but they produced the greatest thing of all: faithfulness to Christ. That’s all it takes to make a big impact. God will use you greatly when you remain faithful to your mission—the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20).

He doesn’t need a big church to make a global difference. He doesn’t need an army to spread the gospel to the world. He just wants faithfulness. God can do a lot with a little, right? Christ fed the multitudes with a sack lunch and even changed the world by the preaching of twelve apostles. Do what you can and God will use it, even if it is small. He may even use it to win a war.


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 will 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 (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

Power in the Blood | Bible Gleanings September 12-13, 2020

Power in the Blood

Dr. Benjamin Planer, a 58-year-old doctor in New Jersey, has blood like no one else, according to an article in April published by the New York Times. He is known as the “superdonor” at Hackensack University Medical Center because his blood is rich with antibodies—proteins made by the immune system to fight infections which help to ward off future infections. His blood is especially valuable in today’s war against the coronavirus. He contracted the virus himself, along with his wife and 17-year-old son. Antibodies formed specifically to combat the coronavirus and helped him recover from it.

Dr. Planer remarked, “My body obviously had it. My body responded. My immunity worked. And I hear that I made a lot of antibodies. I was very happy to hear that—and very happy to share.” Because he beat the coronavirus, his blood now has the power to save lives—and he’s giving it away to help others beat the virus. He prevailed over the coronavirus and his blood has what it takes to enable others to prevail over it as well.

Dr. Planer is not the only man whose blood saves lives. The Bible says of another man, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7). This man has, “freed us from our sins by his blood” (Rev. 1:5b). If you are a part of the church of God, this man has “obtained [you] with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). This man has blood like no one else, which is why we sing, “Would you be free from your passion and pride? There’s power in the blood, power in the blood. Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide, there’s wonderful power in the blood.”

This man is Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, who conquered the disease of sin and whose blood has the power to ensure your own victory over it. Christ triumphed over sin and gave His blood to help you triumph over it as well. Because Jesus gave His life, His blood is life-giving. That is why the apostle Peter exclaimed, “By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24b). If you have been covered by the blood of Jesus by trusting only in His finished work for your salvation, you have been justified (Rom. 5:9), reconciled to God (Eph. 2:13; Col. 1:20), purified (Heb. 9:14; 1 John 1:7; Rev. 7:14), forgiven (Eph. 1:7; Heb. 9:22), and ransomed (1 Peter 1:18-19; Rev. 5:9).

His blood is the only thing sufficient to save from the virus of sin. Have you been washed and healed by the blood of Jesus?

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 will 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 (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

Taking Out the Trash | Bible Gleanings September 5-6, 2020

Taking Out the Trash

Anything can happen in 2020—even the transformation of a landfill to a recreational park. An article in the New York Times titled Huge Landfill’s Long Road to Renewal, documents how Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island went from a garbage dump to a grassy landscape, and is set to open as a park by next spring. Fresh Kills was once an ecological eyesore due to the tons of trash that arrived there every day by barge. In the late 1970s, an estimated 28,000 tons of garbage were unloaded daily. The waste at Fresh Kills is so massive that giant trash hills formed over time and were named as though they were natural landmarks. In 2001, however, the dumping ceased and the process of renewal began.

They compacted waste, flushed out harmful chemicals, and capped the garbage mounts with plastic. After they essentially “took out the trash,” they brought in soil and seeds, and let nature do its thing. Now the landfill once dominated by repugnant filth is characterized by life and beauty. Looking at Fresh Kills today, you’d never know it was once a literal wasteland. It is still a work-in-progress, but it is far more useful and beautiful than ever before.

Did you know this is what God has been doing in you since you were first saved by grace? On the day of your conversion, God started the process of beautifying you by taking the garbage out of your heart and life. As an unbeliever, your life was a landfill of sin. You were characterized by the garbage and filth of sinful desires and deeds (Romans 1:18-32). In fact, your iniquities formed mounts which reached to the heavens (Ezra 9:6).

Now, God is taking out the trash and transforming you into something useful and beautiful. To be sure, this is an ongoing process that requires your obedience. That is why Paul said, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry . . . Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Colossians 3:5, 12). The old has to be removed so the new can take its place. Old earthly desires and deeds, the garbage of your former life, must be put to death so that your life can be identified by new virtues. God calls you to kill off your old inclinations and actions so that He can plant new things in your life. He wants you to be characterized by new and beautiful virtues so that old and repulsive vices are out of sight. Will you yield to the Spirit and walk with the Lord so He can continue taking out the trash?

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 will be posted for reading here.

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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 (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

Start With Prayer | Bible Gleanings August 29-30, 2020

Start With Prayer

Without question, science and experience affirm that how you start your day is vitally important. What you do or don’t do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. According to several mental health studies, the first twenty minutes of the day are the most crucial. An article by the Entrepreneur confirms this, saying, “whether you get out of bed at 5 a.m. or 3 p.m., it’s the first 20 minutes of your day that can set you up for success.” Most people don’t take the time to get mornings right and waste a great opportunity to get started on the right foot.

One man who always started His day on the right foot was Jesus Christ, the Lord. He would begin His long days of preaching and healing on His knees. As John Mark tells us in his Gospel, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35).

There are several elements of Jesus’ “morning routine” that, if incorporated into our own lives, would set up each day for the blessing of God. Here are a few things about Jesus’ prayer that will set the right tone for the rest of your day, if you imitate His example.

(1) Jesus prayed even when exhausted. Granted, Mark doesn’t say Jesus was tired. However, we know from the context that Jesus couldn’t have enjoyed a full night of sleep. On the previous day, He was healing the sick and casting out demons—beginning at evening and ending possibly until midnight (Mark 1:32-34). Although He was tired, He woke up early and prayed anyway. You will pray when you hunger for God’s presence, no matter how tired you are or how busy you are. Learn to pray when you are tired—even if it’s only for a few minutes. God will grant you spiritual and emotional rest that is far greater than physical rest.

(2) Jesus prayed early. When Christ prayed, it was so early that the sun hadn’t yet risen. He knew prayer was the best way to start the day. Practically speaking, given Jesus’ busy life in ministry, this may have been His only opportunity to spend alone time with His Father. We should learn to pray early as well. While the mind is refreshed and the world is still waking up, we should wake up with prayer.

(3) Jesus prayed alone. Jesus often prayed in public and with His disciples, but He also prayed in desolate places so He could talk to the Father free of distraction or disturbance. In our prayer lives, we also need to pray as often as we can alone, one-on-one with the Father.

How will you spend the first twenty minutes of the day tomorrow? Remember—the best way to start the day is to start to pray!

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 will be posted for reading here.

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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 (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

Actor Portrayal | BIBLE GLEANINGS AUGUST 22-23, 2020

Actor Portrayal

Many commercials on television promote new products and services with personal testimony from people who have benefited from the product themselves. When a new gadget hits the market, you’ll see someone in the commercial rave about how it has changed their lives for the better. When a new medicine is developed, the person in the commercial is seen enjoying their lives like never before. However, if you pay close attention you will often see the words ACTOR PORTRAYAL in tiny print near the bottom of the screen. That signals that the individual in the advertisement hasn’t actually used the product or service for themselves.

I don’t know about you, but I immediately question the effectiveness of whatever they’re advertising if the company has to hire an actor to promote it. In fact, it makes me think the product or service doesn’t work at all! The actors are real and so is their enthusiasm, but their claim about the proficiency of a product or service is repudiated when there is no real evidence that they themselves have been changed by it. It’s all acting.

The Bible talks about actor portrayal. The Lord Jesus sternly warned that it is possible to offer lip service to God while your heart is far from Him: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Matt. 15:8). You can be enthusiastic about God and the gospel without actually being changed by the gospel or encountering God for yourself. Reading the Bible, going to church, singing hymns, and doing good works are just an actor portrayal if you haven’t experienced the life-changing power of the gospel firsthand. Even if you have genuinely trusted in Christ and believed the gospel, people will question the effectiveness of the gospel if you show little to no evidence that you’ve been changed by it. If you don’t practice what you preach, people will wonder whether or not the gospel works at all. When we live no differently than anyone else, it is as though “actor portrayal” has been visibly labeled upon our lives.

Hypocrisy always kills the appeal of the gospel. God doesn’t call you to act before men, but to live a genuinely righteous life before Him: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1). Obviously, no Christian is perfect and there’ll even be times when you live hypocritically—it happens to all of us. The issue is not with occasional falls into the sin of hypocrisy. The issue is if you promote the effectiveness of the gospel but contradict that claim by living the same as everyone else. Have you been changed by the gospel or is your life an actor portrayal?

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 will be posted for reading here.

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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 (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).