Tag Archives: devotions

What’s Under Your Roof? | Bible Gleanings – April 3-4, 2021

What’s Under Your Roof?

The woman’s home and land had the kind of beauty and elegance that instantly made you think, “Oh yeah—this person is loaded.” The two-story home was decorated with charcoal-colored brick with a gleaming texture. Vivid flowers surrounded the house and every bush was flawlessly whittled down. The exposed aggregate driveway wound aesthetically through the yard, weaving through the gorgeous green and hilly property. Speaking of green, I’ll bet that not one blade of grass was improperly trimmed.

This heavenly home was also the workplace of an accredited tax preparer my father and I had visited to pay our dues to Caesar.1 My mouth dropped in awe at the enticing appearance of the outside. However, my mouth dropped even farther as we were welcomed through the front door. Mountains of paperwork smothered the tables and countertops. Another mountain was in the sink—a pile of dirty dishes that would have tumbled had one more fork been laid on top. And a tornado of children had obviously blown through every room, as Barbie dolls and soldier toys lay far and wide.

Now—I’m not being critical—just take a look inside my home! The point is, looks are deceiving. What was under the roof contradicted what was outside of the walls. The condition of the inside was completely different from the appearance of the outside. And appearances only go so far—what really matters is what’s inside.

Apparently, the Lord God agrees: “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b). God cares about the condition of the inside, that which is “under your roof,” within your heart. And it doesn’t matter if the lawn of your life is perfectly trimmed if the living room of your heart is a sinful mess. External conformity to Scripture is meaningless without internal purity. As Jesus once said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27-28). Jesus also said that upkeep of the outside is foolish if we neglect maintenance on the inside (Luke 11:39-40).

The truth is, none of us have our house in order—we all need the Spirit of God to make the inside clean. That is why you must be washed and regenerated by the Spirit as you take hold of Christ by faith alone (Titus 3:5). And after your heart has been purified by the Spirit, you must continually pray: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). So, what’s under your roof?

  1. This story is from many years ago, in a location far away from Murray. That’s why I thought no harm would be done in sharing this account. Plus, I know the woman referenced and she would get a kick out of this story as she is a faithful believer in 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 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 (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

“The Prayingest Prayer I ever Prayed” | Bible Gleanings – March 13-14, 2021

Prayer Posture

It was a sweltering and sultry summer day—an unpleasant ninety-five degrees—when five local clergymen convened for an afternoon of enriching fellowship. The baking heat outdoors paled in comparison, however, to the steam in the meeting room. These residential ministers—deacons and pastors both—had begun to argue. Not long after the exchange of pleasantries and mutual spiritual check-ups, the men engaged in a respectful but conviction-driven debate about the proper way to pray.

“The proper way for a man to pray, and the only proper attitude, is down upon his knees,” said Deacon Keyes. His proposition was immediately met with retort from Reverend Wise. “No, I should say the way to pray, is standing straight, with outstretched arms, and rapt and upturned eyes,” he remarked. Elder Slow, who couldn’t bear this heresy, corrected: “Oh no! Such posture is too proud! A man should pray with eyes fast closed and the head contritely bowed.” Having heard enough nonsense, Reverend Blunt observed, “It seems to me his hands should be austerely clasped in front, with both thumbs pointing toward the ground.”

After everyone zealously preached their opinions, Brother Cyrus Brown decided to preach his experience. Leaning back with his thumbs in the straps of his overalls, he recounted, “Las’ year I fell in Hodgkin’s well head first, with both my heels a-stickin’ up, my head a-pointin’ down; and I made a prayer right then an’ there—best prayer I ever said, the prayingest prayer I ever prayed, a-standing on my head.”1

Cyrus made his point loud and clear: there is no correct physical posture for prayer. As long as you are an adopted child of the heavenly Father (Gal. 4:6), God will hear your prayers at anytime and at any place. Moreover, people in Scripture were heard by God whether they prayed kneeling (2 Chron. 6:13; Dan. 6:10), prostrate (Neh. 8:6; Matt. 26:39), with lifted hands (Ps. 141:2; 1 Tim. 2:8), or lying down in bed (Ps. 6:6). What matters in prayer is not your physical posture, but your spiritual posture—not the position of your body, but the position of your heart.

In the passage famously known as The Lord’s Prayer, but more fittingly called The Disciples’ Model Prayer, Jesus explains what the right heart position is for prayer (read Matthew 6:5-13). First, the motivation of your heart must be right. You ought not pray only for the approval and applause of others (vv. 5-6). Don’t pray to be seen by men—pray to be seen by God, who “sees in secret.” Second, the mindset of your heart must be right. God is omniscient and “knows what you need before you ask Him,” and therefore you do not need lengthy liturgical prayers and mindless religious repetitions to get His attention (vv. 7-8). Don’t try to impress God when you pray—just be humble and honest before Him. Finally, there is a model you must follow in order to orient your heart in the right position (vv. 9-13). Jesus instructed that your prayers should begin with a focus on God, His kingdom, and His will (vv. 9-10). After expressing praise to God and submission to His will, you should pray for your physical and spiritual needs (vv. 11-13).

Take it from Cyrus Brown—the prayingest kind of prayer depends, not on where you are, but where your heart is.

  1. This story is modified from a poem by Sam Walter Foss. Some say the poem stands by itself, some say it is adapted from an anecdotal story. This is just how I’ve told the story through the years, though it is not entirely original.

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 (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

A Fish Fight | Bible Gleanings – October 10-11, 2020

A Fish Fight

In Russia earlier this year, a disastrous “fish fight” transpired over who truly possesses the rights to the fish that abound in the Amur River. The Amur is the world’s tenth longest river which forms the boundary between Russia and northeastern China, and it is a wild salmon goldmine. For years, local families and business owners have filled their bellies and pockets with its riches.

Nowadays, this is not the case. Moscow loosened restrictions on commercial businesses and tightened restrictions on recreational fishing, as the New York Times reported, and now local folks can’t catch enough to put on the table. Commercial enterprises have drained local fishing communities, for instance, by stringing enormous nets across the river’s mouth. Thousands of fish swimming with the current unknowingly become caught and entangled by these gargantuan nets. Unless local residents get to the fish first, they will inevitably be caught by the bigger nets of the “big guys.”

A much more important spiritual fish fight has raged for centuries and continues fervently today. The church and the world are both trying to catch people like fish. Jesus calls His followers, the church, to fish for people: “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). If you follow Christ, you are to use the gospel as the net to deliver unbelievers from drowning in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10). The world, on the other hand, is using the allurement and appeal of sin and idolatry to keep unbelievers entangled in its net.

Scores of people are going with the flow of the world and are hopelessly ensnared by the deadly net of sin. Scripture says, “The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin” (Proverbs 5:22). Similarly, God tells us, “An evil man is ensnared in his transgression” (Proverbs 29:6). The false gods carved by the world  entangle men and lead to eternal condemnation from God (Deuteronomy 7:25). The world’s net is big and is dragging thousands to hell.

And unless you get in your boat and fish for the unsaved in the world, they will remain caught by the world’s net. In order for unbelievers to be delivered, you have to do some fishing. The gospel “net” is thankfully strong enough to snatch a man from the world’s fast-flowing stream, and it can save those strangled by the world’s net. Think about the unbelievers that you know—whose net will catch them? What will you do to prevent them from remaining caught by the world?

A word of caution: watch yourself and bear in mind that, although you are a fisher of men, you are still a fish and you can, “learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare” (Proverbs 22:25).


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 (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).

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).

Too Close! | Bible Gleanings August 8-9, 2020

Too Close!

Like most people, you probably enjoy the comfort and security of a hotel room when on vacation. A quality room with a plush bed and coffee maker are the closest you can get to home when you’re away from home. However, if you get a kick out of getting as close to danger as possible, there are plenty of options out there. If you’re vacationing in Zambia, you can sleep in a glass igloo surrounded by elephants, giraffes, and wild dogs. Mfuwe Lodge in Zambia is just the place. They offer eighteen chalets in the exotic thicket of South Luangwa National Park. If you like tree houses, you can book your stay in a transparent capsule on the side of a mountain in Peru. Thanks to Skylodge Adventure Suites, you can sleep on a cliff in a see-through capsule which is accessible only by zipline. Maybe you’re the type that loves water. No problem! You can reserve your own bubble room sixteen feet below sea level at Manta Resort in Zanzibar. At this resort, guests are guaranteed a private underwater room complete with a butler who comes to you by boat. Yes, for a hefty price, you can forfeit all safety and security and turn your next vacation into a near-death experience!

Some people like to live on the edge—it’s inherent in their nature. As a matter of fact, inherent in your nature is a desire to get close to the edge—the edge of sin. As sinners, we try to bend the rules and camp on the cliff when it comes to violating God’s commands. More often than not, we flirt around with sin and see how close we can get when we should be getting as far away as possible. Because of our sin nature, we love to play with fire and come as close as we can to the fiery dangers of sin.

Think about all the biblical characters who destroyed themselves by coming too close to the edge. Adam and Eve lingered near the tree which God forbade before eating its forbidden fruit. Lot camped on the border of the detestable city of Sodom before going full speed down a path that wrecked his life. Samson dilly dallied in Gaza before going into a prostitute which defaced his once-honorable legacy. David watched from his palace as Bathsheba bathed before committing adultery with her.

No matter how thrilling it may be to our sinful nature, coming close to the edge always leads to destruction. The bill for sin always comes due. Instead of testing the limits, God calls you to flee from sin as fast as possible. “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry” (1 Cor. 10:14). Flee from sin and its danger. Don’t make your reservations in places that’ll get you closest to it (1 Cor. 6:18; 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22).


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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).

The Roaring Lion

There are thousands of good ideas in the world—entering into a lion enclosure at the zoo is not one of them. Earlier this year, a man miraculously survived a lion attack after doing just that. An employee at the Serengeti Zoo in Hamburg, Germany, entered into the enclosure to do a routine fence check. Usually, the lions are in their cages when employees enter, but not this time. One of the lions pounced and attacked the man and he sustained several serious injuries as a result. Needless to say, lions are dangerous whether they are in the wild or in zoos. They are territorial and always ready to fight anything that may challenge them. Not to mention, they are natural hunters that can reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.

Another bad idea is walking around as a Christian, unaware of the fact that a more dangerous lion lurks around, waiting to chow down on your life. In 1 Peter 5:8, Peter gave a firm warning about this lion: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Peter says that Satan wants to devour and destroy you, just like a roaring and hungry lion.

Comparing the devil to a lion suggests at least four things about his nature and work. First, the devil wants to consume you just as lions consume their prey. Lions hunt by staying hidden so their prey will be inattentive to their presence. Once they get close enough to the unsuspecting animal, they chase them until they are caught. This is precisely what the devil does to believers. The devil is always hidden, disguised as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). And he will attack when you are ignorant of his presence.

Second, like a lion, the devil attacks the weak. Lions don’t normally hunt elephants or giraffes because they are too challenging to kill—they are much larger than lions. Instead, lions will stalk smaller and weaker animals—antelopes, zebras, or wild hogs. Likewise, the devil hunts the spiritually weak. The devil will tear you apart when you are frail and defenseless without your spiritual armor (Eph. 6:10-20).

Third, the devil intimidates just as lions do. Lions roar to show how big they are—to scare their prey and competitors. The devil also roars to instill fear and he does so through persecution, fierce trials, and strong temptations.

Finally, the devil devours just as lions devour their prey. Lions don’t eat with silverware and neither does the devil. Like a lion, the devil wants to consume you until there is nothing left and he will leave a mess.

The best idea is to be sober-minded and watchful, alert and prepared to fight when he attacks.


profile pic5Brandon 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, Aries, and Dot.

Charles Spurgeon on “Walking in the Truth”

Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) was born in Essex, England. He became a Christian in 1850 and a year later he was the pastor of a small Baptist church. In 1854 he was called to the pastorate of New Park Street Baptist Chapel in Southwark, London. His preaching attracted great crowds, so much so that a new building, the Metropolitan Tabernacle, was erected. During his ministry, he built up a congregation which numbered about 6,000. As well as being a popular preacher, Spurgeon was involved in several charitable organizations, including an orphanage at Stockwell. ¹

Spurgeon’s influence is still affecting millions of lives even today, and one of the ways his influence has been spreading is through his classic devotional, Morning and Evening. This is one of the best devotionals you can buy even today (and it’s offered in a variety of formats: leather-bound, paperback, hardback, Kindle and eBook, etc.). In this devotional, you can read Spurgeon’s writings, sermons, and deep reflections on various Scriptures. One for morning, and one for evening. Now there are some excellent classic devotionals out there, like My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, but none compare to Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon.

I was reading today’s devotion, and I was struck by Spurgeon’s description of “walking in the truth,” and wanted to share it with you. Enjoy:

Scripture: ‘For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth’ (3 John 3)

Spurgeon: “The truth was in Gaius, and Gaius walked in the truth. If the first had not been the case, the second could never have occurred; and if the second could not be said of him the first would have been a mere pretence. Truth must enter into the soul, penetrate and saturate it, or else it is of no value. Doctrines held as a matter of creed are like bread in the hand, which ministers no nourishment to the frame; but doctrine accepted by the heart, is as food digested, which, by assimilation, sustains and builds up the body. In us truth must be a living force, an active energy, and indwelling reality, a part of the woof and warp of our being. If it be in us, we cannot henceforth part with it. A man may lose his garments or his limbs, but his inward parts are vital, and cannot be torn away without absolute loss of life. A Christian can die, but he cannot deny the truth.

Now it is a rule of nature that the inward affects the outward, as light shines from the centre of a lantern through the glass: when, therefore, the truth is kindled within, its brightness soon beams forth in the outward life and conversation. It is said that the food of certain worms colours the cocoons of silk which they spin: and just so the nutriment upon which a man’s inward nature lives gives a tinge to every word and deed proceeding from him. To walk in the truth, imports a life of integrity, holiness, faithfulness, and simplicity – the natural product of those principles of truth which the gospel teaches, and which the Spirit of God enables us to receive. We may judge of the secrets of the soul by their manifestation in the man’s conversations.

Be it ours today, O gracious Spirit, to be ruled and governed by Thy divine authority, so that nothing false or sinful may reign in our hearts, lest it extend its malignant influence to our daily walk among men.” ²

Wow. As a student of the Bible, and a Bible college student, I think I have easily recognized the importance of doctrine and truth in the life of a Christian. But up until today, I have never heard such a picturesque description of how it truly affects the Christian life. Get a copy of Morning and Eveningand start growing in your faith.


1. This introduction is adapted from Morning and Evening(Scotland, UK: Christian Focus Publications, 1994).
2. Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, (Scotland, UK: Christian Focus Publications, 1994), 694.