Tag Archives: devotions

Landing on Grace | Bible Gleanings – November 12-13, 2022

He was left dangling and fearing for his life. The young man was being hazed by his college fraternity, and he was carried to a secluded spot in the woods where he was lowered by a greasy rope into an abandoned murky well. He figured his friends would fetch him after a few minutes, but he was mistaken. His bones shook as he saw that they tied their end of the rope over a bar at the top of the well, leaving him hanging in mid-air. After a half-hour of shoulder-burning torture, he let go of the slippery rope and plummeted into the well—until he planted safely on the dirt two inches beneath his feet!

Solid ground caught him when he let go, and sovereign grace is always there to catch believers in Christ when they “let go” of the rope of obedience to God. When we sin against the Lord and let go of Him, we will never plummet all the way to spiritual death (cf. John 5:24; 2 Tim. 4:18). However, that doesn’t mean the fall to His sod of steadfast love will be pleasant. When sin loosens our grip on God, we will be bruised on the way down by His loving discipline and the charitable rebuke of our faithful brethren (Heb. 3:13; 12:11). And we may fall as far as Peter did, even denying that we know Christ (Luke 22:54-62), but if we truly belong to God, we will always land on His sovereign grace. 

Christian, sometimes you will lose your way, but Christ will never lose you. He promised, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day” (John 6:39). Sin may slick your hands and relax your hold on grace, but Christ’s nail-scarred hands will never let go of you. “I give them eternal life,” Jesus assured, “and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29).

Of course, this is not an incentive to let go of the Lord. May God forbid that we view His sustaining grace as liberty to let go! To the contrary, the Lord calls us to “continue in the faith” and continue no longer in sinful ways (cf. Romans 6:1-4; Col. 1:21-23). Instead, this heartening truth is a holy rationale to wholly rely on God’s relentless grace to catch us when we fall. Therefore, all believers in the grip of grace may exclaim with the psalmist David, “Even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:10, KJV).

The words of the hymn He Will Hold Me Fast perfectly capture the believer’s assurance of sovereign grace, saying:

“When I fear my faith will fail,

Christ will hold me fast;

When the tempter would prevail,

He can hold me fast!

Refrain:

He will hold me fast,

He will hold me fast;

For my Savior loves me so,

He will hold me fast.

2 I could never keep my hold,

He must hold me fast;

For my love is often cold,

He must hold me fast.

3 I am precious in His sight,

He will hold me fast;

Those He saves are His delight,

He will hold me fast. 

4 He’ll not let my soul be lost,

Christ will hold me fast;

Bought by Him at such a cost,

He will hold me fast.”1

  1. Habershon, Ada R. “He Will Hold Me Fast.” The New National Baptist Hymnal, 2001. Hymn published in 1906.
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 Treat That Tricks | Bible Gleanings – October 29-30, 2022

If you’re a jelly bean eater, prepare to spit them out for good. According to numerous sources, their glossy and crunchy coating is actually made from resin secreted by the female “lac bug” after it drinks the sap of trees. The chemical is released by the lac bug onto twigs and branches, where it is collected and later processed into flakes that are sprayed on candies like jelly beans, candy corn, and chocolate-covered mint patties. Because these treats appear delectable and delicious, you’d never suspect you were eating insect excrement. Now, that’s a treat that tricks!

Sin is also a “treat” that tricks. Sin always appears shiny, satisfying, and sugar-coated. It’s tantalizing appearance captures the eyes of our flesh, and its abominable aroma whets our sinful appetite (cf. Gen. 3:6; James 1:14-15). But in reality, sin is not a treat at all. It is the object of God’s hate, the source of man’s grief, and the root of all the world’s troubles (Psalm 5:4; Job 15:20-35). 

Moreover, sin only tastes sweet for a fleeting moment (cf. Heb. 11:25). Sin’s cunning coating of enjoyment wears off quickly, and it always leaves a foul taste in the mouth. As Job’s friend Zophar observed, “Though evil is sweet in his mouth, though he hides it under his tongue, though he is loath to let it go and holds it in his mouth, yet his food is turned in his stomach; it is the venom of cobras within him” (Job 20:12-14). Sin is bitter like wormwood and sour like unripe grapes to those who consume it (Deut. 29:18-19; Jer. 31:30). Those who relish every bite of sin will find sin biting them back (cf. Jer. 2:19).

What is truly sweet is experiencing the grace and goodness of the Lord God. For this reason, the psalmist urges, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8). At His right hand are “pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). Furthermore, doing His will is always sweetly satisfying, and it never leads to bitter guilt or sour regret (John 4:34). The satisfaction He gives is not a trick—it is as real as it gets: “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things” (Psalm 107:9).

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).

His Workmanship | Bible Gleanings – October 22-23, 2022

Repairing the rusting russet-colored sedan seemed like a waste of time to me. If you searched for “clunker” in Webster’s Dictionary, you’d see a picture of this car. It was in terrible shape: the tires were ashy from wear, the paint was chipped from weather, and the engine sputtered from sitting idle for so long. Despite its sorry state, it was my father’s restoration project for a few weeks. He took a hunk of junk, and burned time, broke sweat, and battered tools to make it run like new. 

Likewise, you are the heavenly Father’s “restoration project” if you have been saved by grace. The Scripture says, “For we are His workmanship” (Eph. 2:10a). The Lord bought you from sin’s junkyard, and He is always working on you to make you run like new (cf. Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9-10). You are in His workshop of sanctification, but not for self-improvement. God is working on you to make you more like Christ: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). 

Like any good mechanic, the Father uses many tools to fix you up. The Bible is a hammer that God uses to flatten out the dents in your theology (Jer. 23:29). The local church is the place where God gives you a weekly “engine tune up” in order to run effectively for Him throughout the week. Trials and tribulations are the buff pads God uses to polish the scuffs on your faith (James 1:2-4). And prayer is the “jump” that cranks your engine for righteous living, since it is through prayer that we receive God’s own power to obey Him (James 5:16).

God isn’t finished with you yet, but He will finish what He started. The Scripture assures us, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). Until then, we must humbly submit to His means and methods of making us what we ought to be. And, we may exuberantly resound the words of He’s Still Workin’ on Me, the gospel classic which says: 

“He’s still workin’ on me

To make me what I ought to be;

It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,

The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.

How loving and patient He must be!

He’s still workin’ on me!”

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).

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).

The Old Lighthouse | Bible Gleanings – October 8-9, 2022

The old lighthouse may be crumbling, but it continues to beam guiding light across the stormy sea. The Hooper Island Lighthouse in Chesapeake Bay has been steering seafarers since 1901, but many people think it’s time for the old beacon to retire to the junkyard. What used to be a brilliantly towering cylinder of hope is now a worn out and rusty hunk of metal. However, according to the Washington Post, the lighthouse isn’t going anywhere since it remains as an “active aid to navigation for the U.S. Coast Guard.” Even though it is old and frail, it still has a pivotal purpose: lighting the way.

Similarly, all Christians are called to be a “lighthouse” for sinners sailing in the darkness of depravity. The “children of light” are commanded to radiate the light of the glory of Christ in order to direct wayward sinners to the “Father of lights” (cf. 1 Thess. 5:5; James 1:17). As Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-15).

The harsh elements of life will eventually cause us to rust and wither away, but this is our eternally significant purpose as long as we remain standing. The “outer self” is wasting away, and it’s not as vigorous as it used to be (cf. 2 Cor. 4:16). Indeed, you will fade like flowers of the field, and your radiance will dim with time (Isaiah 40:7). Moreover, with each passing day, you are closer to the dust from which you came (Eccl. 12:7). But, as long as God keeps you upright in the world’s waters, your critical mission is to shine gospel light to those who grope in the darkness of sin (cf. 2 Cor. 4:6).

“O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come” (Psalm 70:17-18).

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).

Knowing God | Bible Gleanings – October 1-2, 2022

It is indisputably evident that we are living during a time that may be nicknamed “the age of knowledge.” More information is accessible and can be dispensed quicker than ever before thanks to numerous technological advances. And our pile of accumulated knowledge grows higher every day. According to an article on Linkedin, our collection of knowledge is, “doubling every 12 hours [when] the doubling rate used to be 25 years in 1945.” Ancient civilizations would certainly be envious of our busting bookshelves, teeming universities, and instant access to breaking news.

The unfortunate truth, however, is that while our world has more information at its disposal than ever before in history, it is woefully lacking in the knowledge that matters most: a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:4). Our society knows everything except for the God who made everything (Gen. 1:1). The world knows all the nooks and crannies of every subject conceivable in the mind, but does not know the God whose mind is infinite (1 John 3:20). And thus, the Lord counsels in Jeremiah 9:23-24, “Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”

Knowing God is eternally significant. The Scripture is incontrovertibly clear that no one can be saved apart from knowing God. “And this is eternal life,” said Jesus, “that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Moreover, many people will be cast from God’s eternal presence for not knowing God. Jesus warned, “On that day [of judgment] 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’” (Matt. 7:22-23).

Do you know God? And, if you do know God, are you leading others to know Him, too?

“Jesus, O Jesus,

Do you know Him today?

You can’t turn Him away.

O Jesus, O Jesus,

Without Him, how lost I would be!” — Mylon R. LeFevre, “Without Him.”

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).

Away With the Accuser | Bible Gleanings – September 24-25, 2022

My eyes consumed hours of daytime television when school was out during the summer. But, while most kids my age were watching the Disney channel or Nickelodeon, I was glued to “reality court” shows like Judge Judy, The People’s Court, and Judge Joe Brown. I always found it uniquely satisfying when the judge ejected unruly and disruptive litigants from the courtroom. The case had been settled, the gavel had been slammed, but there was always one defendant or plaintiff who would snivel and chatter about how unfair the trial had been—until the judge finally snapped. And then, in a commanding tone, they would exclaim, “Alright, that’s enough! Get out of my courtroom!”

Satan, the foremost accuser and counteragent of God’s people, has met the same fate at the hands of the Judge of all the earth. The devil lost his privileged position in God’s heavenly courtroom after Jesus paid the sin debt of believers and ascended to glory as the triumphant Lord. The Scripture says,

“And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God” (Revelation 12:9-10).

The devil was formerly granted special access to God’s tribunal, where he would slander believers and attempt to tarnish God’s glory. He attempted to slander Job of old before the bench of heaven, saying, “Job is too wealthy. He’ll curse you if you let me have him” (cf. Job 1:6-12). He sought to discredit Joshua, the high priest, alleging, “Joshua is too wicked. He should be cursed” (cf. Zechariah 3:1-5). But now that Jesus the Advocate has inexorably settled the case for believers, Satan has been expelled from God’s court, and the Lord will never hear another of his allegations (cf. 1 John 2:1). All those whose sin debt has been paid may thus join Paul in saying,

“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:33-34).

“Down to the earth was Satan thrown,

Down to the earth his legions fell;

Then was the trump of triumph blown,

And shook the dreadful deeps of hell.

Now is the hour of darkness past,

Christ has assumed His reigning power;

Behold the great accuser cast

Down from the skies, to rise no more.” —Isaac Watts (1674–1748), “Let Mortal Tongues Attempt to Sing.”

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).

Testimony | Bible Gleanings – September 10-11, 2022

He was one of the most effective missionaries in history, and we don’t even know his name. He had no formal theological training and had never read any books about evangelism and missions. In fact, he never even owned a Bible! He didn’t implement “guaranteed-to-succeed” strategies nor did he build a magnificent megachurch. And yet, he won hundreds of souls to Christ and transformed an entire city with only one thing: his testimony.

He was the former demoniac from the “country of the Gerasenes,” and his life was markedly and magnificently changed after one momentous moment with the Master, Jesus Christ (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39). After spending only an hour or two at the feet of Jesus, the man was left behind as a witness to broadcast his newfound faith and testimony to his hometown. “Go home to your friends,” said the Lord, “and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:19). Jesus returned to the region some time later, but found the Gerasenes begging Him to stay rather than begging Him to leave, which they had done previously (cf. Mark 5:17; 7:32). And undoubtedly, the city’s undeniable shift from rejection to acceptance of Jesus was due to the man’s verbal and visible testimony, for “he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him” (Luke 8:39b).

Never underestimate the arresting power of your personal testimony—it might change your whole neighborhood. Tell people verbally what Jesus has done for you, and show people visibly what Jesus has done for you. Say with the psalmist David,

“I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation” (Psalm 40:9-10).

Opening your mouth to speak is only natural if God has opened your heart to believe. After being cleansed, the former leper zealously spread the good news of Jesus’ cleansing touch (Mark 1:45). After his ears were opened, the ex-deaf man proclaimed the gospel to anybody who would listen (Mark 7:36). After the Samaritan Woman met Jesus at Jacob’s well, she evangelized her entire neighborhood (John 4:39). And even the man from Gerasa bore witness about Jesus, although all he had was a testimony.  

“Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;

Redeemed through His infinite mercy,

His child, and forever, I am.” — Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It (Fanny Crosby, 1820-1915)

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).

An Everlasting Kingdom | Bible Gleanings – August 27-28, 2022

He lacerated backs with leather lashes and lacerated hearts with loathsome words of mockery. Flavius Julianus (also known as “Julian the Apostate”) was an emperor of Rome (AD 361-363) who reinstated pagan worship and ruthlessly persecuted Christians. One day, Flavius tried to show off in front of his pals by taunting a believer named Agaton. “So, how is your carpenter of Nazareth?” he derided. “Is he finding work these days?” And without hesitation, Agaton replied, “He is perhaps taking time away from building mansions for the faithful to build a coffin for your empire.”

Agaton was right; the Roman Empire burned to the ground a little more than a century later. Earthly empires rise and fall, but only one kingdom shall stand forever: the kingdom of God. It cannot crumble because it is “unshakeable” (Heb. 12:28). It cannot be conquered because its Ruler is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16). And it will outlast all earthly kingdoms because it is spiritual, eternal, and “other-worldly” (1 Cor. 15:50; John 18:36).

Right now, the Sovereign Lord is building coffins for the thrones of the wicked and the empires of evil. As the prophet Daniel declared, God is setting up “a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall [it] be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever” (Dan. 2:44). When the Carpenter drives the last nail into the coffins of judgment, He will return to fill them. The heavenly hosts will shout on that day, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15b).

To be a citizen of this everlasting kingdom, you must bow to the King, Jesus Christ. As the psalmist admonished, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:12). You must humble yourself like a child, recognizing your helplessness and dependence on His saving grace. For Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Mark 10:15).

And all who belong to His everlasting kingdom may cheerfully croon the words of the great hymn, A Child of the King:

“I once was an outcast stranger on earth,

a sinner by choice and an alien by birth;

But I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down,

an heir to a mansion, a robe, and a crown.

I’m a child of the King, a child of the King:

with Jesus my Savior, I’m a child of the King.”

Whose kingdom do you belong to?

Saving the World | Bible Gleanings – August 20-21, 2022

Stephen Colbert, current host of The Late Show (and erstwhile comedian), once made an insightful remark while speaking at a graduation commencement. “You can change the world,” he told the graduates. “Please don’t do that, OK? Some of us like the way things are going now.” Colbert was saying more than he realized, for even the Scripture declares that the world is set in its ways and has no plans to change. 

According to Jesus, the world refuses to come to the light because it loves to hide in the darkness. He said, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” (John 3:19-20). The world also rests comfortably in the hands of its puppeteer, Satan (1 John 5:19). And those who belong to this world are dancing merrily down the wide and easy path that leads to eternal destruction (Matthew 7:13). 

Continuing along the current course is the last thing this world needs. The world will be strangled by the choking thorns of worldliness if it remains entangled in sin (Matthew 13:22). God’s judgment awaits if the world will not change its ways (Isaiah 13:11; Romans 3:19). And this world will perish along with all those who “like the way things are going” (1 John 2:15-17). The world needs salvation from its spiritual plight, and that’s why Jesus came into the world.

“For God so loved the world,” Jesus promised, “that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). When you believe in Christ, He saves and changes you—and He changes the world through you. He transforms you so that you no longer fit into the world’s pattern (Romans 12:1-2). And He “crucifies” your love for worldly things (Galatians 6:14).

This gospel is for the whole world (Mark 16:15). “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance,” said Paul, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15a). One day, Christ will return to set the world aright (2 Peter 3:10). The heavenly host will exclaim on that day: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ” (Rev. 11:15a). It is, therefore, the duty of those who are “not of the world” to prepare a welcome place for Him by turning the world upside down (John 15:19; Acts 17:24).

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).