Tag Archives: gospel

Guilty Stains | Bible Gleanings – May 29-30, 2021

Guilty Stains

Once you are in the chair, they bring out the laser, pull the trigger, and a barrage of sizzling beams penetrate your skin. Remain calm—this is not what happens when aliens abduct you—they have to fight Tom Cruise first. This is the experience of thousands of people who have undergone the procedure of laser tattoo removal in order to eliminate unwanted tattoos. Since the commercialization of “Q-switched lasers” in the 1990s, dermatologists have made a fortune from people willing to foot the bill to have tattoos removed that they regret.

According to one study, 78% of tattooed individuals regret at least one of their tattoos. 31% regret getting inked because the tattoo is no longer relevant. An ex-girlfriend’s name was dotted on their chest, or a blue horseshoe was stamped on their arm when they were superfans of the Indianapolis Colts. About 5% are annoyed with their tattoos because they have a negative effect on their professional life. And 40% shake their heads because their tattoos were poorly done. Ironically, one fellow got a tattoo that read, “No Regerts.”

This is why many have turned to the laser to get them removed. After the scorching laser drills into the skin, the tattoo ink absorbs the heat and shatters into tiny fragments that eventually flush away with time. However, every dermatologist will admit that some tattoos will never fully disappear, even with multiple laser treatments. In many cases, the laser is only powerful enough to fade or lighten tattoos. Some marks will never go away no matter how hard you try.

Whether or not you have tattoos, you are marked from head to toe by something that nothing on earth can remove: the guilty stain of sin. Because of the Fall, your heart and hands are blotched by the black ink of evil. And no amount of human effort can expunge the guilty imprint of sin upon you. A million-dollar offering to your church won’t burn it off. A fifty-year membership at the biggest church in town won’t eliminate it. A thousand gallons of baptism waters won’t wash it away. A hundred hours a year at the food pantry won’t erase the stain of sin on your soul either. As God Himself says, “Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me, declares the LORD GOD” (Jeremiah 2:22).

The blood of Jesus is the only efficient stain remover for sin. The word of God declares, “The blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7b, KJV). As William Cowper wrote in 1771, “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.” Plunge in by faith (Eph. 2:8-9), and receive total purification for your sins—you won’t regret it.


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).

“I’m Trying to Connect You” | Bible Gleanings – Feb 13-14, 2021

“I’m Trying to Connect You”

“Hey Siri, call John.” Nowadays, that’s all you need to do to contact somebody. The artificial intelligence in your smartphone will do the work for you. You can also send a text message or e-mail in less than a minute. Technology and the internet have made present-day communication instantaneous.

But it has not always been this way, as some of you may know. Before the days of smartphones and computers, we relied on switchboards and their operators to contact people. Calling your neighbor or relative required an operator and a manual telephone switchboard. You would dial the operator and they would connect you by inserting a pair of phone plugs into the appropriate jacks. And oftentimes, especially if there was a bit of delay, the operator would say, “I am trying to connect you.” That was their purpose and mission—to connect you. And operators were indispensable and necessary for connecting you with whom you needed to speak—there was no other way.

While cellphones and laptops have eliminated the need for operators, one kind of operator will never be replaced by technological advancement: you. If you are a follower of Jesus, the Lord has commanded you to be an operator to connect people to Him. It is your glorious mission and purpose to connect people to Jesus. The Lord commissioned you with this blessed task when He said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15, KJV). He also charged you to be His witnesses and to make disciples of all nations (Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:19-20).

The word of God teaches that the only way sinners can be saved is if they “dial” Jesus: “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). People have to get connected with Jesus in order to go to heaven. As Christ Himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). There is only one way, one Circuit that will connect a person to God, as Paul said: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

And you are essential for connecting people to Christ and helping them dial Him for their eternal salvation. No person can call on the name of the Lord without an operator! You must preach the good news and publish the gospel of Christ to the unsaved or they will never call out to Jesus for redemption. That is why Paul asked, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14). Christian Operator, to whom are you saying, “I am trying to connect you”?


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).

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 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).

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 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).

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.

_fGOro4V_400x400

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).

Day 13: Filled with Wonder

“And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.” —Luke 2:17-18

After being told of the advent of Christ and witnessing the heavenly chorus, the shepherds decide to look for Jesus (Luke 2:15). They quickly went to Bethlehem and found Mary, Joseph, and the Christ-child in no time (v. 16). With excitement, they reported and testified to what they beheld—the announcement of the angel and the celebration of heaven (vv. 10-14). And the audience who heard these things were in wonder: “all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.” At this point, more people were near the manger scene besides just Mary and Joseph, but it is not certain who they were. What is certain is that the news of Jesus’ birth produced wonder in the hearts of all who heard it.

The good news of Christ’s coming should produce wonder in your heart, too. Wonder is that wow-feeling of admiration, astonishment, and amazement that spawns in your heart when you hear or see something spectacular. It is what you feel when looking at vast mountain peaks. It is what you feel when considering the human body—how it is complex and wonderfully made. It is what you feel when pondering the grandeur of the stars, planets, and galaxies.

And it is what you ought to feel when considering the remarkable event of Christ’s birth and its inexhaustible significance. The point of such wonder is worship. Wonder is meant to make you look beyond yourself and this world to the greatness of God. Sadly, not all who wonder will worship—those who do not know God still marvel and the intricacy and order of the universe, but they do not give thanks the God who created it (Romans 1:21). So, don’t let the busyness (or loneliness) of the holiday season slow you from being in awe and wonder at the marvelous nature of the Savior’s birth.

As John Jacob Phillips (1892-1980) wrote many years ago:

I wonder as I wander out under the sky,

How Jesus the Savior did come for to die,

For poor ornery people like you and like I;

I wonder as I wander out under the sky.


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.

Day 4: Go, Tell It on the Mountain

“And when they [the shepherds] saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.” —Luke 2:17

Shepherds were the first Christian preachers in history. Before the message of salvation in Christ was announced by John the Baptist and the apostles (John 1:29-34; Acts 2:22-36; 4:12), lowly shepherds declared the good news of the coming of Christ. The shepherds told others of His arrival even before Jesus did (Mark 1:14-15). Luke explains that they reported to everyone what they had experienced. They made known to others what the Lord had made known to them (Luke 2:15), namely, that a Savior had been born in the city of David (v. 10).

Notice what they didn’t do. They didn’t keep the good news to themselves. They didn’t stay quiet for fear that no one would believe them. They didn’t wait until the right time to share the message—they went with haste to proclaim it (v. 16). In one night, they went from being recipients to deliverers of the good news of Christ’s coming.

Their preaching of the gospel of Christ is worthy of imitation. This is an excellent example for you to follow as one who has also received the good news of Jesus. What they did with the gospel is what you are to do with it: proclaim it to everyone. This is the point of the Christmas classic, Go, Tell It on the Mountain:

“Go, tell it on the mountain,

Over the hills and everywhere;

Go, tell it on the mountain,

That Jesus Christ is born.”

Do not keep the gospel to yourself or fear others won’t believe you. Do not wait until the time and conditions are right. Go with haste and publish the greatest news in the world to your family, friends, and neighbors. And do not think you are unqualified to share the good news of the gospel—poor, uneducated, and lowly shepherds were the first evangelists. The power is in the message, not the messenger. Therefore, unashamedly tell the world that the gospel is, “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).


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.

Day 3: A Savior Better Than Santa

“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

Santa is not very inclusive—he only brings gifts for good boys and girls. He even puts you on the naughty list if you’ve been behaving badly. Those who receive presents from Santa are children most qualified to receive them. The Lord Jesus, by contrast, gives the greatest gift to those who are the least qualified to receive it. He came to earth to grant eternal life to undeserving sinners.

The mission of Christ to save the least likely people is seen in the fact that shepherds were the first to hear the good news of His coming. The advent of Jesus was not announced to kings or emperors, but to some of the most insignificant persons in Judean society. Although shepherds were important, the culture viewed them as minuscule. In fact, they couldn’t even testify in court. Yet, an angel of the Lord appeared to them and they became the first recipients of the news that the Savior had been born.

The Gospels reinforce the idea that He cares for the low-ranking people of the world. The first disciples were fishermen. The kind of people He healed were lepers, paralytics, and those possessed by demons. He ate with tax collectors and sinners. He cared for widows and the sexually immoral. Jesus came for the least qualified—as He Himself said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).

The good news of Jesus is for you, too. You don’t have to be outstandingly qualified 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. By repentance and faith (Acts 17:30; Eph. 2:8-9), eternal life can be yours even if you are sexually immoral, idolatrous, adulterous, greedy, or addicted (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Jesus is a significant Savior who came for insignificant people—that’s another reason why Jesus is better than Santa.


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.

Day 2: Extraordinary in the Ordinary

“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered . . . And all went to be registered, each to his own town.” —Luke 2:1, 3

There is nothing unusual about filing and paying taxes, except when you receive a generous refund. Likewise, paying taxes in New Testament times was completely normal. Luke explains that it was tax time for the Jews as Caesar issued a decree for the purpose of assessing taxes. This was business as usual. Nothing out of the ordinary was occurring—or so it seemed.

Amazingly, this decree is what God used to bring Joseph and Mary to the prophesied birthplace of the Messiah. The prophet Micah foretold that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem:

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days (Micah 5:2).

There’s just one problem—Mary was not in Bethlehem (Luke 2:4). Thankfully, this taxation would take them there because, in order to comply, every Jew had to travel back to their hometown. For Joseph, this was Bethlehem, the city of David. Luke says that Mary and Joseph proceeded to Bethlehem (v. 4) and it is there that Mary, “gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths” (v. 7).

God sovereignly moved in the heart of Caesar (Prov. 21:1) to fulfill His word concerning Jesus. The Sovereign Lord of the universe used an ordinary taxation for an extraordinary purpose. Even today, God uses ordinary people and events for extraordinary purposes. God didn’t create the world and then abandon it—He is actively involved in the creation at each moment to accomplish His sovereign will. He will use whatever it takes to fulfill His perfect plan—even things that are completely normal.

Right now, God is active in the ordinary things of your life—the day-to-day happenings that appear humdrum. As John Piper has said, “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.”[1] So, take heart if you have an ordinary life because God used a standard taxation to bring Jesus Christ into the world. Who knows what He will do through the ordinary things in your life? To be sure, whatever He does is always for your good and His glory (Gen. 50:20; Rom. 8:28; 11:36).


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.


[1] https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/god-is-always-doing-10000-things-in-your-life

You Are Sealed (Eph. 1:13)

The following sermon was delivered at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky, on the 21st day of October 2018, during the morning service:


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 two dogs, Susie and Aries.