Tag Archives: Jesus

Being With Jesus | Bible Gleanings – December 31-January 1, 2023

The scolding sun seared my skin as I sat by the sea in the Sunshine State. My giant forehead glowed red, and the rest of my body had roasted like a rotisserie chicken. When I returned home, no one assumed that I had painted myself brown or miraculously changed my ethnicity. I had clearly been basking in the blistering sun because the proof was all over me. That’s simply what time in the sun will do for you.  

That’s what time with the Son will do for you, too. When you spend enough time with Jesus, the proof will be written all over you. Talking often with Him will make a difference in the way you talk to others. Praying unceasingly before His face will change even the look on your face (cf. Acts 6:15). You cannot bathe in the rays of the sun without being noticeably affected, and you cannot bask in the presence of the Son without being profoundly transformed. 

People will notice the difference in your character and conduct, and their attention will be drawn to the One who made it (cf. Matt. 5:16). Even your adversaries will see the change in you, just as the satanically controlled Sanhedrin couldn’t deny that Peter and John had been with Jesus. As Luke said, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). These men were with Jesus for so long that He rubbed off on them! They were walking and talking like the Lord because they had been walking and talking with the Lord. 

The transformation Jesus makes can also be very unsettling to those around you. Some may be worried that the Lord will rub off on them as well. Those who are not prepared to change their life may be intimidated by the change Christ has made in yours. They may resist getting close to you, fearful that they might get too close to the Lord by doing so. That is what happened to Moses after his extended meeting with the Lord atop Mt. Sinai:

“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him” (Exodus 34:29-30).

The radical transformation that comes from being with Jesus is precisely what William D. Longstaff (1822-1894) expressed in his beautiful hymn, Take Time to Be Holy. The second verse encourages all believers to spend more time with Jesus in order to become more like Jesus:

“Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;

Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.

By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;

Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.”

Will you take time to be with Jesus?

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).

Light of the World | Bible Gleanings – Advent Edition – December 10-11, 2022

Long red candles have been a warm and inviting Christmas emblem for many centuries. Today, they protrude from table arrangements of evergreen and holly, or they sit on the windowsill for the neighbors to admire. In olden days, however, candles were hung on Christmas trees as ornaments. In fact, if you look closely at most electric Christmas lights, they resemble a taper or a flame. Everyone knows that candles are an iconic holiday symbol, but no one really knows how they became associated with Christmas. 

In ancient times, pagans would light candles during the dark winter as an expression of anticipation for spring. People also placed candles in their window to signal to weary travelers that they could rest at their home. When the British persecuted Irish priests, Catholics in Ireland placed glimmering tapers in the windows as a sign that the priests were welcome in their homes. And over time, Christians of old began lighting candles during advent to symbolize the coming of Jesus Christ, the true Light. 

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). As God, Jesus is light and in Him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). By contrast, we are born in the domain of darkness with a darkened heart (Romans 1:21; Colossians 1:13; 1 Peter 2:9). Our sin nature even hates the light (John 3:19). And the good news of Christmas is that Jesus came to earth to give us light so that we would not wander hopelessly in the darkness: “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (John 12:46).

Jesus shines brightly like a brilliantly burning candle in a grimly dark room. The darkness has nowhere to hide from His luminous light. And if you follow Jesus as the light, He will remove you from the kingdom of darkness and shine forth His light in your formerly blackened heart. That is why Paul said, “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Hymn writer James Quinn captured this beautifully when he penned this stanza in Blessed Be the God of Israel:

“The rising Sun shall shine on us,

To bring the light of day.

To all who sit in darkest night

And shadow of the grave.

Our footsteps God shall safely guide

To walk the ways of peace.

His name forever more be blessed

Who lives and loves and saves.”

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).

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

The Empty Tomb | Bible Gleanings – April 16-17, 2022

There are many iconic tombs around the world, each one famous for what it contains. Egypt’s towering pyramids are notorious for housing the mummified bodies of ancient pharaohs and their treasures. The royal tombs of Westminster Abbey are renowned because they are the resting place of English nobles. The Green Dome in Saudi Arabia is distinguished because it holds the body of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. The legendary Ming Tombs in China contain the bodies of thirteen emperors who reigned during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.).

The stone tomb of Jesus Christ of Nazareth is remarkable as well—not because of what is inside, but because it is empty! Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb after His brutal crucifixion and He rose victorious from the grave three days later. The Bible tells the story: 

“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you” (Mark 16:1-7).

The female followers of Christ expected to find a lifeless body after what they witnessed on Calvary’s hill. The remaining disciples fled into hiding, fearing that the Jews would also execute them (John 20:19). Even Peter, the most outspoken disciple, had fled for his life after three times denying Christ (Luke 22:54-62). None of Jesus’ disciples waited by the tomb for His triumphal resurrection. Their doubt and fear, however, had no effect on reality: Jesus had indeed risen bodily, defeating the power of sin and death.

Do you believe that Christ arose from the dead as Lord? Believing that He is the risen Lord is the only belief that saves. The apostle Paul wrote, “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). If you have believed, are you telling others about Him? “Go quickly and tell,” the risen Lord commands (Matt. 28:7a). Spread the news that the tomb is empty, and that all who believe in Christ have everlasting life.

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

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Without Him, I could be dying,

Without Him, I’d be enslaved;

Without Him, life would be hopeless,

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

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

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).