Tag Archives: Jesus

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 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 (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 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 (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 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 (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 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 (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

A Free Offer | Bible Gleanings – Feb 12-13, 2022

In addition to receiving monthly bills in the mail, I also get a half-pound bundle of useless vouchers and coupons I never redeem. Limited-time cable and internet bargains, special fast-food discounts, and a membership form for AARP are all included in the colorful paper clump. The real prize lies buried within: a slew of slips emblazoned with the words, “FREE OFFER INSIDE.” And the offers are absolutely irresistible: a $100,000 life insurance policy for only $3 a month, a $200 gift card for a cable service that goes out when a raindrop hits the roof, and a free tank of gas when you purchase a truck with the low price tag of $50,000! 

However, if you read the fine print, you’ll find that the “free” offers aren’t actually free. There are always caveats and strings attached. And besides, none of the offers truly deliver on their claims. Fortunately, there is one free offer that is truly free. It always delivers on its promises, and it is clear of any belying fine print. It is not found in the mailboxes of every street, but it is offered to the heart of every sinner. And I found it, not when I opened a discount mailer, but when I opened my Bible, which says:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

God’s offer of everlasting life is free for all. You cannot buy it with an offering and you cannot earn it through good works (cf. Acts 8:20). Jesus purchased it in full by His atoning death, so you don’t have to (Eph. 1:7). That is why Paul declared, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

Furthermore, there is no small print excluding anyone from the offer of forgiveness and eternal life. Salvation is for every tongue, class, and culture. God doesn’t pass you by because of how you look or where you come from. Every person of every race stands condemned before the bench of His righteousness, and every person is invited and commanded to be made righteous through faith in Jesus Christ alone (Romans 3:22-23; 10:12-13).

Friend, this is an offer you can’t refuse. Reach out your hands and accept it by repenting of your sins and trusting wholly in Christ for your salvation (Acts 17:30; Gal. 2:16). And do so now while the offer still stands: “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

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 (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

Sermon: The Dead Church (Revelation 3:1-6) | January 23, 2022

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 (beagle).

Christmas Interruptions | Bible Gleanings [Advent Edition] – December 18-19, 2021

“And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream” (Matthew 1:19-20a).

Joseph was crushed. His heart was lacerated. Apparently, the woman he loved had committed adultery. How else would you explain this pregnancy? Joseph couldn’t go through with this marriage. Mary had betrayed his trust. Therefore, he resolved to end their betrothal, albeit quietly, because he didn’t want to cause a public ruckus.

The Christmas story is in jeopardy. All hopes of a Messiah would be dashed if Joseph goes through with the divorce. Joseph was crucial for the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies about Christ descending from David’s royal lineage (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5-6). If Joseph divorces Mary, then Jesus will never inherit all the rights and privileges of being in David’s family. God’s plan has come to an end—or so it seemed.

That’s when God stepped in and stopped him. The Lord intervened by sending an angel to Joseph in his sleep to explain the confounding situation and assure him that the child conceived in her was “from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20b). God’s plan was not in peril. The Lord did not panic. Joseph’s confusion was merely another page in God’s pre-orchestrated novel of events. And He supernaturally intervened to bring it to fulfillment.

The Lord God still does this today. God may not send an angel to you when He wants to get you back on course, but He will interrupt your life and intervene in unexpected (and possibly unwanted) ways to accomplish His perfect purpose. Who knows how many times God has done this already? Have faith in the good and sovereign Lord, trusting that He knows what He is doing. He does what He pleases and perfectly carries out His plan for His people (Psalm 115:3; Romans 8:28). Embrace interruptions and obstacles. They are just another page in your pre-written story.


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 (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

God’s Free Gift | Bible Gleanings [Advent Edition] December 11-12, 2021


There is something tender and heartwarming about a child’s unbridled anticipation as they race down the stairs to see what gifts await them beneath the Christmas tree. Giving and receiving gifts has been a Christmastime custom observed for hundreds of years, but how did this tradition begin? Many speculate that the tradition is based on the wise men who gave Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). Others believe that gift-giving follows in the boots of the historical Saint Nicholas, who gave gifts to poor children in his neighborhood. Whatever the historical roots of ripping open presents on Christmas morning, the tradition can remind us of God’s gift to us on Christmas Day: eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Paul famously said, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Eternal life is a gift, and this conveys several wonderful truths about the nature of eternal life. First, it cannot be earned. You can’t buy it with works of righteousness. You can’t earn it by baptism or church membership. You cannot do anything to deserve it. It is God’s free and gracious gift to you (Acts 8:20; Ephesians 2:8).

Secondly, it should be received with gratitude. You must come to God with empty hands in order to receive the gift of eternal life. All you must do is open your hands to receive it. Once you are “justified by his grace as a gift” (Romans 3:24), you can’t help but exclaim in gratitude, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Finally, it was purchased by the precious blood of Christ. Every gift has a cost paid by the buyer. Likewise, the gift of everlasting life came at a cost. It comes freely to you, but it was paid for by the blood of Jesus on Calvary. That is why Paul explained, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

If you have received the free gift of eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ, rejoice. Sing the words of Jessie B. Pounds’ little-know hymn, Blessed Gift:

“O Thou blessed gift from Heaven,

Words Thy worth can never tell!

Sweetest boon to mortals given,

Is our Lord Immanuel.”

Who in your life has not yet received God’s free gift? There is no better gift you could give them than the message of the gospel this Christmas. If you want to learn more about the traditions of Christmas, check out my new Christmas devotional on Amazon: Let Earth Receive Her King: 25 Daily Advent Devotions.


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 (English shepherd), and Dot (beagle).

Better Than Santa | Bible Gleanings [Advent Edition] – December 4-5, 2021

Santa Claus is slightly judgmental. He only brings presents to good boys and girls. Those who misbehave are on the naughty list and will receive only coal in their stockings. As J. Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie wrote in Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, “He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice, he’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.” Only youngsters most deserving of gifts can expect to find presents underneath the tree.

Jesus is the polar opposite of Santa: He gives the greatest gift to those who are the least deserving. He came to grant salvation and eternal life to evil people, not good people. As He Himself said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). Furthermore, He came to erase your name from the “naughty list” and write it in His book, the “Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). 

The fact that shepherds were the first to hear the good news of Jesus’ birth embodies Christ’s mission to save the undeserving. The glad tidings were announced by the exalted angels of heaven, not to kings or emperors, but to some of the most insignificant people in Judean society. Luke wrote, “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). Shepherds were thought to be insignificant and contemptible. Jews considered them to be unclean, deceitful, and uneducated. Nonetheless, they were the first to hear the wonderful news that the Savior had been born.

The Gospels reinforce the idea that Jesus came for the low-ranking people of the world. The first disciples were fishermen. Jesus healed social outcasts: lepers, paralytics, and the demon-possessed. He ate with tax collectors and sinners. He cared for widows and the sexually immoral. There’s no question about it—Jesus came to save the least qualified.

You don’t have to be outstandingly competent 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. Eternal life can be yours even if you are sexually immoral, idolatrous, adulterous, greedy, or addicted (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Jesus is the significant Savior who came for insignificant people. That is why Jesus is better than Santa. If you want to learn more about the significance of Jesus’ coming to earth, check out my new Christmas devotional on Amazon: “Let Earth Receive Her King: 25 Daily Advent Devotions.”


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 (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

The Return of the King | Bible Gleanings – Oct 16-17, 2021

Atlanta’s traffic was unusually quiet. The hum of engines and hollers of expletives had simmered down. The once-thundering interstate was eerily tranquil. Except for a swarm of police motorcycles and SUVs, the southbound lane was barren. Seconds later, an army of black sedans and Suburbans with blacked-out windows trailed behind. Moreover, police were stationed at every exit, ramp, and overpass to ensure that no one could enter or exit the interstate. As Dakota and I drove home from a sunbaked Florida vacation, we were mystified by the absence of drivers and the presence of police.

Someone important must have been passing through to require an escort like that. After doing some research, I discovered that Vice President Mike Pence was headed for the airport after speaking at a rally in Atlanta—and we had just missed him. The Secret Service paused everything to protect him. Downtown Atlanta literally hit the brakes because of the presence of the world’s second most powerful man.

A day is coming when the sovereign King of the universe shall return in glory and judgment—and everyone on earth will slam their brakes at His glorious and terrifying presence. The normal traffic of everyday life will come to a halt (Matthew 24:36-44). An army of angels will be His heavenly escort (Matthew 24:31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7). There will be no road of escape (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3). It will not, however, be eerily quiet, as there will be both joyous shouting and horrific screaming (Revelation 1:7). And when this King returns, it will not be a brief visit to one city, but a final visit to earth to judge the wicked, reward the righteous, wage war on Satan, and dissolve our cosmos to make way for a new one (Hebrews 9:28; 2 Peter 3:1-13; Revelation 20:7-10).

Do a little research in the Book—this is what it will tell you:

“When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, [he will inflict] vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:7b-10).

Only God knows when this day will come, and no one is allowed to see His calendar. Therefore, prepare yourself now by embracing this King as your only Savior and Lord. As the psalmist graciously counseled, “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).


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 (English shepherd), and Dot (beagle).