Tag Archives: new

Get Rid of the Rags | Bible Gleanings – July 1-2, 2022

He calls it “trashion.” Daniel Silverstein, a ragpicker from Brooklyn, creates designer outfits from clothing scraps and old garments that have been discarded. According to the New York Times, Silverstein only “works with the fabrics that other designers and costume departments and factories would normally throw out.” The old idiom that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure is the guiding proverb for his fashion line. Now, the closets of happy customers are fuller and landfills are a little emptier.

Christians are sometimes ragpickers, too. We have a tendency to pull the old clothes of sin from the bin of death and wear them again. The tattered garments of “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk” occasionally appear as treasure to the eyes of our flesh (Col. 3:8). However, such old clothes do not fit a new person (Col. 3:10). Therefore, the Scripture calls believers to jettison old sinful ways, like throwing away old clothes that no longer fit: “So then let us cast off the works of darkness” (Romans 13:12b).

God wants His children to “take out the trash.” Put them in the garbage can and walk away with the lid closed. Don’t hang the sins of your former life in the closet of your life. Tear off the old rags because one day, you shall walk in white: “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment” (Rev. 3:5a, KJV).

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).

Total Remodel | Bible Gleanings – May 28-29, 2022

Thank God for the Lowe’s credit card; without one, I would have overstayed my welcome at my parents’ house like Eric Forman from That 70’s Show. The puny plastic card allowed my wife and I to purchase the plethora of raw materials required to remodel our first home. And boy, did it need it. Patches and putty couldn’t repair the years of erosion and negligence that had rendered it uninhabitable. Everything old had to be removed and replaced with something new.

And thank God for the Carpenter, who does the same for everyone who is being remade in His image. That is why the Scripture says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17, KJV). Jesus does not merely patch up the old you—He makes you a new person. For He said:

“No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins” (Mark 2:21-22).

Jesus tears out our rotten and sin-eroded heart and replaces it with a new one that loves Him: “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” (Ezek. 36:26). He cleans out the living room of our hearts to make it a suitable dwelling for His presence: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20; cf. Eph. 3:17).

He sets us upon the sturdy foundation of His truth, delivering us from the deteriorating foundation of disobedience: “[We are] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20). And one day, the remodel will be complete when Christ appears in the sky to give His children a new body: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Phil. 3:20-21).

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).

Front Page News | Bible Gleanings – April 30-May 1, 2022

The chilling news froze me in my tracks. The blackness of gloom enveloped my heart when I read the big black headline on the front page of The New York Times: “The Toll: America Approaches Half a Million COVID Deaths.” The death toll has soared to nearly a million since then, but I remember burning with zeal to do everything I could to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. I am not sure whether mask-wearing and social distancing made a difference—only the Lord knows. But I wanted to do everything in my power to slow the death count when the reality of death was in my face. 

The last time a gust of grief struck me like that was when I read Jesus’ words in Matthew 7, where He warned, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (vv. 13-14). According to Jesus, hordes and heaps of lost souls are driving down the wide open highway to hell, while only a fragment of humanity trudges on the hard road to heaven. Millions are afflicted by the crippling disease of sin, and they will discover too late that they were sick (Matt. 7:21-23). The “second death” toll is infinitely high, and it rises every day (Rev. 21:8). And the sharp twinge of heartbreak ought to pierce the heart of every believer when confronted with this sobering reality (cf. Romans 9:1-3).

Only 31% of the world’s population profess to be Christian, which means that the remaining 69% are hellbound (and that is if all 31% are true believers). According to the World Population Review, 166,279 people die daily. That means that at least 144,733 souls enter the gates of hell every day, and one million do every week. Jesus was right when He said that “many” would hear these terrifying words: “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt. 7:23).

The good news is that there is plenty of room in heaven, and its door is open to all who would enter by faith in Jesus Christ. The Lord promised, “In my Father’s house are many rooms” (John 14:2a). Therefore, those heavenbound ought to take the life-saving gospel with unquenchable zeal to those who have never heard. The miserable reality of hell for the lost and the marvelous reassurance of heaven for the saved ought to be on the front page of every Christian’s mind. As John Wesley stated, “I desire to have both heaven and hell ever in my eye, while I stand on this isthmus of life, between two boundless oceans.”

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).

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).

The Place to Be | Bible Gleanings – November 6-7, 2021

1,000 Places to See Before You Die, a New York Times bestseller written by Patricia Schultz, catalogues a thousand unforgettable places on God’s green earth that showcase the “best the world has to offer.”1 Her contention is that you should visit these breathtaking locations before you breathe your last. You should travel to these areas before your soul travels to eternity. Behold the giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park, she says. Admire the intricate architecture of India’s Taj Mahal. Tan your hide on the baking beaches of Fiji.

Schultz affirms an indisputable truth: our planet is magnificently beautiful and indescribably stunning. As Louis Armstrong would say, “And I think to myself, What a wonderful world.” She also confirms a popular misconception held by thousands of people: this world is all there is, so you better see it all before you die. Van Halen used to sing about it: “Whoa, you don’t have to die an’ go to heaven, or hang around to be born again; Just tune in to what this place has got to offer, ‘cause we may never be here again.” 

Frankly, I am more concerned about going to a better world when I die instead of seeing this whole world before I die. The Imperial Palace in Beijing is gorgeous, but it pales in comparison to the glorious mansions built in heaven for followers of Christ (John 14:2). Paris and Prague may be among the most elegant cities on earth, but they don’t compare to the eternal city, “whose designer and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). New Zealand’s splendid landscapes are unimpressive compared to the New City that will one day come “down out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:2). I don’t want to rendezvous among the most lovely countries on earth; I want to rest my soul in “a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Heb. 11:16).

This world is not all there is. In fact, this old world is “passing away,” and it will one day be “burned up and dissolved” (1 John 2:17; 2 Peter 3:10). Heaven is the place you want to be when you die, my friend. But you will only get there if your name is on God’s “guest list,” the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 21:27).

How can you see and enter this heavenly place? Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). You must be made new to enter the city where all things are made new. This happens when you repent of your sins and trust fully in Christ for your salvation. When you do that, you’ll have your ticket to glory on Zion’s heavenbound ship.

  1. Patricia Schultz. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die (New York: Workman Publishing Company, Inc., 2003).
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).

Rallying to Save the Fields | Bible Gleanings – July 24-25, 2021

A ten-mile stretch of highway suddenly transformed into a community of 50,000 passionate people united to save their fields. According to the New York Times, thousands of Indian farmers and like-minded supporters marched to the streets of New Delhi last winter to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s harmful policies that would suffocate India’s agricultural economy. They swarmed India’s capital like an unstoppable army. Unlike an army, however, there was more singing and dancing than fighting. In fact, their rambunctious gathering resembled a large-scale pep rally instead of a national protest. 

Surprisingly, although they rallied during the cold and rainy winter months, they never lost their zeal or excitement. The strength of their passion to save the fields was unhindered apparently because of the activities they did to keep themselves revitalized and recharged. Politicians and other leaders delivered rousing speeches on stages built specifically for them. Music blared from speakers attached to tractors, filling each tent with songs to keep everyone pumped. They even excommunicated troublemakers who threatened to disrupt their rallying.

They held an exuberant and sprightly rally for the sole purpose of saving their fields. And they did whatever it took to keep themselves focused on that goal.

Every time we gather as the church on the Lord’s Day, we are also hosting a rally to save our fields. The primary reason for assembling together on Sunday is to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24), but we should also get electrified and excited about saving our fields. We ought to get charged up each Sunday so we can go into the field of the world and bring the unsaved to the only One who can save them.

Jesus said the fields are ready: “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest?’ Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35). The fields are ready to be harvested—God is working the soil and preparing the “crops” of unsaved individuals to be brought into the barn of His kingdom.

But why do many of our churches appear to have little “grain” in their pews? Answer: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).

If you know Christ as Lord and Savior, you are a spiritual farmer called to labor in the fields with the gospel message of salvation found in Christ alone. But you cannot fulfill that task alone. To work the fields, you need to assemble with other spiritual farmers in the local church. And the greatest way to stay motivated and energized to fulfill that goal is to meet together with faithful believers in a biblical church, where every Sunday is a rally to save the fields.


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).

Cleaning the Old Battlefield | Bible Gleanings – April 17-18, 2021

Cleaning the Old Battlefield

It had become a war zone all over again. Acres of once-luscious pine forests had turned to ash. Four hundred homes were obliterated or rendered uninhabitable by the scorching blaze. Peals of crackling thunder echoed through the country as landmines detonated. Bullets popped back and forth for hours on end. A dense cloud of sulfuric smoke loomed over the land. And as always, people ultimately paid the price—a significant number were injured, some went missing, and worst of all, seven people died. 

This was no ordinary war, however, since the bearer of blame was an act of nature. This war zone was created by a wildfire. According to the New York Times, a wildfire burned out of control in Ukraine last October, and as it burned through green hills and dry woodland, remnants of an old conflict reignited. Because of the heat, thousands of lost bullets, unexploded artillery shells, and anti-tank mines erupted. The fires of war rekindled because the fragments of an old war were never properly removed. The rump and remains of past battles that were forgotten and neglected eventually reignited and started another kind of war.

And the same thing will happen to us when we fail to clean up old battlefields of our past by forgiving those who have trespassed against us. You’ve had bullets of harsh words and hurtful comments fired at you before, haven’t you? I’ll bet a few grenades of slander and malice have been tossed towards your trench a time or two. If you’re like me, then you’ve also had landmines of betrayal scattered on your path by those you thought you could trust. We all have an old battlefield with someone that we need to clear up—and the way you do is through forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not forgetting the battle ever happened and it’s not pretending as though it didn’t. Forgiveness is looking at someone who has wronged you and saying, “What you did was wrong—these bullets and landmines are yours—but I am clearing it up. I am not holding this against you. I am absolving you of what you’ve done. And I’m cleaning up this old battlefield so it doesn’t reignite in the future.”

The Lord Jesus commands you to do this. He stated that you should forgive your trespassers every time you pray (Matt. 6:15; Mark 11:25). He even said that you should forgive someone four-hundred and ninety times if you have to (Matt. 18:21-22). But here’s the hard truth: if you refuse to forgive a person, the remnants of your past conflict will eventually rekindle. The longer you withhold forgiveness, the more you will end up hurting yourself. Forgiveness is certainly hard but unforgiveness is even harder in the long haul. By the grace of God, do the right thing and clean up the old battlefield. You’ll be glad you did.


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).

Training Together | Bible Gleanings – March 27-28, 2021

Training Together

“It’s hard to be by yourself,” said Kyra Christmas, a 23-year-old athlete who plays on Canada’s national water polo team. Like most professional sports players, she was devastated by the emergency lockdowns last year which upended team sports and stifled training for competitions. Water polo is a game that requires team effort and cooperation, just like baseball, football, or any other mainstream sport. She shared her griefs in a New York Times article titled, How to Train for Team Sports Alone, and made the case that there is no substitute for being together. When it comes to team sports, you simply have to train as a collective body.

Individual training is crucial but it is no replacement for conditioning together as a group. She recalled training alone and watching videos of past games—imagining competing in the water alongside her teammates—but it wasn’t sufficient. Finally, in mid-August of last year, her team was able to resume training. “It felt so good to be together again,” she remarked.

Likewise, you must train together with other believers in order to win in the Christian life. To be sure, Christian living is not a game—it is warfare—but it is meant to be lived in the community of faith. In order to live a life of godliness, you must be surrounded by other godly people in the local church. There is no substitute for church membership and participation. When it comes to walking on the straight and narrow, you cannot train yourself or train by yourself—it’s a team effort. As you run the Christian race with endurance, nothing is more beneficial than running that race with other believers.

It is within the local body of assembled believers that you discover and use your spiritual gifts—the abilities God gave you to be an efficient teammate (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4:7-16; 1 Peter 4:10-11). It is only by cooperation with other Christians that you may fulfill your chief goal of making disciples—remember, it is called the Great Co-Mission for a reason (Matt. 28:16-20). You need a faithful congregation to lift you up when you fall and support you when your burdens are too heavy to bear (Gal. 6:1-2). True Christian love is expressed exclusively within the gathered body of Christ—loving “one another” requires that you know and interact with “another” to love (1 John 3:11-24). It is solely within the family of God that gratitude and praise reach their highest levels of expression (Col. 3:16). The Bible even says that you are prevented from being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin through the encouragement and reproof of the church (Hebrews 3:13).

Friend, it’s hard to be by yourself. Find and join a faithful church where you can train for the Christian life with other “teammates” who are aiming at the goal of God’s glory. 


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).

Leaving the Dark Side | Bible Gleanings – Jan 30-31, 2021

Leaving the Dark Side

Finn is an unusual stormtrooper who served in the First Order under the tyrannical reign of Darth Vader’s grandson, Kylo Ren. This new and daring character was introduced to the Star Wars universe in the 2015 film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Finn (or FN-2187) was one of the bad guys—complete with a bulky stormtrooper suit, intergalactic weapons, and allegiance to the dark side. That is, until he made the bold resolve to break free. Finn and Poe Dameron, a captured Resistance commander (one of the good guys), hijack a TIE Fighter and speed away into space, savoring freedom as they escape the Star Destroyer together. Finn was no longer a servant of the dark side—he broke free from their rank and file. He was no longer bound to his old stormtrooper suit. And he began serving among the rebels—the good guys.

Finn’s break-away story sounds a lot like the believer’s conversion story. Paul the apostle explained in Romans that believers have been released from the stranglehold and tyranny of sin: “And, having been set free from sin, [you] have become slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:18). Christ made the bold resolve to break you free from “the power of death” and “lifelong slavery” to sin (Hebrews 2:14-15), and he gloriously succeeded. You have escaped from the dark dominion of evil because God transferred you into His marvelous light (Col. 1:13; 1 Peter 2:9). Because you are free indeed (John 8:36), you have died to the old order, the rank-and-file of your former way of life.

Your old relationship to and with sin has been severed and destroyed. And just as Finn ditched his stormtrooper suit, you likewise have shed the old self along with your old ways when you came to Christ: “[You] have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Col. 3:9-10). What is perhaps most fascinating and paradoxical is that, at your conversion, you died and came alive simultaneously. You came alive at your second birth and you were crucified! As Paul testified, “the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).

Of course, the old you sticks around and continues to cause trouble. You will continue to wage war against sin that lies within, although the old you has truly died. That’s another paradox in the Christian life. But here’s the point: if you have been set free from sin, you cannot live in it any longer—you must live a new life. God buried the old you so that you “might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). And the Spirit of God will strengthen and enable you to live like someone who has broken free from the dark side.

Here is the exciting scene referenced above:


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).

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).