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A Fish Fight | Bible Gleanings – October 10-11, 2020

A Fish Fight

In Russia earlier this year, a disastrous “fish fight” transpired over who truly possesses the rights to the fish that abound in the Amur River. The Amur is the world’s tenth longest river which forms the boundary between Russia and northeastern China, and it is a wild salmon goldmine. For years, local families and business owners have filled their bellies and pockets with its riches.

Nowadays, this is not the case. Moscow loosened restrictions on commercial businesses and tightened restrictions on recreational fishing, as the New York Times reported, and now local folks can’t catch enough to put on the table. Commercial enterprises have drained local fishing communities, for instance, by stringing enormous nets across the river’s mouth. Thousands of fish swimming with the current unknowingly become caught and entangled by these gargantuan nets. Unless local residents get to the fish first, they will inevitably be caught by the bigger nets of the “big guys.”

A much more important spiritual fish fight has raged for centuries and continues fervently today. The church and the world are both trying to catch people like fish. Jesus calls His followers, the church, to fish for people: “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). If you follow Christ, you are to use the gospel as the net to deliver unbelievers from drowning in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10). The world, on the other hand, is using the allurement and appeal of sin and idolatry to keep unbelievers entangled in its net.

Scores of people are going with the flow of the world and are hopelessly ensnared by the deadly net of sin. Scripture says, “The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin” (Proverbs 5:22). Similarly, God tells us, “An evil man is ensnared in his transgression” (Proverbs 29:6). The false gods carved by the world  entangle men and lead to eternal condemnation from God (Deuteronomy 7:25). The world’s net is big and is dragging thousands to hell.

And unless you get in your boat and fish for the unsaved in the world, they will remain caught by the world’s net. In order for unbelievers to be delivered, you have to do some fishing. The gospel “net” is thankfully strong enough to snatch a man from the world’s fast-flowing stream, and it can save those strangled by the world’s net. Think about the unbelievers that you know—whose net will catch them? What will you do to prevent them from remaining caught by the world?

A word of caution: watch yourself and bear in mind that, although you are a fisher of men, you are still a fish and you can, “learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare” (Proverbs 22:25).


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.

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).

Ready to Fight | Bible Gleanings – September 26-27, 2020

“If people wanted to fight me in the garage, then bring them on, and I will fight them in the garage,” said Ryan Garcia, a lightweight boxer from La Jolla, California. Garcia is among many boxers who are training for the ring despite most televised boxing being put on hold due to the coronavirus. According to the New York Times, Garcia and other boxers are disciplining themselves without missing a punch, and sharpening their skills so they will be prepared for the day when they step into the ring again. Garcia, who lives with his parents, installed a heavy bag and reflex bag in his parents’ garage to keep his punches sharp. The living and dining room areas were cleared out so he could hit the mitts with his father, and practice his techniques as though he were in the ring. Garcia understood that you can never win a fight without preparation. That’s why he did everything he could to train for and win his next one.

Likewise, as a Christian, you will be defeated in your fight with sin, the world, and the devil if you neglect spiritual training. The Bible says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:12‬). You are in the ring every day, wrestling up close against the opponents of God and godliness. In one corner, stands the flesh—the old sin nature that seeks to subdue you and make you its slave again: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions” (Romans 6:12). In the next corner is the world that aims to mold you after its pattern and entangle you in its system: “Do not be conformed to this world” (Romans 12:12a; see also 1 John 2:15-17). And in the last corner is Satan, the adversary whose desire for your spiritual destruction is insatiable: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

A corrupt flesh, a dominating world, and a busy devil all stand ready to take you down. The key to winning against them is spiritual training and preparation. You must keep your spiritual muscles strong and stay in shape. Therefore, diligently watch out for deceiving temptations and keep your fists clenched against them. Remain in the place of prayer with your Father to stay alert for spiritual danger (Matthew 26:41). Wear the right protective gear, the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). Wield the word of God as a sword to defend yourself (Matthew 4:4-11; Ephesians 6:17). Are you ready for your next fight?


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.

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).

Small People, Big Impact | Bible Gleanings, September 19-20, 2020

Small People, Big Impact

Earlier this month, Americans and many nations abroad celebrated the 75th Commemoration of the End of World War II. The worldwide conflict initiated in 1939 when Britain and France declared war on Germany in response to Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Every major part of the world loaded their weapons and got involved, including the United States. After seemingly endless battles and bloodshed for over half a decade, the war officially ended on September 2, 1945 when the Japanese formally surrendered.

A little-known fact about the world’s bloodiest conflict is that a small business in New York City helped the Allies triumph victoriously. Over 70 years ago, Louis Pfohl founded Plaxall, a family-owned plastics manufacturing company, which still operates today. A New York Times article recounts that they have recently aided in the production of face shields to combat the coronavirus, but most notably helped us defeat the Axis powers during WWII. The federal government requested that their minuscule workforce produce plastic replicas of American, German, Russian, and Japanese airplanes so citizens and military personnel could better identify them during air raids. Plaxall even advanced the production of the atomic bomb as they were contracted by the Manhattan Project to build a five-sided pyramidal cone that was indispensable to the endeavor. 

Plaxall may have been small in number but they were big on impact. They helped us win the world’s deadliest conflict, although they never employed a huge workforce. They didn’t need a great army to help the greatest armies of the world. They didn’t need a big name to make a big difference. The truth is, you don’t need a multitude or a ton of resources to make a global impact. All you need are a few committed people working together for the fulfillment of a single mission.

Jesus Christ agrees: “I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (Revelation 3:8b). Jesus commends the Philadelphian church, acknowledging that they had been faithful despite being small. They had little strength—small numbers and little resources. They couldn’t produce much because of their little size and influence, but they produced the greatest thing of all: faithfulness to Christ. That’s all it takes to make a big impact. God will use you greatly when you remain faithful to your mission—the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20).

He doesn’t need a big church to make a global difference. He doesn’t need an army to spread the gospel to the world. He just wants faithfulness. God can do a lot with a little, right? Christ fed the multitudes with a sack lunch and even changed the world by the preaching of twelve apostles. Do what you can and God will use it, even if it is small. He may even use it to win a war.


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.

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).

Taking Out the Trash | Bible Gleanings September 5-6, 2020

Taking Out the Trash

Anything can happen in 2020—even the transformation of a landfill to a recreational park. An article in the New York Times titled Huge Landfill’s Long Road to Renewal, documents how Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island went from a garbage dump to a grassy landscape, and is set to open as a park by next spring. Fresh Kills was once an ecological eyesore due to the tons of trash that arrived there every day by barge. In the late 1970s, an estimated 28,000 tons of garbage were unloaded daily. The waste at Fresh Kills is so massive that giant trash hills formed over time and were named as though they were natural landmarks. In 2001, however, the dumping ceased and the process of renewal began.

They compacted waste, flushed out harmful chemicals, and capped the garbage mounts with plastic. After they essentially “took out the trash,” they brought in soil and seeds, and let nature do its thing. Now the landfill once dominated by repugnant filth is characterized by life and beauty. Looking at Fresh Kills today, you’d never know it was once a literal wasteland. It is still a work-in-progress, but it is far more useful and beautiful than ever before.

Did you know this is what God has been doing in you since you were first saved by grace? On the day of your conversion, God started the process of beautifying you by taking the garbage out of your heart and life. As an unbeliever, your life was a landfill of sin. You were characterized by the garbage and filth of sinful desires and deeds (Romans 1:18-32). In fact, your iniquities formed mounts which reached to the heavens (Ezra 9:6).

Now, God is taking out the trash and transforming you into something useful and beautiful. To be sure, this is an ongoing process that requires your obedience. That is why Paul said, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry . . . Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Colossians 3:5, 12). The old has to be removed so the new can take its place. Old earthly desires and deeds, the garbage of your former life, must be put to death so that your life can be identified by new virtues. God calls you to kill off your old inclinations and actions so that He can plant new things in your life. He wants you to be characterized by new and beautiful virtues so that old and repulsive vices are out of sight. Will you yield to the Spirit and walk with the Lord so He can continue taking out the trash?

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.

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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 23: A New Creation

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ.” —Matthew 1:1a

Research shows that you like new things just because they are new.[1] Yes, we all prefer new things—not because they are better or improved, but simply because they are brand-new. This makes Christmas exhilarating for the majority of people since most will be giving and receiving lots of new things. Inside the stockings and under the tree are the latest gadgets, new toys, and fresh clothes. But more exhilarating is the fact that Jesus brought something new on Christmas day. And it is supremely more valuable than any physical gift: a new creation.

The Gospel of Matthew begins with a lengthy and seemingly unnecessary genealogy. To be sure, there are many wonderful things to glean from this genealogy—one is what is implied by the use of the word, “genealogy” in the opening verse. The word can be translated as, “genesis” which just means beginning. Matthew is indicating that the coming of Jesus ushers in a new beginning—the beginning of a new creation. Just as Genesis explains how God created the world, the Gospel of Matthew explains how Jesus came to make a new world—to undo the curse of sin and make all things new.

 He came to make you a new creation. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” His coming makes it possible for you to be a new person, to be born again. As it is exclaimed in Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Jesus was, “born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.” And when He returns to make all things right, He will make a new heaven and new earth.


[1] https://money.com/why-consumers-prefer-new-stuff-iphone/


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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, Aries, and Dot.

Day 6: A Greater Price for a Greater Gift

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah” (Jer. 31:31).

Christmas gifts seem to get more expensive every year. In fact, it’s estimated that the average American will spend $920 per person on presents this year.[1] But no matter how much you shell out buying gifts for your loved ones this year, it’s likely that you are a receiver of gifts just as much as a giver of them. That’s the great thing about Christmas—we all get something new. And that’s good, because we all like new things—we like to give and receive new things. The glee and bliss felt by a child when getting a toy truck or Barbie resonates through adulthood.

Such glee was surely felt by the Israelites when God promised them a gift was coming that was new, free, and exceedingly greater than anything physical or even earthly: the salvation of the new covenant which Jesus would bring by His advent. Long ago in Jeremiah 31, the Lord God promised that a new covenant was coming—a new way of experiencing Him, a new way of doing things. This new covenant would include a personal relationship with Him, the total forgiveness of sins, and the ability to obey God from the heart (vv. 33-34). And while this new covenant was free to them and is free to you, it was very expensive to God because He paid for it with the blood of His Son, Jesus. As Christ Himself said, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20).

When Jesus was born Christmas Day, He was already on His way to purchase this great gift of new covenant salvation for you. And remember, when Christmas presents start to get expensive, God paid a greater price for a greater gift—the gracious gift of salvation in the new covenant. No gift you give or receive could compare with the immeasurable gift of salvation that God gave through Christ. “Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!” (2 Cor. 9:15, NLT).


[1] https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/1112/average-cost-of-an-american-christmas.aspx


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.