Tag Archives: Paul

Don’t Give Up on Saul | Bible Gleanings – June 11-12, 2022

You could tell from the evil glint in his eyes that violence entertained him. A mob of murderers once smashed a man to death with boulders, and he stood beside them with a villainous grin on his face. Like a member of the Gestapo, he violently dragged innocent people from their homes. He furiously detained and imprisoned individuals who were not guilty of any crime. And worst of all, he saw himself as a hero instead of a monster. 

He intended to continue his rampage of carnage, but he was arrested on the road to a city called Damascus. One credible source described it like this: “Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:3-6).

The man was Saul of Tarsus, and Jesus of Nazareth captured and converted him. In one moment, the eyes that once burned with lust for bloodshed were filled with tears of repentance. Saul’s hardened heart was shattered by conviction and mended by grace. The Spirit of God dragged him away from sin toward salvation. After one meeting with Jesus, Saul became a preacher instead of a persecutor, an apostle instead of an adversary, and a servant of Christ instead of a slanderer of the church. 

God loved Saul, and He loves all the Sauls of the world. And He can save them, too. Saul’s salvation shows that the Lord’s grace is sufficient for even the evilest evildoer. As Saul himself testified, “But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:13b-15).

There is mercy for Saul, so don’t give up. Keep praying for the Saul(s) in your life. Keep preaching the gospel to them. Grace is still enough, the gospel is still effective, and God can still transform a Saul into a Paul. As John Piper encouraged, “Look on your adversaries with the eyes of faith—that someday, by the power of God they could experience a turn-around as amazing and unexpected as Saul’s.”

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 Death of Death | Bible Gleanings – June 4-5, 2022

Death. It fills graves and empties hearts. It is the ship that carries the soul across the infinite sea of eternity. It is the wind that blows out the burning candle of living. It is the door through which we exit life and enter everlasting delight or damnation. It is the period at the end of the final chapter of your story on earth.

Death is also a sentence—the penal verdict for transgressing the righteous law of the Judge of all the earth. The decree from His golden bench reads, “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20a). The first criminals to be anathematized by this awful adjudication were our first parents, Adam and Eve. After they sinned in the Garden, the Lawgiver declared to them, “For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19b). And death is still the consequence for crooked culprits convicted of the crime of sinning against God: “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a).

Yet, somehow one of Scripture’s most malignant malefactors can confidently say, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Paul violently persecuted Christians in the early church, but he was happy to die. How is death a petrifying retribution in Genesis, but a pleasant reward in Philippians? Apparently, the meaning of death changed somewhere between the Garden of Eden and the Roman prison from which Paul wrote this letter. As a matter of fact, the nature of death changed somewhere between two thieves on a hill called Calvary.

As Jesus desperately clung to life on a bloody crucifix, He assured the robber beside Him, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Death would not be the thief’s painful conclusion—it would be his passageway to paradise because of the grace of Christ. The Lord of life put death to death by His death, securing eternal life for all who believe—including the swindler by His side (2 Timothy 1:10). Because of Christ’s work for believers, death is the gateway to glory, the staircase to salvation, and the elevator to everlasting life. It is merely the bridge between heaven and earth for those who have crossed over from death to life (John 5:24).

This is why the Christian may sing and shout the words of 1 Corinthians 15:54-57,

“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

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

Sermon: Interrupted by Grace, Part 2 (Acts 9:1-19a) | November 14, 2021

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).

Sermon: Interrupted by Grace (Acts 9:1-19a) | November 7, 2021

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 Greatness of Weakness | Bible Gleanings – Jan 22-23, 2022

It wasn’t the hottest sermon I had ever preached, but it was certainly the hottest building I had ever preached in. I was scheduled to preach to a group of eager youngsters at a youth summer camp, but I had no idea that obstacles were also on the schedule. In the middle of the week, the air conditioning kicked off in the chapel, elevating the indoor temperature to about 90°. When it was my time to preach, I couldn’t concentrate. I was saturated in perspiration, and the students were straining to stay cool. To make matters worse, not one student came to the altar at the end of the service.

Later that evening, a student named Alex remarked, “Brother Brandon, I’m gonna be honest with you—and no offense—but I didn’t hear a single word you said.” Jeez! Talk about adding insult to injury! However, Alex repented of his sins in that very hour, and explained to me that God was speaking so loudly to him during my sermon that he couldn’t hear me at all! To this day, that was the best post-sermon compliment I have ever received.

Paul the apostle was right—the power to save souls rests not in the messenger, but in the message:

“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

God will use you despite your imperfections and inadequacies. Preach to the unsaved even when you are nervous or uncertain. Disciple the hungry souls under your care even when your efforts appear fruitless. Encourage the despondent even when you feel that your words won’t make a difference. Pray for the wayward even when it feels like your prayers go no higher than the ceiling.

Do not rely on your skills or speaking abilities; instead, rely on God’s strength and His promise to speak through you (Matthew 10:20). Do not confide in your own intelligence or wisdom; rather, trust in the Lord’s incomprehensible power to convert souls (Romans 1:16). Do not give up if you see no success when doing the work of the Lord—depend on the sufficiency of God’s grace (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Don’t forsake doing good if you think you’re not any good at doing good! D.L. Moody once said, “If you don’t go to work for the Lord because you’re afraid of making mistakes, you will probably make the greatest mistake of your life—that of doing nothing.”

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: A Testimony of Transformation (Acts 9:20-31) | Nov 28, 2021

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).

Building and Building On | Bible Gleanings – Oct 2-3, 2021

“It’s about time you showed up!” Jordan was already hard at work when I arrived at the jobsite. He asked for a helping hand earlier that day on the way to lunch. “Why don’t you come by after school and help me build my garage?” I obliged and drove over in my 1995 Thunderbird. When I pulled into the driveway, I was surprised to see a garage nearly finished. The bulk of the work had already been done; all I did was put the finishing touch on a project he had been working on for weeks.

Whether you are preaching the gospel to the lost or encouraging someone to walk closer with the Lord, remember this: God is always at work long before you get there. God often uses you to finish a job He’s been working on for weeks, years, or even decades. Many times, you are merely building on a foundation God has already laid through the work of other believers. As Paul said, “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Cor. 3:5-7).

Who knows how many sermons your neighbor has heard before you arrive at the doorstep? Who knows how many gospel testimonies your coworker has heard before you share yours? Who knows how many prayers have been uttered for a lost soul before you pray for them? Who knows how deeply God has tilled the fallow ground of a sinner’s heart before you sow the gospel seed?

Maybe your neighbor needs to hear the gospel one more time. Maybe your friend needs to hear one more testimony. Perhaps your relative needs just one more earnest prayer. Your witness, encouraging words, or prayers could be the final drop of water necessary for the gospel seed to germinate in a sinner’s soul. You might be laying a foundation for someone else, but you might be finishing it off, too. 

Philip the evangelist would agree. Multitudes were saved when he preached the gospel in Samaria (Acts 8:5-13), and his success was largely due to the fact that he built on a foundation Christ already laid when He visited Samaria. The Samaritan leper who fell at Jesus’ feet was on his feet spreading the gospel before Philip showed up (Luke 17:16). Likewise, the Samaritan woman testified about Jesus long before Philip arrived (John 4:39). Philip simply poured water on thousands of gospel seeds that had already been sown.

Friend, never pass up an opportunity to share the gospel or encourage someone to mature in the faith. You are always laying a foundation or building on one. You are always planting the seed or watering it.

Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

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

The Preservation of Christian Unity (Eph. 4:2-3)

The following sermon was delivered at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky, on the 28th day of October 2018, during the evening service:


profile pic5Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their two dogs, Susie and Aries.

Introduction to Unity: Living Worthy of Who You Are (Eph. 4:1)

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


profile pic5Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their two dogs, Susie and Aries.

All Sermons – BLESSED Series (Ephesians 1:1-14)

Discover how blessed you really are as a believer, through this verse-by-verse exposition of Ephesians 1:1-14. This series was preached at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. It began August 12, 2018 and ended October 28, 2018.


profile pic5Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their two dogs, Susie and Aries.