Tag Archives: providence

If God Wills | Bible Gleanings – January 28-29, 2023

He didn’t receive a miracle, but his friend did. His friend was delivered from death, but he wasn’t. The Bible says that the suffering experienced by the disciples James and Peter ended quite differently. James was martyred by Herod, but Peter was miraculously freed from prison by a heavenly angel (Acts 12:1-19). Considering that there wasn’t a hair’s difference between them, why was James allowed to die while Peter was granted freedom?

Because sometimes God wills to deliver His people and sometimes He doesn’t. God did not love Peter more than James. Peter had not prayed more fervently or with more faith than his colleague. Peter was not a better follower of Jesus than James. It was simply the sovereign will of God to grant Peter deliverance while withholding it from James.

God may also deliver you from your suffering and trials, or He may allow them to persist. The sun of His providence may dry up the clouds of trouble, or it might hide behind them for a torrential season. You can petition the Lord to end your afflictions (cf. Psalm 13:1), and He may will them to cease today or to last for a thousand tomorrows. God may allow you to keep your thorn in the flesh, or He may gracefully remove it (2 Cor. 12:7-10). God may deliver you from the fiery furnace, or He may deliver you over to fiery afflictions such as those endured by Job (Job 1:6-22; Dan. 3:24-27).

You cannot know what the sovereign will of the Lord is. He has written a novel for your life that only He may read. As Moses said, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God” (Deut. 29:29). However, you can be certain that whatever God wills for His children is good. Paul declared, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28; cf. Ezra 8:22).

“My Jesus, as Thou wilt:

O may Thy will be mine!

Into Thy hand of love

I would my all resign.

Through sorrow or thro’ joy,

Conduct me as Thine own,

And help me still to say,

“My Lord, Thy will be done.”

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).

Miracles in the Mundane | Bible Gleanings – Advent Edition – December 3-4, 2022

Miracle on 34th Street is a classic Christmas film that families have cherished since its premiere in 1947. “Kris Kringle,” a kind-hearted elderly man, is hired to play Santa Claus by the local Macy’s, and he gradually persuades New Yorkers that he is the real Santa. At first, Little Susie is reluctant to believe in Santa because her mother raised her not to. “You’re just a nice old man with whiskers, like my mother said. And I shouldn’t have believed you,” Susie contends, believing the department store Santa to be a fraud. But after Kris Kringle proves himself to be the embodiment of Santa Claus, even her mother eventually admits, “I was wrong when I told you that, Susie. Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.” Ordinary New Yorkers learned that there is nothing wrong with believing in extraordinary things—they could even be right in front of your eyes.

Mary and Joseph eventually understood this, too. Everything appeared normal as they traveled to Bethlehem to pay taxes for the census (cf. Luke 2:1-3). It was an ordinary trip to an ordinary place to conduct ordinary business. However, God was accomplishing something extraordinary right before their eyes. By His providence, the Lord used an ordinary decree to bring them to Bethlehem, the prophesied birthplace of the Messiah.  

The prophet Micah foretold that the Christ would be born there: “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days (Micah 5:2). Micah’s prophecy was in jeopardy, however, because Mary was on the verge of childbirth in Nazareth—not Bethlehem (Luke 2:4). Therefore, in order to fulfill this critical prophecy, God stirred in Caesar’s heart to issue a census requiring Jews to return to their homeland to pay taxes—and Joseph’s hometown just so happened to be Bethlehem. In accordance with biblical prophecy, Mary’s water broke when they arrived at Bethlehem’s gates (cf. Luke 2:7). 

God has a way of using ordinary people and events for extraordinary purposes. He often works miracles in the mundane. He will use whatever it takes to fulfill His perfect plan—even things that are completely normal. Do not underestimate what He may do in the day-to-day happenings that appear humdrum. As John Piper said, “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.” Have faith in His providence—even if common sense tells you not to.

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).

Open and Closed Doors | Bible Gleanings – July 30-31, 2022

The Lord God is the mighty doorkeeper who opens doors that cannot be closed. He is “the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut” (Revelation 3:7a). The golden key that unlocks every door is in His sovereign hands. Thus, every situation you face, every event you experience, and every opportunity you seize is a God-opened door through which you enter and access His sovereign will for your life. And behind those doors may be blessings or burdens, but God opens them both as part of His plan to work all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

The Lord God is also the master locksmith who locks doors that no one can get through. Revelation 3:7 says that He “shuts and no one opens.” Because of His divine providence, there are some doors you will never pass through. Some opportunities will never be yours because God has closed the door. Some circumstances will never befall or bless you because God has sealed the door shut. 

There are some doors you probably wish you could walk through. Your life might even seem like a long corridor of nothing but closed doors at every turn. You may earnestly desire a better job, a healthier body, a happier marriage, a normal life, a bigger church, or even an answer to prayer. But, the immovable bar of God’s sovereignty may be blocking the door for the time being. And you may knock until your knuckles are bruised, kick until your feet are sore, or rattle the handle until your hands are weak, but you’ll never pass through a door God has bolted shut. 

In the mystery of His providence, God often closes doors because He has already opened many others for you. When the Lord locks a door, it is because He has a better one waiting for you to pass through. Many others are sealed shut because you do not truly need what lies behind them. And while God may shut a thousand doors before He opens one, you can rest assured that His will is always good, His timing is always right, and His grace is always sufficient (Ecclesiastes 3:1; Isaiah 40:31; 2 Corinthians 12:9). Put your faith in Him, and He will lead you through opened doors and guide you away from the ones that are closed: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

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).

Sermon: The Providence of Persecution (Acts 8:1-4) | Sept 19, 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: Divinely Scheduled Appointments, Part 1 (Acts 8:26-40) | Oct 24, 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).

Repurposing | Bible Gleanings – January 1-2, 2022

An old coffee mug could sit comfortably on your desk as a container for pens and pencils. You could paint used soup cans and reuse them as miniature flower pots. That worn-out wooden ladder in your shed could be fastened horizontally to the wall as a small bookshelf. There are hundreds of household items that can be recycled for a new purpose. The landfill doesn’t have to be their final home.

Using something for a purpose other than its original intended use is called repurposing or “upcycling.” This creative hobby generates joy for DIY enthusiasts, as well as growing viewership for handyman television shows where the host(s) specialize in finding new uses for old junk. But although repurposing has enjoyed much interest recently, there is only One who has been giving new purpose to seemingly purposeless things since the beginning of time: God. In His divine providence, the sovereign Lord uses things you would never think of to accomplish His good purposes.

The Bible is replete with “repurposing” stories where God used seemingly inconsequential, meaningless, or even evil things to fulfill His indestructible plan of redemption. Joseph never would have ruled in Egypt if the Midianite traders hadn’t discovered him in the pit his brothers tossed him into (Genesis 37:28). If Moses’ mother had not sent him downstream in a basket on the Nile, where he was found by Pharaoh’s daughter, he would never have led the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 2:1-10). Ruth would never have met and married Boaz in his barley fields if she hadn’t gone there to help Naomi survive the famine (Ruth 1:22). Mary and Joseph only went to Bethlehem, the prophesied birthplace of the Messiah, because of Caesar’s simple decree to pay taxes (Luke 2:1-3). The Samaritan woman encountered and was transformed by Jesus because she went out to draw water (John 4:7). And none of us would possess the gift of salvation were it not for an ugly crucifix planted atop Golgotha’s hill (John 19:17).

God gave a new purpose to a pit, a basket, a field, a decree, a water pail, and a Roman cross. The Scripture is unequivocally clear: God specializes in repurposing. That’s why Paul wrote, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Because of God’s providence, there is always purpose in your pain, meaning in the mundane, and significance in your strain. Hope in the Lord to repurpose all things in your life for good and His glory. Or as Solomon counseled, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

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).

A Frightening Flight | Bible Gleanings – Nov 14-15, 2020

A Frightening Flight

Every passenger thought this was the end. The aircraft was unsteady as it flew through rough air currents. The turbulence was extreme, causing screams of terror as the plane’s seats rocked. Luggage was spilling out. People held on to whatever they could. Some people were praying through tears. Flight attendants tried to keep everyone calm. Panic had seized everyone on the plane—except for one little boy.

How could this be? How could one youngster be peaceful in such chaos? Well, his father was the pilot. Although the plane was in turmoil, and life itself seemed to be coming to an end, the boy’s father was trustworthy and skillful enough to land the plane safely despite the pandemonium. He was experiencing a rocky ride just like everyone else—but he had no reason to panic because his father was in control.

Can we all agree that the year 2020 has been a tumultuous plane ride through turbulence from hell? Wildfires have burned through thousands of acres of our West Coast. Political and ideological wildfires have likewise burned in our major cities. The coronavirus pandemic has seized our normal way of life. This virus has robbed us of our income and our loved ones, in many cases. And without question, this election season (which is far from over) has been the most chaotic and divisive in our nation’s history. It definitely looks like this plane is going down.

Maybe you can relate. Maybe you are flying through turbulence and your life is marked by conflict, confusion, and commotion. Friend, the only way you can retain peace in the chaos of life is if you know the Pilot. If you know Christ as your Savior, then the Lord God of the universe is your heavenly Father and He is a trustworthy pilot. Your plane might seem out of control, but God is always in control and He will get you to your destination—even if you have to fly through turbulence. Psalm 93 says, “The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting” (vv. 1-2).

God is in control and He reigns in heaven upon His throne—nothing can ever change that—not a virus, not a president, or a personal trouble. That is why it is wise to obey the words of Solomon: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Will you trust the Pilot of your life to safely land your plane?


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).

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 Movie of Your Life | Bible Gleanings—November 7-8, 2020

The Movie of Your Life

Walt Disney released the first full-length animated movie in 1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was one-of-a-kind and enjoyed an enormous amount of box office success. Producing the film was a gargantuan task and an outstanding achievement, to say the least. Back in the late 30’s, there were no iPhones, computers, or user-friendly editing programs. So, how did they do it?

A documentary explained that Disney employees stacked glass panes with drawings and shifted them around to simulate movement. The process was essentially a sophisticated flipbook. Disney artists drew over one million pictures for this particular movie. And each image flashed onto the screen for a mere one twenty-fourth of a second! You can watch the film today at regular speed, and it all seems so simple. Millions of pictures, hours of meticulous editing, and a considerable amount of money all poured into a film that lasts only an hour and a half.

Life is just like a movie, isn’t it? Your life is short: “For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14b). Yet, the Lord God is using a million different events to ensure your life plays out the way He’s planned. You are in the movie at “regular speed,” living day by day, as each scene unfolds by the hour. The sovereign Lord of the universe has put infinite thought, skill, and careful attention into every detail of your life’s movie. Only He knows the movie of your life from beginning to end because He is directing it.

And like a movie, your life has painful scenes and happy ones. Maybe your life has had more of the former than the latter. As long as you are the Lord’s child by faith in Christ, you can take heart in knowing that God is working everything out (good things and bad things) for your good. That’s what the Bible says: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). The movie of your life is incomplete right now. God won’t be finished with it until you take your final breath. You have to wait for God to complete it – you can’t hit fast-forward.

While you wait, trust the process and the God who is behind it. Walk in obedience empowered by grace, and hope in the Lord and His plan for your good and His glory. David wisely tells you, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act” (Psalm 37:5). As the scenes of your life play out, will you trust in the Lord?



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).

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).

Day 17: If the Fates Allow?

“So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.” —Matthew 1:17

One of the most beautiful Christmas songs is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. It reminisces about all the joyful Christmases shared with family and friends and wishes the same to be enjoyed by all who hear it. However, one line in the song reflects a faulty (but common) understanding of the ordering of the universe: “Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow.” Fate is the ordering of events outside of human control, usually by some unknown supernatural power. And in the song, fate is credited as making possible or impossible the togetherness of family and friends. Some have recognized the error of this and rightly modified the lyrics to say, “If the Lord allows.”

Fate has nothing to do with the development or unfolding of anything. Only the Lord is sovereign and in control of all situations and events. If the Lord permits something to occur, it will—if He does not, it cannot occur. And this wonderful and comforting truth of God’s sovereignty pulses in every verse of Matthew’s seemingly unnecessary genealogy. To demonstrate God’s rule in the world and His commitment to fulfill His plan, Matthew traces God’s providential hand through history beginning with Abraham and ending at the birth of Jesus Christ (see vv. 2-17).

Many things occurred in those thousands of years that should have obliterated God’s plan to save sinners through Christ, but the will of God prevailed. During the period of time from Abraham to David, there were wars, famines, debauchery, idolatry, and destruction. Many things happened that even threatened the existence of the Davidic line—the one Jesus had to be born into. But God’s plan revealed to Abraham to bless all families of the earth through his offspring was indestructible, unstoppable, and immutable (Genesis 12:1-3). Despite all of this, God fulfilled His word by bringing forth, “the son of David, the son of Abraham” at the right time (Matthew 1:1b).

God’s plan never fails—it never fails for you, either. It might take some time to see it fulfilled and things may appear to be hindering it, but as Matthew’s genealogy demonstrates—nothing can stop the plan of God. As Job of old proclaimed, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). You need not depend on fate—you need only to trust the Lord.


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.