Tag Archives: sinners

Beggars | Bible Gleanings – Sept 3-4, 2022

A proficient painter once sought to portray the Bible’s “prodigal son” in a pastel painting. He searched every asylum, prison, and soup kitchen to find a man ragged enough to embody the prodigal, but he was unsuccessful. One day, as he was walking home he encountered a poor beggar curled up on the street. The man was disheveled, dirty, and destitute—the ideal candidate for the painting. The artist approached him and offered payment in exchange for being painted as a model, and the beggar agreed.

When the day came, a clean-shaven man in a crisp suit and tie stood in the studio. When the artist asked who he was, the stranger reminded him, “You made an appointment with me, remember?” “Sir, I’ve never seen you before in my life,” replied the painter. “Yes, it’s me!” said the man. “You wanted me to meet you here at ten o’clock!” To which the painter explained, “You must be mistaken; I was to see a beggar here at this hour.” “I am he!” said the man, “I just thought I would dress myself up a bit before I got painted.” And the painter said, “No, no, no! I didn’t want you dressed up and perfect; I wanted you just as you were.”1

And the same can be said of the God who painted the constellations upon the canvas of the heavens. God does not command us to “clean up” and make ourselves presentable before we approach Him. He does not expect us to come to Him adorned in the polished suit of religious works. The Lord doesn’t want you to be embellished in religious makeup or doused in the perfume of piety. He calls you to come to Him just as you are, as a bankrupt beggar in need of the riches found in Christ Jesus.

We have all wallowed like swine in the mire of iniquity, and we reek of sin’s stench. Even so, God urges us to come to Him in repentance to be washed in Christ’s blood and clothed in His robes of white (cf. Luke 15:15-22; Revelation 3:5). Our account of righteousness doesn’t contain a penny of God-glorifying works, either (Matthew 5:3). And yet, Jesus calls us to bring Him an empty cup so that He may fill it with the “unsearchable riches” of His gospel (Ephesians 3:8). The Lord’s invitation to all spiritual beggars is this: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price . . . Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:1, 6-7).

  1. D. L. Moody was the first to tell this 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).

A Safehouse for Sinners | Bible Gleanings – July 10-11, 2021

They were sanctuaries for slaves—homes that made history. Lionhearted abolitionists all across the North volunteered their homes as safehouses for slaves seeking freedom prior to and during the Civil War. Homeowners from Indiana to New York partnered with antislavery activists like Harriet Tubman in a secret network known today as the Underground Railroad. They worked together to provide pathways to freedom for exhausted slaves. And over time, many of these homes were awarded landmark status because history happened within their walls.

When visiting places like the Johnson House in Philadelphia or the Levi Coffin House in Fountain City, one is filled with awe and humility because lives were transformed there. The hardwood floors are not divine. The brick walls are not holy. There is no mystical aura surrounding these historical sites. They are sacred sanctuaries because of what happened there: weary captives were liberated from slavery. 

The same can be said of any biblical church that faithfully preaches the gospel of Christ. A church that proclaims “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15) is a holy sanctuary, not because the carpet and stained-glass windows are sanctified, but because enslaved sinners are set free within their walls. It makes no difference if your church is massive or miniscule; what matters is whether miracles happen within its walls. God wants our churches to be “safehouses” for sinners—places where they can be emancipated from spiritual slavery. He wants our churches to be places where hopeless sinners can experience the reality of Romans 6:

“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness” (vv. 17-18).

Jesus came to release men, women, and children from spiritual bondage to sin, the devil, and the world. He said it Himself: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19). Such exhilarating freedom comes to weary sinners when they hear and believe the truth about Jesus: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). And it is the duty of every disciple to declare the gospel truth so people can believe it by faith. As God said in Isaiah, “[Say] to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’” (Isaiah 49:9b).

Does your church have “landmark status?” Is it a place where history is made, where sinners are redeemed from spiritual slavery? Is it a safehouse for sinners?


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).