Tag Archives: wisdom

He Knows | Bible Gleanings – July 9-10, 2022

He glanced at the x-ray and said, “It’s not good, Mr. Bramlett, but we can fix it.” According to the verdict of my dentist, I had significantly more dental issues than I had suspected. I visited the dentist because of pain in my upper left jaw, but I quickly discovered that I was in for a lot more pain. Extensive examinations and x-rays revealed problems I could not identify or detect, such as cavities, tooth decay, and two wisdom teeth stacked upon each other (a rare occurrence). The truth was truly a kick in the teeth.

But thank goodness I trusted the professionals. Orthodontists possess the experience, expertise, and equipment that I do not. What I know about teeth is as scarce as hen’s teeth! Placing myself under their care was certainly daunting because I feared that they would find and expose problems I was oblivious to, but it was the right decision because only they had the tools to fix them. Knowing that they knew more than I knew was simultaneously frightening and comforting.

Now, sink your teeth in this: God knows you better than you know yourself. He is the all-knowing Creator whose “understanding is beyond measure” (Psalm 147:5). He needs no counsel, instruction, or schooling (Isaiah 40:13-14). Your knowledge is limited; His is limitless. And His understanding of your sins and struggles is greater than yours. 

The omniscience of God is terrifying. His vision is more precise than an x-ray, because His eyes “are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). Nothing is a secret to Him, and He knows exactly who you are behind closed doors. His penetrating sight burns through all masks of pretense and falsehood (Revelation 1:14). As God Himself once asked, “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:24). 

But His all-knowingness is also greatly encouraging, for no one knows what you need better than He does. As Jesus promised, “For your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8b). You may think you need more money, and God may grant you more contentment. You may believe that God should take your pain away, but He may instead give you more grace to endure it. You might pray that God would cleanse your tongue of cursing, and He might instead cool the burning rage in your heart.

When you entrust yourself to the Lord, He will reveal problems you were previously unaware of. But you can be certain that He has all the grace and power required to repair them. Expect Him to convict you of sin and tell you, “This is not good.” But don’t be discouraged; He will always say, “But I can fix 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).

Iron Your Shirt | Bible Gleanings – April 9-10, 2022

It’s a bad habit. I’m trying to quit. But, like many suit-wearers, I find myself doing it almost every Sunday morning: ironing only the front of my shirt. What you see, then, is a five-star dress shirt—sleek and spruce without a single flaw. The suit coat conceals the wrinkles on the sleeves and yoke, so why not?

Even so, I don’t recommend this trick because there is one teensy drawback: you can never take the coat off! Thus, it is always better to iron the whole shirt. There is nothing to hide when the pleats and plackets are crisp and clean. You don’t have to hide wrinkles if there aren’t any. You can take the suit off without embarrassment when the inside looks as good as the outside. 

This is what the Bible calls integrity. It’s when the shirt looks as good as the suit—when your character matches your appearance. It is living in such a way that you have nothing to hide. Integrity is being the same person behind closed doors as you are on the stage of public life. Integrity irons the wrinkles on your character, freeing you to throw off the suits of pretense, falsehood, and hypocrisy.

There is no security in the sparkling tuxedo of false piety because it will eventually come off. Solomon thus warned, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out” (Prov. 10:9). And when the shirt of your inner self is ironed by integrity, people who try to point out your “wrinkles” will be embarrassed. That’s why Peter said,

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame” (1 Peter 3:15-16).

Iron your shirt. Keep your character wrinkle-free like the Man whose character was perfect:

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:21-23).

Obviously, your character will always have a few wrinkles. Perfection can only be attained in glory when you wear robes of white (Rev. 3:5). But, you can plug into the outlet of God’s sanctifying power to heat up the iron of integrity so the Lord may smoothen your character to look like His (2 Cor. 3:18).

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).

Bro. John Baker – Pastor, Mentor, and Friend

“He never said it would be easy. He did say it would be worth it.”

That was one of Bro. John’s many idioms and I never forgot it. He maintained a biblical perspective no matter his personal pain or ministry hardships. And anytime difficulty arises in my life, I hear him say it.

But far more than his words of wisdom, I remember the life he lived. He was the most biblical, godly, and sacrificial pastor I have ever known. When I sift through the memories I have of him, I constantly think of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:22, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” Bro. John was truly all things to all people. He made a memorable impact on everyone he knew and he certainly made an impact on me.

His influence on me began in high school. He was my bus driver during my final years at Ballard Memorial High School. In no time, we were having daily conversations on the bus about preaching and the Bible. He sacrificed precious time befriending me and he did so because that’s just the kind of person he was.

Then came the invitation to preach at his church, Ohio Valley Baptist, which would become my place of ministry for five years. They were hosting a large youth rally and he graciously invited me to preach—at 17 years of age, with no formal theological training, and little pulpit experience. But he trusted the Lord and he believed in me.

A few months later, my relationship with Bro. John deepened as I accepted the call to be the minister of youth at Ohio Valley. He poured into me in ways that have made an eternal impact. His influence and leadership are the reason I’m in the ministry today. Every day, I aspire to be the kind of pastor and Christian that he was. In our relationship, he faithfully applied 2 Timothy 2:2, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” Throughout the entirety of my time serving in ministry with him, he mentored me for pastoral ministry.

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I’ll never forget the day he shook my hand and presented me with my license to preach. I preached a bummer sermon that morning, but he knew the Lord had called me to preach and on November 25, 2012 he and Ohio Valley confirmed so by licensing me to preach the gospel. He also conducted my ordination on December 15, 2013 and I’ll never forget what he said: “I’m gonna tell you what the apostle Paul told Timothy and how I believe he said it: PREACH. THE. WORD!”

They say faithfulness in ministry is both taught and caught. That is, you learn to be a faithful pastor through instruction, example, and experience. He provided me with the right combination of all three. He wisely counseled me in matters of life and ministry, but he simultaneously provided the best example for me to follow and gave me plenty of opportunities to serve the Lord (and even make mistakes).

318311_4771256193513_2126824425_nI remember vividly when he taught me how to baptize new believers. He insisted that I join him in the baptistery to watch and learn. He even assisted me as I baptized one of my best friends. He knew I needed the experience for when I would become the pastor of my own church.

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Bro. John is also the reason I went to Bible college. After graduating high school, I didn’t want to do anymore schooling. But he continued to encourage me to pursue some kind of formal theological training. Recently, I graduated from Boyce College with an Associates of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies. I just received my diploma in the mail and I wish I could have shown it to him and expressed my deepest gratitude for his encouraging me to pursue it (I have a feeling he knows now).

414627_4004776351996_1691435617_oHe was a man who “walked slowly through the people.” That is, he made a real effort to spend time with people. He would listen to you—not just to reply, but to show that he loved you. He was the most relational pastor that I’ve ever known. He was there anytime he was needed. He was at every event. He had fun during church events and always made them more lively.

I remember the times he rushed to the hospital to visit people in need. Many of those times, he brought me with him. Whether it was a routine surgery, a sudden illness, or a tragic death—he was there to love and lead people who were hurting. He taught me that a pastor ought to be seen outside the church as much as inside the church. 

1223121212And he always did more than what was required of him. He was a faithful pastor who always exceeded his job description. Even before he came to Ohio Valley, I am told that he got on his rubber boots and helped one of the families move things out of their house before it flooded. When there was something that needed to be done, he did it—no matter how mundane. In fact, another idiom of his was, “Sometimes if it’s not done by the pastor, it won’t get done.” 

622411_3910863644237_1265532537_oBro. John also exemplified Paul’s command to always be ready to preach (2 Tim. 4:2). Everywhere was his pulpit. He preached outdoors on the church lawn and at the public parks. He preached at weddings and funerals. He even preached to the folks down at the nursing home. He was always ready. No matter how busy he was, he was always prepared to open and explain the word of God.

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He was also instrumental in the relationship that me and my wife share. We both distinctly remember how he tenderly counseled us as we prepared for marriage. When the wedding day arrived, she and I were shaking like leaves on a tree, but he was calm and composed—which really helped ease our tensions. 

Words can never express how much he means to me. There is so much more that I want to say. But all in all, Bro. John taught me how to be a faithful pastor, a devoted Christian, and a loving husband. I’m going to miss his wise counsel and quirks. I am going to miss calling him on the phone for advice regarding issues in ministry. But I am anticipating the day when we will be reunited in glory.

I love you, Bro. John. You did so much for me that you didn’t have to do. I am who I am today because you befriended and mentored the young man on your school bus.

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You Are Redeemed (Eph. 1:7-8)

The following sermon was delivered at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky, on the 9th day of September 2018, during the morning service:


profile pic5Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with free Christian 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.