Category Archives: devotions

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 22: Savior, Christ, and Lord

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” —Luke 2:11

There are many characters that we think about during Christmastime. And simply by hearing their names, we instantly think of who they are and what they do. When you hear of Santa, you think of a big-bellied, red-cheeked, jolly man who delivers gifts around the world to well-behaved children. When you hear the name Rudolph, you think of the bullied reindeer who was commissioned to guide Santa’s sleigh. Or when you hear about the Grinch on the radio, you think of a miserable and irritated man who sought to steal Christmas joy from others.

And when you hear the precious name of Jesus during this season, whether in the carols or the term Christmas itself (Christ-mas), you should be reminded of who He is and what He came to accomplish. In the announcement of Jesus’ birth, the angel told the shepherds three memorable things about Jesus and what He came to do—and they are found in the names and titles given to Jesus. He is Savior, Christ, and Lord.

Jesus is the Savior. Even His name, Jesus, conveys this truth. As the angel said to Matthew, “you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). He saves sinners from the power, penalty, and presence of sin. He delivers you from sin’s dominion (Romans 6:1-4). He eliminates sin’s penalty against you (Romans 6:23; Colossians 2:14). And He will one day remove the presence of sin from the earth as you commune eternally with Him in a new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1-22:5).

Jesus is also the Christ. He is the long-awaited Messiah, the One through whom God will accomplish His saving purposes. Christ is not Jesus’ last name—it is His messianic title. You need not turn to anyone else for deliverance from sin, for Jesus is the Christ—the chosen and anointed Savior. Like Peter, you can (and must) confess Him as, “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).

And Jesus is Lord. He is the sovereign ruler and King of the universe. Nothing is outside of His rule and reign. As Isaiah the prophet declared many years before Christ’s birth: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders” (Isaiah 9:6a, NIV).

Remember—as great as these eternal benefits are, they can only be yours if you know Jesus as your Savior, Christ, and Lord. So, do you?


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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 21: Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” —Luke 2:14

Everyone is familiar with the beautiful refrain of Angels We Have Heard on High which exclaims, “Gloria in excelsis Deo, Gloria in excelsis Deo.” Written by James Chadwick in the 1800’s, most of the carol’s lyrics are in English, with the exception of this well-known chorus. The phrase is the Latin rendition of what the angels declared during their heavenly jubilee as recorded in Luke’s Gospel: “Glory to God in the highest.” Also, in many other Christmas carols is the rest of the angelic doxology, “and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” The KJV translation is the most recognized: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

No phrase is more fitting to sing at Christmastime since it reminds us of what Christ made possible by His coming: glory to God and peace to men. The angels first declare that glory is to be given to God in the highest. This means that such glory is given to God who is in the highest (since He is the Most High) and it is to be given to Him in the highest degree. The birth of Christ in the Bethlehem and His corresponding work at Golgotha enables you to give glory to God in the highest degree, as you will do one day in His eternal presence if you have made Christ your Savior.

But His coming also brings peace to those with whom God is pleased to give it. The peace and well-being that God gives comes to those who please Him by turning from sin and trusting in Jesus for salvation. If you know the Savior who was born on Christmas day, you can experience peace with God (Romans 5:1), inward peace (Philippians 4:7), and peace with others (Ephesians 2:14-16). This time of year, no matter how busy or even lonely you may be, you can gleefully sing Gloria in excelsis Deo because Christ’s coming empowers you to glorify God and experience true peace.


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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 20: Offspring of a Virgin’s Womb

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.” —Matthew 1:18

Larry King used to have a television program, Larry King Live, where he would interview different people and most often the topics were heated or controversial. One time a reporter asked him, “If you could only interview one person in history, who would it be?” Surprisingly, King replied, “Jesus Christ.”

“And if you could only ask Him one question, what would it be?”

“Were you really born of a virgin?” he said.

“Why would you ask that question?”

King replied, “Because that would define history for me.”

Larry King was right. If Jesus was divinely conceived and born of a virgin, then He’s the most important person in history. And this was the case, as Matthew explained, Mary was, “found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.” Matthew emphasized that Mary was pregnant before her marriage to Joseph was consummated because God had performed a miracle in her womb (Luke 1:35). Jesus was astoundingly and miraculously conceived, thus making His conception and birth unlike any other in history.

Jesus is the God-man, born of Mary (the human side) and the Holy Spirit (the divine side). But His virginal conception was not just so that God could become a man, it was so that the nature of Jesus would be completely sinless. Had Jesus been conceived like the rest of us, He would have inherited the corruption and guilt of sin. He could not atone for sin if He were born into it. For the lamb of God to take away the sin of the world, He had to be a spotless lamb (John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:19). No wonder Charles Wesley penned these words in Hark! The Herald Angels Sing:

“Christ, by highest heaven adored,

Christ, the everlasting Lord,

late in time behold him come,

offspring of the Virgin’s womb:

veiled in flesh the Godhead see;

hail the incarnate Deity,

pleased with us in flesh to dwell,

Jesus, our Immanuel.”


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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 19: Taking Christmas to Heart

“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” —Luke 2:19

There were many different responses to the birth of Christ the Lord. Heaven had a jubilee (Luke 2:13-14). Shepherds preached and proclaimed the good news (Luke 2:15-17). Others gathered around were filled with wonder (Luke 2:18) and the shepherds later glorified God (Luke 2:20). Mary, the mother of Jesus, however, had a very different response to the birth of her Savior-son. She did not dance, sing, or preach—she simply contemplated and meditated in her heart.

Luke moves from the public response of praise and wonder, to the private response of Mary and he says that she treasured what she heard from the shepherds. She “pondered” their proclamation in her heart. For nine months, she had incubated Jesus in her womb—now she was incubating thoughts about Him in her heart and mind. She was mulling over the significance of Christ’s entrance into the world—turning it over in her mind. Just as Jacob of old ruminated on meaning of Joseph’s dream (Genesis 37:11), she pondered the gravity that her Son was God in the flesh. As the prophet Daniel cogitated over the implications of his prophetic vision (Daniel 7:28), Mary thought deeply about the wonder that her child was also her Savior.

There is no indication that she was puzzled or confused about all of this. The angel Gabriel articulately explained the importance of her virginal conception and the supremacy of the Son she would bear (Luke 1:26-38). She was simply thinking deeply about the birth of Jesus Christ. Her contemplation was similar, perhaps, to the contemplation of a child over the phenomenon of Santa Claus and his ability to deliver toys to all children in the world.

Can you identify with Mary’s response this Christmas? Although it’s seemingly contradictory to do so during this busy holiday season, try to slow down and just think about the grandeur and significance of the birth of Christ. Amid the busyness of the season—cooking Christmas dinner, wrapping presents, and traveling—stop and think about the wonder of Christ’s birth. Ponder these things in your heart. Like Mary, take Christmas to heart by pondering its truths in your heart.


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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 18: God with Us

“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).” —Matthew 1:22-23

Many beloved Christmas carols contain references to Jesus as, “Immanuel” or “Emmanuel.” Hark! The Herald Angels Sing exuberantly says, “Pleased, as man, with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel!” It is even in the title of O Come, O Come Emmanuel. What does this familiar word mean? Is it another name for Jesus? The Gospel writer Matthew explains exactly what it means, as he stated that Jesus’ birth fulfilled yet another ancient prophecy.

Immanuel is a title for Jesus—Emmanuel is the Greek transliteration while Immanuel is the Hebrew transliteration (the spelling and language are the only differences). And Matthew said that the title means, “God with us.” This title expresses the wonder of Christ’s incarnation more than any other title for Jesus. Immanuel means that God has come in the flesh to dwell with man. As John the apostle declared, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

God the Creator took on the form of the created. The infinite God assumed a finite body. The Lord God omnipotent and omnipresent became a man with limitations. He came to be with us so that we could be with Him. Jesus brought God’s presence to man so man could be brought into God’s presence. That is what it means for Jesus to be our Immanuel. And this is eternally better than a once-a-year visit from Santa on Christmas Eve, for Christ came on Christmas day as a man so you could be with God eternally.


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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 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.

Day 16: When God Intervenes

“And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.” —Matthew 1:19-20a

How was Mary pregnant if Joseph had nothing to do with it? This was so perplexing for Joseph that he worried about it until he fell asleep. Apparently, the woman he pledged to marry had committed adultery, so he wanted to end it all. As a righteous man, it was unthinkable to marry one who had sinned this way and betrayed his trust. However, he didn’t want to cause a public ruckus, so he resolved to end the betrothal quietly.

This would have destroyed the Christmas story and ended all hopes of a Messiah. Joseph was crucial for the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies about the Christ coming forth from David’s royal lineage (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5-6). Why? Because Joseph himself was a descendant of David. Jesus, therefore, would have been his legal son, inheriting all the rights and privileges of being in David’s family. But if Joseph parts ways with Mary, then the plan of God fails and Jesus could not be the true Messiah.

God stepped in and intervened by sending an angel to Joseph in his sleep. The angel explains this confounding situation to him, that the child conceived in her is “from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20b). Joseph’s confusion and resolution did not worry the sovereign Lord of the universe. The all-knowing Lord knew Joseph was confused and He knew about this decision that would have ruined everything. And to bring about the fulfillment of His plan and the promise of the Messiah, God supernaturally intervened.

The Lord God still does this today. When God wants to get you back on track, He may not send an angel to you, but He will interrupt your life and intervene in unexpected (and perhaps unwanted) ways to accomplish His perfect will. Who can fathom the many times God has already done this for you? Further, He may never explain what He is doing as He did for Joseph. Have faith and trust that the good and sovereign Lord knows what He is doing. It has nothing to do with fate and everything to do with a God who does what He pleases (Psalm 115:3) and works out His plan perfectly for His people (Roman 8:28).


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.

Day 15: O, Christmas Tree

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” —John 3:16 (KJV)

No holiday is as decorative and festive as Christmas. Wreaths are hung on the door. Candles are placed on the window sill. The stair rail is adorned with garland. White lights glimmer outside around the edge of the roof. But most popular and more time-consuming than all other decorations is the Christmas tree. It is the centerpiece of decorating the home for Christmas. Many families even erect their Christmas tree immediately after Thanksgiving, before decorating with anything else.

The beautiful and lively Christmas tree in your living room has a rich history and is also a suitable symbol of a great theological truth. Thousands of years ago, evergreens like Christmas trees were placed everywhere during the winter to remind people of all the greenery that would grow again during the spring and summer. Pagans believed their sun god was ill and weak during the cold winter, but that he would recover in the warmer seasons. Evergreen trees, boughs, and wreaths gave them hope that their god would bless them again. The ancient Egyptians followed this custom as did the Romans and even the Vikings.

Around the 16th century, Christians began bringing decorated evergreens into their homes, probably to symbolize the gift of everlasting life that Christ gave by coming to the earth. Evergreens, as you are probably aware, have leaves which remain green and vibrant in all seasons of the year—hence the name, evergreen. The gift of life Jesus brought by His life, death, and resurrection is everlasting, meaning that it lasts forever. He did not come to make your life better—He came to give you life eternal by providing the atonement necessary for the forgiveness of your sins. The lovely Christmas tree is a wonderful symbol of the everlasting life Christ will give to you when you believe in Him. Interestingly, if you have everlasting life, you will one day be ushered into a place wherein the tree of life is in eternal bloom (Revelation 22:2).


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.

Day 14: Light of the World

“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” —John 1:8

Candles are a pleasant and beautiful Christmas symbol, and they have been for centuries. Today, the long red tapers protrude from table arrangements of evergreen and holly. In the old days, candles were used as ornaments for Christmas trees (hopefully unlit!). In fact, if you look closely at most Christmas lights, they resemble the shape of a candle or flame.

But as prevalent as candles are this time of year, no one really knows why candles became associated with Christmas. Pagans in ancient days would light them during the winter as a symbol of anticipation for spring. It’s highly likely that Christians of old modified the meaning—lighting candles during Christmas to represent the coming of Jesus, who is the true light.

Candles are lit to provide light in the darkness—so also, Jesus came to bring light to those in the darkness of sin. Every human being lives in the domain of darkness with a darkened heart and is in desperate need of deliverance into the light (Romans 1:21; Colossians 1:13; 1 Peter 2:9).

The good news is, Jesus is the light which gives light to everyone, as John said above. Even the Lord Himself said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Like a brilliantly burning candle in a grim and dark room, Jesus shines brightly in this dark world to give you hope.