Tag Archives: advent

Jesus Is Comin’ to Town | Bible Gleanings [Advent Edition] – December 25-26, 2021

Children all across the world are excitedly waiting for Santa Claus to deliver lots of toys and goodies to their homes. The children are so eagerly awaiting Santa that they go to bed early and leave cookies and milk for him to enjoy. There are even songs about Santa’s coming which dominate the radio waves, such as “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” Little boys and girls are warned to be on their best behavior because, “he’s making a list and checking it twice.”

The excitement for Santa’s one-time visit pales in comparison to the Israelites’ anticipation of the Messiah’s arrival. They waited for thousands of years for the One who would bring them salvation by offering Himself as a substitute (Isaiah 53:4-6). They waited for centuries on the arrival of their Savior, the One who would crush Satan’s head and reverse the curse of sin (Genesis 3:15-19). Finally, He arrived on earth on Christmas Day. He was born in the likeness of men with a fleshly body (Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 1:22; Hebrews 2:14, 17-18).

His first advent was humble, quiet, and observed by only His earthly parents, lowly shepherds, and a few bystanders. Now that He accomplished the work God sent Him to do, we are waiting on His second advent. He will come to earth a second time, and this time, everyone will see it: “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen” (Revelation 1:7). He will not come as a helpless babe, but as the King of kings and Lord of lords riding on a white horse to “tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty” (Revelation 19:15). 

One glorious day, Jesus is comin’ to town. Have you made preparations for His second arrival? He is coming soon: “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done” (Revelation 22:12). It may be Christmas Day, tomorrow, or a thousand years from now. In any case, you must be ready: “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44).


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).

Christmas Interruptions | Bible Gleanings [Advent Edition] – December 18-19, 2021

“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, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream” (Matthew 1:19-20a).

Joseph was crushed. His heart was lacerated. Apparently, the woman he loved had committed adultery. How else would you explain this pregnancy? Joseph couldn’t go through with this marriage. Mary had betrayed his trust. Therefore, he resolved to end their betrothal, albeit quietly, because he didn’t want to cause a public ruckus.

The Christmas story is in jeopardy. All hopes of a Messiah would be dashed if Joseph goes through with the divorce. Joseph was crucial for the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies about Christ descending from David’s royal lineage (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5-6). If Joseph divorces Mary, then Jesus will never inherit all the rights and privileges of being in David’s family. God’s plan has come to an end—or so it seemed.

That’s when God stepped in and stopped him. The Lord intervened by sending an angel to Joseph in his sleep to explain the confounding situation and assure him that the child conceived in her was “from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20b). God’s plan was not in peril. The Lord did not panic. Joseph’s confusion was merely another page in God’s pre-orchestrated novel of events. And He supernaturally intervened to bring it to fulfillment.

The Lord God still does this today. God may not send an angel to you when He wants to get you back on course, but He will interrupt your life and intervene in unexpected (and possibly unwanted) ways to accomplish His perfect purpose. Who knows how many times God has done this already? Have faith in the good and sovereign Lord, trusting that He knows what He is doing. He does what He pleases and perfectly carries out His plan for His people (Psalm 115:3; Romans 8:28). Embrace interruptions and obstacles. They are just another page in your pre-written story.


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).

God’s Free Gift | Bible Gleanings [Advent Edition] December 11-12, 2021


There is something tender and heartwarming about a child’s unbridled anticipation as they race down the stairs to see what gifts await them beneath the Christmas tree. Giving and receiving gifts has been a Christmastime custom observed for hundreds of years, but how did this tradition begin? Many speculate that the tradition is based on the wise men who gave Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). Others believe that gift-giving follows in the boots of the historical Saint Nicholas, who gave gifts to poor children in his neighborhood. Whatever the historical roots of ripping open presents on Christmas morning, the tradition can remind us of God’s gift to us on Christmas Day: eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Paul famously said, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Eternal life is a gift, and this conveys several wonderful truths about the nature of eternal life. First, it cannot be earned. You can’t buy it with works of righteousness. You can’t earn it by baptism or church membership. You cannot do anything to deserve it. It is God’s free and gracious gift to you (Acts 8:20; Ephesians 2:8).

Secondly, it should be received with gratitude. You must come to God with empty hands in order to receive the gift of eternal life. All you must do is open your hands to receive it. Once you are “justified by his grace as a gift” (Romans 3:24), you can’t help but exclaim in gratitude, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Finally, it was purchased by the precious blood of Christ. Every gift has a cost paid by the buyer. Likewise, the gift of everlasting life came at a cost. It comes freely to you, but it was paid for by the blood of Jesus on Calvary. That is why Paul explained, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

If you have received the free gift of eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ, rejoice. Sing the words of Jessie B. Pounds’ little-know hymn, Blessed Gift:

“O Thou blessed gift from Heaven,

Words Thy worth can never tell!

Sweetest boon to mortals given,

Is our Lord Immanuel.”

Who in your life has not yet received God’s free gift? There is no better gift you could give them than the message of the gospel this Christmas. If you want to learn more about the traditions of Christmas, check out my new Christmas devotional on Amazon: Let Earth Receive Her King: 25 Daily Advent Devotions.


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).

Better Than Santa | Bible Gleanings [Advent Edition] – December 4-5, 2021

Santa Claus is slightly judgmental. He only brings presents to good boys and girls. Those who misbehave are on the naughty list and will receive only coal in their stockings. As J. Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie wrote in Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, “He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice, he’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.” Only youngsters most deserving of gifts can expect to find presents underneath the tree.

Jesus is the polar opposite of Santa: He gives the greatest gift to those who are the least deserving. He came to grant salvation and eternal life to evil people, not good people. As He Himself said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). Furthermore, He came to erase your name from the “naughty list” and write it in His book, the “Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). 

The fact that shepherds were the first to hear the good news of Jesus’ birth embodies Christ’s mission to save the undeserving. The glad tidings were announced by the exalted angels of heaven, not to kings or emperors, but to some of the most insignificant people in Judean society. Luke wrote, “And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them” (Luke 2:8-9a). Shepherds were thought to be insignificant and contemptible. Jews considered them to be unclean, deceitful, and uneducated. Nonetheless, they were the first to hear the wonderful news that the Savior had been born.

The Gospels reinforce the idea that Jesus came for the low-ranking people of the world. The first disciples were fishermen. Jesus healed social outcasts: lepers, paralytics, and the demon-possessed. He ate with tax collectors and sinners. He cared for widows and the sexually immoral. There’s no question about it—Jesus came to save the least qualified.

You don’t have to be outstandingly competent to receive His gift of eternal life. The Lord Jesus will grant salvation to you, no matter who you are or what you have done. Eternal life can be yours even if you are sexually immoral, idolatrous, adulterous, greedy, or addicted (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Jesus is the significant Savior who came for insignificant people. That is why Jesus is better than Santa. If you want to learn more about the significance of Jesus’ coming to earth, check out my new Christmas devotional on Amazon: “Let Earth Receive Her King: 25 Daily Advent Devotions.”


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).

Heaven’s Christmas Celebration | Bible Gleanings [Advent Edition] – November 27-28, 2021

Thanksgiving is behind us and that means Christmastime is near. Christmas is the grandest and greatest celebration of the year. Unlike other holidays, Christmas has its own decorations, music, foods, traditions, characters, and colors. It is even a worldwide phenomenon, with thousands of cultures across the globe anticipating Christmas Day. How did Christmas become so extravagant and why is it celebrated?

It may seem surprising, but Jesus did not issue a command to celebrate His birthday with holiday carols and hot cocoa. Instead, most modern-day Christmas traditions originated in Europe and parts of the ancient world which were predominantly pagan. During the winter solstice, the Romans honored the god of agriculture during Saturnalia by feasting and exchanging gifts. To appease the wrath of Oden, the Germans adorned their trees with fruit and candles. Other such polytheistic cultures “decked the halls” with greenery during winter because their sun god was ill and needed wreaths and garland to cheer him up.

It appears that early Christians celebrated Christmas to protest such paganism. They “Christianized” the symbols and customs, giving them Christological meanings. They even adopted the Roman holiday commemorating the birthday of the god, Mirtha, which was observed on December 25. Instead of complaining about the pagan festivities of their society, they simply replaced them with new meaning.

According to historical accounts, Christians also out-celebrated pagans because, in their eyes, Jesus was far more deserving of praise than the gods of wood and stone worshipped by their society. They were proclaiming a bold message by celebrating Christmas: only the Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of worship.

Apparently, the angels in heaven agree. Heaven erupted in acclamation and praise when Jesus was born: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God” (Luke 2:13). Once the angel announced that Christ had come (Luke 2:9-12), myriads of angels joined him in the celebration. Heaven’s exuberant joy at Christ’s coming couldn’t possibly be expressed by only one angel—it took millions. So, the early Christians weren’t the first to celebrate Christmas—heaven was.

Heaven had a jubilee that blessed Christmas morn’ because Jesus deserves the highest praise, honor, and glory. And that is why many Christians have observed Christmas for centuries—Jesus is worth celebrating. This season offers a unique opportunity to glorify Jesus and boldly declare that He alone deserves our allegiance, affection, and adoration. Charles Wesley’s famous hymn, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” invites you to joyfully celebrate with the heavenly host:

Joyful, all ye nations rise,

Join the triumph of the skies;

With angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the new-born King!”


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).

Day 25: Christmas Day

“And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”—Luke 2:6-7

Christmas Day has finally come! I pray that you and your family will enjoy a very merry Christmas and that you will truly worship the Lord Jesus on this day of His first advent. Thank you for reading these daily devotions—I hope they have been encouraging to 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 24: Jesus is Comin’ to Town

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.”—Revelation 22:12

Children all over the world are waiting for Santa Claus to deliver lots of toys and goodies to their homes. The anticipation for Santa is so great that the children go to bed early and cookies and milk are left out for his enjoyment. There are even songs about Santa’s coming which dominate the radio waves: Here Comes Santa Claus and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. Little boys and girls are told that they’d better be on their best behavior because Santa is making a list and checking it twice. He’s “gonna find out who’s naught or nice.”

This expectation of Santa’s coming does not compare with the eagerness the Israelites had in waiting on the arrival of the Messiah. For thousands and thousands of years, they waited on the One who would bring them salvation by offering Himself as a substitute (Isaiah 53:4-6). They were waiting for their Savior to come, the One who would crush the head of Satan and reverse the curse of sin (Genesis 3:15-19). On Christmas day, He came to earth; He finally arrived. He was born in the likeness of men with a fleshly body—like you and I in every way, yet without sin (Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 1:22; Hebrews 2:14, 17-18).

His first advent was humble, quiet, and observed by only His earthly parents, lowly shepherds, and a few bystanders. Now that He accomplished the work God sent Him to do, we are waiting on His second advent. He will come to earth a second time, but this time everyone will see it: “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen” (Revelation 1:7). He will not come as a helpless babe, but as the King of kings and Lord of lords riding on a white horse to, “tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty” (Revelation 19:15). And you need not be concerned about whether or not you are on Jesus’ naughty or nice list—you need to be concerned about whether or not your name is found in the book of life (Revelation 20:15).

One glorious day, Jesus is comin’ to town. Have you made preparations for His second arrival? He is coming soon—it may be today, it may be Christmas, or it may be a hundred years from now. In any case, you must be ready—ready by trusting completely in Christ and His finished work for your salvation.


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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 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.