Tag Archives: birth

Heart Transplant | Bible Gleanings – March 19-20, 2022

I am a walking miracle. I should not be alive today. Most people with my condition never pull through. Fortunately, I am one of the few people jerked away from death’s door thanks to a heart transplant that occurred at just the right time.

Impairments and limitations have plagued my life since the day I was born—all because of a bad heart. I couldn’t see or think clearly. My steps were always crooked. My diseased heart wrecked everything about me—and a new heart was what I needed above all.

The life-saving procedure happened in August of 2009, when I was just fifteen years-old. But it wasn’t in an operating room, and the operation was not performed by a surgeon. It was behind the shabby shed in my parents’ backyard, and the Savior of sinners executed the procedure. After hearing the gospel preached, I suddenly realized that my desperately wicked heart required conversion only Jesus Christ could provide. Kneeling in the dirt and in my soul, I turned to Christ in repentance and faith. “I have been wrong about everything,” I prayed. “Lord, forgive me. Please forgive me. I give my life to You.” And God’s promise came to pass: “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).

Every sinner needs a spiritual heart transplant. The Lord must take His scalpel of grace to remove your old heart and implant a new one that loves Him (Jeremiah 24:7). Why? Because the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart. It is utterly infected by evil: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The heart is responsible for all of your spiritual health problems. As Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:21-23).

This soul-saving spiritual surgery is what God performs for every sinner saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). Every Christian has a heart transplant story. Every believer in Christ is a walking miracle. Every follower of Jesus sings the words of Myron LeFevre’s hymn in their heart:

“Without Him, I could be dying,

Without Him, I’d be enslaved;

Without Him, life would be hopeless,

But with Jesus, thank God, I’m saved.”

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).

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).

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.”


_fGOro4V_400x400

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 11: The Sweet Symbol of the Savior

“Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” —1 Peter 1:18-19

About 350 years ago, a sweet treat was created that would become a memorable Christmas symbol: the candy cane. Legend has it that a German choirmaster dispensed the sugary sticks to children during church services to help them sit quietly. Some thought the sweets were not appropriate for the sanctuary, so the man bent the candies into canes to appear as a shepherd’s staff so they would have a religious connotation. Many years later, the alternating red stripes were added which, it is believed, also have religious meaning. Supposedly, the bold red stripe represents the blood of Christ, the white stripes represent Christ’s purity, and the three fine stripes represent the Trinity.

Whether or not the candy cane was meant to be a treat with spiritual significance, it can nonetheless remind us of the Savior who came to earth at Christmas. The pure white color can remind us of the sinlessness of Jesus. Because He was conceived of a virgin, He was completely free of the guilt of sin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:34; John 1:14). He was the pure Lamb of God without blemish or spot, as Peter declared. Although He was one-hundred percent man, just like you, He was “without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). And since He was not tainted or corrupted by sin, He was the perfect sacrifice to completely satisfy God’s justice and wrath.

The bold red stripe can remind us of why He came in the first place. Jesus did not come to earth to be an example—He came to earth to be a substitute. He was born on Christmas day so He could live a righteous life in your place and die a sinner’s death in your place. The precious baby laid in a manger would one day shed His precious blood to ransom you from the futility of sin (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Further, He was the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity as the three red stripes remind us. He was not just a man; He was the God-man—the One who was both God and man. God became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus is Immanuel, the incarnate deity. How astonishing that God came down to man as a man to save man from sin! Candy canes are a sweet symbol of the Savior—remember that the next time you see one.


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 7: A Christmas Miracle

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” —Isaiah 11:1

“It’s a Christmas miracle!” This is exclaimed in nearly every Christmas movie when the unexpected happens in circumstances that appeared hopeless. Perhaps the common usage of this exclamation demonstrates that most people believe this is a miraculous time of year. To be sure, Christmas is inherently miraculous—what could be more miraculous than God taking on flesh, being born as a man to a virgin?

Many years before Christ came to earth, God promised that His arrival would be miraculous. Through the prophet Isaiah, God told the Jews that a shoot was coming from Jesse’s stump. Mentioning Jesse is another way of referring to David’s royal lineage, since Jesse was his father. But at this point, David’s royal lineage looked like a stump—the tree of his family line had been cut down to a stump, only to rot away. What’s worse, with the wasting away of David’s family, there appeared no hope of a Messiah coming to bring salvation, since the Messiah was prophesied elsewhere to be David’s son.

But a miracle was coming—a shoot, a twig, would grow out of this stump. This royal lineage would bear fruit again with the coming of a king greater than David. Many years later, “Jesus Christ, the son of David” (Matthew 1:1) was born—and His birth happened miraculously. God is good at causing the unexpected to happen in situations that seem bleak or hopeless. Though life may appear to be a stump, God still works miracles. And the coming of Christ at Christmas was truly a Christmas miracle and He is worthy of praise for it.


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 2: Extraordinary in the Ordinary

“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered . . . And all went to be registered, each to his own town.” —Luke 2:1, 3

There is nothing unusual about filing and paying taxes, except when you receive a generous refund. Likewise, paying taxes in New Testament times was completely normal. Luke explains that it was tax time for the Jews as Caesar issued a decree for the purpose of assessing taxes. This was business as usual. Nothing out of the ordinary was occurring—or so it seemed.

Amazingly, this decree is what God used to bring Joseph and Mary to the prophesied birthplace of the Messiah. The prophet Micah foretold that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem:

“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).

There’s just one problem—Mary was not in Bethlehem (Luke 2:4). Thankfully, this taxation would take them there because, in order to comply, every Jew had to travel back to their hometown. For Joseph, this was Bethlehem, the city of David. Luke says that Mary and Joseph proceeded to Bethlehem (v. 4) and it is there that Mary, “gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths” (v. 7).

God sovereignly moved in the heart of Caesar (Prov. 21:1) to fulfill His word concerning Jesus. The Sovereign Lord of the universe used an ordinary taxation for an extraordinary purpose. Even today, God uses ordinary people and events for extraordinary purposes. God didn’t create the world and then abandon it—He is actively involved in the creation at each moment to accomplish His sovereign will. He will use whatever it takes to fulfill His perfect plan—even things that are completely normal.

Right now, God is active in the ordinary things of your life—the day-to-day happenings that appear humdrum. As John Piper has said, “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.”[1] So, take heart if you have an ordinary life because God used a standard taxation to bring Jesus Christ into the world. Who knows what He will do through the ordinary things in your life? To be sure, whatever He does is always for your good and His glory (Gen. 50:20; Rom. 8:28; 11:36).


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.


[1] https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/god-is-always-doing-10000-things-in-your-life

Day 1: When Heaven Had Christmas

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God.” —Luke 2:13a

Christmas is the biggest celebration of the year with its own decorations, symbols, music, traditions, foods, and even colors. However, because some elements of this season have their roots in ancient pagan festivals, many do not celebrate Christmas. And while it is true that many Christmas practices began in paganism, the pagan meanings were lost long ago. Besides, Christians through the centuries have celebrated Christmas and we have consistently out-celebrated the pagans. This is because the birth of Christ is worth celebrating.

In fact, heaven itself celebrated Christmas—heaven erupted in acclamation and praise when Jesus was born. One angel made the announcement that Christ had come (Luke 2:9-12), but he was immediately joined by thousands of others. As Luke says, a multitude of the heavenly host suddenly appeared and accompanied the angel with exuberant praise to God. The angels in heaven were so thrilled at the arrival of the Messiah that they came alongside the one angel in glorifying God for the good news. Someone once said, “Heaven’s choir came down to sing when heaven’s King came down to save.”

The angels in heaven saw the first advent of Jesus as reason for rejoicing, gladness, and cheer. Do you see it that way? If Christ’s coming was celebrated in heaven, why wouldn’t you celebrate it on earth? Christmas is worth celebrating because Jesus is worth celebrating. John Wesley’s 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!”


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.

The Christmas Story: The Wondrous Birth of Christ (Luke 2:1-7)

The following sermon was delivered at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, KY on the 3rd day of December 2017: