Tag Archives: sun

Being With Jesus | Bible Gleanings – December 31-January 1, 2023

The scolding sun seared my skin as I sat by the sea in the Sunshine State. My giant forehead glowed red, and the rest of my body had roasted like a rotisserie chicken. When I returned home, no one assumed that I had painted myself brown or miraculously changed my ethnicity. I had clearly been basking in the blistering sun because the proof was all over me. That’s simply what time in the sun will do for you.  

That’s what time with the Son will do for you, too. When you spend enough time with Jesus, the proof will be written all over you. Talking often with Him will make a difference in the way you talk to others. Praying unceasingly before His face will change even the look on your face (cf. Acts 6:15). You cannot bathe in the rays of the sun without being noticeably affected, and you cannot bask in the presence of the Son without being profoundly transformed. 

People will notice the difference in your character and conduct, and their attention will be drawn to the One who made it (cf. Matt. 5:16). Even your adversaries will see the change in you, just as the satanically controlled Sanhedrin couldn’t deny that Peter and John had been with Jesus. As Luke said, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). These men were with Jesus for so long that He rubbed off on them! They were walking and talking like the Lord because they had been walking and talking with the Lord. 

The transformation Jesus makes can also be very unsettling to those around you. Some may be worried that the Lord will rub off on them as well. Those who are not prepared to change their life may be intimidated by the change Christ has made in yours. They may resist getting close to you, fearful that they might get too close to the Lord by doing so. That is what happened to Moses after his extended meeting with the Lord atop Mt. Sinai:

“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him” (Exodus 34:29-30).

The radical transformation that comes from being with Jesus is precisely what William D. Longstaff (1822-1894) expressed in his beautiful hymn, Take Time to Be Holy. The second verse encourages all believers to spend more time with Jesus in order to become more like Jesus:

“Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;

Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.

By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;

Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.”

Will you take time to be with Jesus?

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 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.