There is a song by Francesca Battistelli called Be Born in Me. It has been the cry of the heart of our family the past few years at Christmas time. A line in the chorus says, “I’ll hold you in the beginning. You will hold me in the end. Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem.”

What does it mean to “make my heart your Bethlehem?” If we say that Bethlehem is the place where Jesus was born, we are saying to God, “Make my heart a place where Jesus lives.”

If we dig into the story of Bethlehem, we learn that the City of David is where the young shepherd boy tended his flock and near the fields where he later downed a giant named Goliath with a single stone. It is where Samuel anointed David. It was also where Ruth gleaned wheat from nearby fields, and, of course, it was where Jesus was born.

Bethlehem means “house of bread.” It makes sense, then, that Jesus, from Nazareth, was born here. He said that He is “the true bread from heaven” and “the bread of life” (John, Chapter 6). He also fed thousands with a few loaves of bread. Twice.

Jesus came from the house of bread to give us life, true bread, true sustenance, and manna from heaven. Jesus is all we need. He satisfies our greatest hunger and strengthens us spiritually, just as bread does physically. What happens when you don’t eat for a few days? You become weak. What happens when you don’t feast on the bread of life daily? You become spiritually weak, giving the enemy an opportunity to break into your spirit and heart.

So how do you protect your heart?

“Stand firm then… with the breastplate of righteousness in place.” (Ephesians 6:14, NIV).

Where do we get our righteousness, and what does this have to do with Jesus and Bethlehem? Only by affirming the grace-saving love of Jesus can we find suitable protection for our hearts. By dying for us, Jesus’ sacrifice is our covering of righteousness, just like when the Old Testament priests offered sacrifices for sin. In this text, Paul says that accepting Jesus into our hearts is one of the weapons of spiritual warfare that will keep us spiritually strong. It’s also the reason why Satan hates you.

So, cover your heart with the righteousness of Christ, the bread of life. Protect your heart. Don’t give the enemy your heart. Satan will use worldly “love” to get to you. He will use fleshly “love,” or more appropriately lust, to get to you. It’s one of his most successful schemes.

Your heart belongs to Christ. He bought it with His sacrifice. Defend it.

Receive this great gift of God’s righteousness, and may it protect your heart.


Father God, I pray that Jesus will be born in my heart, and may His sacrifice be my righteousness. May it cover and protect me from the enemy. Please guard my heart today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


This advent devotional can be found on the YouVersion Bible App here.



We all know the difference between a house and a home. A house is merely a place to live. It becomes a home when those who live in the house add love. It doesn’t have anything to do with the things we hang on the wall, the family room furniture, or the living room’s soft lighting. The proverb says, “Home is where the heart is.”

Today we receive a two-fold gift:

“I ask the Father in his great glory to give you the power to be strong inwardly through his Spirit. I pray that Christ will live in your hearts by faith and that your life will be strong in love and be built on love.” (Ephesians 3:16-17, NCV).

Paul prays for the Church here, that Believers may be strengthened by the Holy Spirit so that Christ may dwell in their hearts. The Greek word he uses for “dwell” means to “always be present.” Is there a greater gift to receive than this? Christ Jesus. Living in our hearts and in our life. Built on the foundation of love and strengthened by the Holy Spirit. Always present.

God can and does give us many, many things … every spiritual blessing. (Remember the first gift in this Advent study?) John Eadie, a Scottish theologian from the mid-1800s, suggests that God is not being frugal here. “His bounty proclaims His conscious possession of immeasurable resources. He bestows according to the riches of His glory — His own infinite fullness.”

God gives us His all, strengthened by the Holy Spirit so that Christ may dwell in our hearts. God no longer dwells in a building that man has made, such as the tabernacle that Moses set up in the desert and moved from place to place. No.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them.’” (Revelation 21:3, NASB).

Jesus is the new tabernacle! And He dwells within us! Jesus stresses the benefit of abiding with Him.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, NIV).

That’s powerful!

Now, does Jesus physically get small and live inside the muscle and tissue that is our beating heart? No, but a life that has Jesus centered in the core of our being that beats and pulses continuously with His love and grace is a life of purpose, priority, and order. It is our life! As God’s children, we are given everything. That is represented in today’s Gift — Jesus dwelling in our spiritual hearts.


Father God, thank you that you no longer live or dwell in man-made buildings or temples but that Jesus lives in my heart. Make my heart a loving place where He can live. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


This advent devotional can be found on the YouVersion Bible App here.

God is Pursuing You

Do you know how much God loves you?

Do you know, at this very minute, that God is pursuing you?  Even if you’ve been a Believer all of your life, He is pursuing you.  He continues to pursue you and wants to deeply connect with you and your heart.

You know when you had that check in your spirit recently?  That was God.  When you said those words you wanted to take back as soon as they left your lips?  That was God.  When you acted one way, or didn’t act in another.  That was God.

He loves you with His whole heart and His Holy Spirit walks with you, follows you,  and even goes after you when you turn away.  In 1893 Francis Thompson coined the phrase “the Hound of Heaven” when describing how God unceasingly pursues us, encouraging us to follow Him.

Continue reading God is Pursuing You