From the dust of the manger… to our heart.

Available at amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.

Christmas Day is one week away… wow! Where does the time go? Wasn’t it just spring break? Or summer vacation?

In the midst of all that is wrong in the world today, as we think about the Christmas story, the one thing that we might perceive to have been wrong, was actually right. Yes, it was right for Mary to place Jesus in a manger.

From Chapter Five of Be Born in Me:

While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby, and she gave birth to her first son. Because there were no rooms left in the inn, she wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough.[1]

She placed Him in a feed trough.  In the Ancient Days most feed troughs in caves were merely hollowed out logs or rocks sitting on the ground.  You can’t get much lower than that.  Jesus, God in the flesh. God who sits on the highest throne in the highest Heaven, squeezed Himself into a human form. And if that wasn’t low enough, He was then placed mere inches above the dirt and manure that was in that animal cave.  Why would God do that?  Send His son.  To the lowest possible place on earth?!  To a feed trough?

Think about the trough being in the dirt and mud on the cave floor. Like Adam from the Garden of Eden, we all began our lives in the dust of the earth and Jesus knows that we all have dirt and mud in our lives.  That’s where we need Him most!

“Jesus, be born in me!” 

The apostle Paul also notes that Jesus gave up His place with God in heaven and made Himself nothing (Philippians 2).  Why? Simply because He loves us.

He loves you. He really does. Even though you may be a little dirty. Even though you may be a lot muddy.  It doesn’t matter to Him… He has been there too.

Isn’t that incredible!?! God in the flesh has been where you are… only His love can pull you out of the pit you are in. He is uniquely qualified to be our Savior. He knows how messy our lives are… and it doesn’t stop Him from reaching out His loving arms to lift us up.

May I encourage you to make this prayer, your prayer: “Jesus. Be born in me!”


Be Born in Me is divided into five sections and includes discussion questions so you can use in a weekly small group, family devotional or class setting.

Here’s the link to the amazon web site: http://amzn.to/SNOkND.
And here’s the link to the Kindle site: http://amzn.to/RI7ODe.
(c) 2012. Rich Ronald.

[1] Luke 2:6-7 (NCV)

 

“Make my heart Your Bethlehem.”

Available at amazon.com in paperback or Kindle

Advent continues its countdown to Christmas Day.  The great thing about the season, is that it can be just that… a season. Not just a single day.

The prayer for our family this year is “Be Born in Me.”

I’ve written a little book, based on a song, that is helping us focus this year.  The cry of Chapter 4 is “Make my heart Your Bethlehem.”

Here is an exceprt:

Bethlehem. Do you know what the word means? In Hebrew “Bet” means ‘house’ and “Lechem” means ‘bread.’ So Bethlehem is “the House of Bread.”

We can see that Jesus, the bread of life from John 6, must be born in “the House of Bread.”

Jesus came to give us life, true bread and true sustenance.  Jesus is all we really need isn’t He? He satisfies, gratifies and strengthens us spiritually, just as bread does physically. 

And what happens when you don’t eat for awhile?  You become weak, right?

When our prayer is, “Jesus, be born in me. Give me strength! Give me all I need for life!” 

He says, “I have.”

May I encourage you as you enjoy a meal or two or three with your friends and family this Christmas season, to remember that Jesus is the true bread. He is our Jehovah Jireh, our Provider, who gives us all we have and all we need.

And may you allow your heart to be His Bethlehem… to be born in you.

 
Be Born in Me is divided into five sections and includes discussion questions so you can use in a weekly small group, family devotional or class setting.
Here’s the link to the amazon web site: http://amzn.to/SNOkND.
And here’s the link to the Kindle site: http://amzn.to/RI7ODe.
(c) 2012. Rich Ronald.

“Somehow I believe that You chose me.”

Available at amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.

This is the second week in Advent, a time to celebrate Christmas for a whole month, not just a single day. How are you doing at preparing your heart for the season?

From Chapter Three of Be Born in Me:

God chose Mary for an incredible assignment, didn’t He?  Think about it, this is the biggest assignment of anyone in the Bible!  You think your wife fussed about what to eat and what to do when she was pregnant?  Mary is carrying God’s Son. No pressure there!  Can you imagine what she thought about having to climb up on the back of a donkey and travel for four days to the city of David?  Can you hear her in the cold of the night?  “Joseph, sorry I can’t do that, I AM carrying the Son of God here, you know!”

Looking again at Luke 1 we see that the angel, Gabriel, has told Mary that she has been chosen. Mary asks, “How?” The angel replies,  “Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.” [1]

Do you know that you have been chosen by God for an assignment today and everyday? How does that make you feel? For some, it is overwhelming. For others it is exciting. For me it is humbling.  Humbling, because most days I feel completely inept at doing something for our great (announcer voice here) GOD, THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE.

But that is the point, isn’t it? For the greatest impact, God uses the everyday person to reach the everyday person. You don’t have to have a Bible degree or years of ministry training. You can grab a cup of coffee and walk to the end of the driveway and share His story with your next door neighbor.  You can sit on the floor with a bunch of preschool students and sing simple songs. You can offer a hug to an elderly woman in a nursing home wheelchair.

He has chosen you to carry His message and His love to those around you. And there is no better time to do so than at Christmas. People in our culture are open to hearing about Jesus, and talking about spiritual things, more so during December than any other time of the year. So may He give you the heart of Mary to bring His joy to your world this Advent.

And be encouraged to know that He has chosen you to do so.

Be Born in Me is divided into five sections and includes discussion questions so you can use in a weekly small group, family devotional or class setting.
Here’s the link to the amazon web site: http://amzn.to/SNOkND.
And here’s the link to the Kindle site: http://amzn.to/RI7ODe.
(c) 2012. Rich Ronald.

[1] Luke 1:37 (The Message)

 

“Help me see with Heaven’s eyes…”

Available at amazon.com in paperback or Kindle

Advent starts this weekend.  Like the onset of a new season or the New Year, it is a beginning. A time to prepare our hearts for celebrating the birth of the Messiah. It is a time to renew who we are as children of God. A time which allows us to truly celebrate Christmas for four weeks, rather than just a single day.

It is a time to cry out to God with the same prayer as Mary, the mother of Jesus: “Be Born in Me.”

It is every Believer’s cry from the depth of our heart as we ask Jesus to take over our lives.  We need Jesus to be born in us, fully and completely.

This new little book is designed to help you celebrate the joy of Christmas by looking back from Mary’s perspective.  It takes you into the times and culture of her day.

From Chapter Two of the book:

Francesca Battistelli recorded the song: Be Born in Me.  In the first verse there is a lyric that says “Somehow help me see with Heaven’s eyes.” What does this mean?

For starters, it means seeing the potential and possibilities of someone, who the world sees and rejects, with God’s eyes. It means seeing the “least of these” (Matthew 25:40) and accepting them. God sees and accepts everyone who comes to Him, no matter our story. Harlot. Beggar. Murderer.  Adulterer. Thief. Pharisee. Sinner. You. Me.  Once we’ve bowed our knee to Jesus, God sees us from Jesus’ point of view. All redeemed. All restored. He sees us the way He created us, like a new born baby, fresh, like a new day with no mistakes in it.

May I encourage you as you go through the day today to look around and ponder what you see. The crowded shopping malls. The crazy traffic. The homeless on the corner. The eyes of hope at your dinner table.  Can you see as God does?

Yes. When He is born in you.

The booklet is divided into five sections and includes discussion questions so you can use in a weekly small group, family devotional or class setting.

Here’s the link to the amazon web site: http://amzn.to/SNOkND.

And here’s the link to the Kindle site: http://amzn.to/RI7ODe.

(c) 2012. Rich Ronald.

New Book for Advent (my first!): Be Born in Me.

Available at amazon.com in paperback or Kindle

A little more than a year ago, the worship planning team at Oak Hills Church began planning our Advent season. Worship Minister Jeff Nelson recommended a theme around the song, Be Born in Me (Mary). It was written by Bernie Herms and Nichole Nordeman and beautifully recorded by Francesca Battistelli. It is on the album Music Inspired by The Story from Word Entertainment.

I admit, I was hesistant at first.  “We’re going to preach a song for Advent?” But the more I meditated on the words, the more I let the Holy Spirit work in my heart, the more enthused I became.

Each week the ministers at OHC’s five campuses would unpack a certain line from the song.  I had the honor of preaching all four weeks at the North Central Campus.

This booklet is essentially that sermon series.

Have you ever prayed the prayer: “Be Born in Me!”?

It is every Believer’s cry from the depth of our heart as we ask Jesus to take over our lives.  We need Jesus to be born in us, fully and completely.

From the Preface of the book:

Can you see her? The angel Gabriel had just left this young teenage girl with the news that in today’s language is an announcement that would “rock her world.”  She would become pregnant. The Biblical text says she was “confused” [1] or “shaken.” [2] She was engaged to a man named Joseph, of the lineage of the Tribe of David. She had a deeply devout faith and had found favor with Adonai. 

We can imagine in the moments after the angel’s ascension that she is standing alone, dazed and numb. She looks to the heavens and offers a prayer, a song. She completely gives herself to the Father in heaven and cries “Be Born in Me.”

Let’s take a close up look at four lines from the song, four prayers.  They were cries from Mary’s heart.  Can they be ours?
  1. Be born in me.
  2. Somehow help me see with Heaven’s eyes.
  3. Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me.
  4. Make my heart your Bethlehem.

My prayer for you this coming Christmas season… that you will be able to embrace these prayers and believe all that they capture. May you let Jesus be born in you!

With great joy,

-rich

The booklet is divided into five sections and includes discussion questions so you can use in a weekly small group, family devotional or class setting.

Here’s the link to the amazon web site: http://amzn.to/SNOkND.

And here’s the link to the Kindle site: http://amzn.to/RI7ODe.


[1] Luke 1:29, CEV.

[2] Luke 1:29, The Message.