How many times in our lives do we stand at a place where all things seem lost? These times of distress are inevitable and will visit all, both the weak and the mighty.

How many times in our lives do we stand at a place where all things seem lost? These times of distress are inevitable and will visit all, both the weak and the mighty.

How many times in our lives do we stand at a place where all things seem lost? These times of distress are inevitable and will visit all, both the weak and the mighty.

“And he said to them, “why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and sea; and there was dead calm.”

Matthew 8:26

CALMING THE STORMS OF LIFE

How many times in our lives do we stand at a place where all things seem lost? These times of distress are inevitable and will visit all, both the weak and the mighty. Jesus asks us to be calm and have faith. Jesus asks us to stand calmly when the swirling seas of life pound the rocks of our lives. Jesus asks us to stand firmly faithful and turn our eyes toward God. Our life answers are found when we stand calmly and face our foes with an unwavering trust in Jesus. Our trust in Jesus replaces the turbulence of life with a calmed spirit.Points of Reflection

  • When faced with periods of stress, how often do we get anxious?
  • Why is it hard to stop and pray when difficult times arise?
  • In the past, how has Jesus helped overcome life’s hurdles?

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Ben White

We love giving credit to budding photographers to help them gain more exposure.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

Matthew 5:8

OUR HEARTS HELP US TO SEE GOD

Our hearts are the seat of our desires and thoughts. It is this place that we decide what we follow. A hopeful heart in Jesus leads us to a faith filled heart, which in turn creates a purity of intent. It is through this direction that our inner motivations are cleansed and refined. We emerge with a direction that is not self-interested or full of envy. With a pure heart we are desirous of peace and goodwill. We become joyful at what we have gained in Jesus and with our own actions. We are quieted and humbly seek the ways of God. Our hearts will break at the sight of injustice and rejoice at the sight of kindness. Each day we will search for God’s direction and rebel against selfish thoughts. Our hearts become purified by our hopes and faith in Jesus.Points of Reflection

  • How often do we pray in the morning to find our direction?
  • What thoughts do we have to rid ourselves of to have a purified heart?
  • What do we desire or envy that isn’t healthy?

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Ben White

We love giving credit to budding photographers to help them gain more exposure.

“As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.”

Matthew 4:18-20

FOLLOWING JESUS

When Jesus calls us to follow him, it means a giving up of those illusionary things that we believe gives us a purposeful life. However, in following Jesus we begin to a create a purposeful life that is not illusionary. We give up things that bind us and create a false want. We give up a chasing of material things that only temporarily soothe us. We acquire a different perspective of what is important. When we follow Jesus the ways of the world dim, replaced by the truer life of being a disciple. Fear of scarcity is replaced with hope, love and faith.Points of Reflection

  • What limits us from following Jesus completely?
  • What changes could we make in our lives that free us to follow?
  • What is our most important possession?

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Ben White

We love giving credit to budding photographers to help them gain more exposure.

“This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3:17

BEING LOVED BY AND PLEASING GOD

At Jesus’ baptism, God makes this powerful statement about Jesus. A statement that reflects God’s approval of the obedience of Christ to righteousness, and earthly submission to his solemn and sacred task on earth. Likewise, with our own earthly existence, we please God through our own desire of being righteous and our submission to the will of God. Our sometimes rebellious nature can recoil at this submission, but our submission gives us freedom to be both; what God desires for us and our internal desires. That which is; to be loving, joyful, peaceful, forbearing, kind, seekers of goodness, faithful, gentle and self-controlled.Points of Reflection

  • What are the things in our lives that distract us from being the person God desires for us?
  • How does being submissive to the will of God give us freedom?
  • What are our desires for our lives?

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Ben White

We love giving credit to budding photographers to help them gain more exposure.

“Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14

JESUS GIVES US LIVING WATER

The water of life from Jesus, replaces the water from the world. When we drink the heavenly water of Jesus, we accept the values of God through Jesus. We accept having a peaceful heart that is pointed toward good. We accept a joyful heart that is the result of our new found hope. We accept a trusting heart that is wary of the ways of the world, but quenched by the ways of God. No longer do our daily troubles become weeds of despair, they are replaced by a water that creates an oak tree of faith. When we drink this water, our lives change eternally.Points of Reflection

  • How is the living water of Jesus different than our earthly water?
  • What stops us from drinking the living water?
  • What are our individual worries?

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Ben White

We love giving credit to budding photographers to help them gain more exposure.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

John 3:16

GOD’S GIFT TO HUMANKIND

Traditionally, Christmas is December 25th. But in other parts of the world it extends to January 6th or the twelfth day of Christmas. In many countries Christmas is celebrated as vibrant holiday for almost two weeks. During this two weeks, Christmas is celebrated with parades, dinners, each day a present is given and each day becomes a reflection on the importance of Christmas. Christmas is the day God gave the world his only son. A son, Jesus, who would live to serve humankind and redeem humankind. To accept this gift, we only have to have faith in the gift. This gift is the greatest present any of us will receive, not a gift to be left unopened, but to be cherished and have for a lifetime.Points of Reflection

  • How can you extend Christmas for the traditional twelve days?
  • What is the greatest human gift you have received?
  • What is the greatest gift from God you have received?

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Ben White

We love giving credit to budding photographers to help them gain more exposure.

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”

Luke 2:7

BORN IN A MANGER

Jesus arrival was in the humblest of circumstances, in a dark and cramped manger. He was born surrounded by livestock and straw. The king did not come on a white horse and a crown. He arrived humbly. On that Christmas morning in the gloom of night he appeared with only a lonely star to announce his arrival. A foretelling of that he came to serve and not be served. The king of the world didn’t come to be waited upon, but to wait upon. His life wouldn’t be a life of luxury and wealth, but a life of service. A life that included caring for all people; the poor in both wealth and spirit, those that were merciful and those with a heart pointed to God. From this humble beginning Jesus rose to change the world and give us a new way. A way not built on our lavishness, but on our inherited desire to do good.Points of Reflection

  • What non-material gifts did you give this Christmas?
  • What gifts has Jesus given you?
  • List three people you gave presents to this week and how did it impact their lives?

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Ben White

We love giving credit to budding photographers to help them gain more exposure.