Picking Our Life Treasures

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:21

As a final reflection during the period of Lent, let us consider our heart’s desire. What do we desire in and of life? Do we desire a heart filled with compassion and empathy? Do we desire a gentle and generous spirit that reflects a sincere kindness towards our neighbor? Do we desire a connectedness with heavenly things that bring peace and certainty? A heart pointed towards these things will instantly reject that which is material, self-interested, and seeking personal gain. In rejecting that which will tempt us away from our life’s purpose, we put away those things of the world that inevitably lead to discontent.

Points of Reflection

  • What is it that you desire in life?
  • What are your biggest obstacles to achieving a life with God?
  • What changes can you make to achieve your life goals?

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

 I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

John 10:10

Jesus came to provide an alternative life. One free of uncertainty and scarcity. A way of life with straight roads and peace. All that is required is a heart open to be filled by the message of Jesus. When we fully live this life, we will never be wrong in our choices. We can always be certain we are traveling the right road. Along the way, voices will come to distract us from our appointed way. Voices that will dispute God’s existence. Voices that will tell us to want more. Voices that will try to give us a reason to desire unquenchable ways. Our straight and forward movements combined with our faith through daily prayers will protect us from the noisy voices we will hear. Through Jesus, we will have an abundant life.

Points of Reflection

  • What influences or people try to draw you away from God?
  • How do you respond internally to outside influences and noisy voices?
  • How does prayer help you resist?

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

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Choosing Our Path In Life

“Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,

‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”

Matt 4:10

After Jesus’ third and final test in the desert, he sends the evil one away. Declaring with a faithful certainty that he is choosing the path of life that walks with God. He finally and unequivocally renounces a life dependent on materialism, want, and self-interest. His only desire is to serve humankind and live in the ways of God. A rejection of a way of life that would only serve him and leave Jesus constantly want more. A rejection of the shiny glimmering that a different life holds that only ends with unquenchable wants and goals that can never be achieved. In Jesus’ final day in the wilderness he declares these words as a repudiation of temptation for us to model.

Points of Reflection

  • What are the material things in your life that complicate life?
  • What things could you eliminate that bind you?
  • This week, list acts of charity could you perform?

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

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Photo by Ben White

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In God We Trust

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Matthew 4:7

 

After Jesus’s second test in the wilderness, He declared to the evil one: “I will trust only God and not be unsure in my faith.” Likewise, for us, we are tempted repeatedly to question the presence of God in our lives. Is God real and is God with us? These questions are not the result of God’s absence in our lives, but of the temptation to question God’s presence. When our faith wanes, we search and question if God exists. By questioning if God will help and if God cares, we become tempted to test God. Instead, Jesus wants us to be fully aware that God is a loving and caring God whom we have no need to doubt or test. Having this faith strengthens us to meet those tests that show up in our lives, including our Lenten goals.

Points of Reflection

  • How often do you doubt that God exists, and what are the causes?
  • What strengthens your faith? Church, acts of charity, prayer, etc.?
  • How do you feel God in your daily life?

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

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Photo by Ben White

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“One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Matthew 4:4

WORDS OF LIFE

These words of advice were spoken by Jesus after his first test while being in the wilderness for forty days. Our Lenten period is symbolic of this test faced by Jesus. Jesus tells us and the dark forces of the world to not rely on those things of the world, but on God. When we are famished and thirsty, God will provide. When we are spiritually drained, God will provide. When we are tempted, our eyes and hearts should be pointed to the ways of God to receive all that we need. Jesus wants us to; live simply, listen constantly and know the words of God. A simple message that is tempted daily, if not hourly, but like Jesus, the words of God will sustain us.

Points of Reflection

  • How often do you read the Bible and where?
  • Do you pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit before reading the Bible?
  • What tests during this Lenten season do you want to pass?

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

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“As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.”

Luke 9:29

 GOD CHANGED EVERYTHING

Jesus arrived in the form of a human, as both the true servant of God and to humankind. Bringing the greatest gift ever given, eternal life. The transfiguration of Jesus Christ was completed in the presence of reliable witnesses to show the reality of the power of God and the glory, which is Christ Jesus. Connected with this visible change in Jesus was prayer. An intense prayer to prepare Jesus for his way forward, which would lead to the redemption of humankind through the crucifixion. Similarly, when we accept our new life in Jesus, we are both changed and we are clothed in dazzling white.

Points of Reflection

  • How has God changed you?
  • Name three specific answers from God to your prayers.
  • What goals do you have as a “New Creation?”

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

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Photo by Ben White

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“Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; they took what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full.”

-Matthew 14:19-20

JESUS FEEDS US

Jesus feeds us both spiritually and through the provisions of our lives. When we look to the world for spiritual renewal and our bounty, we are always left looking for more. We develop a fear of scarcity, which in turn drives us to want more. We are never satisfied. Through are faithful belief in Jesus, scarcity and want disappears. In turn, we become more generous and in return, we give back. Our fearful nature that causes us to be miserly is replaced with a spirit of generosity. We give because Jesus feeds us.

Points of Reflection

  • How have you felt Jesus feeding you, either spiritually or physically?
  • Why do the things of this world always seem to be just out of grasp?
  • How do we acquire a spirit of generosity or relieve ourselves of want?

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

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Photo by Ben White

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“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

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Photo by Ben White

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“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.

 

“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.