“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.

 

 

“The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.”

John 1:9

 

TRUE LIGHT IS FOUND IN JESUS

A remarkable forecast by John the Baptist, that the “True Light” was coming into the world. Jesus was the true Light; that great Light which nothing else compares. Jesus’ Spirit and grace enlightens all that the light finds and which creates a new way of life that is both eternal and aligned with God. Through this “True light” all that is good will be brighter and all that is dark will scurry away. Through this “True Light” our internal desires to be both purposeful and connected to God will be realized. We will forget the momentary dark forces of the world and walk towards a light filled with the spirit and the grace of Jesus. Jesus was and is coming into the world and our lives. Our only task of preparation during the second week of Advent, is acceptance.

Points of Reflection

  • During this week describe the moments you see the “True Light”.
  • How is Jesus involved in your life and how can the involvement increase?
  • How are you preparing for Christmas this season?

 

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Mike Labrum

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

 

 

“The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.”

John 1:9

 

TRUE LIGHT IS FOUND IN JESUS

A remarkable forecast by John the Baptist, that the “True Light” was coming into the world. Jesus was the true Light; that great Light which nothing else compares. Jesus’ Spirit and grace enlightens all that the light finds and which creates a new way of life that is both eternal and aligned with God. Through this “True light” all that is good will be brighter and all that is dark will scurry away. Through this “True Light” our internal desires to be both purposeful and connected to God will be realized. We will forget the momentary dark forces of the world and walk towards a light filled with the spirit and the grace of Jesus. Jesus was and is coming into the world and our lives. Our only task of preparation during the second week of Advent, is acceptance.

Points of Reflection

  • During this week describe the moments you see the “True Light”.
  • How is Jesus involved in your life and how can the involvement increase?
  • How are you preparing for Christmas this season?

 

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Mike Labrum

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

 

 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:1

 

JESUS “THE WORD” IS REVEALED

In this first verse of the first chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus is revealed as with God and was God. Many of us try to define Jesus and run down many of the corridors of our mind to capture his essence. In this fundamental sentence, which is remarkably similar to the first verse in the Bible (Genesis 1:1), Jesus is fully revealed. Jesus preexisted creation and was at the beginning. Jesus was with God and coexisted as the agent of creation. Jesus is also God, part of the Trinity, made of the three substances of God; God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. While we can try to define God in our human terms, no Bible verse better defines Jesus than this verse. For the first week of Advent, there is no better place to start than describing the origins and definition of Jesus.

Points of Reflection

  • Who is Jesus to you and how much is he involved in your life?
  • What are the most important stories you have heard about Jesus?
  • During this next week, how often have you seen or experienced Jesus?

 

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Ben White

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

 

year with jesus

 

“The Lord, the Lord,
a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

Exodus 34:6

WELCOME TO A YEAR WITH GOD

In Exodus, God passes by Moses and makes this powerful proclamation that He is abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. For the next fifty two Sunday’s we will be posting images, verses and reflections following the church calendar that reflects this steadfast love and faithfulness. The posting will lead us on an immersive faith journey for fifty two weeks that tells the story of God and Jesus through the annual rhythm of the Christian’s church calendar.

This year long series will start on December 2nd, with the first week of advent. So get ready, have your Bible at hand and a notebook to start journaling. Find a space in your house or outdoors that is quiet and will help you be by yourself with our Lord. A place where  a simple few minutes alone will change your life.

We will move from the Advent period to Christmas and on into Lent and the Passion week. And we will follow along the seven weeks or fifty days of the Pentecost. Throughout this journey we will encounter and explore the verses that explain and help us reflect on the majesty of God and God’s gift to humankind, Jesus the Christ.

Each week we will post an image, verse and a reflection that will follow the church calendar. Each week is designed to lead us through a complete exploration of the Christian faith and a deeper understanding of our faith.

As a guide each week readers will be given an opportunity to answer three questions about their faith. Not designed to test our knowledge, but to encourage us to think about our faith. Over the year, we will present a way to fully see the Gospel and its meanings in our lives.

In our reflections we are not proposing how people should think, but merely asking to reflect on our life’s journey with our faith. No one person’s faith life is similar and every person has a different starting point. If in some small way we can add value to faith lives, we will consider ourselves successful.

For the reader we ask that prior to starting this journey, that a journal is created. The first entry should be a reflection on the following:

  • What is your understanding of faith and how it has become a part of your life?
  • How connected do you feel to God and Jesus?
  • What areas of your faith lives would you want to increase?

Over the course of the year, periodically refer back to this first writing and see what has changed.

Each week, at the start of the week, answer the three questions on Sunday. Try bringing the Holy Spirit into this time of reading and contemplation. Consider what the Spirit is telling you. Then throughout the week, reflect on the verse, the image or the reflection. Each day, take five minutes to review how it is affecting your daily life. On Saturday, write what has changed or what has been improved.

A simple journaling that is private to you and your life. Each week the journal will grow and so will your faith.

If you would like to help others, leave a comment on the blog for the week. A simple note of a special moment or new understanding. Through this sharing we help and inspire each other.

Don’t forget each day, say a prayer that includes an aspect of the verse for the week.

We hope, pray and trust that this journey with God will help your life and bring you closer to a God that is abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Ben White

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