God called me out to walk before dawn. I was dressed, out the door and on my way at 5:59am. He called me to walk a different way than usual. I like to walk where there are broader vistas and fewer homes. But this morning, He told me to take the long way around, going the suburban streets to eventually get to the summit of Old Ranch Rd. hill. It did not take long for Him to reveal why. Though on the summit the sunrise would have already been visible, those same hills blocked the sun from shining on the valley yet and enabled me to have the sunrise still before me. The Lord directed me to the opposite side of the street and told me to get the camera on my phone ready. As soon as the edge of the sun broke over the horizon, I began snapping pictures.
At first I was not pleased that my phone camera seemed to deal with the brightness by capturing one beam of sunlight pointing down to the earth like a sword. It was an out of balance image. Yet looking at His sun rising reminded me that His Son is the Light in our darkness and worship rose up in my heart. I wanted to post the picture to an album on FaceBook He had me start called, “Prayer”, where He has had me immediately share so many photos in the past along with a mini “burst” of worship. I began to upload the first photo of the dawn, but pushed the wrong button before I could indicate the album and type in the caption. He didn’t want me focused there. He wanted me still watching the dawn and snapping photos.
One after another, every few seconds I faithfully took a photo. Gradually as the sun rose, the light seemingly split and in my photo viewfinder it was as if it became a cross of light which overwhelmed everything around it. So blessed! In awe! Wow, God, wow! You invade our darkness and are our Light. You take what we thought was light and the way, then fill it with Your Light, and overwhelm what we thought was right (and light) until it becomes a shadow and we can truly see the path. And such a gift for obedience. My heart leapt with thankfulness. He didn’t have to bless me so. I would have obeyed anyway. I had gone the longer, less beautiful way (to me) as He had led. I had not
fought Him when didn’t enable the first photo to post correctly, but had relaxed and let Him continue to be in control. Slowly but surely I was learning!
I finished taking photos. The sun was fully risen, yet still obscured somewhat by the passing marine layer of clouds which had swept over the western hills last night and now into the morning as was often the case due to our nearness to the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. He directed me to continue my walk across and then up to the summit. Words which turned into sentences began to drop into my mind as I reached the top. I knew it was from Him. There was a message He wanted written down. The words came quickly as I sat on a bench on the summit overlooking the San Ramon Valley and thumb-typed as rapidly as possibly into my phone. Here is what He gave me:
REFLECTIONS ON THE PHRASE: “ONE NATION UNDER GOD” by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011
The meaning of “One Nation Under God” is on my mind these days as I prepare to release for all of us to declare in unity over our nation and into our atmosphere and hearts a new song the Lord downloaded in March to commemorate 9-11-01 and give us marching orders going forward fittingly called, “One Nation Under God”. (Note: to be on a mailing list for info when the song is released and the link for the youtube please message me on LinkedIn or FACEBOOK with your email address or email the info to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. God, bless America and the world!
As we work hard to protect the phrase, “One Nation Under God” in our pledge (and “in God we trust” as our national motto and on our currency), we need to remember that though the phrase is important, it is without God’s effect unless it is also our attitude and is reflected in our lifestyles.
For instance, in what do we place our hope? Is money what we believe is the answer to all
our problems? I am a Californian, born in the Capital of Sacramento and lived for many years growing up in the hills where gold was found, prompting the famous gold rush which began in 1849. People swarmed to the gold fields from around the world seeking money to address their problems.
Certainly money can help with much during our physical lives on earth, but it is not the answer. It is merely a tool and in the end it is of no value at all. Our national
motto: “In God We Trust” says it all.
We need to remember that every person who has ever made his or her objective accumulation of wealth has still ended up the same way as the person who had much less. For example, every person who gave up much to come seek gold in the hills and streams of California, putting their hope in money and personal wealth as the answer is dead. Those who were wealthy in the days of Jesus and lived the high life are also dead – unless sometime before their physical lives ended they discovered the Lordship of Jesus Christ, acknowledged their need for Him as Savior and bowed to Him as Lord. In the end regarding how it will continue after our natural death and with the most important of life’s current issues (such as true life satisfaction and happiness) money is of no help at all.
The idea of money being the problem solver is deceptive. It has nothing to do with life from here through eternity. And while living out our physical lives, true happiness comes from the inside, not the external. This is a gift of joy from God which defies understanding because it is above circumstances and bubbles up from the inside out in spite them.
At our core we were created to need love and purpose. There is a deep inner dissatisfaction until we experience these. It is our built in God-seeker “gene”; this need is what causes us to keep seeking until we find Him. Only in God do we find both.
When we decide to follow Jesus we are making more than a decision to believe He is real and accept the gift of eternal life with Him forever following our physical death. Eternity
starts for us now. We receive our citizenship in His Kingdom immediately and with it a unique gift of freedom with His love and purpose which is completely transforming and exhilarating.
The freedom is in the recognition that He is God, has a way He wants us to live, a plan for each of our lives and promises to protect and provide sufficiently for us when we follow Him so that we can get thru whatever life presents until He takes us home to Him for the rest of eternity. Such freedom in knowing He is in control, has all power, all knowledge along with the over-riding promise He will protect, provide and direct our every step if we will but listen.
And there is the rub, to truly be one nation under God – where it is more than a phrase to honor a supernatural Being in whom we happen to believe – we have to embrace the idea
that if He is Lord then we naturally desire to live His way, pledge allegiance to Him, and we seek His will in all things. Jesus only did as the Father told Him to do. Jesus left His Spirit with us and told us His sheep will hear His voice so we would know if we seek, we can hear His voice and instructions for every moment of every day from the Father, thru the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
(This is why when He speaks to us, it is less often a voice our ears hear and more often thoughts which drop into our minds because He is already there speaking from the inside out if we will listen…. But this is a broader topic on how to recognize His voice, to be discussed at greater length another day.)
Suffice for today’s purposes to say that one part of learning to listen is being willing to hear what He says – being willing to lay down our personal way, wishes and agenda in order to embrace His. Another element of learning to recognize His voice is developing the habit to take our own thoughts captive to Christ as they come to mind. In other words scrutinizing the source of the thoughts in our mind so that we can determine which are from God and which from the adversary, because due to the long ago choice of Adam and Eve we find
ourselves in a world where there is an ongoing invisible supernatural battle going on at all times. God is presenting us with a choice to see if we truly want to be citizens of His Kingdom. Whom will we choose to serve?
There is no room for complacency or apathy? We either pledge our allegiance to God as God, recognizing He is Master and Boss, submitting to His way, looking to hear Him and follow where He leads or we are giving that which is not God dominion, leadership in our lives. There is no middle ground.
When we say “one nation under God” it should be because we know who He is. He is the Supreme Being, who is superior to each of us (and created us), who promises He is all
good and truth. When we say, we desire to be one nation under God it is representative that we are choosing to believe this and thus want nothing else than His ideas for who could want their own ideas if the God of the universe who has the overview of all from here to eternity is willing to give us His?!
It is such an oxymoron to our human minds that submission to anything could represent freedom! Initially we think, isn’t freedom the ability to come up with our own ideas and make up our own minds? Only when considered from a human perspective… If God is real (and those of us who want to remain one nation under God to remain obviously believe He is), then we are effectively living in an unrealistic vacuum if we think our ideas could possibly be of any merit when God desires to give us His own. (It is important
to note that sometimes “our” ideas are from God, but this must be discerned and
affirmed in our hearts by Him. If we ask He will tell us.)
Remember the freedom of being a child most of us experienced? In many instances we did
not carry the burden or responsibility for making sure we had a place to sleep, a roof over our heads, food to eat, clothes to wear, etc. In most cases this was provided by our parents. They had the overview and understood what needed to be done. It was our job to obey them.
If human parents can provide this, imagine when we allow Father God to protect and provide for us supernaturally and perfectly as He promises. This does not mean we sit back, wait and do nothing. It means we obey. To obey we must know what He is asking of us – which means we are back to the critical component of our faith: our ability to live as one nation under God pre-supposes that we are listening for His instructions (the thoughts which He drops into our minds which are not contrary to His character or anything in
His word) which often initially will not seem to make sense because His ways are so far superior to our own.
For those of us who had parents who did protect and provide for us so we did not have to worry, do you remember the freedom of not worrying what was for dinner or how to pay
the bills? This is the freedom we are offered as citizens of God’s Kingdom now, under Him as Lord and as a nation which lives for Him and not for ourselves. In God we trust as ultimate provider of the ability to earn and have enough money; we do not trust in our abilities or the money itself. We become one nation under God by each individual
seeking to walk out His will every moment of every day – going thru our days in the freedom of knowing He is ultimately in control – we are not. He has the power to complete all things we do not; and He is the one with the overall, best and perfect plan in light of eternity for each of us (and the world. He will use all we go thru here in this sometimes tough human existence for good.
He did not promise lives of ease. Look at Jesus. The only begotten Son of God was born virtually on the streets, had to flee His native land, wasn’t taken seriously by the masses (especially those in authority), had no earthly title or prestige, was put to death though innocent, and was abandoned in his moment of need by almost all who knew Him. Yet because He stayed in the Father’s will and found His reason to go on in the Father’s love for Him and the Father’s objective to redeem the world, look what the Father accomplished thru Jesus for all of us.
One nation under God: the freedom to seek God’s will, follow where He leads, be His child and find joy in all because we in God we trust, knowing He is using each of us for eternal good if we will let Him – no matter our circumstances. One nation under God: we commit to worship Him as the only vital element, pray, listen,discern and act. All praise to our King and Lord, Creator and Sovereign Ruler of all the heavens and the earth!
For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.