Sunday Praise

LORD, You alone are GOD. We bow before Your majesty, joining creation to declare Your glory.

  by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011

 The book, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, shows the root meaning of “sabbath” is cessation.  In other words, a “sabbath” is a time to cease from activity.  The Sabbath was instituted by God in the Old Testament.  Since the time shortly after Pentecost, most Christians have chosen to take this day of “rest” on Sunday versus the 7th day of rest (Saturday) of Old Testament times.

Truly God is honored when we take a day to stop doing.  It is what He asked from us in the Old Testament and even today obedience to this concept is an expression of our trust in God as LORD (Master, Boss) and ultimate provider.  Instead of doing and doing some more as if it were in our power to make sure we have enough if we just work hard enough, when we choose to stop and rest as God requests, not only is it good for our bodies, but it let’s God know we trust that when we obey Him, He will fulfill His promise to ensure we have “enough”.

For the Christian community, this day of rest has also become a focused time of concentration on God.  It is the day of the week when many of us choose to consciously worship Him.  Though worship of God is for EVERY day, not just Sunday, in honor of the tradition to seek Him corporately on Sunday through worship, here is a beautiful psalm, focusing on honoring God as Lord.

So together, “6 Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” (Ps. 95:6-7 NIV)

PSALM 29 (NIV)

1 Ascribe to the LORD, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory & strength.

2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.

4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic.

5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

6 He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning.

8 The voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.

9 The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare.  All in his temple cry, “Glory!”

10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever.

11 The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.

PRAYER

LORD God, our strength is from You; our peace is from You.  You are all in all and everything. This we know full well.  How we delight to rest in You this day, reflecting on Your majesty, reveling in who You are without worry or care.  You alone are God; You alone are the holy One.  You love us more than we will ever understand and as all-knowing, all-powerful parent You provide for us perfectly.  Thank You that You give us rest.  We look to You alone for all things and place our complete trust in You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

Selah!  (Pause and calmly think of that!)  May your Sunday be blessed with an ever-increasing sense of His Presence, which you carry with you into the week.  May His Spirit refresh you as you rest in Him, coming like the river of life from heaven which He is and quench your deepest thirst.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

END

UPCOMING DEVOTION:  TENDING KINGDOM FINANCIAL CROPS

Remember to view the new song, “One Nation Under God” on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d593RguxQI8&feature=share  Share the link!  Let’s let everyone know that the USA is and remains one nation under God and be encouraged in how God values every individual.

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.

More “Money God’s Way” Posts to Come

God, Your ways are higher than ours; Your Wisdom more precious than gold. We seek You!

from Elizabeth

Though always wanting to be a wife, mom and writer, I came out of college with a degree in foreign languages and landed a job in personal finance, where I had a steep learning curve, because personal money management and investing are generally not taught in our society.  The job was more than a way to earn; it was a way to help others through teaching and advising.  After 15 years, in the mid-1990’s I was blessed to step out of working full-time outside the home into full-time motherhood and home management. But despite my many prayers, the LORD would never completely let me leave the personal finance field behind.  I continued to be led to help select clients privately on a very part-time basis.  In 2001 I earned the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) designation and in 2011 the AFC (Accredited Financial Counselor) designation.

Now that our children are grown and beginning to venture out on their own, He has called me back to increase my writing, teaching and advising on the subject, but this time from a Kingdom of God perspective.  How does God see our money?  How would He have us manage it?  What are His promises relative to money?  What is the best way to avoid frivolity and become financially fit in order to better withstand economic storms, but without hoarding?  How does money work?  How do investments work?  How are we to decide individually what is right and best for each of us regarding our finances?  What’s the difference between conventional wisdom regarding personal finance, and God’s?

This “NUGGETS OF GOD’S WISDOM” blog is about Kingdom living: living each day as the citizens of God’s kingdom we become when we profess our faith.  God’s way is different than what secularism has led us to believe.  Therefore, as the Holy Spirit leads, you will find periodic posts on managing money God’s way as an integral part of this blog.

God is unchanging.  His methods are consistent. Thus what we see in the visible, natural physical realm gives us a picture of how things work in the invisible, supernatural spiritual realm.  Jesus spoke in parables, many of which drew on nature to help listeners understand His Father’s Kingdom way.

The first societies did not have money as we know it. They were hunter/gatherer, then farming.  In order to provide for their families, they had to understand and work with how God created things to be.  For instance, if they did not go out and gather berries and hunt meat, then prepare and cook it, there was nothing to it.  If they ate all they had, didn’t feel like harvesting whent the crops were ripe, or wasted everything at the time of harvest without setting aside seeds for the next planting and storing provision which would provide enough to eat until the next harvest, they would starve to death in-between.  Thus there were certain survival principles which were clear-cut for them.  In a world of supermarkets, fast food and ATMs, where money is the vehicle by which we provide for ourselves and our families, these have become more blurred.  Yet, as surely as gravity remains one of the forces God placed as part of our earthly existence, these principles remain.

We need to remind ourselves of how God created our lives to be, looking again at the underlying principles which create the foundation. This is not hard; it is fundamental.  It will help us put His order to our lives, that we might be better able to see His direction, rejoice, rest in Him regardless of circumstances and receive an increasing gift of His inner peace (with which He can woe the world).

Watch for these future posts on money God’s way.  To make sure you don’t miss any, subscribe to “NUGGETS OF GOD’S WISDOM”.

May God be with us always, guiding and directing our every step for our blessing and His glory.

Elizabeth

Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011  

10 For though the mountains should depart and the hills be shaken or removed, yet My love and kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace and completeness be removed, says the Lord, Who has compassion on you…..Seek, inquire for, and require the Lord while He may be found [claiming Him by necessity and by right]; call upon Him while He is near, 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have love, pity, and mercy for him, and to our God, for He will multiply to him His abundant pardon. 8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are you ways My ways, sayd the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens, and return not there again, but water the earth and make it to bring forth and sprout, that it may give seek to the sower and bread to the eater, [2 Cor. 9:10.]  11 So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth; it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless[, but it shalll accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.  12 For you shall go out [from the spiritual exile caused by sin and evil into the homeland] with joy and be led forth [by your Leader, the Lord Himself, and his word] with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.  13 Instead of a thorn shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the lord for a name of renown, for an everlasting sign [of jubilant exaltation] and memorial [to His praise], which shall not be cut off.  (Isa. 54:10, 55:6-13 Amplified)

UPCOMING DEVOTION:  TENDING KINGDOM FINANCIAL CROPS

Remember to view the new song, “One Nation Under God” on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d593RguxQI8&feature=share  Share the link!  Let’s let everyone know that the USA is and remains one nation under God and be encouraged in how God values every individual.

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.

Getting to Know HIM

The Creator of the universe is waiting to meet with us.

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro                                                            www.holyspiritpress.org     www.eaglesnestfoundation.org 

Getting to know someone takes time.  You can’t get to know him or her if you don’t spend time with him or her.   Generally to have a close relationship, this doesn’t just mean time spent together in a group, but time one on one where the individuals in the budding relationship can truly concentrate on listening to and sharing with one another.

It is the same for our relationship with God.  We can believe He is real, but we cannot place our trust in Him, rely on Him or follow Him if we are not taking the time to get to know Him.  Our Lord has very particular character traits and attributes.  He also makes us specific promises.  Do we know what they are?

Reading, contemplating and studying His Word is one of the main ways we can get to know Him.  Then as we take the time to worship what we have learned and communicate with Him in prayer – listening as well as talking – He confirms and grows our understanding.

It can be hard to take time to be with an invisible God.  So much urgent presses in around us at all times.  But if He is God, in control, possesses all power, has the only workable plan and all things are in His hands, isn’t He worth it?

“2 This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it – the LORD is his name: 3’Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'” (Jer. 33:2-3 NIV)

Selah! (Pause and calmly think of that!)  END

UPCOMING DEVOTION:  TENDING KINGDOM FINANCIAL CROPS

Remember to view the new song, “One Nation Under God” on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d593RguxQI8&feature=share  Share the link!  Let’s let everyone know that the USA is and remains one nation under God and be encouraged in how God values every individual.

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.

Treasure in Jars of Clay

His Light breaks through into our darkness; it is dark no more

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011                                               www.holyspiritpress.org    www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

As Christians we can experience pressure to strive for perfection. Sometimes it is due to how we were raised; sometimes it is mis-placed zeal to please or be more pleasing to our King!  Of course, the truth is God does not expect perfection from us.  If perfection – consistent, never-failing obedience to exactly what He asks of us – were possible, there would have been no need for Jesus.  We are asked to seek to be perfect, not to stress about it!

2 Corinthians 3 and 4 supply a beautiful picture of this by illustrating how God created the relationship between Him and us to be and why:

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit….5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.  6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Cor. 3:17-18, 2 Cor. 4:5-7 NIV)

This passage helps us understand: yes, God uses us as He used Jesus.  Through us He desires to reveal Himself to the world.  His Spirit dwells within us as believers and thus we become the lamp which carries and shines forth the Light of the World, Who is Truth.

And yet, God describes those of us in whom He puts His Light as jars of clay.  Consider the concept of a jar made of clay which was formed to shine forth light.  Initially it seems an oxymoron – like an impossible opposite.  Any useful clay pot is unable to shine forth light which is placed inside it because the pot is made to hold in that which it contains perfectly and hidden from view. Clay is not see-through!  But in His infinite wisdom views usefulness differently.

Clay is a good analogy for how God made us. Clay is fragile and breakable.  By the world’s standards, a jar made from clay which is imperfect is a complete disappointment and unsuitable for use; it is destined to be dashed into the junk heap in so many useless shards.   Yet, it is only through the clay pot which is flawed (and each of us are!), that Light can shine.  God delights to shine His perfect Light through our “cracks”!  So God shines through cracked pots!!! (LOL, NOT necessarily “crackpots”)

The reason, God chooses to shine through our imperfections is as 2 Cor 4:7 states: so people will see God and not us.  If we were perfect, how would they see God at work in our lives and desire Him for themselves?

How blessed are we that God loves us infinitely as we are!  How blessed are we that God’s focus is the heart!  How blessed are we that forgiveness is ever-ready for us whenever we turn and ask, and that He forgives, then forgets forever.  How blessed are we to be used by the King as His chosen ambassadors in our imperfection, even as we strive to reflect Him more for His glory.

Selah! (Pause and calmly think of that!)  END

UPCOMING DEVOTION:  TENDING KINGDOM FINANCIAL CROPS

Remember to view the new song, “One Nation Under God” on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d593RguxQI8&feature=share  Share the link!  Let’s let everyone know that the USA is and remains one nation under God and be encouraged in how God values every individual.

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.

Spiritual Ammo #1 ~ The Sword

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011

We all are subject to interior battles, which are emotional and spiritual in nature.  Sometimes they are influenced by physical factors which must be addressed as well.  Where there is a spiritual root, we need to be aware that the power of the negativity we face is supernatural and beyond what we can beat on our own (because we are natural, not supernatural).  But we have a secret weapon, which when wielded always brings eventual victory: The Word of God.  And we have the Almighty One True God always by our side.  Truly the enemy has no power and can only threaten, lie and accuse, but not conquer when we invite God to be with us as LORD.

But the focus on this post is on the secret weapon which God has made always available to us, because He is aware of all battles we face.  In the selection of verses which follow, God describes the enemy we face and how He equips us for victory.  This is the first in a series of posts, which will periodically present verses from the Word of God which can be wielded effectively as a sword to cut off the negative lies which can and will come against our minds from the adversary and his henchmen.  Today with the following Scripture passage we lay the foundation of why we need to constantly refresh our minds with these verses and come to know them so well that they are so-to-speak, as if engraved on our palms and written on our hearts.

ARMOR OF GOD –   “10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”  EPHESIANS 6:10-18

Either God as described in the Bible is real or He is not.  If we believe He is real (which is a pre-requisite to faith), then He is Truth because this is how He describes Himself to be.  If God is not Truth (as He describes), then He is a liar and nothing about Him can be trusted.  Since our faith requires us to believe He is who He says, then He is Truth and therefore we can fully rely on what He says.

God is also unchanging.  He does not grow and mature as we do.  He is. (I AM!)  He has always been and will always be the same.  Therefore how He was in the Bible is how we can expect Him to be. What He promised then is His promise to us now.  We can count on it.

In Eph 6:17 (above) God describes the Word of God as the SWORD of the Spirit of God.  Take a look at the rest of the wonderful armor described in these verses with which He equips us to stand firm against the enemy’s schemes.  The Word of God is the ONLY offensive weapon in the armor.  All the rest help protect us, but the Word of God pushes back the enemy and defeats.  Remember, even Jesus used the Word of God to defeat the enemies mental schemes.  During His 40 days in the desert following His baptism and preceding His public ministry, the devil came to Jesus and misquoted/misrepresented the true meaning of the Word of God.  As he is expert at doing, the adversary just tweeked and twisted the meaning a little, but that little bit changed everything!  But because Jesus KNEW the Word of God (as a good Jewish boy, He had been schooled in it and as the Son of God, He WAS the Word made flesh), He was able to recognize the enemy’s schemes and fight back, defeating him in that battle.

He invites us to do the same.  Moving forward, watch for Spiritual Ammo posts.  These will be select powerful passages for you to consider using when you need to wield His sword!  These are not the ONLY powerful passages of Scripture. Dig in and find your own favorites.  The Word of God is of infinite depth!  You will never be done finding new treasures within it!

Remember:   3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  (2 Cor. 10:3-5 NIV)

Selah! (Pause & calmly think of that!)  END

UPCOMING DEVOTION:  TREASURES IN JARS OF CLAY

Remember to view the new song, “One Nation Under God” on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d593RguxQI8&feature=share  Share the link!  Let’s let everyone know that the USA is and remains one nation under God and be encouraged in how God values every individual.

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.

Prayer Putting God at the Center of the Day

Lord God, You are the Holy One; You are the Most High – Supreme and above all others.  Your ways are not our ways, neither are Your thoughts our thoughts.  Yours are higher and better.  We come to You done with our own devices and schemes and lay all we are carrying at Your feet. We choose this moment to stop everything we are doing just to be in awe of You. We pause from all activity and other thoughts to breathe You in and breathe You out. The fragrance of Your presence when we paus to consider You and Your way is overwhelming!  You are truly Emmanuel – GOD with us!  You are omnipresent – everywhere at all times.  You are omnniscient – the One who knows all.  You are omnipotent – all powerful.  You are Sovereign.  Nothing exceeds You. All things are in Your hands and Your purposes cannot be thwarted; they are all good.  You invite us to look at our lives from Your view – from here to eternity instead of worrying about from here until we need our bodies no more and You call us home to You forever.  You promise to protect and provide so that our needs are met between now and then. This means we can concentrate on adoring You.  Oh, Lord, how magnificent You are in all the earth – in all the universe!  How blessed are we that You would love us even though we can never reach Your perfection.  We are unworthy of Your mercy and grace, yet You sent Jesus and constantly are there ready to forgive our latest misstep, when we turn to You and ask forgiveness.  Through Jesus You set us free from condemnation and You turn death, which is considered by those who don’t know to be the end, into a door which leads to blessed eternity with You.  From age to age You gather us to Yourself.  We have nothing to worry about; You have it all handled.  We are given the gift of not having to cary life’s loads.   You bless us by asking us to become as children and then You promise to lead us in the way we should go.  God above all other beings and Creator of the universe, You promise You will speak to us and that if we seek, You will teach us to hear Your voice.  How we delight in You!  What blessed pause in our day to consider some of Your many attributes, exalt You and rejoice in Your way.  We exhale a sigh of relief and declare, “Selah!” which can be translated as “pause and calmly think of that.”  My Lord and My God, this day is Yours and we are Yours.  Have Your way with each of us today for Your glory and renown. In Jesus’ name, Amen

humbly written down as “heard” Tues., July 26, 2011 by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011

END

(upcoming devotion:  TREASURE IN JARS OF CLAY)

Remember to view the new song, “One Nation Under God” on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d593RguxQI8&feature=share  Share the link!  Let’s let everyone know that the USA is and remains one nation under God and be encouraged in how God values every individual.

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.

Turning Worry Into Worship

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011                                                www.holyspiritpress.org     www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

In our hearts we know the root of worry is fear – a fear circumstances will not turn out in the way we hope.  The opposite of fear (and worry) is trust.  This is not trust in our own abilities or a blind hope which chooses to believe that everything will turn out the way we want simply because we believe it will.

For now we live on earth not heaven and all will not turn out the way we want no matter how much we “will” it for several reasons.  First, we are not God and therefore we have no ability to cause anything to turn out in any particular way. Secondly, this is a fallen place where evil, pain and hardship will continue to exist because our ancestors gave dominion over their lives to the adversary, when they chose to listen to and follow the advice of this anti-thesis of God instead of God Himself.  Third, God is Supreme and will use all things for good in light of eternity in ways far beyond our human understanding (that’s another reason we call Him, GOD, and we are not).

In order to conquer worry we are faced with the decision of whether or not we believe God is the God of the Bible.  If He is, then He is worthy of our trust.  In fact, He is the ONLY ONE worthy of our trust.

Trust in God is the antidote to worry.  When we choose to trust God, we cannot worry in the same breathe because we have laid down our will and raised up our hands to accept His.

God commands us to worship Him. This is not because He needs our worship.  Whether or not we worship Him, He remains God exactly as He has been from everlasting to everlasting.  However, He knows the effect on us when we worship Him.

Worship puts right order to our relationship with God.  We cannot exalt ourselves (and we are nOT worthy of exaltation), when we are exalting God.  In addition, God knows how hard it is here to keep our minds and hearts focused on Him, His promises and His way when we are constantly under mental onslaught from “conventional” wisdom (which is not from God).  He knows we must exercise our spiritual muscles to stay strong in Him so we can stand firm for Him regardless of what is going on around us.  When we stop and take time to worship Him, it writes the truth of who He is on our hearts.   God is given the credit He is due, and we are beneficiaries.

When we worship God, choosing to adore Him instead of stressing and worrying, we are offering God one of the greatest gifts we can give Him (besides our hearts at the moment of salvation and lives daily thereafter).  Worship instead of worry is the ultimate expression of trust in Him.  We have only so much time in our days.  When we choose to worship instead of worry, we are expressing tangibly to Him, that we trust Him so much, we don’t even have to worry or ask for anything.  Our worship instead is the expression that we completely trust He has everything handled in our lives and the lives of those we love.

Learning to take captive worry thoughts which come our way and transform them to worship is not hard.  Like anything else it just takes practice, especially until the habit is established.  We simply take whatever we are worried about and declare how God is going to handle it perfectly so we don’t have to concern ourselves with it any longer.

We tend to worry about everything!  But even something as seemingly simple as worry about how to prepare for a business presentation or what to fix for dinner can be turned into a declaration of worship, such as: “Lord God, thank You that You are such a great, loving, kind God.  You have the plan even for those things which would seem to be insignificant in light of eternity.  I don’t know what or how I am going to prepare this, but You do!  How wonderful that I don’t have to worry about this because You are!  thank You, that I can rest in the promise that Your Spirit will give me just the right idea at the right time to complete this task.  Thank You, that You will ensure I have exactly what I need to to what You will call me to do.”

Another example might be when we are worried whether loved ones will reach a destination safely: “Lord God, what blessing that You are in control!  I do not need to worry or fear.  You love those I love more than I ever will be able to love them.  You desire good for them, not evil every day that You ordain them still to be on this earth.  Lord God, You surround them with angels and guide them where they are to go.  I can delight in You and not worry for where they are, there are You with them.  How awesome You are and how beautiful Your way!”

Even when news is not good, we can choose worship.  “Lord God, how majestic is Your name, how inscrutable You way.  From everlasting to everlasting You are God.  You have all things handled, and promise to use all things for good. So though a storm rages around me and those I love, I choose to trust in Your unfailing love.  Lord God, You promise to speak to us and that we will recognize Your voice. Your Spirit will guide me in the way I should go, so I don’t even need to worry.  Precious Lord, I am listening.  How wonderful that You are with me.  I rest in You and delight in an increasing sense of Your peace; it is Your gift to me, if I will choose to receive it.  I receive, Lord!  Even now, Lord! Thank You, God.”

God’s names each reveal one of the infinite aspects of who He is, what He promises and the wonder of His superior, perfect way.  One of the most powerful methods of turning worry into worship is to have a list of His names handy for when the worry begins to press in and declare His names back to Him into the atmosphere. (“Lord, You are holy, You are Victor; You are Sovereign; You are the Breaker; You are the Way; You are the Truth; You are the Life; You are Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our Healer; You are Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our Provider; You are the Bread of Life; You are the Living Water; You are Shepherd, Savior, and King”, etc.

God’s names are a part of His Word.  The Word of God is described as the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17), which is the only offensive weapon in the God gives with which to stand firm against the enemy’s schemes.  We can never allow ourselves to forget, the spiritual realm is real – both the existence of God and spiritual evil.  Our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical battles during this life are not against flesh and blood, but against the supernatural, spiritual powers of darkness in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:10-17).  But God is Victor and when we worship Him, it reflects we understand his sovereignty and in response He releases His power in ways which defeat the obstacles and enemies we face in ways we could never anticipate.

So the next time worry begins to creep in, let’s put on a garment of praise!  Let’s listen to a song which adores God and pray/sing along; let’s declare the names of God and His attributes into the atmosphere; let’s practice turning each worry into an opportunity to worship God for what He will do in our circumstances.  May the Holy Spirit use what would otherwise be worry in us to become a prompting to declare God as God over every aspect of our lives!

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deut. 6:4-5 NIV)

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and all who follow his precepts have good understanding.  To him belongs eternal praise. (Ps. 111:10)

3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  4 He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. 5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. 6 The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.  7 Sing to the LORD with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. 8 He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. 9 He provides for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.  10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; 11 the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailng love. (Ps. 147:3-11 NIV)

Selah! (Pause and calmly think of that.)  END

(upcoming devotion:  TREASURE IN JARS OF CLAY)

Remember to view the new song, “One Nation Under God” on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d593RguxQI8&feature=share  Share the link!  Let’s let everyone know that the USA is and remains one nation under God and be encouraged in how God values every individual.

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.

Trust God or Worry ~ it is a choice

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011                                            www.holyspiritpress.org       www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

God tells us not to worry and yet – at least for those of us in America – it seems as if the habit of worry is engrained into our culture.  It is almost as if there is a message emblazoned on our subconscious that if we don’t worry, then there is something wrong with us.  Worry can also give us a false sense that we are “doing” something, when in reality we are not.

When we stop to think, it is clear to all of us that worry isn’t productive: it produces no positive result and has no power to change ANYTHING.  In fact, the only result the activity of worry produces is negative, since worry can fill our minds and keep us from other good, positive, productive activities and have adverse effects on our mental and physical well-being.

So what’s a human to do?!?

First, we need to consider that worry is a symptom of a deeper underlying root.  Why do we worry?  What prompts it?

Underneath worry often is our concern (fear, anxiety) that our will won’t be fulfilled our way.  We know how we want certain circumstances to turn out, what we want to happen (or not) and we want what we want.  We worry what will happen to us, if circumstances don’t go the way we believe is best.  We also worry for those we love.  We don’t want anything negative to happen to them and we don’t want them to suffer!  (Please God,  no!)

Yet consider that to be worried about circumstances not turning out a particular way actually reflects a lack of trust in God.  If He is God, then He promises to have the plan.  If He is God, then He loves us infinitely beyond anything we can imagine and promises to use ALL things for good in light of eternity.

No, He does not promise to answer all our prayers our way.  He does not promise there will be no suffering for us or for those we love.  He does not promise we will be able to avoid physical death.

Now these truths can cause us to worry more, or maybe, just maybe we can choose to rest in them because through it all God does promise to be with us and take care of us perfectly until it is His appointed time for Him to bring us to our eternal home.  To the extent we choose to trust God (and it is a daily, sometimes moment-by-moment choice), worry melts away.

Trusting God is not a deal we make with Him in the false hope that He will reward our faith and choice by causing everything to happen the way we want.  Our physical lives are spent on earth, not in heaven and during this life there always will be two invisible supernatural physical forces at work, one good (God) and one evil (the adversary), both surrounding us at all times, contending for our allegiance and having effect on us.  God is greater and supreme – eternal Victor! – but He allows the other to exist for two primary reasons: first, because our ancestors chose to place themselves under the adversary’s authority by following his instructions over God’s and second, because the existence of this entity so completely opposite to God, presents us with a clear choice of whom we will follow.  God wants to be our King and Lord of choice.  He forces Himself on no one.

Trusting Him is letting Him be God, understanding through whatever comes He will be with us and those we love; He will take care of us perfectly until He brings us to our eternal home.  This is His promise and unlike humanity who can break promises, God IS Truth and therefore cannot lie. A promise made is a promise which will be, must be fulfilled.

We have this false sense to pray so nothing “bad” comes into our lives and yet it still will.   Instead we need to pray through those things which would otherwise cause us worry because our purpose is to be used by God  in all circumstances to reflect His nature as led by the Holy Spirit.  We are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, God’s perfect ambassador while on earth and our Savior and Lord.

Jesus did not avoid suffering and even was called by God to endure death on the cross though innocent.  Recall His agony in the garden preceding His arrest and passion.  He did not want to endure the cross and even asked the Father if it could be avoided. He prayed!  And as it is for us sometimes, God in His sovereign wisdom decided it was best to answer Jesus’ differently.  Jesus’ prayer was not answered the way He desired, but Jesus’ love for the Father and trust in the Father was absolute. So  Jesus obeyed, resolutely and without complaint and through His suffering (which from a worldly perspective seemed illogical and completely avoidable), God redeemed all who would turn to Him for eternity.  God’s plan, not ours…God took what the enemy meant for extreme evil and used it for the eternal good of all.

Often it is that which we want to pray away and that which keeps us up at night worrying “what if” (the hard things which are the result of a fallen world where there is evil and good) which God uses in unfathomable ways to draw others to Himself and reveal the nature of who He is so that more might know Him.  Though it almost never seems so in the moment, ultimately God always uses the evil for eternal good. There are storms in life, which will come.  Every storm eventually passes.  Like the blue sky which is always still there and present beyond the clouds even when the storm is at its fiercest, God is there in our storms.

In the end it is choice.  Either He is the God of the Bible or He is not.  If He is, then we can trust Him.  He asks us to trust Him!  He is a good God.  He is unending love.  He is infinite mercy.  He is all-powerful.  He is Supreme.

This life will continue to be lived in an environment which is not all good because evil is very real.  However, through it all He will never fail to be by our side and hold us up no matter how hard it gets.  We do not need to worry because He will never leave us or forsake us and He will be faithful to lead, guide and steward us gently (using us every step of the way if we let Him) until He leads us home.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Eph 6:10-18 NIV)

5…for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] [Josh 1:5]   (Heb. 13:5b Amplified)

6 So we take courage and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified].  What can man do to me? [Ps. 27:1; 118:6] (HEB 13:6 Amplified)

31 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt. 6:31-34 NIV)

Selah! (Pause and calmly think of that.)  END

(upcoming devotion:  TURNING WORRY INTO WORSHIP)

Remember to view the new song, “One Nation Under God” on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d593RguxQI8&feature=share  Share the link!  Let’s let everyone know that the USA is and remains one nation under God and be encouraged in how God values every individual.

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.

Understanding Money GOD’s Way

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011

Note: this devotion is tagged, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, because it seeks to help us understand God’s way of living better.  This is the way we choose when we truly desire to be a nation under God’s sovereignty and beneficiaries of His covering. May God bless us to have ever greater understanding of His Kingdom Way so that we can enjoy living as one nation under God. ~ Elizabeth

5 Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] [Josh 1:5]   (HEB. 13:5 Amplified)

6 So we take courage and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified].  What can man do to me? [Ps. 27:1; 118:6] (HEB 13:6 Amplified)

31 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt. 6:31-34 NIV)

Money is not bad.  Money is not wrong.  Money is not evil, but the love of money is.  1 John 2:15-16 (NIV) says: 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.  16 For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world?

It is not the money which is the problem; it is seeing money as the answer to all life’s problems and challenges and seeing its accumulation as the ultimate in life which can be attained.

Money is not the answer; God is.  God created us and wills us to live in the now. God is the One with the plan for our lives and the power to enable that which He has purposed to come to pass.  We have no power; we are not in control.  God is the one who promises to ensure we have enough and if He is God, then He cannot lie (for He is Truth!)  Money is a mere tool to accompany us during our time here on earth as an ambassador for God’s kingdom.  As believers God is with us from here to eternity.  Our trust needs to be in Him and nothing else.

We need to remember, that all we have belongs to God and not to us.  Psalm 24 (NIV)  begins with: 1 The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.

When God enables us to have a certain amount of money, it’s not even up to us how that money should be spent. God is clear: everything we have comes from Him and still belongs to Him.  We are mere stewards.  God speaks to us, when we listen.  He sent His Holy Spirit to be our Guide. He will tell us what we are to spend and what we are to give, what we are to save and how we are to invest, IF we will seek to learn to hear His voice (and have faith and trust enough to follow).

SELAH! (Pause and calmly think of that.)   END

Remember to view the new song, “One Nation Under God” on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d593RguxQI8&feature=share  Share the link!  Let’s let everyone know that the USA is and remains one nation under God and be encouraged in how God values every individual.

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.

The LORD is Holy and the Call to Holiness

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011

One of the wonders of  God’s Word is that the Wisdom it contains is of infinite depth and breadth.  That is to say, no matter how much we study, we are never done learning. There is always new and greater insight into God and His Kingdom Way to be gained. This also means there will be passages and concepts which confound us at times.  For instance, once such concept for me was the understanding that God is holy juxta-positioned with the command that we are to be holy as He is holy.

Until I looked up its definition, the word ‘holiness’ seemed to represent God’s perfection.  How could we ever be perfect?!? (We can’t.)  I understood that through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross I was washed clean, purified, forgiven of my imperfections, but how could I ever be holy?!?

As often happens, when I don’t understand a word, I looked up “holy” in the dictionary and began to study the various Scripture verses associated with it.  Just as He promises, as I questioned and sought, God opened my eyes and helped me understand holy and holiness a little bit more…

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary has four definitions for “holy” which help provide the answer.  First, “holy” is defined as “exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness”.  That definitely describes GOD!!!  The second definition describes Him as well: “divine”.  It is the third definition which applies to us: “DEVOTED ENTIRELY TO THE DEITY OR THE WORK OF THE DEITY.”  Indeed, that’s us!!!

A confirmation is found in the root Hebrew word: “kadash”, which is used to describe God and also means to be sanctified. “To sanctify” means: to be set apart for a sacred purpose or for a religious use.  “Consecrate” is listed as a synomym and means: dedicated to a sacred purpose.  “Sacred” which is found in the definitions of “sanctify” and “consecrate” means: dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity.

Therefore God is perfect and holy and when we become believers through Jesus, God makes us holy – not because we become perfect, but because now our lives are set apart and dedicated to Him and His use.

Delight that He makes us holy!  What a mighty God we serve!

END

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”  4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the  temple was filled with smoke.  (Isa. 6:1-4)

The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread. (Isa. 8:13)

“Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.” (Lev. 19:2)

“Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God. 8 Keep my decrees and follow them.  I am the LORD, who makes you holy.” (Lev. 20:7)

“There is no holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” (1 Sam. 2:2)

“Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy.” (Ps. 99:5)

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Remember to view the new song, “One Nation Under God” on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d593RguxQI8&feature=share  Share the link!  Let’s let everyone know that the USA is and remains one nation under God and be encouraged in how God values every individual.

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.