Embracing the Journey Home

We delight in Your grace-filled leading as You take our hand and guide us through life's seasons. Gentle Jesus, You accompany us along every step and never let us go as You walk us to eternity.

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

29The glory of young men is their strength, and the beauty of old men is their gray head [suggesting wisdom and experience].        PROV. 20:29 (Amplified)

In 1546 renowed German artist, Lucas Cranach painted a picture called, “The Fountain of Youth” depicting a large outdoor bath where people who entered the waters would be restored to youth.  There is a legend that Spanish conquistador, Ponce de León came to Florida searching for a fountain of youth.

Almost 500 years have passed and nothing has changed.  Most of the population in North America continues to fear aging and death and searchs for any solution which will preserve youth and lengthen life.  We don’t want to even look older, using dyes and formulas to postpone for as long as possible the time when our aging will show via grayer hair.  We consult surgeons, go on exercise programs and try new cremes all with the objective of preserving youth.

This is not God’s way.  God asks us to steward our bodies – to take good care of them so we can do the work He has for us so long as He ordains for us to live in the body.  But our focus was never to be preservation of that which was not meant to be preserved.

Though God delights to heal us when we ask Him, it is still only for a season.  Every person that Jesus miraculously healed physically has long since died.  With God it is all about the utterly complete healing of the heart – not for a moment, but for eternity!

Our physical lives here are but a breathe when considered in light of the eternity of eternities to which God invites us where we will live in unimaginably close, deep fellowship with Him.  We were never meant to be here in our physical bodies forever.  God loves us too much to give us immortality here.

For every person there is a time and a season for living and a time and a season for dying.  Only God knows the hour of our pre-ordained birth, has the plan for our lives and already has set the moment for our going home.

Yes, our GOING HOME.  This life is not our home.  Despite all its goodness and the manna He provides to get us through, this is our exile.  It is our place of wandering in the wilderness (as the Israelites did) until we find His way.  Once we discover Jesus is the only One who can lead us home and begin to follow Him, then life here becomes our assignment, guided by the Holy Spirit.  Our home is with the Father and the Son in heaven, where there is no pain, illness, or sorrow and where our mortal bodies will be replaced with glorified perfect ones.  For now we are ambassadors for the Kingdom of God living in a foreign land.  We miss (and grieve for!) the temporary absence from our lives of every person who proceeds us into eterntiy, but until it is our turn we are on assignment.

We are exhorted to be in the world, but not of the world.  The adversary rules the air here; he is the prince of this world. This is due to the choice of Adam and Eve, who chose to follow Satan’s advice over God’s instruction. God allows the entire family of humanity to live with the consequences of our ancestral parents’ choice.  Yet He uses these consequences for eventual good.  He uses them to give us clear choice.

God is sovereign; His Kingdom is here now.  Jesus declared it.  But He waits for our free will choice to join His Kingdom forces instead of continuing to follow the way of the world, which is not His.  He will not overrride our free will.  He only wants us in His Kingdom if it is His Kingdom we want.

We need to gain a new perspective.  We need to stop wasting so much time and worry trying to stop the everyday, year by year external changes which are inherent to our physical existence.  Since our birth there has not been one day we physically have stayed the same as we were the day before.  Why do we spend so much valuable energy trying to “stop the clock”.  Yes, life is precious here.  No, we do not want to pass from this life to the next even an instant earlier than God Himself ordains.

We need to embrace the journey and see it as such.  We are on our way.  We are on our way back home.

This does not mean we shouldn’t dye our hair or go to the gym.  It is the motive with which we do these things, which is of significance.

It is time to stop viewing physical death as an end and see it instead as the doorway God created it to be.  It is the passing from this life to the next.  It is a moving from the good world God made in which we are to live out our physical lives into the indescribably great world of His Kingdom in heaven.

Life is a continuum from here to eternity.  Physical death is not the end, so long as we are following Jesus. This is God’s promise.  This is an element of the infinite joy of the Lord, which is His gift to us.  We can live free of fear of death, because “death has lost its sting” and has been “swallowed up” by Jesus’ victory.  It is one of the most basic tenets of our faith: Jesus’ death on the cross conquered death once and for all, opening the way to reunion with the Father in heaven for each of us who choose to follow Jesus.  We are no longer condemned to a life which ends in death.

Through faith in what He has done and all His promises, we become God’s ambassadors.   We understand we are free from the threat of the finality of death and no longer fear it.We understand He is protector and provider until the day He calls us home, so we lay worry aside.  Our lives look different because of what we now know.  His peace and joy bubble up from within us because of increased understanding of the journey of life in which we find ourselves.   But if we do not receive His promises as truth, if our outlook on life does not change as a result of finding Him as Savior and following Him as Lord, then we will have failed in our mission as Kingdom ambassadors, because our lives will not bear witness to Him and the difference of His Way.

He knows the perfect balance for each of us.  He knows what each of us needs to do in order to steward our bodies to be as strong and healthy as He requires in order for us to do the work He has for us until He calls us home.  His Spirit is the witness to His will, constantly whispering guidance to us, if we will listen.

We need a new attitude.  We need to rejoice in every grey hair and wrinkle.  It is a sign we have lived.  It is a badge of honor that our work is not yet done and He is allowing us to continue, though we are one day closer to eternity with the King of kings.

Let us embrace the good work of each day which He gives us to reflect His kingdom.  Let us be at peace (in His peace) with the journey and the signs of the journey, which in His perfect timing will lead us home.

1 Cor. 15: 51-57 (Amplified)

51Take notice! I tell you a mystery (a secret truth, an event decreed by the hidden purpose or counsel of God). We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall all be changed (transformed)

     52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the [sound of the] last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [in Christ] will be raised imperishable (free and immune from decay), and we shall be changed (transformed).

     53For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us, this nature that is capable of dying] must put on immortality (freedom from death).

54And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory.

     55O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

     56Now sin is the sting of death, and sin exercises its power [i][upon the soul] through [j][the abuse of] the Law.

     57But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.

ECC. 3:1-14 (Amplified)

1TO EVERYTHING there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven:

     2A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted,

  3A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up,

     4A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

     5A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

     6A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away,

     7A time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak,

     8A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

     9What profit remains for the worker from his toil?

     10I have seen the painful labor and exertion and miserable business which God has given to the sons of men with which to exercise and busy themselves.

 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

12I know that there is nothing better for them than to be glad and to get and do good as long as they live;

     13And also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor–it is the gift of God.

     14I know that whatever God does, it endures forever; nothing can be added to it nor anything taken from it. And God does it so that men will [reverently] fear Him [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is].

Selah! [Pause, and calmly think of that!]

END

PLEASE view the new music video for “RESTORE” (with choir) on youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piQYnPY1vIA&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL     (Made by upcoming, Holy Spirit-filled film director, Olivia Mowry.) 

Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist.  She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way. 

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.

Author: Elizabeth Fulgaro

I am a God-seeker--a Jesus-worshipper--a Holy Spirit follower. I create songs, devotions, prayers, books and Bible studies to give words with which to get to know God more. For you. Its for one-on-One encounter unto transformed, transcendent living. This is not my vocation. I am not professional. I am a real, ordinary person just looking to do what God put me here to do. (You have a unique purpose too.) So I am called to the work. It is not my income source, but my gift to those who find it blessing. Eagles Nest Foundation sponsors all projects for you. The result: pure, clean spiritual nutrition to feed that deep insatiable spiritual hunger which eventually overtakes each of us and galvanizes you to the life God has for you. This life is purposeful. Exceptional. You--yes, you--are called to something greater and more satisfying in His service. So it is hoped you'll try this spiritually dense nutrition and find it to be a personal blessing. However, the goodness of God-following doesn't stop there. He uses those who seek Him to be His love and care (justice, mercy, advocate, kindness) very tangibly in the lives of those around you. Not by your power but by His. His ideas. God ideas. Not just good ideas. To be part of changing the world, if you will let Him. You learn to just follow where He leads. That if you listen, He will teach you to hear His voice and then when you obey His inner promptings you will become His incredible hands and feet in this hard world. These materials will help! They will help you aim your life towards God in a way you never look back. You will not be the same. He will become the River in your desert spaces and you will become a conduit of this same River of refreshing, replenishing Water of Life to others. Find a prayer. Pick a blog post. Read a book. Be led deeper into the Bible. Select a song which resonates and use it and use it again to go close and ever closer to the God who longs to draw you near. Oh, and don't be tempted to think I'm a crazy over-spiritualized loony...My background is financial planning and counseling. Almost 40 years of it. To choose to believe in God is not to leave practicality and reason behind, but to learn that there is that which goes beyond it and includes it, unto true life fulfillment beyond all your dreams for the one who keeps seeking Him. I am a third generation Californian. I am a person to whom family means everything. The only priority higher is God. The foothills of the Sierra Nevada are my home. It is here the 1849-1856 Gold Rush is still glorified. Easy money? Actually only for the few. Even though I was raised in the Church, it took me ten years of doubting God even existed to realize that without Him, no matter how much of this life's "stuff" is accumulated, I actually have nothing. To come to know that all those who chased after gold are dead and all those who still chase stuff will be dead. That's when I became a God-seeker. Looking for that more. And Eureka! (This is California's state slogan and means I found it.) I found God...or rather, I discovered He was there and had been there waiting for me to look for Him the whole time. May you discover more of Him for you, greater flourishing life and greater flourishing for all in the world as well. God bless you! ~Elizabeth

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