PRAYER When There is an Empty Chair

Lord, how magnificent You are and in times when our hearts hurt, we know we are dependent upon You.  On this day be our Light in the darkness. Just a glimmer of You is all we need to get through. You are so aware You are the only One upon whom we can rely and our trust is wholly in You. In Jesus' name, Amen
Lord, how magnificent You are and in times when our hearts hurt, we know we are dependent upon You. On this day be our Light in the darkness. Just a glimmer of You is all we need to get through. We are so aware You are the only One upon whom we can rely and our trust is wholly in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014

Note:  The times of year focused on celebrating family and friendships can be the most difficult of all for those who have suffered various losses in relationship which can range from death to estrangement and everywhere in-between. The Lord created us for relationship and so when there is a break in relationship or distance between us there is hurt and grief.  This is a prayer for those who have an empty chair at their celebration table. May you each know the one or ones you love who are not there are remembered and so are you. The Lord is holding you close today.  God bless you! ~ Elizabeth

PRAYER WHEN THERE IS AN EMPTY CHAIR…

Lord, today is a day we choose to gather and give thanks. We give thanks for how You care and provide for us in ongoing, manifold, wondrous and beautiful ways. You care for us in ways we understand and You lead us through dark valley where we do not. All in all, through all things, You continue to lead us providing for us on this journey home, where we are Your lambs who understand so little, and You are our Shepherd who understands all things at all times and is leading, stewarding and guiding all things to their completion, and that end is not an end, but an eternal beginning which is greater than anything we can fathom with our childlike minds (in comparison to yours).

Lord, there is an empty chair at the table today and in this regard, the day is hard. Oh, we are giving thanks, for we know You are there, but the chair Lord is a reminder of one who is not with us and while the remembrance is important because we cannot bear for this one to be forgotten or not somehow included, our hearts also hurt!

You, oh Lord, are love and You created us in Your image, thus You created us to love and need to be loved. Oh, Lord God, You knit each one of us together in our mother’s womb and You made each of us completely unique. Awesome God, You are! But this means when one whom we love is missing there is a hole which cannot be filled by any other. And so today while celebrating the many blessings, there are various forms of grief mingling with the joy.

We bow our heads and so give thanks again, for You know the struggles in our hearts and even in this You are there. (Sometimes we wish we could feel You more.) As You know, life here is not easy and there are even days we actually yearn for heaven now and yet, simultaneously we know Your timing is perfect.

Lord, thank You for the many blessings You have put into our lives up until this day. Thank You for this moment where we know You hear us. Thank You that we can come to You with all things. Thank You for the times You have allowed us to walk closely with those You put in our lives to love and thank You for how You are there to hold us up (even when it is difficult for us to humanly perceive it) and we can lean on You when the paths of their lives have diverged from ours. Lord, thank You most of all for the gift of Jesus, so that this life is not the end, so that through Jesus there is hope for reunion. Thank You that we can rely on Your word and trust that indeed Your ways with each of us are not ours, but higher and better. We rely on Your promise that yes, You are all good, even in the face of evil. We rejoice without seeing in that which is yet to come and give thanks that You are Truth so we can rely on Your promises. We rest in the fact that You love every person more than we do and that You alone have known and know the heart of each and every individual and promise not to lose a single one of those given to You by Father—who created all.

Thus, on this day, once again all our hope and our trust are in You and we are quite literally eternally grateful that You are faithful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Ps. 100:4-5)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Ps. 23)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Prov. 3:5-6)

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice coming from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people., and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold I am making all things new.”… (Rev. 21:1-5)

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM

God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold.
This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. 
http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

Christmas is coming. For new original worship music with which to usher in this blessed season and stay focused on Christ, visit the CDBaby link below. “Christmas Worship” is available now. “Christmas Bells Call to Worship” will be available the beginning of December.  For more information about Carols At The Capitol and attending or hosting an event in your area visit http://www.carolsatthecapitol.com

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  Music can be purchased and audio clips heard at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss.    For information email elizabeth@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

Ordinary Day (part 2)

Oh, Lord God, You never cease to amaze me. The wonders of what You enable! When we trust in You, You take what seems impossible and make it so easy! Thank You, Lord for how You provide for all our needs perfectly in Your perfect timing. Thank You, Lord for the photographs You enabled, for this Your Christmas worship music project.  That which seemed for me too much and impossible, You enabled in an instant. I am in awe of You!!! In JESUS' name, Amen
Oh, Lord God, You never cease to amaze me. The wonders of what You enable! When we trust in You, You take what seems impossible and make it so easy! Thank You, Lord for how You provide for all our needs perfectly in Your perfect timing. Thank You, Lord for the photographs You enabled, for this Your Christmas worship music project. That which seemed for me too much and impossible, You enabled in an instant. I am in awe of You!!! In JESUS’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6 NIV)

Beginning with the gift of rain, the morning of October 15th had been as amazing and filled with “kisses” from the Lord, showing us His presence as the afternoon before. This is the way of a life dedicated to being followers of Christ as directed by the Holy Spirit. I returned to our home in awe, extoling the Lord for His incredible ways.

Back at the house the Lord was very specific in having me prepare early for departure. Normally I departed from El Dorado County in the evening after dinner, but this afternoon the Lord had me set most everything together to move into the car as soon as I got back from the special tea time in Coloma. “Pack your overnight bag now and move it to the door.” “Close the windows and lock the other doors now.” It was still hours before I expected to go run my errands. This meant when it was time to leave, I would not to have to pack up, but merely set the last items in the car and be on my way. This was unusual, but the Lord always knows what He is doing, so I obeyed.

On my mind that afternoon was when He wanted me to go to town to make the donation of the other items now in the back of my car to the hospice thrift shop. I also needed to get gas and I really wanted to get some packages in the mail. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure yet if going to the post office was on His list for me. I knew the packages needed to be mailed, but as usual my “to-do” list was greater than the time available, so I needed Him to put His order to it. His will was always better than my plan. I wanted His.

Too many times in the past I had been delayed from mailing packages when I wanted and had ended mailing them when I thought I was late only to discover when the packages arrived that the Lord had known the exact moment the recipient needed to receive them and had orchestrated my schedule to set up His timing. Thus already before lunch as I sat on the front porch working on some writing, I was asking, “Lord, am I going to the post office today? When do I need to leave for town Lord?” The questions repeated in my mind to Him over and over. He had given me as yet no sense of His answer.

Initially I had hoped perhaps October 15th would be the day I get to visit my dear friend, Grace, for the first time in a while. Since August’s cancer surgery I had been keeping more or less to myself, minimizing the need to speak while my vocal area healed. Ability to speak had improved somewhat so it sounded a bit more like me, but there was still pain while speaking and an accompanying hoarseness. Speaking was not fun. However, I missed my time with Grace. Whenever we spent time together we both left encouraged and touched by the marvelous Spirit of God. Was it the Lord’s will to spend time with her that afternoon? A quick text would prompt a response that might hold my answer.

Yes, Grace was available, but the window was brief and put me on an even tighter timeframe. Since surgery I had been too weary to ramp myself up to speed to meet time targets like that. And as the afternoon progressed and I continued to work on the writing, I felt the Lord’s certain nudge that today was not the day to meet with Grace. Today had been the day to begin the back and forth which would lead to getting together, but it would not be today. In obedience, though disappointed, I sent the text we should re-schedule another day. Sigh! Okay, Lord, You know best…

No sooner had I sent the text to Grace, my phone rang and Lori, another close, close friend who had been moved by the Lord to Florida a few years ago was calling. Family obligations made it difficult for us to have phone time, so when I saw her number coming through I picked up the phone to answer,  even though in general I was still avoiding phone calls until my voice healed fully.

Oh, my goodness we only get one or two good phone calls per year!!! This was a gift which I could not have received had I been on the schedule to try to see Grace. I felt like it was a reward for obeying. I felt as if God had known. (Duh!) Lori and I were able to talk, share and pray for about an hour. Pure bliss!

After our conversation I continued writing. The afternoon had been kissed with seemingly slow moving time and gentle breezes while I worked on a document for my French exchange sister, Hope, to help her in her quest to draw closer to God.   It was already over 20 pages in length. I had been working on it for well over a week. However, by mid-afternoon it was clear I would not be able to finish writing her all that was on my heart. She was leaving the next morning (Paris time) for 3 weeks away from her farm wife responsibilities at a special program for healing for her back.  While there she might have more focused time pursuing God. I had wanted to complete this for her. But now it looked like I would simply have to email her what I had and trust God it would be enough. (He had never failed to provide enough to meet the need that He knew was there. What He knew was needed, often differed from what I thought was needed. I had to let it go.)

Meanwhile, I had continued to ask the Lord, which errands I was to run and when I was to depart. Running errands at some point was not optional. The bags of clothes and little household items left in the back of my car after giving away the chair definitely had to be dropped off at the donation center before it closed at 6pm. There remained the question of the post office. With me ready to ship were the belated birthday gift for our German exchange daughter, Sonja, and a gift for Hope’s daughter in France who was expecting. I really wanted to get these on their way! The post office closed at 5pm and had no automated after-hours shipping option. The document for Hope needed to be emailed before 7pm in order to have a chance for it to arrive for her in France in time for her to print it off to take with her while she was gone. I had no internet connectivity where I was, so needed to drive into town where I could send the email.   I continued to bask in the late autumn afternoon warmth and press in to write for as long as the Lord allowed.

All of a sudden the prompt from the Lord came. “Now. Move now.”

All day He had been getting me ready so I could leave quickly. I thought the prompt was to get to the post office before they closed at 5pm prior to running to the donation center, send the email to Hope and get on the road. I did not want to get caught in any remnant of the evening Valley commute, but I also did not want to get arrive where I was going too late. I wanted to get there in time to spend time online chatting (typing since my voice is not yet up to par) with one of our daughters.

Immediately I hopped up, pulled together my computer and other tools to assist with writing and loaded them into the car. Next I put in the overnight bag. The only items left to load were two canvas bags in which I carry work in progress. They seem to go everywhere with me because there is always plenty which remains undone yet for me personally (and not always to God) has an urgency to be completed. One held binders of old journals and emails to review for possible incorporation into the book manuscript I am also working on. The other held items I intended to ship to others as gifts from Eagles Nest Foundation, but first I needed to write the individual cards which would go with each. I hauled the bags back and forth each week with me wherever I went in the hopes the Lord would provide the time and words to take care of these. The contents of the gift bag constantly changed as some items got shipped and new requests for Eagles Nest shipments came in and waited to be fulfilled.

I grabbed the first canvas bag filled with journals, reached for the second and stopped. There on the top of the second bag covering the gifts to be sent was an all-too-familiar roll of night sky fabric which made up the current top layer in the canvas bag. It was broad and loosely rolled in order to provide padding so that the beautiful china Christmas angel clad in a blue dress studded with golden stars and carrying a bell would not break.

On my, really? Was I really going to put the bag with this fabric, angel and all the little accompanying Christmas ornaments which went with it back in the car yet again? Was the task related to them to remain once again undone? My heart felt a little sick. But I didn’t know what else to do. I had no idea where to start.

The Lord had blessed me richly during this time of vocal healing where it hurt to speak and I could not sing at all by setting up circumstances so that there was still a CD project of His new worship songs which would be released during this time. The previous year in August, I had begun working with once again with Mike at The Creation Lab, Mark and Brandon to produce a second album of Christmas songs. Like CHRISTMAS WORSHIP released November 2010, this was to be an album focused on releasing new songs with which to worship the Lord in light of Jesus’ birth at Christmas (and what this means to us today).

I have always loved the Christmas season. I have always loved singing Christmas carols. As a child after Thanksgiving dinner with my family at my aunt and uncle’s, I would sometimes forgo the special movie running in the living room to stay in the kitchen with my mother, uncle and several others to sing the first Christmas carols of the season using the little music books of songs given away at that time by the Texaco gas station where we usually filled our tank.

In 2006 Grace and I had been invited to lead December worship at a property in Elk Grove, CA, which the owners dedicated to events which honored the Lord and helped bring hope and healing to others. We decided to use Christmas carols with which to worship. However, as I rummaged through my favorite book at home of over 150 carols from around the world, it struck me how few had lyrics which actually worshiped the Lord in light of His birth. Oh, make no mistake, the songs were beautiful! And oh how beautifully many of them told the story of Jesus! The lyrics were evangelizing! If we really listened to what we were singing, we were singing the good news of Jesus! However, few if any of the songs actually adored the Lord, addressing Him personally. A few called to adore such as, “Oh, come all ye faithful….oh, come let us adore Him.” But there were not many which actually worshiped. That year I heard the Lord whisper to my heart He wanted to be worshiped at Christmas. I was to listen for new songs. I had already composed and recorded one, “A Baby’s Cry” as the final song on the ASCEND IN WORSHIP album. Yet, the Lord was letting me know He was not done. He wanted more.

In autumn 2009, He nudged me strongly that the time was “now” and indeed it worked out that in the days before Christmas we were able to gather at The Creation Lab in Turlock and begin the recording process for CHRISTMAS WORSHIP. The recording experience was truly out of this world. As we worked there were actually times I saw angels dancing in the studio with joy that the project to honor our Lord was underway. The presence of His Spirit so overwhelming at times I almost could not keep singing and indeed the sense of joy, at least for me, was profound. CHRISTMAS WORSHIP contained 7 new Christmas worship songs for those who wanted to adore Him at Christmas (and go deeper in their relationship with Him contemplating the true meaning of Christmas), along with 4 traditional carols with newly inspired arrangements done by Mike and Mark so that the album had a traditional Christmas “feel”. (New songs don’t cause us to “feel” like Christmas until they are no longer new but known and used regularly during the Christmas season.)

In May 2013 after the RESURRECTION JOY album of new worship songs for the season of the Lord’s resurrection, spanning through the week of His passion and death, to the resurrection and on to Pentecost was out, the Lord nudged me strongly to book The Creation Lab with Michael Everett to begin a second Christmas worship project in August. In May, during a June trip to Europe for the wedding of Hope’s daughter in France and throughout the month of July when our exchange daughter, Sonja, from Germany was here, I listened for the new songs He wanted released. One was written in the attic of Hope’s French farmhouse several mornings after the wedding. Another dropped into my mind while lying down for a nap upstairs in the Mannheim bedroom of Annemarie, the daughter of my German exchange sister Ingeborg. Several of these were written in El Dorado County.

One of these seemed to be only part of a song. Perhaps a chorus? I had woken up with the lyrics and catchy melody:

Christmas bells call to worship You, to leave all behind for You’re worthy

Bells declare and celebrate You came and Jesus You are coming again.

I liked it. I knew it was from the Lord. I knew it was for this album. However, no matter how long I sat with it, the Lord did not provide anything close to what could be considered a melody for the verses. I took it to the studio anyway, along with a series of chords the musicians might use to create music for verses which I would then write later. (God was always faithful to provide what I eventually needed.)

When we gathered at The Creation Lab in Turlock in August to begin, the recording process was beautiful. As usual before arranging or recording there was prayer and the presence of the Lord palpably with us. The songs came together as usual far more beautifully than I could ever imagine. The Spirit kept whispering to me to savor the sweetness of every moment. I did. It was three very special days!

On the third day as I brought forward “Christmas Bells Call To Worship”, Mike proposed an arrangement where what the Lord had given me become the whole song, by repeating what I had but escalating the music higher and higher each time it was sung, resting in an instrumental section then bringing the song back down to the key where it started. The lyrics could stay the same or change somewhat. What Mike “heard” felt right. It sounded right, so we proceeded to begin recording it in this way.

On August 14th—the third day at the studio as Mike created the “Christmas Bells Call To Worship” arrangement and interiorly I celebrated what the Lord was allowing me to be part of at the studio, I simultaneously was remembering and thanking God for my dear friend and long-time prayer partner Andrea. It was so cool that on that particular day we were both walking out our separate God assignments.   She had been the one who had led Lori and Nicole at our Bible study that February day in 2004 to lay hands on me and pray I would begin “hearing” new worship songs from heaven, which the Lord wanted released on the earth. Andrea had a call on her life to function in governmental circles for the Lord. Thus on August 14, 2013 while I was in the studio beginning the recording process for new Christmas worship songs and she was at the California state capitol doing her God assignment lawfully speaking out against an ungodly bill proposed for passage in the California state legislature, it was something to celebrate and for which to thank God.

That night, the Lord visited Andrea and gave her an assignment to worship Him at Christmas at the California state capitol. Similar to Psalm 100 which says we enter His courts with praise, the Lord told her to enter the highest “courts” in California (the courts of the seat of government) with Christmas carol worship. In response He would bring a righteous leader. It was the most profound encounter with the Lord she had ever had.

She called me the next morning, August 15th when we were both local to each other again so we could meet. As we talked, prayed, worshiped to some of my brand new Christmas songs and prayed some more, the Lord gave us a picture of what Carols At The Capitol was to be. Not just for California, we could “see” Christmas carol sing-a-long gatherings all around the country every second Saturday in December. Eventually it would be in all 50 states with a large event at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. and perhaps in other countries as well. It would be a national or even international day of worship, not unlike the National Day of Prayer in the USA which since it was signed into being by President Truman in 1952 was held on the first Thursday every May and participated in by millions annually across the United States. It would begin with California, God-willing in December 2013. How our hearts soared! Our Lord had the best ideas! –welcoming Him into our society and government by singing Christmas carols in unity. Praise You, Lord!

As planning for the inaugural 2013 ensued, Andrea felt led for the first event to be opened by a sign of unity between different streams of Christianity. At her request both the Roman Catholic Blessed Sacrament Cathedral and Presbyterian Church adjacent to the state capitol in Sacramento agreed to toll their bells, calling the people to worship in unison exactly as the event began. Yes, Carols At The Capitol was about calling the people to worship with Christmas carol sing-a-longs. I remembered the unique song we had begun to record in the studio the same day Andrea had been at the state capitol: “Christmas Bells Call To Worship”. Andrea listened to it, too. This would be the Carols At The Capitol theme song.

Now, the seeming press was on. Originally Mike and I had planned to have over a year to complete the recording process of the 12 songs for the second Christmas worship CD. In light of the establishment of Carols At The Capitol it seemed it would be ideal not only to complete the song “Christmas Bells Call To Worship” for the inaugural event, but the remainder of the album as well. How wonderful it would be to have this CD to hand out that day! Mike and I worked and worked on it as much as possible all September and the beginning of October, however, we were unable to finish. Only the song for “Christmas Bells Call To Worship” for Carols At The Capitol was completed.

As usual what God enabled turned out to be enough. The song was premiered at the beginning and end of the inaugural Carols At The Capitol, held Saturday, December 14, 2013 on the western steps of the California state capitol in Sacramento.

In the months of preparation for this momentous occasion, the Lord brought many alongside to help and to pray and added one member to the core team, Maryal Boumann, Director of Pray California. In November 2013 we prepared for our single all-day planning session. The Lord led me to acquire a special gift for Andrea, Maryal and myself to commemorate the inaugural 2013 California event. I scanned the internet seeking what the Lord had in mind. He led me to angel Christmas tree ornaments, which were actually bells under their skirts. The two for Andrea and me had blue star-studded dresses and carried bells and the one for Maryal carried a trumpet to honor Maryal’s active, broad involvement in shofar ministry.

This year in 2014 Carols At The Capitol was quickly spreading to other states with the first international event to be held in Australia. Both Andrea and I were diagnosed with different types of cancer (she on January 14th and I on July 14th). Recovery from surgery to treat my cancer unexpectedly made it so I could not sing. However, in the week before surgery because Mike and I had already done so much of the work the fall 2013 on the upcoming Christmas worship album, all I had to do was record 20 or so harmonies and my part on the project was done.

Now in mid-October I was waiting for the call from Mike that this project called, CHRISTMAS BELLS CALL TO WORSHIP, was ready to go to manufacture. As a part of this process I would have to turn in the exact text I wanted printed on the CD case, within the lyric booklet and on the CD itself. In addition, I would need to give any input I had regarding graphic design to the designer at the manufacturer. Well, already in August or so the Lord had begun to give me pictures of what the CD case was supposed to look like. There was to be a starlit night sky background with the ceramic angel bell holding the golden bell featured on the front. The angel was not supposed to be either at the bottom or the top of the image, but somewhere in the middle.

This meant I was going to have to create these photos! How much easier it seemed it would be to get full value for the flat fee charged for graphic design by just instructing the designer to do something with angels, bells and stars. But the image the Lord kept placing in my mind was quite specific. I had even gone to our local Hobby Lobby the middle of September on a morning when I felt the Holy Spirit nudge and He had led me to purchase very specific Christmas ornaments which would make up additional artwork for lyric booklet. Added to this had been a trip to the local fabric shop, where He had led me to pick up several different fabrics which could serve as a potential background to the angel and ornaments in the photographs. Included in these was a Van Gogh like night sky fabric covered with swirls and twinkling stars.

But this is where my abilities stopped. I had no idea how to create these photographs. For weeks I carried the ornaments and the ceramic angel wrapped in the night sky fabric (praying it would not break!) back and forth in the canvas bags everywhere I went. I was waiting on the Lord’s timing to shoot these photographs. I was waiting for the Lord to tell me how to do it!

I had no clue. I pondered how to set the photos up. How was I supposed to get the angel to look like she was in the middle? If I hung her in some way as the ornament that she was, it wasn’t going to look the way I saw in my mind. If I hung the fabric as background and set her in front of it then she would be on the ground. Unless….well maybe if I set up the fabric to hang on a wall and then set a basket or box upside down and draped the remaining fabric over it in front of it, then I could set the angel on top of the covered basket. But that seemed like it would leave a line where the fabric had been folded to bring it out from the wall to cover the basket bottom and drape over the basket side, trying to create that image of the angel in the center. Oh, I could not figure it out! I asked and asked the Lord how to do it. Even more overwhelming was the idea of lighting. How was I supposed to handle that?!? I didn’t know the first thing about setting up lighting (and I had no lights to set up!) Back and forth I carried everything in the canvas bag, hoping and hoping for His answer.

Time was running out—actually to me it seemed it had run out. If the CD was to be ready by Christmas, I was going to hear from Mike shortly. I had reached a point where either these photos needed to be taken as I thought the Lord wanted them to be or I needed to acquiesce and simply let the graphic designer do whatever he or she thought best for the project.

Now here again was that canvas bag with the carefully wrapped angel bell on top and ornaments underneath. Everything was ready except I didn’t know how to do it. Oh, Lord, am I really going to haul this bag back the other direction again one more time without completing the task. Really???

Then came the unexpected prompt. “Take the pictures now.”

What, Lord? What? But how? I don’t…..

There was not even time to get out my complaint. He drew my eyes to the counter in the kitchen next to where I was standing which included the stove.  The kitchen had been designed so that one looked at the small back garden while cooking. Directly to the cook’s back was the sink in the middle of additional counters. The entire wall behind the sink was a broad window which faced west. The late afternoon sun was shining through this window in an unusual way. The sunlight was indirect instead of piercingly direct because of the remaining light cloud cover from the morning’s rainstorm. The Lord had me notice for the first time how perfect the counter next to the stove was for trying to set up these pictures. Behind this counter was a second raised counter so people could sit on barstools chat and eat. This raised back was the perfect place over which to drape the fabric. The fabric could then fold forward to cover the counter and the angel could set upon it. Maybe, just maybe this would give the illusion that the angel was not on the ground, but somehow suspended in the middle like the picture the Lord had given me in my mind for the cover. But what about the lighting?

I set up the fabric and placed the angel bell upon it and snapped a few sample photos with my inexpensive camera. I was stunned at the result. The lighting coming through the window was such that it caused both the angel and fabric to be aglow in such a way that the stars literally sparkled. It was as if the scene came alive! Tears of joy, amazement and thanksgiving slipped down my cheeks as I snapped photo after photo of the angel, then one by one of the various ornaments exactly as the Spirit led. Within forty minutes I was done, the sun had faded and the moment was over. Oh My Lord and My God. I am stunned and in awe!!! You made it so simple, so easy. All that needless thinking about how to take care of this!  There are no words, just bowed-down, reverential praise. Thank You, Lord. Thank You. Thank You, Lord. Oh Lord, how I love these photos You have enabled! They will make this album so beautiful!!! T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U!!!

I re-packed the second canvas bag and re-grabbed the first and dashed for the car. It was about 5:30pm. The post office was obviously now out of the question. Clearly it had not been His plan for the day, though it had been my desire. The reason He had had me get ready early and the reason He had told me to “move now” had been for the sake of the photos. Oh, Lord, what a gift!!!

All goods were dropped off at the donation center around 5:50pm–just in time. Next I drove to where there would be internet connectivity. However, before I could open my computer and set up to send the email to Hope, I received a text from Mike at The Creation Lab letting me know the songs should be ready to go by the middle of the next week. By then I would need all graphics, instructions and text ready to go, too. Well, now it would be ready, wouldn’t it? Wow, God, wow! Really??? Again, You amaze me with Your amazing timing!!! A texting conversation ensued regarding getting a copy of the songs to me once completed, so I could review for final sound and song order.

Another text arrived. It was from my sister. We were working on arranging a birthday lunch with our mother for two days later. We communicated back and forth a bit, too.

I opened my computer and sent the email to Hope. In France it would be about an hour before she was getting up to go.

I turned off the computer and readied for my drive. It was not too late, but it was later than I would have wanted. Yet, I had not known the Lord was going to provide the magnificent photos, which was soooo worth the time! A miraculous gift! It was late enough there would be no traffic. That was past. And besides the miracle of the photos, there was the blessing of not being on the road yet when Mike and my sister’s texts arrived so I could respond.

I put on worship music and began my 2 hour drive. There should still be time to chat via typing on Skype with my daughter online tonight, too. As the almost finished versions of the CHRISTMAS BELLS CALL TO WORSHIP songs played while I drove, suddenly Scripture verses for each song began dropping into my head. Except for the intro and acknowledgements, this was the last piece needed to completion of the text to accompany the CD. On every CD album in the booklet, the Lord had me place a Scripture with each song. This project was to be no different, but for months whenever I asked the Lord to show which Scripture He wanted my mind had stayed a blank. Once again, here in His perfect timing—rarely early, but never late—He was providing the perfect Scripture. In His perfect timing, it was suddenly easy—the answers simply there.

Thanksgiving burst forth from my heart the for entire drive. What an extraordinary day! It was one more day where what could be considered ordinary was made extraordinary by the care and perfect, perfect provision of our supernatural, loving God, who is ALWAYS in the details.

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM

God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold.
This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. 
http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

Christmas is coming. For new original worship music with which to usher in this blessed season and stay focused on Christ, visit the CDBaby link below. “Christmas Worship” is available now. “Christmas Bells Call to Worship” will be available the beginning of December.  For more information about Carols At The Capitol and attending or hosting an event in your area visit http://www.carolsatthecapitol.com

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 and on itunes.

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss.    For information email elizabeth@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

Ordinary Day

Lord God, how magnificent You are. You are in every detail of our lives, caring, loving, accompanying, carrying, if we will but quiet ourselves to see and listen. Thank You for the gift of this day. Thank You for the gift of every prior day, like the day You had me take photos of autumn leaves and surprised me later that You had enabled illuminated hearts on each one. May we never take a single day for granted. Please give us eyes to see and ears to hear that we may tell Your story--so that others would know.  In Jesus' name, Amen
Lord God, how magnificent You are. You are in every detail of our lives, caring, loving, accompanying, carrying, if we will but quiet ourselves to see and listen. Thank You for the gift of this day. Thank You for the gift of every prior day, like the day You had me take photos of autumn leaves and surprised me later that You had enabled illuminated hearts on each one. May we never take a single day for granted. Please give us eyes to see and ears to hear that we may tell Your story–so that others would know. In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014

PART ONE

God-stories often take awhile to tell because in order to see His hand in the details, we need to have the background. It is because we know the history that when God moves in our lives we can see His story unfolding before us and we are mesmerized by His magnificence.

And God is in the details every day.  When we seek to be followers of Jesus, listening to the Holy Spirit with our childlike hearing so we can obey what He is telling us to do (because this is what Jesus did: He listened to and obeyed Father, setting aside His own will), then our ordinary days become quite extra-ordinary. In the midst of the normal, God shows up in delightful, comforting and encouraging ways. When we share these God-stories, these tales of how God has been undeniably at work in our lives, it is one of the key ways we give our Lord the honor and credit (glory!) He is due and it helps others “see” Him so they can believe in Him, too. Simultaneously, our personal faith is strengthened by the God-stories others share with us, especially on days when we are weak. Sharing the God-stories reminds us to look beyond discouragement and despair or even the fear and anxiety we too frequently experience in our everyday to see He indeed is with us through all things now. Such is the beautiful, loving way of our God, writing stories of His Presence and care through every day of our lives which can be not be explained away without acknowledging Him. These are stories which delight our hearts and build faith in us and others.

Here is an example. It is a story told in two parts of what would appear to others as an ordinary day with a little rain storm, meeting a friend for tea, a friendly phone call and a long drive home, where to me through it all, our Lord showed me intimately and personally once again how He is at work through all things. In Him with Him and through Him, what others consider ordinary is always extraordinary.

The morning of October 15th, I was at our El Dorado County home later in the week than usually has been the case. There had been possible rain in the forecast for the morning of the 15th. A storm was indeed on its way through, but human prognosticators were unsure whether rain would fall as far south as we live.

Oh, how I wanted it to rain. California remains in desperate need of rain. We have had drought conditions for far too long. Discouragingly, these seem to mirror much of the spiritual condition in the state, especially within the government. God is missing, ignored and not consulted. Thus it is as though our state has become a spiritual wilderness. There is a pervading dryness where we are dying for lack of His Water. We need more of the Holy Spirit—the Living Water, who flows down from the throne of God when He is welcome.

For many years when it has rained, especially into our intermittent drought conditions, to me it has symbolized a manifestation in the physical realm (and atmosphere) of what we need in the spiritual. Eight years ago, I also prayed that when it rains here it would be a two-fold sign from our Lord. First, that I am in His will. And secondly, that He has heard our many prayers and is indeed restoring us to Himself spiritually even though we may not see many tangible results of it yet.

Seen from this perspective I love rain! I love it for its natural good consequences in our physical drought and for what it means from Him for us spiritually. Indeed in this season of California drought how I long for it and revel in the sound of it when it comes.

How super it would be to be in El Dorado County, the place where the 1849 gold rush started, if it were to rain. Oh Lord, the pursuit of earthly gold is not the answer. The pursuit of You is. When we seek You and seek to dwell in You during the life You promise to those who follow Jesus, from here through eternity, as our all-powerful Lord, who is Creator of all, including the entire universe, You promise to provide perfectly for us. Oh, rain in California. Rain in El Dorado County and let it be as a sign that by Your Spirit You are slowly breaking the spiritual drought and ushering in a God-rush, where one by one people will seek You instead of gold and You will protect and provide perfectly in response.  Lord, could You please cause it to rain on October 15th, when I am in the county of the 1848 gold discovery site?

All week so many had looked forward to this potential forecast of rain. Even the night before, I had asked the Lord for it please to be enough rain so the season of hand watering our young oak trees planted this past spring would be ended. How I longed to just sit with my Lord more instead of traipsing around the property with the long watering hose. (Certainly, He also spoke to me mightily when I was out and about the yard-work and especially on long walks, but how much more I loved to just sit with an open Bible, worship music in the background and pen ready to journal whatever He wanted to share with me.)

All night whenever I briefly became awake I had listened for the beautiful sound of His rain on the roof which would mean He was refreshing the drought-parched ground. But despite promising clouds there was no rain.

I awoke shortly before 7am and felt His nudge to arise and go to the open window and pray. As He led I began to speak audibly out into the atmosphere which was pregnant with the scent of rain, but as yet none had fallen. This was travailing prayer. To travail means to labor. Thus it is that birthing type of prayer which presses from the inside and must out like the laboring in order to give birth to a child.

Like physical labor, travailing prayer is involuntary. It comes upon one sometimes when least expected and one simply has to pray. These were prayers of His Spirit in me back to Him. It was deep calling to deep. The Lord was working through one of His lesser human vessels in prayer to birth that which He desired into our physical world. “Lord, send Your rain. Holy Spirit, how we need You in this place. Holy Spirit, send Your Living Water. Oh Lord, the physical rain is to be a sign that You have heard our many prayers and are answering according to Your promise. Oh, Lord, in the desperateness of this physical drought which so perfectly mirrors the spiritual drought in this land, You would not send impotent clouds in response to all our prayers! Oh Lord, let none of Your clouds be impotent. We need Your rain. Holy Spirit, we need You. Living Water, flow down from the throne of God. Rain in our hearts. Rain on our land and bring forth Your life!”

I sucked in my breath. At exactly the moment He had had me begin to pray, a breeze began to flow through the branches of the previously still trees. It reminded me of how the movement of the Holy Spirit, our Breath of Life, is described. Within minutes mist began to fall from the sky.

“Lord, more! Thank You, thank You! But this is not enough! We need Your sign that You are sending enough of Your Spirit to awaken hearts and the physical ground needs more water! More, Lord, please!”

The mist turned into sheets of rain moving across the little valley. It was “just-right” rain—not too much too fast, but just enough to give the earth the drink it so desperately needed.

Peace filled me to overflowing. What a glorious morning! I was soo thankful, so amazed, so content, so in awe of our Lord’s graciousness and how He partners with us to birth His will. The One who asks us to pray, hears and answers. My joy on this morning was complete! He even dropped the beginning melody and lyrics to a new worship song into my mind as the rain poured down, “Holy Spirit, fall like rain…bring Your water from above. Quench the thirst within our hearts. Holy Spirit, Holy Love”.

The rain continued for several hours. It was so soothing to watch! So much for the 25% possibility of precipitation, predicted by human prognosticators! Oh, Lord, how I love it when You show You rule!

There was a fairly new friend with whom I was supposed to meet around 10am. Usually I try to preserve the entire morning when in El Dorado County for time with my Lord, in study of the Word of God, worship, journaling and writing, often with worship music playing in the background, but with minimized distractions so I am still within, ready for whatever He wants to share with me. However, this friend and I wanted to meet. She, her husband and daughters were very new to El Dorado County, however now the Lord was calling them to quickly move to another foothill gold rush community in an adjacent county. We wanted to meet one more time before she left to share with one another what God had been doing in response to prayers.

We chose to meet at a little café in Coloma, a place less than a mile from where James Marshall first had found the gold in the American River in January 1848. This had led to the historic 1849 gold rush, where tens of thousands from all over the world had trekked to California in the hopes of becoming materially wealthy.

I loved doing God-oriented things in the Coloma area, as a way of sort of letting the Lord know even now, that He was first, not gold—that more and more of us were turning our focus to trusting, looking for and listening to Him, in an effort to live out what Jesus had spoken as recorded in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. If we sought to grow closer to our Lord, He would make sure we had what we needed, just as He provided for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field.

In order for our nation and world to come into right alignment with God, He needed to be acknowledged as such by how we chose to live. And He was and is my God, not money of any sort.

Now, this does not mean I am ignorant of the need for money in order to live and the need to work in order to earn. Our family is very cognizant of these things. Golly, I am a Certified Financial Planner with over 30 years’ experience in the financial planning arena! However, everything was created by and belongs to God and He is the only One with power to enable all things—including all that we have. Thus, my reliance is on God to lead us in how to make sure we have what we need, not in our own ideas, abilities or those of any other human being. The gold was not the goal, getting to know God further was. If I tried to follow Him like Jesus did—only doing as I felt His Spirit was leading—He promised we would have enough.

The air was still damp with the smell of first autumn rain as we sat at an outside table, our cups of green tea steaming into the crisp temperatures. It had stopped raining and though I would have loved for it to rain all day, there were others like my friend who had things to do, which would simply be easier to execute if it was under dry skies instead of a downpour.

We shared back and forth excitedly about the evidence of God’s continued leading, care and provision in our lives. She was on a tight timeline. The hour passed quickly. Before we each went to our respective cars to depart and get on with our day, the Lord led me to ask her to quickly take a look at an item in the back of my car which I had been planning to donate to the local thrift store. It was a little arm chair which had been in our daughter’s room, but since she had moved out-of-state to her own place, we had no more use for it.

It was the strangest thing (and so like our God). The day before I had been on my way to make the donation and the Lord had whispered not to do so until I had had my time with this friend and offered the chair to her. I felt like it was for one of their girls. It was as if I could see one of them in my mind’s eye snuggled up and finding great comfort in it.

Though I am one who likes to get “to-do’s” checked off the list, being in the will of God is more important to me than anything else. So the day before, I had asked the Lord what He wanted me to do instead of going to the thrift store. I had an hour before it was time to head over to meet with Hilda for a haircut. I had promised to bring her a coffee from a local coffee shop and wanted to take it to her hot. However, instead of heading to the hospice thrift shop, the Lord nudged me to head to the coffee shop now. Well, that was just odd. I double checked. Yes, when I listened interiorly this is what came with the greatest sense of inner peace; this was the way the Lord was leading. I decided to order my own drink, use the restroom and ask the Lord what He wanted me to do with this suddenly free hour.

When I came out of the rest room and retrieved my drink, I saw the back of a person near the door who I thought was one of my dearest friends, but it would be highly rare to encounter her here, since she lived about 30 minutes away in an adjacent community. However, what blessing! When I took the risk to tap her on the shoulder, she turned and great hugs ensued! It was Maryal and we had not seen each other in person or really spoken by phone (because post-surgery telephone remains difficult for me right now) since I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in mid-July. As it turns out she was meeting someone there and asked me to join them. It was a discussion relevant to the prayer movement in our state and nation and the desire in so many of our hearts for us as a population to turn back to God and seek to live His way with lives consecrated to and devoted to Him.

Oh, Lord, You are so amazing! So THIS is how You want me to spend the suddenly open hour. Oh, Lord, thank You for directing me to the coffee shop and away from the thrift store at an illogical time! How magnificently You cleared my schedule of the task I thought was for now, and brought me here an hour before I thought was the right timing. What a wonderful time with the two of them!

During our meeting, I had also noticed a woman coming in and out of the coffee shop several times with her service dog. The second time, I also noticed that her dog was wearing a little Army jacket. I wondered…was she a veteran? So often women veteran were not acknowledged the way male veterans were. Lord, what do you want me to do? I felt as if I was supposed to give her a copy of the song “Stand Up” in a little gift bag and thank her for her service then and now. She was seated at a table outside. The urge in me to do this for her kept growing! However, I did not feel called to disrupt the meeting I was in so that I could check in with her. Lord, if she is a veteran and I am supposed to reach out to her, please, please don’t let her leave before I can!

Our meeting was over. I was able to give the man with whom Maryal and I met a copy of the RESTORE worship CD in order to provide some worship songs to accompany his mission as well as to affirm his efforts within the prayer movement to lead exactly toward this type of societal restoration—with a special emphasis on youth. I got in my car, remembered Hilda’s coffee and felt the illogical urge to get it by entering the coffee shop drive-through. This meant I had to drive around the front of the building again.  As I did, with Hilda’s coffee in hand, I was pleased. It looked like I would arrive right on time for my appointment. However, because I was driving around the front, suddenly I saw her again—the woman with her service dog. Oh my goodness, Lord! Thank you! She was still there!

Oblivious now to the clock, I found a place to park my car, got out and went into the Eagles Nest Foundation box in the back to put together the little gift with the copy of the song “Stand Up” and write her a note, in case she was indeed a veteran.

She was! She introduced me to her service dog, Marshall, and accepted the gift. It was such a special moment! Oh, Lord, how You do continue to amaze me! Jubilant at the marvelous, caring nature of our God, I proceeded to meet with Hilda, where alone in her shop we enjoyed each other’s company reveling in sharing and encouraging one another with our God stories (testimonies of how He had been there for us in our lives).

Only after leaving Hilda’s shop did I realize that now even if I wanted to, I could not make the donation to the thrift shop because it had closed for the night hours before. Well then, Lord, I guess I am offering the item to my friend in Coloma tomorrow morning. I guess that was you.

And now here we were. The next morning: October 15th. My friend agreed to take a look at this item in my car slated for donation. When she saw the chair, immediately she told me she would take it. One of her daughters actually could really use it. She was in need of a chair of her very own. This one seemed perfect size and style to affirm to this little girl how special she was.

Wow, Lord, really?!? Wow. Once again, God had known and He had allowed me to hear. I remembered discussing it with Him a bit on the way to Coloma for tea. It didn’t seem very considerate to me, to offer this family a chair, when they were scrambling to get packed and moved three days later. Why would I offer them one more thing to have to move, quite literally adding to my friend’s load? But our Lord had seen a little girl He loved who needed her very own chair. It was as if He specifically had wanted her to know, that He loved her so much, He had told someone who had never met her to bring her a chair. That is the exquisite majesty of the all-good, indescribably kind God we serve. Oh, magnificent Lord, indeed exactly as You describe, Your love knows no bounds!

My friend did not have space in her vehicle to transport the chair from Coloma to the nearby home they were vacating. I had time. I drove the chair for her.

She opened the garage door to receive it and immediately and for no particular reason, my eyes fell on a piece of artwork in the stack of things to go. It was a large image of wheat. Oh, how cognizant I am that one of my roles for the Lord in this life is to produce spiritual food (like grain) in the form of writing and music to encourage others and help them on their own journey drawing closer to God. I said nothing to my friend that I had noticed the artwork in the corner.

As we unloaded the chair my friend walked over to the piece of art unprompted and asked if I would like it. She said it was one of her favorites, but she felt as if she was to give it away and was asking if I would like it. A little stunned, I accepted the gift and we placed it in the spot in the back of my car where the chair had been. Our magnificent Lord was providing for us one to the other. Stunning. (to be continued)

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Ps.8:9)

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM

God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold.
This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. 
http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

Christmas is coming. For new original worship music with which to usher in this blessed season and stay focused on Christ, visit the CDBaby link below. “Christmas Worship” is available now. “Christmas Bells Call to Worship” will be available the beginning of December.

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 and on itunes.

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss.    For information email elizabeth@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

 

Not My Will But Yours

Magnificent One, how mighty You are with ways which exceed our comprehension.  You have lifted our sight from that which is here and now to understand our true destiny in You for all eternity. We do not merit this gift and yet You offer it to us. You bless us here. You accompany us through every hard thing and yet we are merely journeying through.  Master Shepherd, thank You for leading us through many valleys of the shadow of death, providing for us along the way and using all, all, all things for eventual good.  Our trust is so great in You, that we delight to do Your will no matter what. Speak, Lord, Your servants are listening.  Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven. In Jesus' name Amen
Magnificent One, how mighty You are with ways which exceed our comprehension. You have lifted our sight from that which is here and now to understand our true destiny in You for all eternity. We do not merit this gift and yet You offer it to us. You bless us here. You accompany us through every hard thing and yet we are merely journeying through. Master Shepherd, thank You for leading us through many valleys of the shadow of death, providing for us along the way and using all, all, all things for eventual good. Our trust is so great in You, that we delight to do Your will no matter what. Speak, Lord, Your servants are listening. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven. In Jesus’ name Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro ©2014

Today begins the process of radioactive iodine treatment which doctors feel strongly is the next step in “cure” of the thyroid cancer discovered July 14th and surgically dealt with on August 13th. I am thankful the treatment exists, sorrowful the only conventional treatment option is to put a substance into my body on purpose that in and of itself can be cancer-causing (potential leukemia down the road), and disconcerted at the prospect of putting something so unhealthy into my body on purpose though the hoped-for outcome is better health.

I am one who does not treat the body un-healthfully on purpose. I exercise, avoid artificial sweetener, do not drink soda, eat sugar and drink coffee in moderation, avoid most junk food, use mostly whole grains, eat my vegetables and even make and drink fresh vegetable juice. When the birth of our second daughter was delayed two weeks beyond her due date, I was able to safely postpone the idea of induction until natural labor set in. For all three births of our children I was tremendously blessed to be able to give birth naturally with no drugs or IV at all. Bottom line, it is not my will to take anything radioactive on purpose! But it is the advice of my doctors of the next best course to ensure the cancer is gone and when I pray, the Lord is not telling me to refuse it.

Our lives are not our own. They have never been. This brings me back to Jesus and one critical aspect of the example He gave us. Though being equal with God the Father, He set aside His own will to fully do the will of the Father, meaning Jesus did not pursue His own ideas and plans, but looked to the Father, listened for HIS will and did it—even to death on the cross (and as I recall, this was so massively not His will, Jesus asked to be relieved of the task and sweat drops of blood due to anticipatory physical stress).

Not my will but Yours. This has to be my heart’s cry. I need to thank God for today and every blessing which will be in it. I need to thank Him that this procedure exists and for His perfect will for my life.

Nowhere does the Lord promise life in this world will be easy. Nowhere does He promise ongoing bliss instead of hardship. This world is not our home. With Him forever in heaven is. But here is our place of decision. Will we stop, turn and recognize our need for God and Jesus’ gift of reconciliation with Him? Will we let Him use us for His purpose to reveal Him to the world His way wherever this life takes us (both the places we are glad to go and those which cause us to cringe)?

I say, yes, Lord, yes. Have Your way! Is there anything better than to be used by God for His purposes? How could there be if He is really Most High?

Ultimately there can nothing better than the will of God for each of us. We cannot assure our own future. Death is coming. We are less than God. God as all-good Creator and Master of the Universe, who in His essence is love, has much better plans than we do. He must.  He has the power to take what the adversary means for evil in our lives and use it for great good with eternal effect if we will pick up our crosses and follow. When we follow our Master Shepherd, He uses us as His vessels through which His goodness flows, just as He did Jesus. He wants to be seen in this world. He generally does not choose to manifest miraculously in the sky. He chooses to use us. But that means a submission to His will with an inner quiet born of trust in Him. Jesus said not My will but Yours, Father, and through Jesus’ obedience the Father provided the way for all who desire it to be reunited with Him forever in the destiny for which He created us. Because Jesus laid down His own will, death is not the end, but a door to all which has been promised to those who choose to believe and follow.

None of us are Jesus, but we are each a part of His Body which He uses His way as an expression of the fullness of Himself to a weary, discouraged, despairing and dying world. None of us will live forever here. These bodies are not meant to last, so yes, I will do what I can to ensure my health, but no matter what I do with each passing day I am nearing His time when I leave this body behind and take my eternal place with Him and all those who have gone before. Only He knows when that day will be. Only He knows what lies in between. My hope is to believe that through all things if I keep my focus on Him and listening for His will and following where He leads that He will, will, will bring eventual good through it because this is His promise (and as One whose name is Truth, our Lord cannot lie).

Cancer is a potential aspect of life’s journey which was not on my to-do list. It is not something I am excited about. But I am excited about what my Lord can do through it—what He promises to do through all our challenges and battles. He promises to become known to more through them and along the way we are strengthened spiritually as well which increases our joy and His effect. There is goodness through the storm when we choose to keep our eyes on Him, seeking always to see His eternal perspective instead of our limited temporal one (even though some days it is hard to feel anything good, let alone comprehend it). As always we are returned to the choice to trust in Him especially when we cannot see and do not understand.

So, Lord, I confess a bad attitude about this procedure. Please forgive me. With renewed conviction I declare, dear Lord that my trust is in You alone. I cannot control any outcomes but You can. I ask dear Lord, that if it be Your will, this procedure indeed kill any remaining cancer so it can be said as the doctors described, that the cancer is cured. I ask also dear Lord that the radioactive iodine would not affect my body in a negative way which causes undesirable consequences down the road. But more than anything, Lord, I thank You for the gift of every day and Your perfect plan for my life. Thank You that You not only love us but give us good purpose every day of our lives until You ordain the day to bring us home. Thank You that with You nothing is wasted. Thank You for the promise of the life for which You created us after our physical death through the gift Jesus accomplished on the cross. Thank You for coming and giving us Your example. Lord God, I will keep my eyes on You and by Your power and grace You will help me to walk on top of the waves through all storms. The storms will be there but so will Your strength and grace to get through it until You call me home. Lord, my trust is in You. I lay down my will and say not my will, but Yours. You are all that I want and all that I need on this journey home. Thank You for never leaving me or forsaking me. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Thank you for all of you having been praying for me. May the Lord bless you and keep you and use you for great good through all life’s storms from here till eternity!

Note: in 2010 I composed, recorded and released a song on my first Christmas worship CD, “Christmas Worship” about the beauty and necessity of choosing to submit to the will of God focusing on the Christmas story as inspiration.  Here are the lyrics, which help me even today make my prayer to be in His will and not my own:

NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS music and lyrics by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2010

1. Mary and Joseph knew You were God. Humbly they bowed, You are Lord. They trusted, they worshiped, gave up their lives. Not my will but Yours.

Chorus: Not my will, but Yours. Not my will but Yours. The manger, the cross, resurrection. Not my will but Yours.

2. Mary and Joseph far from home. No place to lay their heads. They trusted, they worshiped, laid down their lives. You led to Bethlehem.

Following Final Chorus: Now in my time of decision, will I choose my will or Yours? Yes, I lay down my life this Christmas, and say, “Not my will, but Yours.”

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isa. 26:3 NIV)

For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38 NIV)

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:35-38 NIV)

In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome(1 John 5:3 NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6 NIV)

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM
God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold.
This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. 
http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

Christmas is coming. For new original worship music with which to usher in this blessed season and stay focused on Christ, visit the CDBaby link below. “Christmas Worship” is available now. “Christmas Bells Call to Worship” will be available the beginning of December.

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 and on itunes.

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss.    For information email elizabeth@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org