Decorating My Heart With His Joy

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Holy Baby, come to set us free. In love descending, in love never-ending Your care for souls from here to eternity.  We are awestruck at Your majesty and how You love and come to rest today and every day in You.

 

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2016

Outside cold rain pouring down. Certainly in the mountains it is snowing. Unusual rain. Unusual temperatures. Actually a sense of autumn. I love the rain and its coolness and wish it could be thus every year.

Normally in our part of Northern California, October is hot and dry (long after we are ready for autumn rain and cooler temperatures) and November is temperate, often still too warm to feel like autumn completely dry. It is not common to have lots of rain in autumn or for the temperatures to feel like fall. Our autumn is usually one of bold and bronze colors but not of the cooler temperatures usually associated with how   one imagines the season should be.

This year we have autumn. Unusual rains and cooler temperatures in October and now a rainy, cold Thanksgiving. And the Holy Spirit is reminding me of His message in the rain and storms.

Oh, Lord, thank You for autumn and with the faith of being Your child, I say thank You, Lord, for storms which bring Your water into the spiritual deserts of hurting, dry hearts so seeds long thought dead can finally sprout and Your new life can come forth!

We received devastating news about someone we love the day before Thanksgiving.

As in everyday there is a choice to be made. Is God truly God or is He not? In my twenties I lived ten years in the place where I didn’t see how God could be real. Yet during those years when I chose to be absent from Him, I was dying without Him. No joy. No true peace. I was floundering to figure things out on my own and to make sense of it all even while I tried to stand resolute, firm and brave. But I was on a faulty foundation.

I returned 25+ years ago to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (the perfect representation of Father and the One who requested the Holy Spirit for us). This means by definition of faith, I do not have HIM all figured out. Yet, I have been witness to repeating, increasing evidence of God at work especially through what seem to be the worst circumstances. He never fails to work through all things to bring for the breakthrough, life and LIFE.

We are broken, imperfect humans, living broken, imperfect lives where we often make unwise choices which can lead to horrible consequences for us and those around us.

And though with us providing His blessing through all things, God’s greatest gifts are eternal in nature and He uses what we consider life’s worst to get others as well as us in position to receive His eternal blessings (which begin now).

The unusual rain is impetus to keep listening for what God wants. In addition, also in this unusual rain I sense His promise. It is His promise of restoration, increased life and LIFE if we will stay the course and seek to walk in His specific will.

When we first became aware of the direction things had actually taken for the one we love, it was Christmas Eve 2015 for me. The Lord nudged me that this revelation was part of my Christmas gift. At first, this just seemed cruel and unlike God. That is, until we recognize once again that it’s often through these things which seem so awful, that He is bringing His gifts. Through the storm, He is answering prayers and growing our spiritual muscle. We receive the gift of increased intimacy with Him while He is about the deep work of answering our prayers. This is because often when we have prayed for someone, only He has down the depth and expanse of what is needed to answer these prayers.

I have prayed what I call, “The Ugly Prayer” for those I love:

“Lord, take the ones I love wherever they need to go in life in order to come into the fullness of what you have for them and so they can walk out the God-given assignments You have for them.”

I meant it when I prayed this prayer even though I was completely aware that what I was praying for would not be answered by everything being easy and positive for those I loved. It would mean pitfalls and exposed weak spots which He would then lovingly tend to and shore up on Him the Rock and right foundation.

I could not pray the other prayer which was always so tempting: “Lord, protect the ones I love from everything which could harm them and let nothing bad happen in their lives.” This was not a prayer the Lord could answer the same way. Here remains earth and not heaven. There will be no escape from difficulties. Answer to this prayer would not bring us into the potential richness God had for us–into those blessed places where we must choose to let Him be God and grow us or not.

We live in a broken, fallen world with broken, faulty people who will affect themselves and others in ways which are not always right or good. Here will never be heaven. Ever. Human wisdom and way fails over and over through all generations.

So now in the midst of a raging storm, am I going to cower in fear, cry out in panic or give up in despair and become crippled by it? Has God changed? Is He still King over all on His throne? Have any of His promises been nullified?

No, God remains God and faithful. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Therefore, I will remain in Him, gazing at Him, singing His praises. He always has been and remains my singular hope. It is on His strength, power, wisdom, way and promises which I rely. His joy is my strength and in who He is and what He promises is my ongoing joy in spite of what I can see. I will sing His praises through it all and never stop, for I know who He is:

My Lord, You are Victor. You are never done. My Lord, You are Creator and Father who loves those I love even more than I do. My Lord, You are sovereign and nothing thwarts Your purposes. My Lord, Your purpose is eternal union with You because You are love. Heavenly One, Your love is unstoppable and supreme beyond defining. You are always Victor, my Savior and King. You, Lord, are the Shepherd who tends to very sheep. Because You are love, Your searching does not cease. You came to a manger, to show us the Father. Your love never ending, our Lamb and High Priest.

I either believe in Him or I don’t and He has shown me too much evidence of who He is and how He works not to believe. The enemy brings storms to destroy. God uses the storms to usher in His Living Water—Life comes forth through the storms.

So what am I to do? Will I crumble in the face of what I see for these waves are dangerously high? Or will I choose to continue to walk on water as He calls me, with eyes only for Him because my Lord calls me out. When He is resting in my boat will I panic, thinking He doesn’t notice the storm or rely on Him to know and bring it to cease and be still at His proper time (after His objectives have been accomplished).

My goal is to be in His will. My goal is to remain in Him receiving His joy and peace. This means I will choose to rejoice, give Him glory and rely on Him in this place.

The last few years I have decorated for Christmas less and more slowly. It has seemed like something which could easily get out of hand and in our exuberance—actually distract from focus on Jesus who came without worldly decorations or fanfare (even as heaven rejoiced).

But this year, in this excruciatingly hard place, I will walk by faith and as an expression of trust in Him, I will let nothing steal His gift of joy. Therefore as a symbolic expression of trust and commitment to be engaged in the party, I will decorate already today and enter into the celebration of my current and coming King, in thanksgiving for Who He has always been, is and will be.

#ocomeletusadoreHim #decoratingmyheartwithhisjoy #worshipHismajesty #trustintheLordwithallyourheart

END

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
 

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

For more information on books, worship albums, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro  please visit  www.elizabethfulgaro.com . Music can be purchased and audio clips heard at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

Elizabeth also posts brief devotions and prayers on Facebook on her page: Spiritual Armor and Ammo where you will find more posts of God’s truth and His way to help you stand strong against the battles of this life in which we all find ourselves.

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit 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.   

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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