Only Jesus Remains– 16.Christmas Stores

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020

Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas

 Outside, the garden is eerily quiet. Now resting. There is and will be a need for food through the certain darker, stormier days ahead. There is also need for spiritual food. To sustain. To nourish. For increased health and God-willing, even thriving. How else is my soul to survive in the cultural mess of holy-days which stretches out before me.

 So, I look to the stores. To the food which has been so carefully prepared and preserved before by the One who loves me beyond what I know.  This He has made ready to feed and nourish me now through this.

 I will hunker down in Him, who is my Dwelling Place and feed—no, feast—on the great stores of spiritual food which He has prepared for me.  For this is what He has promised to be. My safe place. My hiding place. My high tower and refuge. I enter in by seeking to spend time with Him. Alone. Privately. In the quiet which I intentionally am creating in my heart. With His help, of course, but partnered with my very intentional intention.

Here at rest in Him I am safe. Cared for. And now if I let Him, He will grow me. In the midst of winter. Like a tree where hidden unseen beneath its seemingly barren bark and branch, throughout every winter storm all growth necessary is happening and happening now for the coming new spring’s blossoms and eventual sweet, sweet fruit.  Sometimes this growth in hiddenness occurs in the presence of my enemies. Indeed, and especially at those times my cup overflows!  I am overwhelmed with His care. This is my Christmas joy!

Gentle Jesus, I feel like a barren tree in winter. Whipped by the winds of the storms around me. Was it like this for You, too? Did You sense the troubles into which You were born? But always if I will seek to listen, You beckoning, “Reach your roots down! Trust in me! Anchor yourself in Me!” Holy Spirit—Helper, Teacher, Counselor and Guide, feed me more of Father and Jesus. Open my eyes to understand in new and nuanced ways so that I am not only sustained to survive in this season but thrive. With each morsel of increased insight into how life really is, oh Lord, I am strengthened in my inner most being. What a thought—that You are growing me even now in ways I cannot see for God-purposes that I cannot yet grasp. There is indeed hope for a future. In You. With You. By You and for You. One more day forward in trust. Because You came and are here still. Because Your singular intent is to lead all of us home. To You! You are my Christmas focus. My Christmas celebration. My joy. Thank You for winter…which always must lead to new spring.

Keep and protect me, O God, for in You I have found refuge, and in You do I put my trust and hide myself.

I say to the Lord, You are my Lord; I have no good beside or beyond You.

As for the godly (the saints) who are in the land, they are the excellent, the noble, and the glorious, in whom is all my delight…

The Lord is my chosen and assigned portion, my cup; You hold and maintain my lot.

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good heritage.

I will bless the Lord, Who has given me counsel; yes, my heart instructs me in the night seasons.

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad and my glory [my inner self] rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety,…

11 You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:1-3,5-9,11

Unto You, O Lord, do I bring my life.

O my God, I trust, lean on, rely on, and am confident in You. Let me not be put to shame or [my hope in You] be disappointed; let not my enemies triumph over me…

Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths.

Guide me in Your truth and faithfulness and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You [You only and altogether] do I wait [expectantly] all the day long.

Psalm 25:1-2, 4-5

SONG Recommended: YOU CAME TO SET US FREE– Christmas Worship album

ONLY JESUS REMAINS PODCASTS

CHRISTMAS STORES PODCAST

If you are just joining in these reflections, read the Introduction here to learn what these are all about.

for mini-devotions subscribe or connect on Facebook at Spiritual Armor and Ammo .

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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