Only Jesus Remains– 17.Courageous Christmas

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020

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

To face Christmas without its usual cultural trappings and to try to find meaning without these takes courage. To let the season be naked with all its discomfort, sorrow, pain and troubles is brave.

You are courageous because you are here and have chosen to remain. God is with you. Smiling. Pouring out His overwhelming compassion. And care. Well-pleased at your faithfulness. Sorrowing with you for He weeps with those who weep.

The courage also to go on. To do the next moment, though you are not sure how. 

Sometimes the road ahead looks bleak. Bewildering and confusing in ways unwanted.  It does not make sense. At least not how you always thought it should.

There has been this impression from society leaking into our way of thinking and our souls. If we just do everything right. If we just build it the right way, then life will be perfect and good and wonderful. And we will all be happy together.

But now you know this is not true. It is not the way of this life. It is myth.

He is motioning to you. Calling. The nail-pierced hands at the end of His arms extended. Always in your direction.

When it gets tough, go to the wounds. Remember and choose to consider, contemplate, look and see. Like St. Thomas in your mind invite Jesus to come and show you His wounds in a way you spiritually insert your woundedness into His own.

Identifying your wounds with His is a place to find great solace. The mystical, glorified, victorious, ever-present wounds of Jesus are where truth is found.  Where God is revealed. Here He shifts our expectations, and this provides relief. It is in Him and in the awareness of how He showed us to expect life to be that His peace begins to increase, accompanied by His comfort. In, through and from Him who knew and knows suffering and injustice. Hardship and sorrow.  His and yours.

Jesus understands exactly this place where you are. What has been. He urges you onward. Here is not your stopping place. It is not your end. He beckons you through the next moment, not at a societal-set pace, but in His simultaneous rest, encouragement and strength. Courageously. Decisively. Not ignoring your wounds. But carried by Jesus though His.

Beloved Jesus, I recognize on my own I have no strength. I have reached the end of myself again. Thank You, that You are Emmanuel. I lean into You. You invite me to rest in the midst under the shadow of Your wings. This is beyond what I can even fathom! Wings. What?! Shelter. The bad seeming to win and yet You surrounding me through it. You there at all times never leaving or forsaking me or those I love. When it all seems to go wrong. When the supernatural spiritual enemy seems to make inroads, which cause me to quake within. You remain the unmovable Rock. The unshakable path and purpose. Sometimes I am oblivious to Your provision and care. Forgive me….Help me to see. You are my Dwelling Place. You are my Refuge. I take up shelter in You. And choose to come to rest in the storms.

12 Beloved, do not be amazed and bewildered at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test your quality, as though something strange (unusual and alien to you and your position) were befalling you.

13 But insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, rejoice, so that when His glory [full of radiance and splendor] is revealed, you may also rejoice with triumph [exultantly].

19 Therefore, those who are ill-treated and suffer in accordance with God’s will must do right and commit their souls [in charge as a deposit] to the One Who created [them] and will never fail [them].

1Peter 4:12-13, 19)

SONG Recommended: HOPE FOR THE WORLD– So You Sent Your Son album

ONLY JESUS REMAINS PODCASTS

COURAGEOUS CHRISTMAS 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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