by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
When Christmas barrels towards you, maybe you try to dig in your heels to stop it or to jump over it straight into January. The season of dread instead of happy anticipation. It may be difficult to imagine how there could be anything to look forward to anymore. There can be moments you are literally overwhelmed. As if knocked over by the seeming unfairness.
It is not to be denied that the pain of the season is very real. But so is the enemy of your soul. This adversary of God enjoys seeing you in pain and wants to steal from you every bit of good God would want to give you. In other words, in whatever is going on, the enemy will work to make it worse. Especially in your thought life. One of the places you are most vulnerable to his oppression (which can lead to depression) and captivity (which makes us feel helpless, alone and afraid). So long as you are on earth and not yet in heaven, you will be vulnerable to this. No one escapes it.
Thus, there is a difference between giving yourself permission for Christmas to be different and becoming beaten down by it. To be beaten down is never God’s heart for you. Never.
There is something greater going on. There is always something greater. Yes, the press of the adversary working through circumstances and especially people who are important to you to steal and destroy. But God also omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent working through this. Above it. Over-riding it. Accomplishing His eternal, restoring work through it. Yes, in this world, but more so for that which is beyond. Eternally in your souls. Re-connecting you with God in the way for which He designed you. In each one.
As He worked through Jesus, He will work through you. Not just for you but through you for others.
Jesus gave up His life for Father to use. This is what is asked of you, too. This is how you become one used fully by God where every seeming defeat and crushing becomes His tool to victory in bringing more lost sheep into the safety and care of His fold. You give your life to Him and let Him use it. You lift your eyes and heart to Him as Jesus on the cross did to Father and praise Him anyway. You keep His vision as your own, which is more souls to be rescued through the battle. You worship, pray, listen and obey. The inner movements of His Spirit which will always call you to rest in Him and sometimes call you to stand up and fight for what is right as you do.
To let Him have your life is neither complacent nor apathetic. Consider Jesus. It is a heart-searing, determined participation in the moment by moment will of God for His purposes regardless of the enemy’s onslaught. It is staying in this life as God calls you with sacrificial perseverance. It is believing He can take and work through all things for the accomplishment of His supreme, lasting purposes. As He did with Jesus’ cross. Just so yours.
You won’t always see what God is doing through you. Your act of worship is trusting, listening and obedience! As the enemy crushes, look to God for the salvation and restoration of yet more weary souls. Let Him fill you with His strength to muster through. Be the grapes through which by the squeezing that is there, He makes vital new wine.
To You alone, Most High Compassionate One will I lift my thoughts. to You alone. In the crushing which is and will be, You can make something beautiful. Through that which seems unbearable, You can work to provide for what yet another hurting heart needs. You are not unaware of all that is wrong, but sovereignly working through it. Use me. Use all awful-ness. Make something of beauty for the help, comfort and healing of more souls. Especially through that which Inever wished for. My hope and confidence is singularly in Your promise to work through even the worst toward Your ultimate goodness for the many of us. That Your purposes can never be thwarted. I consider Your manger. Your cross. I revel in Your resurrection and all that You have promised which is to come. Hallelu Yahweh!
6 Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you,
7 Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
8 Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.
9 Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset—rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.
10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.
11 To Him be the dominion (power, authority, rule) forever and ever. Amen (so be it).
1 Peter 5: 6-11
SONG Recommended: – WHEN THE TREES AND LIGHTS MEAN NOTHING So You Sent Your Son album
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 .