by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
King! King! King! What can mortals do? So, what if they kill the body? So what, if I die when others consider “early”? What is death but finally the fully rising in and with You to new life? That moment when by Your grace, because of You, Jesus, and Spirit’s leading, Father declares well done (and hopefully good and faithful servant). Not because I was “good”, but because I longed for and endeavored to become like a child. Surrendered unto Your growth. Your nurturing. Your compassionate care. Abandoned to Your will which is not just Your good plans for here as I would define “good”. But Your good plans. For each of us. Because You, Divine Blessed Sculptor, designed us and only You know exactly what each one of us is supposed to look like.
You use all things to sculpt me as I surrender in faith to You. More into Your image in the unique way (unique!) You made each one to be. For such a time as this. For such a time as this. For such a time as this!
My birth—my existence—not an accident but ordained by You. Into pain. Into anguish. Into suffering. Unto death. But where I know You. Thus, death is but a taunting, powerless wisp, which attempts to hide from view the most glorious part of all concerning rest in You. With You. In Your precious, glorious peace! With You in me and all of us individually and together fully in You now and forever. This is what awaits!
This is not a love I can understand. It is love of God. It is God-love. Your love which was not afraid of the cost, but expectant of it. Your love, which never leaves or abandons because Your love never stops working in and for a single one of us. For our healing. For our shouted-out, exuberant, surprised joy. For Your glory. Awe….
Gazing at the manger as well as the cross creates vital connections. It connects me to You at the deeper, deepest, supernatural, spiritual level regarding who You really are. This Love! Sovereignly and so lovingly, You cause inner realizations which often defy expression with words. Your Spirit easily doing this miraculous work when we choose to focus on You on the cross. During those hours when You were in Your greatest majestic glory before us, even while by the humans You created, You were openly reviled, hated, mocked and gruesomely punished.
At that moment hell laughed incessantly, thinking it had won. The adversary jeering through those who watched. Exalting how he thought he had overcome You by working his evil through hearts You created. You hanging there. God. Dripping with Your own blood. Dripping out every last ounce in unfathomable, inhumane suffering. The moment so ugly and yet Your suffering trivialized while those present chose to play dice to see who would win Your clothes. As You hung there. Dying next to them. Agonizingly. Until You were indeed dead.
Glorious One! Most beautiful! Holiest Moment! Most astounding! I am struck down in prostrate wonder as I consider it. The spectacle. The horror. The magnificence. “Do this in memory of Me.” So, I never forget. Your surrender. The cost to You to give the Gift. Thus, the awe never departs my heart or mind. This helps me perhaps to have right expectations to pick my own cross and follow with Spirit’s help. Yes. To surrender to Your will. So that for the joy set before me, I can also endure and even thrive. As You did. In the midst.
28 And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be afraid of Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Gehenna).
7 But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as [[a]one combined] loss for Christ’s sake.
8 Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One),
9 And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law’s demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith.
10 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [[b]which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]
11 That if possible I may attain to the [[c]spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].
12 Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.
13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. Philippians 3:7-14
SONG Recommended: BECAUSE YOU WERE BORN–So You Sent Your Son album
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