by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
Birth comes through waves of pain. New life comes forth through the pain of the laboring process. The little one is pressed and squeezed and pushed through the birth canal and out into a new place, a new world, so different from the safe cocoon where the little one was before.
You must be born again. The laws must be set aside which are harshly inscribed as on stone. Needed is Spirit’s engraving these on your heart. A heart He has graciously tenderized and caused to become once again of flesh (instead of stone). Spirit’s work and not your own. Thus, the rules you follow are no longer because you fear damnation. No longer do you do what you do because God said to. But because knowing Him more and in love for Him now, you choose to love others. More His way. The way He is teaching you. To see them and do as He does, and as He says. Like Jesus did. Spirit guiding and directing because you are learning to hear His voice. And you recognize the meaning and significance of life to do Your God-part so you pick up your cross and follow. Laying down that which is less to fully embrace and appreciate that which is more. You are an ambassador. In this foreign land. With all its messiness and discomfort.
The work of God is not done on your own. Certainly, this is evident. If God is to be seen and known and you are merely human, then on your own you can have all the good intentions, but these can never have the God-effect another person needs. If you are but one part of His Body and He is the Head, certainly you are not the brains of the operation. He is. He has the plans, not for just you, but for each one. All of us singly and together. It is His narrative arc. His story. You are just a part. He is the Beginning and the End. Not you. And the entire in-between holds together in Him.
You are the child. The sheep. The lamb. The beloved. The follower. The imitator. The disciple (which means you are an apprentice and being trained.) Never to become the Head, but to execute your God-given part better. More like Jesus would because you have learned your place and are letting Spirit-lead. Jesus, fully God Himself, listened so He could understand and do only Father’s will. You are not Jesus. For you to hear so you can be that ambassador—that reflection of Father–requires the Holy Spirit.
Nicodemus came to Jesus at night and Jesus let him know what beyond trying to adhere fallibly to the written law was required. You must be born again. You must. Jesus described how this happens. Then after He had risen, He told His disciples to watch for it. Yes, they had an assignment to communicate the message of Jesus’ life from here through eternity throughout the world. But not by their own power. Never by their own power. Exclusively under the power of the Holy Spirit, who was about to be poured out.
Now it’s your turn. Wait for the Holy Spirit! Long for Him. Like the apostles. Both Jesus and the Book of Revelation describe Him as the Water of Life. You need to wallow in this Living Water. You need to want it. In the Spirit. So, you thirst for meaning and direction no more. Instead, you are filled with these so that your heart is brimming to overflowing like a fountain with this water which gives others to drink.
Holy Spirit will come. He will then increase in you. It is He who does all the awakening and transforming in thirsting, waiting hearts. Therewith ushering you into this God-fearing, God-led and therefore God-following, laid-down life where all riches are found. Especially now.
Before it happens, He is still not absent. You are as if carried in His womb. This Love, who is God, is nurturing you before you know Him. You unaware. His love cradling you. Spirit already working on you as you exist ignorantly thinking you can do it all on your own. As if you are independent. Yet, from that place, His loving contractions pushing you more and more down that narrowed one-way canal, where all other options are eliminated. Squeezing you more than you may have thought you could survive. And with it perhaps experiencing confusion. The reality upon which you had based your existence suddenly seen as incomplete and partial (as if a mere hint or shadow) and no longer accessible.
This is your new birth. Your true birth. The birth which opens the door to your real life. The one where you choose to be with God an din Him in the unity of the Holy Spirit with Father and Jesus as He designed it to be. Where you find yourself in unison with and empowered by the same Spirit, singing and shouting endless songs of praise. Because you can’t help yourself. The songs must out! For you have begun getting to know Him. It has begun. Your life everlasting, where there is nothing more to fear because He is your all in all and you have begun to see Him and how this life from here through eternity will work through the face of Jesus. In His birth, His life, suffering, death, tomb-time, resurrection, ascension and kingship. Through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. So that now for you indeed, the old has gone. The new has come!
Lord, I seek You as the wise men sought You after Your birth. All else is laid aside. I look with my not-yet-fully-trained spiritual eyes to see You, but my vision is not yet clear. Holy Spirit, You bring me Jesus’ Way, Truth and Life. I am looking for You. Please come with Your more. You are welcome here. My mind is focused on You as singular priority and my heart searches for You alone. Indeed, come with Your more, Holy Spirit. You are welcome here!
3 Now there was a certain man among the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler (a leader, an authority) among the Jews,
2 Who came to Jesus at night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know and are certain that You have come from God [as] a Teacher; for no one can do these signs (these wonderworks, these miracles—and produce the proofs) that You do unless God is with him.
3 Jesus answered him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother’s womb again and be born?
5 Jesus answered, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a man is born of water and [even] the Spirit, he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God.
6 What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh [of the physical is physical]; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not [do not be surprised, astonished] at My telling you, You must all be born anew (from above).
23 A time will come, however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshipers.
24 God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality).
SONG Recommended: HEAVEN’S KING –Christmas Worship 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 .