Only Jesus Remains– 72.January Christmas

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020

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

The Christmas season comes to a close again. So there you are. All the hoo-ha is over and it can seem as if a switch has turned off. The specialness for which people strove almost done for now.  The beautiful decorations to be put away. The incessant baking and festive feasts stop. The frenzied errand-running ceases. Perhaps there is relief because the piercing of your heart from the in-your-face of so much which doesn’t feel good has finally stopped. Whew! You made it through. Everyday and ordinary comes and takes its place again in our daily. We are back to drudgery.

But are we?  For those who sought Jesus and clung to Him at Christmas, it doesn’t matter that its January. The vibration of His presence remains the same. This is the Christmas spirit which doesn’t end. It decorates every day with the deeper understanding of how God loves you.  It invites joy. In the midst! Ever more righted expectations of how life will be and how God wants to use you through it. Every day. In what others may be tempted to consider mundane, we are consoled with glimpses of the joyous continuation of the sameness of Christ with all His promises throughout all our days.

The Spirit of Christmas is not just for December but every day. God-following. Spirit-led and Spirit-fed. Rejoicing that His plans cannot be thwarted. Pressing in to learn more. His focus eternal while caring for us here.  On the way. From where we were in captivity, through inner healing, being led through the wilderness and foreign land by Him one day at a time to that forever home (the place of no more tears.

But being plowed, planted and sown by Him in the midst—in the hard now—to provide for yet others, who He equally loves and is calling one by one.  Thus, each day make the choice to recognize that you are vital to God’s plan. To current care and future harvest this side of heaven. You are His seed! A seed in winter appears as nothing. Dead and on the ground. Yet, within it is a life force. All that is necessary for new life contained within it. And then the water comes through winter’s unavoidable storms. The seed is soaked and in His perfect timing that God-ordained miracle happens. New life. A shoot comes forth. First roots so that it is grounded and can be fed and grown. Next that tender tip which pushes upward. And not just to live for the sake of being alive, but for the purpose of producing fruit to feed yet others and to be a vessel through which more seeds come forth, which in turn are cared for and watered by the Gardener unto yet more new life.

This life within a life unto fullness of life. This new life in Christ which is cleaved and clinging to Him because it is hard here. (Ah yes, that unwanted normal). This new life in Him for eternity, but already now. Where to gain your true life, you had to lose the life you had. Where you are no longer your own, but His. Where you don’t have to figure it all out. You don’t have to know where this is going because He does. (Worship, pray, listen, obey.)

Lord, You make it so easy if I will let you. I have sought to take you up on your ongoing invitation to lay down all which troubles. to let You carry it, knowing it is not going away but that you are there through it with eyes on eternity for each one and to use us fiercely and ongoing to love one another now.  To be instruments of your healing. Lord, I am here. I continue to quiet my heart. I am listening. Use me.

And He told them many things in parables (stories by way of illustration and comparison), saying, A sower went out to sow.

And as he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and ate them up.

Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil; and at once they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil.

But when the sun rose, they were scorched, and because they had no root, they dried up and withered away.

Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them out.

Other seeds fell on good soil, and yielded grain—some a hundred times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some thirty.

He who has ears [to hear], let him be listening and let him consider and perceive and comprehend by hearing.

10 Then the disciples came to Him and said, Why do You speak to them in parables?

11 And He replied to them, To you it has been given to know the secrets and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

12 For whoever has [spiritual knowledge], to him will more be given and he will be furnished richly so that he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

13 This is the reason that I speak to them in parables: because having the power of seeing, they do not see; and having the power of hearing, they do not hear, nor do they grasp and understand.

14 In them indeed is the process of fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, which says: You shall indeed hear and hear but never grasp and understand; and you shall indeed look and look but never see and perceive.

15 For this nation’s heart has grown gross (fat and dull), and their ears heavy and difficult of hearing, and their eyes they have tightly closed, lest they see and perceive with their eyes, and hear and comprehend the sense with their ears, and grasp and understand with their heart, and turn and I should heal them.

16 But blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are your eyes because they do see, and your ears because they do hear.

17 Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous men [men who were upright and in right standing with God] yearned to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

18 Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower:

19 [h]While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside.

20 As for what was sown on thin (rocky) soil, this is he who hears the Word and at once welcomes and accepts it with joy;

21 Yet it has no real root in him, but is temporary (inconstant, lasts but a little while); and when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble [he is repelled and begins to distrust and desert Him Whom he ought to trust and obey] and he falls away.

22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the pleasure and delight and glamour and deceitfulness of riches choke and suffocate the Word, and it yields no fruit.

23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the Word and grasps and comprehends it; he indeed bears fruit and yields in one case a hundred times as much as was sown, in another sixty times as much, and in another thirty.

Matt.  13:3-23

SONG Recommended: SHALOM –So You Sent Your Son album

ONLY JESUS REMAINS PODCASTS

JANUARY CHRISTMAS PODCAST

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

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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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