Walk on Water Worship

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Magnificent God with eyes filled with unfathomable love. You are the all-powerful One, and You see all that is going on in this world. You did not promise life would be easy here. But You promised to be with us. And so we lift up our thoughts so we can see only You, believe in Your Word and step forward knowing You are there and will not let us drown. You are the only One with the power to save now and forever. All things are in Your hands and we choose to rest in You in all the rocky, difficult places. Thank You for Your constant love and care. In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014

When you are in a hard place or having a difficult time, choose to worship God and let Him meet you in that place.  By persevering to worship when it doesn’t seem as if one could, we are reminded of who God is, the height, depth, majesty and infiniteness of His nature, the eternal unending expanse of His love, and the glorious manifesting of His care and power which come into our circumstances and are for us and never against us no matter what this temporal world throws at us.

The manner of worship does not have to be weighty, complicated or fancy. God cares nothing for that.  He is about the heart. He is always about the heart.  Simple worship in difficult and even desperate times is an expression of faith. It is an outworking of trusting in Him with our whole heart and leaning not on our own understanding. It is a commitment to follow Him wherever He leads knowing only He will make our paths straight.

And isn’t this what our Lord asks of us?  When we choose to trust our invisible, almighty, all-knowing, all-good God in spite of contrary thoughts running rampant in our minds, when we choose to rely on God by determined self-will when all seems wrong and nothing seems right, we are demonstrating we have the “fear of the Lord”, which He requests from us in order to be in right relationship with Him.

Choosing to worship in the storm means we are choosing to believe He is who He says and will do what He has promised when there is as yet no visible, tangible evidence. It shows we know He is most powerful and still in control when everything seems to be falling apart. Worship when the waves are high and it seems certain we will go under and never rise again is a sacrifice of praise the Lord meets with the kiss of His power released in ways beyond anything we could anticipate into the circumstances which have been weighing us down.  And by it, He will cause us to walk on top of the waves because by worship our eyes are kept necessarily on Him (unlike Peter who looked down).

You may not be able to tell how great His power is within you enabling and sustaining until the crisis has passed, but He is there–ever faithful–to help those who look to Him to get through the difficulties in this hard life which will be.

What do I mean by “worship”?  Contemplate His majesty. Bring to mind the many names by which He is called for in each one is a beautiful aspect of who He is.  Extol Him for His promises such as that He will meet our needs.  Thank Him for what He has done–remembering and listing it out–and expressing our gratitude now before the prayer we have uttered is answered for what we know He will do because He has promised He will get us through until that day when He personally calls us out of this hard life and takes us home.

Until then we worship on earth as in heaven, worshiping in song when we can, for angels, elders, living creatures and those who have gone before are singing forth their adoration of our Lord ongoing in heaven, just as our Lord sings over us. But in the absence of song, the singing of our hearts adoring Him in thought, word and deed honors Him as well.

When we make this difficult choice to worship in the hard places, our Lord is honored and glorified more than almost any other way, for it takes a conscious choice to believe He is who He says in order to do this. It is “Walk On Water” worship for our choice to have faith and trust in what we can neither see nor prove causes our eyes to stay on Him and He blesses us by ensuring we do not drown.  We do not pretend we understand. But we acknowledge that through it all, He remains unchanging God.  As a result of our choice to let Him be who He is, He draws near and answers, strengthens us and uses all, all, all, all, all things for good in light of His eternal, all-good, rescuing plan.

Selah! (Pause and calmly think of that!)

Below are lyrics to several worship songs I have recorded which are for use when you are trying to keep your eyes on Him in life’s storms so indeed He by your worship He can enable you to walk on water.

Walk on Water

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2007, recorded on the WALK ON WATER CD

1 The way, the Truth and the Life the only Light in a darkened world. Word made flesh and crucified. Yes, that is who You are.

2 Redeemer, Savior, Lamb of God, the only perfect Sacrifice. Merciful Father, Spirit of Truth. Yes, that is who You are.

Chorus: Walk on water, straight into You arms, You will keep me safe no matter what the storm. Walk on water, eyes on Your gaze. I will trust in You for who You are.

3 Peace, peace, when waves come, when storms roar, when mountains fall down.  Peace, peace, you reign in my heart, in I AM I rest secure.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.  (Ps. 46:1-2)

Lion and Lamb

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2009, recorded on the RESTORE CD

1 Lamb of God, You have won. Lion of Judah, You reign. All You have said, You have done. We rejoice.

Chorus: Lion of Judah, Lion of Judah. Lamb of God, Lamb of God. King of heaven, our Redeemer. You reign; You reign.

2 Lion of Judah on the throne. Lamb of God, You were slain. Every battle You have won. We rejoice.

Sing for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob. He displays his glory in Israel. (Isa. 44:23)

 

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM
God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold.
This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. 
http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist.  She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way. 

For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss.    For information email elizabeth@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.  (Ps. 46:1-2)

 

 

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM
God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold.
This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. 
http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist.  She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way. 

For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss.    For information email elizabeth@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

 

 

The Lord’s Perfect Timing

Lord God, how You amaze us ongoing with Your majesty and Your magnificent all-loving ways. We can dance like children before You rejoicing for all things truly are in Your hands at all times. Thank You for caring for us so much. In Jesus' name, amen.
Lord God, how You amaze us ongoing with Your majesty and Your magnificent all-loving ways. We can dance like children before You rejoicing for all things truly are in Your hands at all times. Thank You for caring for us so much. In Jesus’ name, amen.

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014

I turned in my keys this past week at the financial advisory firm where I have been employed part-time since January 2013.  It was somewhat sad for me, because I enjoyed working with and supporting such good people and God had so divinely orchestrated how I had come to have the job in the first place.  And yet, I also had felt led to pray for months that God would send the right person to take my place, because even before the cancer, I knew eventually I would be leaving.  The financial advisor for whom I worked, Rob, and I had even discussed where he would look to find another assistant when it was time for me to go.

He had made a few contacts, but they had not panned out.  When I originally had contacted him and his wife, Carolyn, in December 2012 in response to their ad which the Lord had brought to my attention, he had been searching for a while for the right assistant with almost no viable (qualified) candidates amongst the plethora of ad responses. He really needed someone with industry experience (which would include understanding of the terminology and systems) and a heart for his particular practice style (with strong ethics and personalized customer care) in a quiet office environment.

On Tuesday, September 16th following the ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist initial appointment and 2nd post operation appointment with the surgeon I forwarded Rob and Carolyn a detailed update which explained why I still could not come back to work.  In it I also felt led very specifically to release them to find someone else if they did not want to wait.  I knew Rob’s business. I knew how essential it was to have an assistant if he was going to get his job done as a financial advisor!  So I wrote the following at the end of my report:

“If you and Carolyn decide it is no longer workable for you to wait for what now looks like could be as long as mid to late October and that you need to implement other sales support, I understand that as well.  It is troubling to me, to have left the two of you unexpectedly in the lurch like this.”

When I had left the office at end of day August 11th after my final day of work before the August 13th surgery, I had had only one fleeting inkling I would not be returning to work there—ever.  As I was packing up to go that Monday afternoon, the Lord whispered “take the mug with you”.  On the office desk I shared with Rob’s wife, Carolyn, I kept a mug for periodic cups of tea. The mug had been a birthday gift one year from my friend, Lori Duffy. However, the thought to take the mug with me had been so fleeting, I had neglected to grab hold of it and had walked out the door forgetting to take the mug with me.

I fully expected to be back at work by the beginning of September.  At my pre-op appointment, I had asked the surgeon precisely this question. How long would recovery be—until one could resume normal activity?  He had told me 2 weeks.  Okay then. This seemed short, but he must know. So that is what I had arranged with Rob and Carolyn. Then at the first post-op appointment the recovery time had expanded to four to six weeks for the body to recover.  Yes, in two weeks one was no longer as couch-bound, but recovery was indeed longer (which only made sense). 

However, in all the pre-op preparations, though there had been mention of the risk of losing the ability to sing or speak completely, no mention was made of the potential lengthier recovery period for vocal ability.  First, when I saw the ENT specialist and had my second post-op appointments back to back in mid-September, had both surgeon and ENT finally confirmed it was normal to still have pain when speaking at this point and that vocal recovery could take any number of months. Each person was different.  This was in addition to the pending at-some-soon-to-come-but-as-yet-undefined point there would need to be time set aside for the radioactive iodine treatment(s) to be completed to kill any residual cancer cells in the thyroid area of the neck.

The indeterminate length of time for vocal recovery added onto the still pending further cancer treatment changed everything and caused the Lord’s word to me from late May or early June that there was something coming which would cause me to be unable to work full-time for a while, to be more clear. Right after diagnosis my dear friend, Amy Knight, had given me a word from the Lord, that this was to be a special season where instead of forging ahead step by step as the Lord instructed, walking with Him by my side, I was to be at rest with my head on His shoulder, not forging ahead, but letting Him go ahead and do the work while I simply remained at rest in Him.  As the surgery approached already in my heart I felt the confirmation that the Lord through this was giving me a divine pause. This would be for His purposes. He would take me during the quiet without so much of the everyday rushing around into a deeper understanding of Him and He would give me time to write more of Him for others, so that more would come to know Him as God (Savior and Lord of all). 

After the first 2 weeks of recovery, when the surgeon’s initial answer to my question meant I should have been ready to return to work, I was neither ready physically, vocally or emotionally. I was just beginning to be upright almost all day and able to amble around.  It didn’t feel as if the season of “divine pause” was supposed to be over yet. The surgery was over but it did not feel as if there had been enough time for it to be used yet in the way He had laid on my heart.

Indeed I still had to remain removed from most activities including work.  And now He began to do the things in my heart and through enabling more writing which I had sensed were the purposes of this season beyond eradicating cancer.  His peace overcame me. He was orchestrating the recovery. He was even delaying vocal improvement and removal of pain in order to slow me down. He wanted this time with me. I wanted it with Him and He had ordained it.

Our Lord was doing a bit of re-arranging. It was the time for new seasons for a few of us. 

Rob responded to my September 16th email the following day.  It was just as the Lord had been impressing upon me. Rob embraced the confirmation he might need to find someone new, because he needed the support.  A financial advisor cannot study client finances and make good, clear recommendations nor monitor economic and client conditions for updates when time is consumed with office administrative functions.  However, when there is no administrative support, the advisor must cover these activities first (which eliminates the advisor’s ability to do the actual advisory job).  He asked me to stay in touch. This blessed me because I have enjoyed my affiliation with the practice and the friendship with Rob and Carolyn.  I would miss being a part of the practice and each other’s lives.

I received Rob’s September 17th response while at our El Dorado County home where there is as yet no internet. Thus all email communication must be typed into my cell phone which can be time-consuming and cumbersome—two fingers at  a time, with a well-intended auto-correct function which continually corrects the words I type on purpose to other words which can completely change the meaning of that which is being communicated.  For these reasons though I wanted to send Rob a prompt response re-iterating I understood and wishing him all the best, I delayed. The plan was to send an email reply when I returned to where I had internet availability and could reply via laptop.   However, I kept getting distracted from writing and by Saturday or Sunday, the Lord was letting me know that instead of just an email He wanted me to send a dish filled with little plants which would not die immediately, but continue to grow along with a card of well-wishes for my response.  I knew exactly which florist business I was to patronize and looked for opportunities all weekend to drop by.  I wanted the delivery for Monday! I wanted Rob to know I appreciated his email and understood and supported his decision to look for other help.

However, it was very late Tuesday morning, September 23rd before I realized I could order the planter online from this florist because dropping by was not working.  I was quite disappointed to see that the earliest possible delivery was Wednesday. This meant almost a week from the date of his email until Rob had my response.  This seemed horribly unprofessional and rude.  Oh well, this was what the Lord was leading me to do at the florist business with whom He had led me to place the order.  So many times in the past there had always been a reason (and a good one) for His timing. Invariably I wanted things done faster than He enabled, and yet, as God (duh!) His timing was always perfect. I placed the order and requested a card be sent.  I asked the Lord what to request written on the card. The following is how I felt led. It was concise enough to fit and seemed to say it all.

Rob & Carolyn, thank you for the privilege of being part of your God-ordained practice. I am praying for the Lord’s just-right person to assist further. God bless you! Elizabeth

I had no idea that in that week while I was silent, Rob and Carolyn had already begun their search for a new assistant. To both their surprise, Carolyn had run across a resume for a woman with 10 years’ experience supporting an independent financial advisor in a similar office set up.  She was even familiar with the same software Rob used in his practice. Contact was made and an interview scheduled.  When Monica came in Carolyn interviewed her at length and then Rob interviewed her too.  She had been working for an advisor who had sold his business. The advisor who took over ran it in a different style which was causing clients to leave, resulting in an income cut. She also found the style difference so great that she was not comfortable working with the new advisor.  She was searching for a new, “safe” place (with a style match in how the advisor worked with his or her clients) where she could put her skills to work and truly make a difference caring for clients and providing critical administrative support to an advisor as she was accustomed (and trained!) to do.

This is exactly what Rob needed!  Both he and Carolyn sensed Monica might be who God wanted.  In fact she seemed almost as if sent by God because she seemed such an unbelievably perfect fit.  Initially, they had planned to go through quite a screening process to make sure they had the right person. However, they both had God’s peace that she was the one, so Rob called Monica on Wednesday, September 24th and made her an offer to work full-time at the practice.  This was a big commitment. I had been part-time. But Rob and Carolyn were stepping out in faith in the way they truly believed God was leading.  Monica accepted the offer and Rob hung up the phone. 

Within seconds (not even one minute had passed) there was a florist standing in the foyer of the practice with a planter to deliver. No one had ever sent Rob anything before, so he thought the delivery must be for one of the other businesses in the building.  Nope. Carolyn told him the delivery was for him.  Rob couldn’t imagine who it could be from. He opened and read the card. It was the planter I had sent.  The following words on the card jumped out at him, “I am praying for the Lord’s just-right person to assist further.”  He was stunned and overcome. Both he and Carolyn were.  God had timed the arrival of the planter with the message for which He had given me the words, to be at the precise moment He knew would confirm and make clear that hiring Monica had been the right thing to do because it was indeed His plan. It was His perfect will for all of us, for through it He also confirmed for me, that my season working there was truly done.

What blessing! What care from our Lord, that He would delay the sending of the planter with the message, so that He could orchestrate its perfect arrival.  Yes, our Lord is in what we define as big, but He is also in what we misinterpret as small. He cares about it all because He always cares for all of us. Amen? Amen!

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM
God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold.
This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. 
http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist.  She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way. 

For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss.    For information email elizabeth@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

 

He Stills The Waves

Glorious Lord, no matter the storm we are safe in Your care.  We revel in Your magnificent, all-loving, glorious, eternal way. Thank You for Your reign, how You love us and are involved in every aspect of our lives.  You are all that we want and need. Majesty, it is You we revere and adore. In Jesus' name, Amen
Glorious Lord, no matter the storm we are safe in Your care. We revel in Your magnificent, all-loving, glorious, eternal way. Thank You for Your reign, how You love us and are involved in every aspect of our lives. You are all that we want and need. Majesty, it is You we revere and adore. In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014

The recovery process, whether it be physical, emotional or for some other unwanted difficult circumstance is not a straight line and neither are the emotions which accompany it. There are waves. Sometimes these waves are tumultuous and threaten to take us under. Sometimes we are buoyed up by them so His joy is not something we must choose to receive, but a gift gladly and easily embraced.

The fear, sadness and even grief which is constantly around the edges trying to sneak into our minds to pollute our hearts during difficult seasons is for that which we had hoped would be which may be no longer. This morning once again, I have been doing battle with such thoughts which had begun to gain traction in my mind with the objective to infiltrate and destroy His peace. All in all it had been a hard morning, and yet it was occurring in the midst of a multitude of blessings. I needed to get back to the blessings and asked the Holy Spirit to help restore my mind to His blessed perspective. He did.

When we consider our lives from God’s perspective, it shifts our focus from what we thought we wanted here to the continuum of from here through eternity in which we find ourselves once we become believers. Each day is just another step forward closer to the time when we will be with Him forever. For now, His Spirit is with us every moment of every day and can be seen extraordinarily active in every single aspect of our lives when we choose to take notice. He accompanies us and blesses us to see how He is working through all things (all things!) in our lives and the lives of those around us. He is at work through the evil and the good, the hard and the happy to draw all people to Himself. His view is always toward eternity and His fervent, never ending desire to have us with Him.

In this place of exile into which we were born and where we shall stay until the day He calls us home, there will always be evil and bad things, because it is the nature of this realm under the dominion of the evil one (the anti-thesis of God’s good). Our ancestors chose to believe their own way and follow the adversary’s advice (thus making him their leader) instead of God’s. Our physical, ever-mortal existence is the consequence of their choice. And yet, our loving, all-good God sent Jesus and gave us His Spirit so we can be restored to life eternal with Him. This is His destiny for us!

Our Father Who is in heaven (holy is His name!) and His Son, our Brother, seated at the right hand of Father and interceding for us, want us restored to the place in heaven for which we were created. And in all things the adversary chooses to use for evil, God is there with His supreme power, looking for ways (and succeeding) to bring eternal good out of it now and waiting to wipe every tear away forever.

Thus when we face difficulties, we are not surprised. We know our God is with us through them. We know if we will let Him, He will use us as His ambassadors every step of the way, to give more opportunity to see Him—suddenly realizing He is real and realizing it is He for whom they hunger and thirst. When life does not go the way we hoped, we realize that all is passing away and we too are on a journey to a greater glorious existence in His presence with Him forever, where there will be no more evil, illness, hardship or tears.

11…if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you…28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose….31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?…34…Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:11b,28,31,34b-35,38-39 NIV)

When we truly consider who He is and how we dwell presently in this place, which is not the fullness of His plan for us, we more easily can let go of everything to which we cling, that is of this world. We are called to be in the world, but no longer of it. We appreciate everything He provides for whatever role He allows it to play in our lives. But we do so keeping our eyes always on Him, walking on the waves by His power into His waiting arms of safety and unconditional love. All the while we seek to remain unattached to that which is passing away while holding onto Him that remains.

Thus for me, most days of this cancer journey where it has never been a matter of survival, but a matter of recovery, it is easy for me to keep my eyes on the One I love and simply chose to be at rest in His perfect care, provision and timing. He has given me good work for this different season and I choose to be thankful, for He is in it.   I also know that even when I cannot see, if I will rest in Him and listen for His plan, moving into it as His Spirit enables, life—however it is in this stage—will be glorious!

Most days the taunts of potential negatives do not bother me at all. I feel very blessed even in this unexpected season. Our God—glorious God!—has given me good work to do. He is having me work on a book manuscript. It is an overwhelming task, which means I must remain completely, gloriously God—dependent for the manuscript is impossible to complete unless the Spirit does it through me. And so this is where my focus is—most of the time.

In addition, when I consider the life He has given me, I am overcome with thanksgiving. Beyond even the indescribably immense blessings of spouse, family, and God-fearing friends, He has enabled me to not just sing, but record over 100 original worship songs and two patriotic songs. How incredible this is! If I were never able to sing again, He provided a way in advance for those songs to already be in a form which enables them to keep doing His appointed work whether or not I can ever sing them again. Oh my heart almost explodes in thankfulness and awe at the majesty and mightiness of our God!

However, there are also hard days like the morning, when the throat is raw and concern and grief begin to try to seep into that place of deep peace I have in Him and through Him. It is that dangerous place of the “what if’s”. What if my voice never recovers and there is always pain to speak? And for me who for years has been singing countless hours per week songs adoring my Lord, so that this ongoing adoration of Him through song is a fundamental part of my lifestyle, once in a while the prospect of never being able to sing more than the 4 notes below the piano’s middle C, puts me into a downward emotional spiral.

For me writing is both occupation and therapy. So when thoughts tinged with despair and grief at the potential began to ooze into my consciousness this morning like a toxic cloud, I sought to grab these and take them captive to the Truth of Christ by writing them out. In so doing, it became clear that these sneaky thoughts were a distractive strategy from God’s adversary to keep me from the goodness the Lord has for my day. The Lord has promised me healing and whatever that looks like it will be good and God will be able to continue His Kingdom-wide goals for growth through it! Amen? Amen!

More than that, the adversary was trying to push me down enough mentally, so that I could not work on my God-assignment! Last night while reading a book on the Holy Spirit by Archbishop Luis M. Martinez for an upcoming class, our Lord pierced my heart. He touched me in a way I was weeping with love for Him as He simultaneously gave me a little bit more of His heart for all people. I cried out for Him to use me in a particular way because of His profound, unending, yearning love for every person. And in that same instant, He also affirmed that working on this book manuscript is His next crucial step for Him to use me in the way I was asking. He confirmed for the umpteenth time that working on this is one of His purposes in this season of less activity with others and more quiet listening to Him. Yet, if the adversary could press me down enough in my thoughts, I would be consumed by the despair for the potential but not necessarily real, and be unable to listen for what the Lord wanted me to write.

Truly, each time I have gone to Him not impatiently, but simply inquiring and said, “Lord, I know You have promised healing. When will the time be complete and the voice restored?” His response to my heart has been an immediate and firm, “Write the book.” Generally, that is all the reassurance I need that the lack of return of normal vocal abilities for speaking and singing is part of His perfect timing and not a sign of how the rest of my mortal life with be. In other words, His message is constant that this season is a gift.

This morning in an effort to try to get my head back on straight with eyes on my Lord, so that He could lift me again above the waves which threatened to suffocate, and instead cause me by His power and help to stride atop them, I began to write out a worshipful prayer, “So thank You for this day, Lord. Thank You for exactly how it is and exactly where I am in life and the good God-things You will bring through it.”

The moment I began to write out the prayer, He gave me an amazing double gift, restoring me to full thankful joy. His peace filled me once again like a refreshing river on a morning where the dry desert’s heat had been scorching.

First, my eyes inadvertently glanced to the bottom of the page on which I was writing in the new journal He had had me purchase last week and this morning told me specifically to begin using. The Scripture printed there on the page where my pen happened to be releasing its ink as I scrawled the prayer was:

He who has begun a good wok in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1:6)

Oh my goodness, Lord! Another confirmation of Your promise of restoration! Sweet, sweetness from heaven and gift undeserved!

Secondly, He caused me to pause and notice that the song which began “shuffling” through on my MP3 player at exactly that moment was “Thank You For Today”, which contains the same message as the prayer His Spirit was leading me to declare.  The Lord was confirming through Himself the rightness of this attitude of prayer and that I was safe in it in Him.

“Thank You For Today” is a song for the upcoming healing worship CD, which Lord—willing shall be completed and released by the end of 2015. Recording for this CD began in February 2014 because that was the timeframe the Lord laid very specifically on my heart. Already in August 2013 when He had me schedule the studio for February 2014 to begin recording, He had known that the songs He had me compose for this project would be ones I myself would lift back up to Him as I walked out my own healing journey. Kind, compassionate, loving Lord!

This healing worship project in response to the Holy Spirit’s prompting was begun earlier than I would have done normally. August 2013 I was beginning work on a second CD project of new worship songs for Christmas. (It is called “Bells Call To Worship” and will be released in November this year.) Normally, I would not have started a new recording project before the current one was virtually finished. But God knew I would not be able to begin the project in August this year. He knew long before I did that I had cancer. And He knew He would enable the project’s begin, but not enable me to record any of the final vocals singing the lyrics prior to surgery.

Thus in the week before this year’s mid-August cancer surgery, my friend Grace asked if I would like it if we used her smartphone to record the two of us worshiping together to a few of the new healing songs. In this way, during my recovery if there was a period of time where I could not sing, I could listen to us singing the songs and let the lyrics go forth as my prayer to God, feel the fellowship of her walking with me on this journey and allow the lyrics to wash over me and strengthen me during the waiting for His perfect timing of restoration. What a God-inspired idea! “Yes!” was my response. And so just days before the surgery this is exactly what Grace and I did.

Indeed having these rough versions of the songs with our voices has been a huge blessing to me during this healing process. However, as of this morning it had been about a week since I had listened to them.

Before any discouraging thoughts had even entered my mind today, I stood in the kitchen making lunch for my husband and the Lord clearly nudged me to put on those four songs along with a song my friend, Susie Williams, sent me following surgery which the Lord had her compose and record called “Jeremiah 1”, as soon as my husband went to work.

After my husband left, I sat down to write, but the despairing thoughts began to grab my attention. I remembered what the Lord had said and put on His songs. Though all of these speak deeply to me (because they are my prayers to Him), this morning in His perfect provision, our Lord orchestrated the song order and timing of when each played to give me this additional great gift. He had known how the adversary would try to pull me out of His peace and distract me from His purpose. Already before the onslaught He was there nudging me to do that which He knew would help me get back His focus. As I began to write out the prayer, “Thank You, Lord for this day” He caused the song “Thank You for Today” to echo and affirm the message.

Oh our magnificent Lord. You are always about Your healing work at all times. My heart is swelling with Your encouragement from Your gifts. No promise has been forgotten or misunderstood. You will complete the work You have begun in me—not just physically, but especially in mind and spirit. You are not done and I am so grateful for I am ever so in need of You grace and help!

As I conclude writing these thoughts to share with whomever He intends, I am back to working on His book manuscript assignment in all quiet and with great joy! My heart is singing the lyrics of “Thank You for Today”

THANK YOU FOR TODAY

words & music by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro ©2014

2) No matter the day You are beautiful to me,

Your grace and mercy pouring out in sweet victory.

Some days my heart hurts for what must be endured

But Your love and plan is greater than any storm.

Chorus

Thank You for today

Thank You for every blessing

Though storms may roar and fires burn close

You are there through it all. Your love’s secure.

Your love’s secure.

2) No matter what comes, You are beautiful to me

Your cross shows the way, through pain to victory

The road can seem long, the test of trust is great

But with eyes fixed on heaven I give You praise.

And I am so grateful for every person through whom our Lord has worked to bring encouragement in this season where sometimes there is a propensity to get weary. In times like these there is a need for someone to come alongside and help keep our arms lifted in praise to our God, such as did Aaron and Hur for Moses. There have been many of you!!!Hopefully you know who you are.  This morning, Grace Miller, Susie Williams and Susan Kopp, I want you to know it was you He used, pouring Himself through you to refresh me and I am grateful. Thank you for being His willing instruments and Lord, thank You for being and remaining always and forever our awesome, victorious, glorious God.

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM
God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold.
This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. 
http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist.  She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way. 

For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss.    For information email info@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

Unexpected Blessing

PART_1411002235402_2014091795175646by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014

NOTE: the following is long. It is a story of one of God’s surprises.  It is told so that He gets the glory (the credit).

God is the most amazing multi-tasker I know. He keeps me in a constant state of delighted giggles and prostrated awe. When we seek to listen for the Lord’s instructions throughout our days and follow them, He invariably sets up God-appointments.

Our Lord as singular Creator and King of the Universe, who loves all and desires to reconcile every person to Himself through Jesus is always multi-tasking with us and for us as the many varied parts of His Body. We are the beneficiaries. As His always beloved children, He delights to give us gifts precisely when we need them. He blesses us so we can be blessings to one another!

I am spending several unplanned weeks quietly at home. My voice remains weak and as yet unrecovered from the recent surgery on my neck to eradicate thyroid cancer. Being in an environment where lots of verbal communication is required is not constructive for me right now. And so I am spending the days quietly at home working on silent-but-productive projects and spending many hours with the Lord worshiping in thought, studying the Word and communicating back and forth with Him in prayer as I regain daily on physical strength and wait on vocal recuperation.

Late Monday afternoon September 8th, I knew I had to get to the Dublin post office before it closed. There was an order for “Ascend in Worship” CDs which needing to be shipped. Actually the shipment did not have to go out Monday. It could have waited another day. And yet there was an undeniable inner nudge from who I know to be the Holy Spirit, compelling me to do whatever was necessary to ensure I reached the post office before 5pm. Over the years, I have learned to obey any inner urgency which comes like this, especially if it isn’t necessarily logical, but comes with a profound and inexplicable sense of inner peace.

It was already 4pm. Only one hour left. I printed off the packing slip and gathered the CDs into the waiting padded envelope. My husband arrived home and wanted to talk for a few minutes, which we gladly did. Now it was 4:30pm. My interior alarm was going off—not panicked in any way, but incessant. Time to go. Time to go. Time to go. I put the stamps on my package and set out for the post office.

Actually I had an agenda beyond the post office. One of my friends and prayer partners, Cindy, lives just a few blocks from the post office and I had a little gift I wanted to drop off for her and another woman, Chasity, for whom I have been in prayer recently. On the front seat of the car along with the package to be mailed were the items to drop at Cindy’s. I still needed to write the notes to go along with the little gifts.

This is what was on my mind as I parked at the post office, grabbed my package off the seat and proceeded to head toward the front door. Usually I am paying attention to the other people coming and going, but not this time. I was looking at the ground, praying for energy to keep walking strongly (for my body is not yet fully recovered from surgery) and asking the Lord what exactly He wanted me to write. A few steps from the doorway, a voice from behind suddenly called my name. Jolted out of my preoccupation in prayer I turned around to see I had just passed Joyce.

Joyce? Oh my goodness! How many times had I recently asked the Lord where she was and how she was doing! This was a woman who had been part of East Bay Prayer Furnace with me, often in the prayer room interceding for God to come and reveal Himself to the USA and the nations while I was worshiping at the keyboard in one of the devotional worship sets. This lovely Korean woman had such a heart for America and understanding of God’s call on the USA to go forth as His light, and hand of justice and righteousness for the world, simply because supposedly we knew Who we served (though the past 50 years as a nation we seemed to have forgotten.) She prayed with such fervency for America to be restored to this place and for it to become truly a nation under God once again. She also had a love for Israel and understanding of Israel’s integral, never-ending role in the history of God’s always loving, seeking-to-restore relationship with humanity.

In 2008 and 2009 when the economy of the United States was collapsing, Joyce also hit hard financial times. She believed God had promised her a place where people could come and encounter Him, be nourished by Him and rest in Him. She stood in faith that God would help her keep her home, which she had dedicated to these purposes. I gave her a copy of the “Restore” CD with which to worship, calling on Him for His restoration. But this was not His will for her. She had misunderstood. His plan was greater than she could have imagined. Despite many prayers and tears, she lost her home.

Shortly thereafter, we met in the prayer room hallway and she rhetorically asked why. The Lord immediately gave me a “word” for her. It was one of those seemingly fleeting thoughts which He drops into our minds and then is quickly whisked away if we aren’t paying close enough attention to grab hold of it. Perhaps it was not a physical house in particular that the Lord meant. We are all temples of the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament the Lord had resided in a temporary tent (tabernacle) which the Israelites took with them wherever they went. In the New Testament, St. Paul describes our bodies as the Lord’s new temporary dwelling place on earth. Perhaps she, as a place where He dwelt, was to carry Him wherever He desired. Then His Holy Spirit would flow through her in that place to accomplish His work. Joyce’s eyes opened wide in realization and agreement. She shared how she had always wanted to do missionary work in foreign countries and had felt drawn toward Israel. She had set these thoughts aside because she had the financial responsibility of maintaining the house for Him. Perhaps losing the house was gaining the freedom to travel for Him. Knowing she had misinterpreted His plan, He was closing one door firmly so that she would see that He wanted to give her the deeper desire of her heart (because He was the One who had placed that desire within her.) Thus the prophetic word He had dropped into my mind and had me declare to her made sense!

Not long after, Joyce was indeed embarking on her first missionary trip. I heard through others in the prayer room community that eventually she a door had opened for her to go to Israel. Now, the giving of the “Restore” CD also had broader significance. The worship songs on it surely could be used toward tangible restoration, which is initially what I thought their purpose for Joyce was. However, these songs on a broader scale were about calling on God to draw all people to Himself. They were partnering with the Holy Spirit to usher in His Great Commission in this generation, which as in the time of the apostles, would have to be by the power resident in the Holy Spirit working through us, not by our good intentions in our own strength.

Several years later, in 2013 there was a community prayer room gathering and when I turned around, I was thrilled to see Joyce there as well! She had just returned from one of her Israel trips. We ran to each other and hugged joyously, asking each other questions. Joyce shared excitedly about the work God was giving her in Israel. She was serving the Jewish people in the name of Jesus with the love of Jesus as the Holy Spirit led and empowered and she was going back again in the very near future. What had started as one missionary trip now had become repeated trips. In fact, she no longer really lived in the USA, but in Israel with periodic visits here. If she had continued to own the physical house in Northern California, there was no way this ever would have happened. Now she was taking Christ to the nations and felt that God had fulfilled every promise to her, but on a much grander scale than in her finite human vision she had been capable of seeing. Lord God, You are so good!

All of a sudden, the Lord dropped into my mind something to say, which I would never normally utter! “Joyce,” I said, “There’s something you are supposed to bring me from Israel.” Oh my goodness, I couldn’t believe I was saying this! I worked hard never to ask anyone to do anything for me. I did not want to add to anyone’s list of “to-do’s”, nor did I want to obligate anyone to do anything for me. My heart was to bless and serve others, not this! “Joyce, you are supposed to bring me anointing oil from Israel.”

There. It was out and I was horrified. And yet, there had been the undeniable power of the Holy Spirit on the words.

Immediately, Joyce burst out in a huge joy-filled grin. “I have it for you already,” she said. “I have the oil for you in my purse.”

What?! Oh my goodness, God. You amaze me!!!

Joyce pulled a small vial of golden perfumed olive oil out of her purse and handed it to me. I was incredulous and so grateful—grateful to God and grateful to Joyce. Thank You, Lord!

The vial was smaller than most I had had in the past and perfect to carry everywhere with me in my own purse. How often since she had given me that vial, had I pulled it out as I prayed for someone and anointed the person as the Holy Spirit had led!   Such had been the case during this spring’s THRIVE Retreat for Women with Recovering PSTD Warriors, which I had obediently (and joyfully!) sponsored through Eagles Nest Foundation the week leading into Holy Week. At the end of our retreat, we had all prayed for one another. First we had asked Laura Bush-Jenkins and her husband, Mark, to pray for the other women in attendance, and then all of us had laid hands on Laura, Mark and baby Theodore and prayed for the work God was setting before them as a family. As we prayed for them, the Holy Spirit nudged me to anoint them with oil using the vial from Joyce. Once I had done so, the Lord nudged me again. In a way no one else could see, I was to slip the vial into Laura’s hand and give it to her. It was no longer mine. This young family was to now have this oil to use in their own work for God moving forward.

Oh, Lord, I don’t want to give this vial away! Oh, Lord, what a perfect size this vial has been to carry with me while doing Your work. Oh, Lord, how sweet the memory of how You provided this gift to me through Joyce!

But I know better than to argue with the Holy Spirit. And I know nothing really belongs to me. Everything belongs to my Lord. If it is in my hands, then it is for a season. My season to have this little vial of oil was done. I had to obey. And so I did. I slipped it into Laura’s hand while prayer continued and whispered to her that it was now hers.

Now here suddenly was Joyce again at the Dublin post office. What a gift to see her and be able to catch up! She asked how and what I was doing. I shared as briefly and succinctly as I could. It was difficult and painful to speak due to the recent surgery and physically impossible for me in this condition to make myself heard above the din of the flow of cars in and out of the parking lot and on the adjacent street. Joyce listened carefully and patiently. For her part, Joyce shared she was still serving in Israel and was travelling back again in another 10 days.

A crazy thought dropped into my mind. It did not make sense. But three times while she was sharing about her joy and amazement at the privilege of serving the Jewish people in the name of Christ, the thought came again. It was not to be ignored. “Joyce, do you have any access to Israeli soldiers? I’m not sure if you know why I have recorded worship music. It began with a vision in 2005 that if I would get worship music to troops He showed me marching in what I took to be a Middle East desert, He said He would protect them and give Him His strategy.”

I was giving her the short version because speaking was so hard. In actuality, the Lord had shown me a covering dropping over this group of troops marching and said, “If you will get the patriotic song I have given you (“Stand Up”) and some of the worship music I have had you compose over there, I will be their covering, I will hem them in before and behind, I will be the banner over them. And I will shine my Light in the dark places so that the enemy is more easily found.”

It was this vision, which had caused me to look for His way to get the music produced into a form that it could be delivered “over there”. It was this vision, which ultimately had led me to Michael Everett and The Creation Lab where he and a team of other professionals had helped me begin to record some of the music. Now there were over 100 original worship songs and two patriotic songs recorded and produced in CD format. And in 2007 the Lord had led me to establish Eagles Nest Foundation as a 501c3 non-profit to distribute the music.

A brand new thought struck me in that moment, where He had me ask Joyce if she had connection to any of the IDF soldiers in Israel. The song “Stand Up” did not mention the name Jesus, even though whenever we as Christians talk about “God”, we know we are referring to the three-in-one Godhead: Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit.

STAND UP 

words & music by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2007

1) We will fight for freedom; we will fight the war. When enemies have vanished, they will be found. No more will they attack us; we stand up to fight. We will protect the nation; God is on our side.

 Chorus:  Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight.  Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight.

 2) When darkness comes against us the battle is the Lord’s. We are true to You, victory is assured.  You are Sovereign General, we know how to fight. We seek You in the morning, praise You in the night.

3) Devoted to Your purpose, a charge for God to keep. We focus on the mission, though the path is steep. We bow down in prayer, You alone know the way. You give us faith and courage, we march to victory.

 My eyes were opening. WIDE! “Stand Up” could just as easily be for Israeli troops fighting against ISIS, Al Qaeda, and all others coming against their right to dwell on the land God had given them as it was for U.S. troops engaged in the War on Terror. In addition, the Lord had mandated worship music go with “Stand Up” to those in the battle.  How many hundreds of times over the past 7 years in obedience to the vision had I put a “Stand Up” CD and an “Ascend In Worship” CD into a shimmering gift bag in the color of a particular branch of the military and shipped it either to a service member, military family or veteran. As with each worship CD project undertaken, I had prayed and prayed the Holy Spirit would direct me specifically regarding which songs of the hundreds He had had me compose, that He wanted me to record. “Ascend In Worship” was the very first worship project. “Ascend In Worship” was the project specifically developed to go with “Stand Up” to the troops. As I quickly went through the lyrics in my head to the songs He had directed me to include on “Ascend In Worship”—songs including, “Freedom Comes From You”, “When You Are My King”, “Hold Me Lord” “When We Fear You Lord”, “Put Your Hand On Me” and “Mighty Warrior King”, I realized with the exception of the final song, “A Baby’s Cry” which was a new Christmas worship song contemplating the birth of Jesus, the remainder of the songs, addressed God as LORD. Once again, any Christian worshiping to these songs knew that the Lord God is one names by which we call the three-in-one Godhead: Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit. But the way the Lord had had me develop the lyrics, these songs could just as easily be sung by someone who knew God as Yahweh and did not yet know Jesus, as a Christian. Additionally, my prayer request for every song recorded was that the Holy Spirit’s touch would be on it in a way that the listener was touched by the presence, power and loving truth of God, rather than being impressed by my voice. And I knew God had answered this prayer because of the responses of others to the music. He touched each person in His special way when they listened to it. Wow, what if this music were to be listened to by Israeli soldiers? Oh my goodness, not only would His promise to cover and protect them have to go into fulfillment, but He would begin to reach their hearts with His Living Water, preparing the soil for the planting of the seed of Truth which is the reality of His Son, Jesus. Stunning! Lord, what are You doing here? This could be amazing beyond words!

All this ran through my mind in a split second as I dared ask Joyce the seemingly ridiculous question whether she knew any IDF soldiers. She had been leading the way to her car and turned around, her eyes wide with surprise. “Yes. Not only do I know soldiers. The ministry God has given me has an outreach to them. And remarkably right now they are very appreciative of any and all Christian prayers. They are encouraged to tears when we say we are praying for them.” She showed me a picture of several IDF soldiers at a recent worship service.

Now it was my turn to take her to my car. I pulled out copies of “Ascend In Worship” and “Stand Up” and asked her to listen to them and prayerfully ask the Lord for confirmation is He wanted these sent with her as gifts for the Israeli soldiers. Joyce was excited at the prospect and promised to listen and pray.

I gave her a gift of the “Resurrection Joy” worship CD, because its songs are to help focus us in and remind us of the Kingdom to which we belong and the mission we have here. The lyrics encourage and through them the Holy Spirit flows refreshing us and strengthening us for the work ahead. This was particularly my prayer for Joyce, that as an obedient worker for our Lord through it, she would be continually refreshed, renewed and re-commissioned for her work in Israel.

Briefly I thanked her again for the gift of oil from Jerusalem she had given me the last time we met. I wanted her to know how much it had meant to me. I also shared how to my dismay the Lord had had me give it away, so she would know how her gift to me had gone on to minister to yet others.

Before I could finish telling the story, she asked me to quickly return to her car. She had more oil for me. This time, not just one vial but two! One was Lily of the Valley and the other Jerusalem oil. She wanted me to have both—a double portion as a sign of the Lord’s provisional abundance to replace that which I had obediently given away. In addition, she rummaged through her car for one more item. It was a little cloth gift bag with a little notecard and stone inside. The notecard had a photo of the Sea of Galilee was the writing on it was in Korean. She said it was the theme verse for her ministry in Israel LOVE153 (www.love153.org) This brought me almost to tears. It was the verse the Lord had given me years ago as I contemplated whether He wanted me to step out in faith and re-print the inspirational gift book He had had me write: “The Tree-a little book of faith and hope”.

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he had said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17)

It was here at the Sea of Galilee where Peter had obediently put his net into the lake after a fruitless night of fishing, and Jesus had over-filled the net with fish—153 to be exact—which was one of the reasons for the name of her ministry. And the little stone was one she had picked up exactly in that spot on the shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus and Peter had had the conversation over breakfast later.

I was so blessed! The oil…the Scripture…the stone…the prospect of His music going to His troops to help them gain more of His protection and know Him more! Oh, Lord God, what a gift You have given me through this post office errand. Joyce has been encouraged in her work and I in mine!

The gifts for Cindy would wait for yet another day and then He would enable them delivered in His perfect timing as well.

BLESSED!

On Wednesday, September 17th, Joyce and I re-connected. Indeed, she wanted to take worship music (“Ascend In Worship” CDs) and “Stand Up” to the Israeli soldiers as a gift and I knew a personal note of support and promise of prayer needed to be included. The Lord instructed me how to make a note card for them just a few hours before I was to meet and give her the gifts.

The front of the card was to be of the Israeli flag (I went online, found the image He indicated, purchased the rights to use it and put it on the front of the card). The interior was to have a note explaining the gift on the left and a newly written pray for them on the back. The back of the card would have Psalm 91.

The Lord continued to have me prepare a gift for these soldiers which would be touched with the power of the Holy Spirit, who leads to Christ without hitting the soldiers over the head with Jesus. It made room for the Holy Spirit to meet them and introduce Himself His way. Most of the Psalms were written by King David who was also a great ancient Israelite warrior! King David was their direct ancestor, not mine.   They could definitely be able to relate to him! In addition, it was through study of how God had manifested and released power in response to worship mostly in the Old Testament—which was the part of the Bible (and faith), which we shared with the Jews—that the Lord had taught me the most about worship. Thus everything He had taught me would be relatable to the IDF soldiers as well.

Oh, how the Lord loves His Jewish people through whom He chose to bring to fruition His plan of salvation for the whole world! Oh, how He longs for them eventually to know Him in the fullness of who He is as three-in-One Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I am in a season of quiet where I cannot talk much let alone sing, but this did not require much talk to arrange, and God in His magnificent sovereignty had ensured that all the music He wanted to send to them was prepared long in advance. Glorious God, You are!

20140917_171915

At this moment the first 22 gifts are on their way with Joyce to Israel. They are to be a sign of His love through those who know Him not just as Lord God, but Yeshua (JESUS!)!!!  God is faithful. He blesses us to be a blessing. He orchestrates it all better than we could imagine when we have the courage to listen and obey.

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ!!!

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM
God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold.
This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. 
http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist.  She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way. 

For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss.    For information email info@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

Whose Report Will Be Believed?

Holy Lord, You place us like wildflowers in the meadows You ordain best and cause us to bloom where we are planted. Like all creation, we do this for Your glory, not our own.  Our trust is in You.  You give every moment purpose and fill us with Your abiding joy and infinite peace. We bow in ongoing awe. In Jesus' name, Amen
Holy Lord, You place us like wildflowers in the meadows You ordain best and cause us to bloom where we are planted. Like all creation, we do this for Your glory, not our own. Our trust is in You. You give every moment purpose and fill us with Your abiding joy and infinite peace. We bow in ongoing awe. In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014

I have been listening to the wrong voices. Instead of pressing in for His voice and resting in it, I briefly stepped off the Rock of His Truth and promises and unwittingly placed my feet as if upon unstable sand. It is so easy to have happen, especially when walking through a difficult time.

In my case, because the present challenge involves conquering cancer, the other voices come from the medical community who are trained to the best of our current ability, are extraordinarily well-meaning and want only the best for me. They give diagnosis and prognosis. They quote from long-studied statistics and speak caution so as not to set what they professionally consider would be unrealistic expectations.

Thus the pathology report John and I received from the surgeon last week showed indeed there was more cancer than they had thought prior to surgery. It had begun to spread beyond the thyroid with cancer cells attaching the right side of the thyroid to the muscle in my neck. My exceptionally skilled surgeon had removed all of this with clear margins (which means he removed beyond the border of the cancer and took some of the surrounding healthy muscle tissue with it, in order to make sure he got “all” of the cancer.) Two small lymph nodes, which the thyroid hid from view in the pre-op sonogram, the surgeon also removed during surgery as a precaution. These also came back as cancerous in the pathology report. The surgeon was not surprised because indeed they were right next to the cancerous thyroid.

What does this mean? The surgeon was quick to say that all research data shows that a person in my condition has a 96%-98% or so likelihood of living another 20 or more years. Hurrah! At my current age of 55 to have a life expectancy of 20 or more years puts me at age 75+ which is great, period. Without cancer one can easily die a multitude of different ways long before that.

However, in the same hopeful breath, He also said it was possible there was more teeny-tiny thyroid cancer in the neck which could not be detected as yet. On the other hand he stated repeatedly this was not a survival issue. Thyroid cancer was not the same as other cancers such as liver or pancreatic. Thyroid cancer was notoriously slow growing. In fact, in many cadavers offered for research which had died of other causes, when they were cut open, thyroid cancer was also found, however it had not been part of the person’s demise. Thus, it was highly likely I would die of something else. (That’s good, right?) He repeated, with my condition we were not concerned with whether I would survive or not. However, I would require ongoing surveillance. Due to the spread of the cancer beyond the thyroid itself there would be another blood test in a few weeks. Based on that result, radioactive iodine treatment would be prescribed—probably one or even two treatments. Each treatment consisted in ingesting a single pill, with the dosage to be determined by a doctor of nuclear medicine. The iodine delivers the radioactive poison into the thyroid area to theoretically find and destroy any remaining cancer cells. And yet after that is complete, due to life-long “surveillance” (for which I am also thankful), the journey with cancer is not done and will not be done until something else eventually kills me.

Hmmmmm….. Talk like this takes your mind places. Knowing I am mortal and this life is finite is not a surprise. For years I have collected dishes and sewn homemade cloth napkins decorated with wildflowers because they remind me we are all like grass in a meadow, which will be gone after a fleeting season of life. My personal stationery has a photo of wildflowers on it for this reason as well.  Our lifespans here when compared with eternity are short!

For years I have made conscious decisions with my time to clean my home less and study the Word and write songs, books, booklets, devotions and Bible studies more because I know our time here is brief. I have wanted to focus whatever time remains outside the blessing of time for family and friends as much as possible on that which lasts. I do not want to be distracted and focused on His lesser things for me—not even for one day—and suddenly find myself at the end of this natural life, on the brink of eternity, when I shall stand before Him and give an account for how I have spent the time He allotted me with God-assignments undone, which I had known were mine. If He takes me sooner than He enables me to finish these, then that is fine, but let them not remain undone on my account!

And yet, despite this ever-present awareness of mortality, which has caused me for years to daily focus on serving eternity, to have this mortality truly placed definitively close-up before my eyes can be somewhat saddening and unsettling. I have had to stop my thoughts from wanting to run away with me and consciously put back the Lord’s view before my eyes.  Yes, with medical professionals we are talking about the potential length of remaining natural life and eventual natural death and yet, nothing has really changed. God remains in control as the only One who has the plan for my life and power to bring it to completion. Human wisdom can be listened to, but God’s plans will be supreme.  I may die sooner or later.  It is in His hands. Period. If I can keep my eyes stayed on this truth in Jesus, He enables me to walk on water. Though the waves are rocking and rolling beneath me, I remain on top completely in His perfect love and care with His deep abiding joy and peace accompanying me.

Beyond this insertion of what will be an ongoing back and forth with the medical community into my life now (which is quite a change since I have not struggled much with even colds or flu for the past five or so years), for me personally the most disconcerting aspect of all of this has been the potential for loss of voice. I love to teach, which tends to require the ability to speak. Additionally, I love, love, love to worship our Lord in song. To date, He has blessed me to be able to record over 100 of the many original songs to Him and for Him which He has had me compose. The melodies and lyrics drop into my mind and according to His instruction I capture them to be released into our atmosphere the way He ordains, so that He would be more welcomed here. In this way, by the increase of His Spirit in our midst as He is magnified in our praises, many more individuals will seek and find Him and begin receiving His transforming gifts so that one by one nations will change and honor Him as King. Releasing these songs as the Holy Spirit leads, wherever I go, even driving in the car has become a lifestyle for me.

When the diagnosis of thyroid cancer came with surgery set as the best remedy, interiorly there was a part of me who rejoiced. No, I was neither glad to have the cancer, nor excited about surgery and losing an important gland like the thyroid, but I felt as if God were rescuing me from an enemy I had not even known my body was physically fighting. And it meant that I had not imagined the strange sensation the past few years that it was somehow harder to sing. It had simply been a little more difficult to push the air through. I had had no idea my throat was constricted. I had not known that was a possibility.  I had thought I just needed to strengthen my stomach muscles and diaphragm to provide better air support. So to me this surgery was meant for my restoration and not destruction. In addition to saving me bodily from this enemy which had been silently destroying me in hiddenness, the surgery seemed a promise God would sovereignly remove that which had been constricting my voice so it could be all God intended. By the surgery my voice would be saved and set free!

The surgeon did caution me that one risk of surgery was loss of speaking and/or singing voice. I cautioned him that both speaking and singing were very important to me. He made sure surgery included “nerve monitoring” in an effort to protect both as much as possible.

Following surgery I had a speaking voice. It was hard to speak, but it worked. It was more than a whisper. There was tone. It began monotone, but it was tone! It was weak (and is weak), but it was there.  I “tested” briefly the third day to see if the nerve which enabled singing was intact. I hummed briefly and indeed could sing two notes. But that was all. Unfathomable, when singing had been so simple, easy and completely natural before for there to be nothing beyond those two low notes which would come out.

Believing God had shown me shortly before surgery that I may have to work to fully regain my voice by persevering through specific exercises (and He had given me a picture of my friend and vocal coach, Grace, helping me through them), I wanted to learn what those exercises might be and when to start them. So I went online looking for answers. I not only needed to know when to begin working toward vocal restoration, but also how long and in what manner to rest the voice. And I did find one extraordinarily useful post by a medical doctor specializing in this area. He consoled another patient to wait for healing and not panic right after surgery. The body would need to heal. Super!

However, almost all the remainder of the posts on multiple sites were by fellow patients at various stages post-surgery who had never recovered full use of their voice for speaking or singing. They were all desperately looking for answers which didn’t seem to exist. This was very disconcerting and discouraging and began to threaten to lift the blanket of His peace under which I have rested throughout this season and replace it with worry and fear.

This morning, the Lord began working in His magnificent way in my heart: I have been listening to the wrong voices. I have been giving merit to what the other patients have written, who have made their experience public. From a practical perspective, certainly they do not represent all who have undergone the surgery, and perhaps it is more likely that those who are struggling and seeking answers will post over those who are not on the Internet searching because their recovery is proceeding with time.  That is the practical aspect.

Yet, there is more. The most important is to take these sneaky little worry-thoughts and take them captive to the Truth of Christ. First, it is possible my voice will never return to what it was and I need to find His peace in that possibility, choosing to be at rest in Him even in this. I am not to be attached to things of this world—even an ability which He gave me to speak and sing. At some point, no matter what happens now, the season for speaking and singing with this physical body will be over because this body is indeed a temporary tent and not destined for eternity. And so daily, I am working to give up my will and release it to my Lord and my God. It is a constant moment-by-moment decision to keep giving my life over to Him for Him to use as He deems fit. I fully admit this is not easy. Some moments I am strong. Others I am weak. But by His grace, I choose not to cling to anything, including my desire to continue to speak easily and sing. I choose moment-by-moment to offer my trust to Him regardless of outcome as a sacrifice of praise. In this morning’s email Inbox happened to come the following exceedingly appropriate verse:

11….I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. (Philippians 4:11b Amplified)

But this morning, I am also reminded of His promises to me and to stand in faith on them. He is the only One who controls the outcome. He is sovereign and nothing and no one knows better than He. The best of human wisdom is still foolishness to Him. He can do and allow whatever He wants! And I believe He has promised this surgery was for my restoration and not destruction—for release of my body from cancer and my voice to sing for Him more, not for its suppression.

Echoing through my mind this morning has been the Old Testament story of the ancient Israelites, after they had left Egypt, God had parted the Red Sea and for 40 days they had wandered through the wilderness led by God’s pillar of fire and pillar of cloud, they had received His commandments and now were on the verge of entering the land which the Lord had promised would be their home. This land was already inhabited by other tribes, yet God had promised it to them. In Numbers 13 and 14 is the story of how the Lord told Moses to send men ahead to explore the land of Canaan, which He was giving to the Israelites.  In it was an important reminder for me.

1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send on of its leaders.”… 17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are the unwalled or fortified? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do you best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)

21 So they went up and explored the land…23 When they reached the Valley of Eshkol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs…26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”

30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.

CHAPTER 14

1 That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3 Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

5 Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. 6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

10 But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the LORD appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. 11 The LORD said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?…21…as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times—23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. 24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. 25 Since the Amalekites and the Canaanites are living in the valleys, turn back tomorrow and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.”… 28 “So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: 29 In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. 30 Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31 As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. 32 But as for you, your bodies will fall in this wilderness. 33 Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the wilderness. 34 For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you. 35 I, the LORD, have spoken…” (Numbers 13:1-2,17-21,23,26-33; 14:1-11,21-25,28-35 NIV)

Whose report will I choose to believe? The Lord had promised me my work for Him vocally was not done. There had been a myriad of signs regarding this. Now He has allowed me to do some practical research–a sort of scouting the lay of the land. The information available through the Internet initially was disconcerting. Now….whose report will I believe. Will I be like the Israelites who saw the formidable potential obstacles before them and decided they would be overcome by these, or will I be like Joshua and Caleb who seeing the formidable potential obstacles, believed in the power and grace of God to bring them safely into that space which He had promised? The Israelites who chose to believe the bad report instead of trusting in the power of God to bring them through that which looked impossible by human means, paid a high price for their unbelief. They never entered the land God had promised them. In fact, they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years until all of them who had not trusted in God’s promise were dead. 40 years…..In the initial 40 days, the Lord had led them out of Egypt and to the border of where they would receive fulfillment of His promises to them. But by their lack of faith in God and courage to believe and follow Him, they continued to wander in this dry, barren place until they died in the wilderness. They never benefited from God’s promise because they chose to fear what they could see instead trusting in what He had promised.

Yes, the Lord has gently convicted me this morning. I have been giving too much credence to the wrong voices. May Joshua and Caleb be my guides. I will continue to be aware of medical community wisdom and published experience by a partial base of other patients, and yet I also will continue to listen for what God has to say. What He promises is that which I choose to believe. My Lord is faithful. He has never disappointed me. There has not been one thing He has promised that He has not done. I will trust in the LORD with all my heart. I will not lean on my own understanding. In all my ways I will acknowledge Him, for He alone will make my paths straight. (Based on Prov. 3:5-6) And when over time He has done what He has promised to do, it will be He who gets all the credit so that He is more known and gains greater renown, so that ever more individuals can have opportunity to see Him at work, begin to seek Him for themselves and find their ways home.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV)

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM
God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold.
This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. 
http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist.  She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way. 

For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss.    For information email info@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

 

Wearing My Dancing Shoes

In You, oh Lord, do we put our trust. You are with us always and in all things and so we choose to receive Your joy as our strength and to rejoice in You in all things. In Jesus' name, Amen
In You, oh Lord, do we put our trust. You are with us always and in all things and so we choose to receive Your joy as our strength and to rejoice in You in all things. In Jesus’ name, Amen

 by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014

written Monday, August 25, 2014

Wednesday marks two weeks since surgery to remove my thyroid due to cancer.  Tomorrow is the post op appointment with the surgeon for him to take a look at me and let us know how he thinks I am doing and where he recommends things go from here.  It is at this time he will share with us the pathology report of how much cancer there was and if they think there is still anymore.

On the day of surgery the Lord laid on my heart specifically to wear a pair of pale pink flats He pointed out for purchase a few years ago, which had tickled my fancy because they had the look of ballet shoes.  As a child, how I loved to dance!

Here in this season where we know for certain the only certainty is uncertainty, the Lord has made clear His theme for me is JOY.

JOY is not a new message from Him to me. In 2010 for the third Sunday in Advent, my friend Margaret gave me a special hand-made piece she had felt led by the Holy Spirit to crochet for me in a brilliant fuchsia color.  The Lord had had her give it to me specifically that week because the third Sunday of Advent (Advent is the four weeks preceding Christmas where Jesus, His birth, the gift of salvation and His promised second coming are contemplated) is traditionally marked with the lighting of rose or pink candle, to signify “Gaudete” or Rejoice Sunday, where we are reminded the end of Advent (the coming of Christ then, now and forever) is almost here and we can hardly contain our JOY! Her hand-crocheted piece was to remind me to have JOY—the JOY of Christ which is not dependent on, nor the same as happiness. JOY goes far beyond happiness. JOY is not dependent upon today’s circumstances.  JOY is a gift from the Lord, whenever we pursue Him and are willing to receive it.

Less than a month later in the middle of January 2011, another dear, constant, friend, Lori came over for our weekly Bible study and fellowship time together. We had not met during the final weeks in December and so she was bringing my Christmas gift.  She parked, but did not immediately get out of the car and come to the door.  She was asking the Lord to give her His words with which to write me a note to accompany the gift.  Under the wrapping paper was a beautiful large teacup, saucer and plate with the word JOY sprinkled all over them in the reds and greens of Christmas. The note said:

“The Lord gave me the word ‘Joy’ for you before Christmas and I believe that Joy is your word for 2011.  He says that you will not strive this year for every time you fall into striving, He will replace it with joy. You will experience joy as a covering….a blanket that lays on top of you and surrounds you.  You have to choose to put it on but He will be faithful to fill you and cover you in joy!” (January 13, 2011)

Lori did not know that I had gone to the fabric store under unction of the Holy Spirit following Margaret’s gift, purchased fabric and made a blanket covering for John and my bed, sewing Margaret’s bright fuchsia crocheted border along the top edge.  Lori did not know the Lord had me choose a fabric of wildflowers for the quilt-like blanket top cover and soldier camouflage for the blanket bottom underneath to symbolize the choice of joy in all circumstances—even when life seemed a battle.  God was at work through Lori and Margaret to bring me cohesive, confirming pieces of His message for me.

That was the first season of choosing JOY. This is the second.  When the diagnosis of cancer came and the surgery date had been scheduled, the Lord impressed upon me that His theme for me during this time was also JOY.  Then He proceeded to shower me with ongoing confirmations.

First, He prompted me to procure a thinner copy of the NIV Bible translation for the hospital.  I have many Bible translations.  Amplified tends to be my favorite, but the Lord was clear. Specifically He nudged me on Monday evening the week before surgery to head to the local family-owned Bible bookstore to look for the exact copy He wanted me to have.  On the shelf there I found three in the size He had shown me: black, navy and….bold fuchsia pink.  It was the identical color as Margaret’s hand-crocheted blanket border for me.  The pink seemed a little too bright based on what I would usually pick, but the Lord’s prompt was undeniable.  To have me purchase this Bible was a confirmation that despite the word “cancer” which had entered my life so abruptly, it was to be a season of JOY.  Once home, He also led me to pick up the new empty journal off my desk, which He had had me purchase a least a month earlier.  Wow.  It also was shades of pink. The Scripture embossed on the front by the publisher pointed further to choose joy because of who He is:

 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I will give thanks to Him. (Psalm 28:7)”

Okay, Lord. I am listening….

He gave me an idea.  Over the next 8 days whenever I was with a fellow believer, I would ask them to pray if the Lord gave them a particular Scripture for me and have them either write it in the Bible or mark it with their signature and the date.  There was, however, one I was to mark in the Bible first:

…for the joy of the LORD is my strength.  (Neh. 8:10)

How I loved and love this verse.  It does not say, the Lord gives me joy. It does not say joy from the Lord is my strength. It says: the joy OF the Lord is my strength. His joy is the source of my strength.

Oh Lord, You are joyful, for joy is one of the fruit of Your Spirit. It is one of Your core, unchanging attributes. Oh Lord, through Your joy I have strength to endure whatever comes. And I know You are with me at all times. And I know You will use all, all, all things for eventual good in the lives of those who love You. And I know You will never leave me or forsake me, that You are my Dwelling Place, Refuge and Sanctuary. And I know You are my Healer, not just for now but through eternity. Lord, Your joy is my strength. Your joy is my strength. Your joy is my strength. Oh Lord, in trust born of faith, I choose to receive and dwell in your JOY!

I picked up the Bible the next morning, August 5th, after my name and a Holy Spirit symbol were embossed on it and went straight to Andrea’s house for a Bible study.  Attending this Bible study was a surprise for me.  Only God had known that on this morning Andrea, a dear, dear friend and sister-in-Christ who is also going through cancer, would invite me to a special monthly Bible study cancer support group to be held at her home and hosted by Geri and Marcia, faith-filled cancer survivors.

All the others in the group had met before and so in addition to massively powerful prayer for one another that morning, Andrea shared certain Scriptures to which the week’s Bible study lessons had led her.  The first Scripture she shared was one of the first the Lord had had me memorize when I came back to faith in Him over 20 years ago.

1 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-3)

Next Andrea brought forward verses from Romans which expanded on this:

1 Therefore, since we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).  2 Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand.  And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.  3 Moreover, [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.  4 And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.  5 Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5 Amplified)

 I had shared with no one yet God’s word to me that this was to be a season of JOY, where I chose JOY and endeavored to understand His JOY more. Another verse kept repeating through my mind.

2 For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:2-3)

I had sung about this JOY for which He had endured the cross in the song, “For The Joy” which is now recorded on the RESURRECTION JOY worship CD.  This verse along with Nehemiah 8:10 stating His JOY is our strength seemed so key to me.

I continued to read on my own in Hebrews, remembering that discipline frequently refers to training, not necessarily punishment:

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all…10…God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.  11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.  (Hebrews 12:6-8,10b-13)

All right, Lord. I do want to be closer to You. I do so desire to reflect You more, because my eyes are on You and Your way alone.  Have Your Way, Lord. Have Your Way.

Following the amazing Bible study time, I traveled to Placerville and had a wonderful time with my cousin Loretta at Holy Trinity Church, followed by the blessing of spending that evening with Lonnie and Angela.  Lonnie gave me the following verse:

The LORD will fight for you; you need only be still. (Exodus 14:14)

This also had long been one of my favorite verses.  Given the significance of the number 14 in my life this past year, this verse from Lonnie was really cool!  I began to page through the Bible for what Angela had put.  The Lord stayed my hand.  NOT NOW. Rats!  The little girl in me wanted to find it like a gift at Christmas!  I obediently though reluctantly closed my Bible and my eyes for the night.

Several mornings later, I stumbled upon her message and highlighted Scripture:

You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. (1 Thess. 1:6 NIV)

To this Angela had written in the margin: “Keep in the joy!!! J Have FUN in IT ALL!!”

JOY….again, JOY.  The Lord was amazing me with the clarity of where He wanted my focus to be.

It struck me that God and thus His Spirit are consistent in all circumstances. When there is a hard time, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, the character of the manifestation of His presence in our lives does not change.  And one of these fruit is JOY.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control…”

My husband entered the hospital room where I had been moved following recovery on the day of surgery with a bouquet of flowers festively packaged in a bright yellow mug with a smiley face on it.  JOY! The flowers I have received from friends in the Lord since the surgery are all shades of pinks and red.  I did not tell them the color the Lord has given me for this season of JOY, but the Holy Spirit nudged them each in just the right way to unknowingly re-affirm His message.

And so proceeding to this appointment, I do not know what the future holds.  Yet, honestly nothing has changed.  Before the cancer diagnosis I did not know what the future held either.   It is God in my life from now through eternity, Who is my certainty.  He has always been the only certainty for He knows all and we do not, have not, will not and have never been in control.  Thus He is the One upon whom I have relied for years and He remains the only One upon whom I can rely. He knows the plans He has for me and these He promises are for good and not for evil all the days of this mortal existence until He calls me home. (Based on Jeremiah 29:11.)  This is not an empty-headed joy which I force upon myself with imagination, but a JOY given by God, which I choose to receive, because I choose to trust in God and His promises.  This does not make me brave or courageous or even strong.  His JOY is my strength, remember?  It means I know all I can do is lean on Him and trust in Him.

Several of the verses the Lord gave me on this journey affirm this.  First from Danielle:

5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  6  I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.  (Psalm 13:5-6)

From Grace:

1 In you, LORD my God, I put my trust. (Psalm 25:1)

And one He brought me to right after diagnosis, while spending my private morning time with Him:

Because You are my help; I sing in the shadow of Your wings. (Psalm 63:7)

Therefore for this appointment I choose once again to wear my rose-colored top and my light pink, ballet-styled dancing shoes. I choose to count it all JOY for the JOY of my Lord is my strength now and forever.

May you also feel His blessing upon you at all times no matter what, and as you lean on Him more and more may you be filled with and strengthened by HIS JOY!!!

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM
God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold.
This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. 
http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist.  She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way. 

For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss.    For information email info@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

 

Silencing What-If’s and Resting in God

Magnificent Lord, Your Way is beyond understanding and yet beautiful beyond description. Give us Your eyes to view each step in our lives with Your perspective from here to eternity. We rejoice in You. We rejoice in who You are. We rejoice in what You are doing that we neither see nor understand because we know it is good!
Magnificent Lord, Your Way is beyond understanding and yet beautiful beyond description. Give us Your eyes to view each step in our lives with Your perspective from here to eternity. We choose to be Your children who will not always comprehend and yet rejoice in You for we trust completely in Your faithfulness and love. We rejoice in who You are. We rejoice in what You are doing even when we can neither see nor understand it because we know ultimate plan is good!

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014

[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), (2 Cor. 10:5 NIV)

Will they get all the cancer during surgery? I don’t know. Will I lose my ability to speak and sing?  I don’t know.  Will I even make it to the surgery given the dangerous, congested freeways around us? I don’t know. Will I wake up tomorrow? I don’t know.

Questions like these if we allow them to become our preoccupation can be crippling. We do not and won’t ever have answers to questions such as these, for the future is not ours to know ahead of time.

I also don’t need to know. God has given me this moment, this “now”, and I am thankful.

Not knowing what’s ahead and choosing not to worry does not mean being unaware of negative as well as positive possibilities. But worry does not change anything the future might hold. It simply steals the joy and peace God wants to give me in this moment, if I will choose to trust Him, even to rest in Him and His promises. I choose that place of rest (instead of worry). It is a conscious choice. It is a choice walked out in the action of constantly taking my thoughts captive to Christ. This entails trying to catch the little glimmers of what-if’s which stoke the fires of fear within each of us and then choosing to change where my mind is focused to the promises and attributes of God, such as: Lord, You are the sovereign, Holy One. You are in control. All things are in Your hands. You have the plan to use all things for good and not for evil. Nothing can snatch me out of your hand. You provide all my needs…And endlessly on it goes.

This does not mean His ensuing answer as the future unfolds into the present will match what I want. Ultimately He does not promise to always physically heal us. In due time on His appointed day we are each destined to proceed to Him in heaven with all the angels and saints who have gone before! Even the ones Jesus miraculously healed or raised from the dead, eventually died. All of us are continuing to journey through. God has put us here for such a time as this to represent Him even (in fact especially) during times when we must we lean on Him in order to be able to handle that which was not desired.

This moment is what we have. God is with us. He sees every joy, every sorrow and catches our tears in a bottle. He waits to wipe away every tear when we are finally with Him in eternity. In the meantime, He never lets us go. He has engraved us on the palm of His hands and will carry us when we are too weak to walk ourselves if we will but keep our eyes (concentration and focus) on Him. He has purpose for us in this moment in our “now”, for as Master He has designed the Master Plan and as Master Shepherd He leads us into it.

How shall this moment be best put to use? How does God want me to put it to use? His plans are better than mine. I am listening and He will lead me in them.

But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel:  “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters,  I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;… (Isa. 43:1-3a NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  (Jer. 29:11 NIV)

PRAYER:  Lord God, Ruler of the heavens and the earth You are. Mightier than all, existent and unchanging forever, in Your infinite wisdom wrought from the unfathomable depths of Your love, You created us in this love to be with You forever. It saddens You to see us here where difficulties are our lot and wrong perceptions masquerading as truth oppress us, and yet despite what our choices deserve, You have not forgotten and will not forget us. You sent Jesus so we could be rescued, reconciled in our relationship with You and restored to the place You ordained for us before we were even created. Lord, You are the perfect and Holy One. You are the One with the plan and strategy. You are the One who will eventually call us home. Lord God, give us Your strength for today, regardless of what we are each facing. Manifest Your presence in response to our worship and adoration, encourage us with the Truth contained in Your Word, fill us with joy at knowing You more and give us Your strategy for this moment. Your will is all we want. We choose to be followers of Jesus. We choose to follow Your Way home. We choose to let Your joy be our strength and to rejoice in all that we know You are doing especially when we cannot see.  Holy Spirit, sent from the Father at the request of Jesus, we are looking to You to lead us. You say if we will seek You, You will be found and You speak to us and guide us. We are listening. We desire every day for You to use us to be Your representatives to others along the way. Holy One that we love, our trust is in You. Our eyes are on You. We choose even when life’s storms arise to look to You alone for Your eternally good answers. For You are God and there is no other. You control all and all things are in Your perfect hands. Indeed, we gratefully accept Your invitation to lay our burdens down and take our place at rest in You even in this moment. Thank You for Your provision and boundless love. We are in awe. In Jesus’ name, Amen

God bless you!

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM
God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold.
This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. 
http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com
 

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist.  She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way. 

For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss.    For information email info@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org