Decorating My Heart With His Joy

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Holy Baby, come to set us free. In love descending, in love never-ending Your care for souls from here to eternity.  We are awestruck at Your majesty and how You love and come to rest today and every day in You.

 

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2016

Outside cold rain pouring down. Certainly in the mountains it is snowing. Unusual rain. Unusual temperatures. Actually a sense of autumn. I love the rain and its coolness and wish it could be thus every year.

Normally in our part of Northern California, October is hot and dry (long after we are ready for autumn rain and cooler temperatures) and November is temperate, often still too warm to feel like autumn completely dry. It is not common to have lots of rain in autumn or for the temperatures to feel like fall. Our autumn is usually one of bold and bronze colors but not of the cooler temperatures usually associated with how   one imagines the season should be.

This year we have autumn. Unusual rains and cooler temperatures in October and now a rainy, cold Thanksgiving. And the Holy Spirit is reminding me of His message in the rain and storms.

Oh, Lord, thank You for autumn and with the faith of being Your child, I say thank You, Lord, for storms which bring Your water into the spiritual deserts of hurting, dry hearts so seeds long thought dead can finally sprout and Your new life can come forth!

We received devastating news about someone we love the day before Thanksgiving.

As in everyday there is a choice to be made. Is God truly God or is He not? In my twenties I lived ten years in the place where I didn’t see how God could be real. Yet during those years when I chose to be absent from Him, I was dying without Him. No joy. No true peace. I was floundering to figure things out on my own and to make sense of it all even while I tried to stand resolute, firm and brave. But I was on a faulty foundation.

I returned 25+ years ago to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (the perfect representation of Father and the One who requested the Holy Spirit for us). This means by definition of faith, I do not have HIM all figured out. Yet, I have been witness to repeating, increasing evidence of God at work especially through what seem to be the worst circumstances. He never fails to work through all things to bring for the breakthrough, life and LIFE.

We are broken, imperfect humans, living broken, imperfect lives where we often make unwise choices which can lead to horrible consequences for us and those around us.

And though with us providing His blessing through all things, God’s greatest gifts are eternal in nature and He uses what we consider life’s worst to get others as well as us in position to receive His eternal blessings (which begin now).

The unusual rain is impetus to keep listening for what God wants. In addition, also in this unusual rain I sense His promise. It is His promise of restoration, increased life and LIFE if we will stay the course and seek to walk in His specific will.

When we first became aware of the direction things had actually taken for the one we love, it was Christmas Eve 2015 for me. The Lord nudged me that this revelation was part of my Christmas gift. At first, this just seemed cruel and unlike God. That is, until we recognize once again that it’s often through these things which seem so awful, that He is bringing His gifts. Through the storm, He is answering prayers and growing our spiritual muscle. We receive the gift of increased intimacy with Him while He is about the deep work of answering our prayers. This is because often when we have prayed for someone, only He has down the depth and expanse of what is needed to answer these prayers.

I have prayed what I call, “The Ugly Prayer” for those I love:

“Lord, take the ones I love wherever they need to go in life in order to come into the fullness of what you have for them and so they can walk out the God-given assignments You have for them.”

I meant it when I prayed this prayer even though I was completely aware that what I was praying for would not be answered by everything being easy and positive for those I loved. It would mean pitfalls and exposed weak spots which He would then lovingly tend to and shore up on Him the Rock and right foundation.

I could not pray the other prayer which was always so tempting: “Lord, protect the ones I love from everything which could harm them and let nothing bad happen in their lives.” This was not a prayer the Lord could answer the same way. Here remains earth and not heaven. There will be no escape from difficulties. Answer to this prayer would not bring us into the potential richness God had for us–into those blessed places where we must choose to let Him be God and grow us or not.

We live in a broken, fallen world with broken, faulty people who will affect themselves and others in ways which are not always right or good. Here will never be heaven. Ever. Human wisdom and way fails over and over through all generations.

So now in the midst of a raging storm, am I going to cower in fear, cry out in panic or give up in despair and become crippled by it? Has God changed? Is He still King over all on His throne? Have any of His promises been nullified?

No, God remains God and faithful. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Therefore, I will remain in Him, gazing at Him, singing His praises. He always has been and remains my singular hope. It is on His strength, power, wisdom, way and promises which I rely. His joy is my strength and in who He is and what He promises is my ongoing joy in spite of what I can see. I will sing His praises through it all and never stop, for I know who He is:

My Lord, You are Victor. You are never done. My Lord, You are Creator and Father who loves those I love even more than I do. My Lord, You are sovereign and nothing thwarts Your purposes. My Lord, Your purpose is eternal union with You because You are love. Heavenly One, Your love is unstoppable and supreme beyond defining. You are always Victor, my Savior and King. You, Lord, are the Shepherd who tends to very sheep. Because You are love, Your searching does not cease. You came to a manger, to show us the Father. Your love never ending, our Lamb and High Priest.

I either believe in Him or I don’t and He has shown me too much evidence of who He is and how He works not to believe. The enemy brings storms to destroy. God uses the storms to usher in His Living Water—Life comes forth through the storms.

So what am I to do? Will I crumble in the face of what I see for these waves are dangerously high? Or will I choose to continue to walk on water as He calls me, with eyes only for Him because my Lord calls me out. When He is resting in my boat will I panic, thinking He doesn’t notice the storm or rely on Him to know and bring it to cease and be still at His proper time (after His objectives have been accomplished).

My goal is to be in His will. My goal is to remain in Him receiving His joy and peace. This means I will choose to rejoice, give Him glory and rely on Him in this place.

The last few years I have decorated for Christmas less and more slowly. It has seemed like something which could easily get out of hand and in our exuberance—actually distract from focus on Jesus who came without worldly decorations or fanfare (even as heaven rejoiced).

But this year, in this excruciatingly hard place, I will walk by faith and as an expression of trust in Him, I will let nothing steal His gift of joy. Therefore as a symbolic expression of trust and commitment to be engaged in the party, I will decorate already today and enter into the celebration of my current and coming King, in thanksgiving for Who He has always been, is and will be.

#ocomeletusadoreHim #decoratingmyheartwithhisjoy #worshipHismajesty #trustintheLordwithallyourheart

END

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
 

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

For more information on books, worship albums, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro  please visit  www.elizabethfulgaro.com . Music can be purchased and audio clips heard at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

Elizabeth also posts brief devotions and prayers on Facebook on her page: Spiritual Armor and Ammo where you will find more posts of God’s truth and His way to help you stand strong against the battles of this life in which we all find ourselves.

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit 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.   

Source of Christ-mas JOY

Holy One, You are the Source of our joy. Magnificent and wonderful, all the hard things pale in the Light of Your eternal plan. All I want to see this Christmas is You. By focusing on You and what You have done and how You did it and reflecting on what You promise to come, I sense Your joy in Your giving and You give me Your strength. Lord, thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your care. Thank You for Christmas and the reason You came. I have hope and can look forward only because of You. Thank You for holding me close when human means of celebration hurt. You are all that I want and all that I need. In Jesus' name, Amen
Holy One, You are the Source of our joy. Magnificent and wonderful, all the hard things pale in the Light of Your eternal plan. All I want to see this Christmas is You. By focusing on You and what You have done and how You did it and reflecting on what You promise to come, I sense Your joy in Your giving and You give me Your strength. Lord, thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your care. Thank You for Christmas and the reason You came. I have hope and can look forward only because of You. Thank You for holding me close when human means of celebration hurt. Show me how You want me to commemorate Your birth this year and give me Your peace in it. You are all that I want and all that I need.  I look to You for all direction and comfort. In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

Most of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus already know Christmas is not about presents, or gathering with people we love, decorations, lights or Christmas trees. Ultimately it is not about kindness to others or even a baby in a manger. Christmas celebrates and commemorates God come down to earth as one of us while remaining fully God and living with us, then dying and rising again to life everlasting in order to reveal the true nature of our Creator, Father God, open up the Way (His Way) and show us the Way home.

This is a way of restoration. We all need to be restored. We are born without the ability to live out our destiny with and through God, Who created us. We were not created to “get” from Him (though He provides all things to us), but to rely on Him and give to Him.

This is the feast of Christ (“Christ-mas”): that the Lord God, knowing we could never achieve it for ourselves, demonstrated His incomprehensibly infinite and unconditional love for us by being born, living and suffering unjustly until His death in order to ransom us from captivity in a temporal, fallen world. We celebrate freedom from this life being all there is. We celebrate the gift that death at His appointed time has become the door for each of us into ultimate fulfillment of all His promises instead of a bitter end and defeat of all for which we had hoped.

This is what we celebrate. The rest is mere trappings we have chosen to add to it.

So what, if we don’t want to set up a Christmas tree?! So what, if we don’t feel like parties, decorations, baking or celebrating our current life? While these can be very special additions to Christmas, they are not the core. Christmas is a celebration and commemoration of the birth of hope into our world. Jesus’ birth was the beginning of the Lord visibly fulfilling His greatest promise to us: never to leave us or forget us here, but to provide for us the way to the eternal home which He always intended for us.   Christmas reminds us that because He was born, He showed us the Father. He demonstrated His unfathomable love by going to the cross before we ever knew Him or pledged allegiance to Him. Selfless. Giving. Forever. Love. From Him. For us. Christmas is the hope of the Resurrection for our future and the promise of Pentecost where He remains with us through the Holy Spirit leading us today.

Candles and lights remind us of the Light of hope, truth and love which He is, shining into our darkness. Evergreen trees brought inside in winter remind us of never-ending life, which is His promise because of Jesus. Red reminds of the blood Jesus selflessly, sacrificially shed to give us this eternal life and green represents the combination of His restoration and the LIFE to which He invites. The gifts we give and the kindness we pursue are supposed to represent the overflowing outpourings of love we have for Him because He loved us, which we shower on others because we have deep inner need to pour out for others because of how He has done for us.

And yet, kindness as an expression of our love for Him in light of His love for us has no season. And none of the trappings we associate with Christmas are essential.

The core of Christmas is simply Christ. Christ celebrated. Christ adored. Thanksgiving for what He has done and will do with a focus on eternal more than temporal.

If you enjoy all the trappings we associate with Christmas then enjoy! If you find yourself in a place in life where this does not fit, then do not feel obliged and do not allow anyone to cause you to feel obliged. Be kind and just say “no”.

The essential is Christ.

Sit at His feet. Ask Him whatever you want. Tell Him you wish it weren’t so. Cry your tears and remain with Him.

May it be the most beautiful, significant season of celebrating His coming ever. Here is not our home. Let us truly celebrate the One who is our hope because He is the One Who came and is coming again. LIFE!

END

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
 

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 more information on books, worship albums, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit  www.elizabethfulgaro.com . Music can be purchased and audio clips heard at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

Elizabeth also posts brief devotions and prayers on Facebook on her page: Spiritual Armor and Ammo where you will find more posts of God’s truth and His way to help you stand strong against the battles of this life in which we all find ourselves.

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 Deer on the Hill (and Carols At The Capitol)

Lord, we come to adore You
Lord, we come to adore You, Victor Savior and King.  Heavenly host declared Your coming.  We gather today to sing.  We declare who You are. Every promise is true. We rejoice in what You have said, in who You have been and will always be. Heavenly King, we adore You. Yes, forever.

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

The date was Saturday, December 14, 2013: the first Carols At The Capitol gathering. I had spent the night at our Placerville home to be closer to the state capitol, Sacramento. The Lord called me out on a walk shortly after dawn. The air was cold, frost covered the little valley like a light blanket of snow. It was spectacular. The path crunched under my feet. Ice decorated the leaves on nearby blackberry vines like lace. I watched as the flock of swans rose from the reservoir on their daily flight around the area, the newly risen sun tinging their wings with cream-colored gold. At the conclusion of the walk just before I went back inside, the Lord prompted me to turn around one last time at the back garden gate. He nudged me to point my camera up the adjacent hill. I thought it was to be positioned to take a photo of the still rising sun through the trees. However, at the moment my camera was in place, a doe came forward on the slope above and into view. Her warm breath condensed into puffs like steam as it came forth from her nostrils. We stood staring at each other.

In that moment I realized that though December 14, 2013 was Carols At The Capitol to me, to the Lord’s creation it was just another day—and this was a good thing, it was a God-thing. We place varying degrees of importance and value on different days. To the Lord they are all of equal important—of great importance. Each is to be savored and simply lived trusting Him and thus in His peace.

There was some nervousness which accompanied the first Carols At The Capitol. All we wanted was the Lord’s will and we had worked so hard to create what we hoped He wanted. Would anyone come? Would it be what He had wanted? Had we heard Him correctly?

The deer on the hill. The swans in morning flight. Blackberry leaves frosted with frozen lace. An inner sigh.

There was no pressure in this day. There was to be no pressure in any day. It didn’t matter if anyone else came. It was His will for us to be there. And so we would be. Period. We would make our imperfect, childlike offering of Christmas worship on the steps of the state capitol. To our Lord this would be like any other day. He was simply looking if we would obey.

He had asked for us to simply come and offer Christmas carols as worship—to come seeking Him like the Wise Men. No more. No less. Simply….Simply that. Simply worship. Simply joy. Simply peace. All from Him as we did it for Him.

There was no concern or pressure necessary. It was simply our task for the day.  His task. It was to be bliss, not worry in every regard.

If we just came and offered the Christmas carols as worship, as He had seemed to be asking, He would bless it according to His promises. As He had promised my friend (and Founder of Carols At The Capitol), Andrea, if we would worship Him with Christmas carols at the seat of human government, entering the gate into the courts of the highest place in the state, then He would bring us a righteous leader. Was it righteous leader or was it the Righteous One as our Leader?

Recently, in discussion with Andrea’s daughter, Alanna, it has seemed clear He meant if we would simply go seeking Him like the Wise Men and make our offering of Christmas worship, then He would inhabit our land with more of Himself because by our worship we would be welcoming Him (inviting Him to have His way with us no matter who was in government).

Today, we gather again at state capitols to sing Christmas carols as worship to Him with one voice–not only in California, but in other states as well. Andrea worships from heaven, already in the presence of our King. We come seeking this true King, whose Kingdom is not of this world. We come to adore Him, to acknowledge Him as our true Leader, to give Him our hearts and our lives, pledging allegiance to Him by acknowledging what He has done and will do. Christmas carols. Christmas worship. Simply. Our hearts full and overflowing with joy because He came, lived, died, rose and is coming again.

Christmas was the beginning of the fulfillment of all His promises. We begin with Christmas worship to invite Him to be the Righteous Leader over all of us again, and to sovereignly influence the minds of those who govern to rule His way in love, fairness and justice.

All creation is constantly declaring His glory. All the time. Every day.  No matter what.

We join creation and sing. Christmas worship. We declare Him with hearts filled with joy. And we thank Him for another day to declare Him and live in His perfect provision and care until our days here are done and He takes us home.

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
 

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 more information on books, worship albums, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit  www.elizabethfulgaro.com . Music can be purchased and audio clips heard at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

Elizabeth also posts brief devotions and prayers on Facebook on her page: Spiritual Armor and Ammo where you will find more posts of God’s truth and His way to help you stand strong against the battles of this life in which we all find ourselves.

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  

 

Christmas Is Not Always Easy

Joy to the world! You have come! Let all heaven and nature sing!  In You we live, move and have our being. Only through You and the understanding You give us of the temporal nature of this temporary life and the ongoing spiritual battle where evil desires to destroy and remove good (and Good) forever, can we understand our lives. Thank You for special time with others if that is Your plan for us this year. But more than anything, thank You for the Gift You were and are to us. You are the reason we celebrate Christmas for at this time we choose to remember that no matter what we are going through You love us, are with us and are leading us to that sweet place where there is no more pain and no more tears and we are with You where our joy is complete forever.  Light of the world, continue to help us to see You and never lose sight of You and Your precious, blessed, "splendiferous" way.  Praise to YOU, Lord Jesus Christ for in You and by You we greet all we know joyously with Merry CHRISTmas!  In Jesus' name, Amen
Joy to the world! You have come! Let all heaven and nature sing! In You we live, move and have our being. Only through You and the understanding You give us of the temporal nature of this temporary life and the ongoing spiritual battle where evil desires to destroy and remove good (and Good) forever, can we understand our lives. Thank You for special time with others if that is Your plan for us this year. But more than anything, thank You for the Gift You were and are to us. You are the reason we celebrate Christmas for at this time we choose to remember that no matter what we are going through You love us, are with us and are leading us to that sweet place where there is no more pain and no more tears and we are with You where our joy is complete forever. Light of the world, continue to help us to see You and never lose sight of You and Your precious, blessed, “splendiferous” way. Praise to YOU, Lord Jesus Christ for in You and by You we greet all we know joyously with Merry CHRISTmas! In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014

Despite all the societal hype about what Christmas should look like, Christmas is not always easy. In fact, for many, Christmas is a time of year which by focus on the pictures of perfect families, beautiful decorations, gifts and abundantly set tables consistently is like salt rubbing in open wounds or that which rips off scabs and inflicts pain from loss, grief or injury anew.

For me, the only answer is to return to the true meaning of Christmas. The birth of Christ was not accompanied by great feasts or frenzied calendars of seemingly endless preparations or pressure to find and wrap the perfect gift. The miracle was uncomplicated and for the most part unseen. It was natural daily life of supernatural proportion and implication. A poor young woman accompanied her husband to Bethlehem in obedience to the call for a census and though they could find no place for lodging gave birth to her Son and laid Him in an animal feed trough for she had no cradle.  The angels alerted the shepherds who had to choose to leave their work to go worship Him and the wise men also left their normal pre-occupations to seek out the newborn King they believed had come. Though supreme King over all things–natural and supernatural, physical and spiritual– and Creator of the universe, no one else knew He had come.

Christ was born and by His life, death and resurrection opened the door for reconciled relationship for each of us with Father God so we could receive our destiny in Him and through Him for eternity for which He created us! He promised blessings to those who followed Him even during this temporal life! However, He did not promise a life of ease or without problems.

The people of Israel were waiting for a Savior who would save them from earthly injustice. Instead, here came a King who would bring them through the trials of this fallen life, but not eliminate those trials. Here remains earth, not heaven. But Jesus made heaven possible. Jesus gave back our future and hope to those who would choose to follow. Jesus became Emmanuel—God with us—not just through eternity, but now as well so that when we struggle it is with Him at our side along with His promise to bring something good from it. Earthly governments are not overrun by Christ; individual hearts become filled to overflowing with the reality of God so that we inherit life with Him forever following this temporal existence and His love begins to flow through us to change the world within its existing ignorant structures.

Christmas is not about the tree or the gifts or the feasts, family or guests. Christmas is about the coming of God into our world to open the door home and lead us there Himself. This is what we sing about and it is in this rejoice. Everything else, while it can be nice, is like a piece of wrapping paper which is pretty today, but the day after Christmas seems to have turned gray and is ready to be thrown out. This is Christmas joy! True joy is not found in that which is passing away…true joy is in the hope of who we are to Him and what is yet to come!

In order to survive and even thrive at Christmas we need to focus on the Gift Himself who provides His hope, love, direction and care not just during December but throughout the year. Christmas is a time to remember, revere and focus on Him. It is time to give Him the glory He is due by announcing to the world, death is not the end and injustice will not be victorious because we serve an eternal supernatural supreme King.  And when times have been hard and not what has been desired we are to cling exactly to these promises.

Indeed this year our family will gather. There will be gifts under a decorated Christmas tree. I am baking special cookies which it seems I only take the time to make at this time of year. But there are two separate dynamics at work here. There is the dynamic of choosing this time of year as one to gather and enjoy each other’s company and there is the dynamic of setting aside time to quietly remember the One who came and gives us all hope for the future we cannot provide for ourselves where there will finally justice, only goodness, joy and endless reunion without pain or sorrow. So MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone. Jesus came, lived, died, rose, ascended, sent His Spirit who is with us now through the good and bad which will be and we are all on our journey home.  May you sense His presence with you through at all as He blesses you and keeps you, as He makes His face to shine upon you and offers you His peace.

Note: By the way this does not mean I am sad. For us it is a blessed, bliss-filled Christmas abounding with thanksgiving. But there are way too many others I know for whom Christmas is not easy and will not be. There needed to be something written which acknowledges this and points to the true essence of Christmas, away from what we have added to it, in order to help the time be blessed and perhaps in some small way more meaningful enjoyable again for all of us every year–no matter what. Merry Christmas all!

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

It is the season we remember Christ’s birth. For new original worship music with which to go deeper in Christ through reflecting on Him this blessed season, visit CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro . CHRISTMAS WORSHIP and the newly released CHRISTMAS BELLS CALL TO WORSHIP are available now in CD and downloadable format.  

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  Music can be purchased and audio clips heard 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  

 

Once Upon A Time There Was A KING

Holy Jesus come to earth to make the way for us back to Father, we lift our hands in thanks and bow our faces in reverential awe. Our gratitude cannot be measured. There are no words to describe how amazed we are at Your magnificent majesty, Your supreme perfection and yet Your unending love which manifests in Your mercy and forgiveness and the gift of Your grace through Jesus. Thank You, for coming! Thank You for living to reveal Father and obeying unto death so He could raise You as the first and we could know we are welcomed into our True Family and that heaven and sweet reunion awaits. Thank You, Emmanuel for coming and for sending Your Holy Spirit during this sometimes arduous journey home. You are our hope. You are our future. You are our strength, our shield, our provision and the Source of all joy. You are all that we want and all that we need. Thank You for the Gift of Yourself which is the essence of Christmas. In Jesus' name, Amen
Holy Jesus come to earth to make the way for us back to Father, we lift our hands in thanks and bow our faces in reverential awe. Our gratitude cannot be measured. There are no words to describe how amazed we are at Your magnificent majesty, Your supreme perfection and yet Your unending love which manifests in Your mercy and forgiveness and the gift of Your grace through Jesus. Thank You, for coming! Thank You for living to reveal Father and obeying unto death so He could raise You as the first and we could know we are welcomed into our True Family and that heaven and sweet reunion awaits. Thank You, Emmanuel for coming and for sending Your Holy Spirit during this sometimes arduous journey home. You are our hope. You are our future. You are our strength, our shield, our provision and the Source of all joy. You are all that we want and all that we need. Thank You for the Gift of Yourself which is the essence of Christmas. In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014

Once upon a time, there was a King who was greater than any other king who had ever been because this King of all kings was also the Creator of the universe and thus He our world and everything in it.  He had neither beginning nor end. He had always been and would always be. Unchanging at all times, He was Truth. He had always reigned supreme and always would.  Most importantly, He did not just love. He was unlimited, unending, unconditional Love. It was and is His essence.

In the time between the beginning and the time which was, the people who He had created to be the object of His love chose another ruler instead of the King because they did not want to submit to the King’s Way. As the treasured inheritance He had chosen and made for Himself, the King had promised to perfectly care for and provide for His beloved people forever. This was His joy and an expression of His supreme love. He would be in them and with them and they in Him and with Him forever. This was the King of the spiritual realm and the physical realm because the physical, natural realm was created by the King in the supernatural, spiritual.

The King loved the ones He had created too much to have them with Him if they chose to follow the way of another and so He let them go, actually banishing them from His presence so they could continue to attempt to live whatever way they chose, a way which did not match His. However, again His love reigned supreme over what His people deserved and He provided for them better than they could provide for themselves.  He put goodness and His loving touch in each of their lives, in a place which should have only contained hardship and sorrow.

How good was this King! How kind! But this was because He could not be different than He was. Thus there was nothing about Him which was not good and so being goodness personified and the only One in whom goodness could be found, the ruler who the people chose to follow, who encouraged each to live whatever way he or she thought best, was not good and there was no goodness in him.  The people the King loved were under the dominion (rulership) of one who held them captive in their own desires to that which was not the King’s best for them, for He knew that for which He had created them.  Some of the people knew this and mourned the loss of their citizenship in the Kingdom of the King of kings. Many others simply could not make sense of lives which seemed like they should be good but so often were filled with so much which was not.

The place where the people now lived was not everlasting.  There was evil, injustice, hatred, anger, selfishness, war and no peace because the spirit of the world who had dominion (right to rule) was by nature completely contrary to the nature of the One True King. As in the times of the Israelites’ captivity under the oppressors in Egypt, the people through the generations cried out for their spiritual freedom. Somehow deep inside they knew they were destined for something more. The yearning within them for it was insatiable and gave them no rest.  Ongoing they let their misery be known as a despairing sigh released without ceasing into the spiritual atmosphere echoing into the presence of the King who was and is love.  They could not understand how their lives could be so hard and there could be so much unavoidable sorry, grief and even death (no matter how hard they tired) when they had heard there was a King who was and is love.

But the King understood. He remembered the choice made by the people’s ancestors to go their own way and follow this spirit who led them contrary to His kingdom Way, which was the only true Way and the Way where true joy, peace, goodness and love could be found (for these things were found only in and by Him) And this King who was by His very nature their Lord (the One who ruled over them still because He ruled over all) loved those He had made too much to leave them in their misery without a way out. He had always heard their cries and He had always planned to answer.

So at His perfectly appointed time, the King sent His Son to dwell with the people and reveal the Truth of who He is and His way and to be a partaker in His ultimate plan which would make the way for all who chose now to follow Him, to enter back into the destiny for which He had made them. Like the story His Son told of the son who went his own way, found it did not work, squandered his inheritance and sought to return to his father’s house, so the King now through His Son’s life, birth and obedient sacrifice unto death, stood on the road with open arms to welcome each of us back if we chose to turn, seek to come toward Him and embrace Him.

In the years to come, as the people who had not understood now comprehended who the Son had been and what He had done opening the way to eternal spiritual reunion with Father who all who would turn and follow, the people also began to celebrate this Gift of hope which had been sent into their misery so that each person knew, the King was spiritually with them in exile and He Himself would lead them home. Each person had only to seek to follow. And they called the festival which celebrated His birth, Christmas—the celebration of the coming of the Christ—the One appointed by the King to come, make the way and lead us back into the Kingdom of the King for which we were created, so that our misery might be lessened and our joy increased now and forever.

Thus people began to set-aside a particular time of year to rejoice in the future and hope the King provided for us through His Son, and to honor Him and all He has done for us, which we could never do for ourselves and could never, ever earn (for it is a Gift). The people chose not to work, making as a time of Sabbath rest and declared it to be a season where we focus on loving one another in honor of the One who is Love and gave back Life with Him to us. This is the reason for Christmas. It is our hope. He is our joy.

All the rest is our human strivings to make this time into something others have told us it should be. Yet, whether we are together with others or alone, Christmas is a time to honor, remember, contemplate and worship the King of kings who desires to give us better and more than we could ever imagine. Christmas is a time when if we allow it by choosing to spend focused time with Him, we join with the rejoicing happening in heaven ongoing and heaven seems to touch earth. And according to His perfect will and plan, as He sees our eyes at rest on Him, revering Him and waiting on His Word, He will give increased gifts to our hearts which will strengthen us for this sometimes arduous journey home which will be touched by injustice, hurt and grief. In this way He can take even that which seems unbearable here and bring something good—something eternal–out of it as He increasingly flows through us in all circumstances to continue to offer His hope through His love to the world.  MERRY BLESSED CHRISTMAS!

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it…14 And The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth…16 For from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace. (John 1:1-5,14,16)

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  (John 3:16-17)

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

It is the season we remember Christ’s birth. For new original worship music with which to go deeper in Christ through reflecting on Him this blessed season, visit CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro . CHRISTMAS WORSHIP and the newly released CHRISTMAS BELLS CALL TO WORSHIP are available now in CD and downloadable format.  

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  Music can be purchased and audio clips heard 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  

 

Ordinary Day (part 2)

Oh, Lord God, You never cease to amaze me. The wonders of what You enable! When we trust in You, You take what seems impossible and make it so easy! Thank You, Lord for how You provide for all our needs perfectly in Your perfect timing. Thank You, Lord for the photographs You enabled, for this Your Christmas worship music project.  That which seemed for me too much and impossible, You enabled in an instant. I am in awe of You!!! In JESUS' name, Amen
Oh, Lord God, You never cease to amaze me. The wonders of what You enable! When we trust in You, You take what seems impossible and make it so easy! Thank You, Lord for how You provide for all our needs perfectly in Your perfect timing. Thank You, Lord for the photographs You enabled, for this Your Christmas worship music project. That which seemed for me too much and impossible, You enabled in an instant. I am in awe of You!!! In JESUS’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6 NIV)

Beginning with the gift of rain, the morning of October 15th had been as amazing and filled with “kisses” from the Lord, showing us His presence as the afternoon before. This is the way of a life dedicated to being followers of Christ as directed by the Holy Spirit. I returned to our home in awe, extoling the Lord for His incredible ways.

Back at the house the Lord was very specific in having me prepare early for departure. Normally I departed from El Dorado County in the evening after dinner, but this afternoon the Lord had me set most everything together to move into the car as soon as I got back from the special tea time in Coloma. “Pack your overnight bag now and move it to the door.” “Close the windows and lock the other doors now.” It was still hours before I expected to go run my errands. This meant when it was time to leave, I would not to have to pack up, but merely set the last items in the car and be on my way. This was unusual, but the Lord always knows what He is doing, so I obeyed.

On my mind that afternoon was when He wanted me to go to town to make the donation of the other items now in the back of my car to the hospice thrift shop. I also needed to get gas and I really wanted to get some packages in the mail. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure yet if going to the post office was on His list for me. I knew the packages needed to be mailed, but as usual my “to-do” list was greater than the time available, so I needed Him to put His order to it. His will was always better than my plan. I wanted His.

Too many times in the past I had been delayed from mailing packages when I wanted and had ended mailing them when I thought I was late only to discover when the packages arrived that the Lord had known the exact moment the recipient needed to receive them and had orchestrated my schedule to set up His timing. Thus already before lunch as I sat on the front porch working on some writing, I was asking, “Lord, am I going to the post office today? When do I need to leave for town Lord?” The questions repeated in my mind to Him over and over. He had given me as yet no sense of His answer.

Initially I had hoped perhaps October 15th would be the day I get to visit my dear friend, Grace, for the first time in a while. Since August’s cancer surgery I had been keeping more or less to myself, minimizing the need to speak while my vocal area healed. Ability to speak had improved somewhat so it sounded a bit more like me, but there was still pain while speaking and an accompanying hoarseness. Speaking was not fun. However, I missed my time with Grace. Whenever we spent time together we both left encouraged and touched by the marvelous Spirit of God. Was it the Lord’s will to spend time with her that afternoon? A quick text would prompt a response that might hold my answer.

Yes, Grace was available, but the window was brief and put me on an even tighter timeframe. Since surgery I had been too weary to ramp myself up to speed to meet time targets like that. And as the afternoon progressed and I continued to work on the writing, I felt the Lord’s certain nudge that today was not the day to meet with Grace. Today had been the day to begin the back and forth which would lead to getting together, but it would not be today. In obedience, though disappointed, I sent the text we should re-schedule another day. Sigh! Okay, Lord, You know best…

No sooner had I sent the text to Grace, my phone rang and Lori, another close, close friend who had been moved by the Lord to Florida a few years ago was calling. Family obligations made it difficult for us to have phone time, so when I saw her number coming through I picked up the phone to answer,  even though in general I was still avoiding phone calls until my voice healed fully.

Oh, my goodness we only get one or two good phone calls per year!!! This was a gift which I could not have received had I been on the schedule to try to see Grace. I felt like it was a reward for obeying. I felt as if God had known. (Duh!) Lori and I were able to talk, share and pray for about an hour. Pure bliss!

After our conversation I continued writing. The afternoon had been kissed with seemingly slow moving time and gentle breezes while I worked on a document for my French exchange sister, Hope, to help her in her quest to draw closer to God.   It was already over 20 pages in length. I had been working on it for well over a week. However, by mid-afternoon it was clear I would not be able to finish writing her all that was on my heart. She was leaving the next morning (Paris time) for 3 weeks away from her farm wife responsibilities at a special program for healing for her back.  While there she might have more focused time pursuing God. I had wanted to complete this for her. But now it looked like I would simply have to email her what I had and trust God it would be enough. (He had never failed to provide enough to meet the need that He knew was there. What He knew was needed, often differed from what I thought was needed. I had to let it go.)

Meanwhile, I had continued to ask the Lord, which errands I was to run and when I was to depart. Running errands at some point was not optional. The bags of clothes and little household items left in the back of my car after giving away the chair definitely had to be dropped off at the donation center before it closed at 6pm. There remained the question of the post office. With me ready to ship were the belated birthday gift for our German exchange daughter, Sonja, and a gift for Hope’s daughter in France who was expecting. I really wanted to get these on their way! The post office closed at 5pm and had no automated after-hours shipping option. The document for Hope needed to be emailed before 7pm in order to have a chance for it to arrive for her in France in time for her to print it off to take with her while she was gone. I had no internet connectivity where I was, so needed to drive into town where I could send the email.   I continued to bask in the late autumn afternoon warmth and press in to write for as long as the Lord allowed.

All of a sudden the prompt from the Lord came. “Now. Move now.”

All day He had been getting me ready so I could leave quickly. I thought the prompt was to get to the post office before they closed at 5pm prior to running to the donation center, send the email to Hope and get on the road. I did not want to get caught in any remnant of the evening Valley commute, but I also did not want to get arrive where I was going too late. I wanted to get there in time to spend time online chatting (typing since my voice is not yet up to par) with one of our daughters.

Immediately I hopped up, pulled together my computer and other tools to assist with writing and loaded them into the car. Next I put in the overnight bag. The only items left to load were two canvas bags in which I carry work in progress. They seem to go everywhere with me because there is always plenty which remains undone yet for me personally (and not always to God) has an urgency to be completed. One held binders of old journals and emails to review for possible incorporation into the book manuscript I am also working on. The other held items I intended to ship to others as gifts from Eagles Nest Foundation, but first I needed to write the individual cards which would go with each. I hauled the bags back and forth each week with me wherever I went in the hopes the Lord would provide the time and words to take care of these. The contents of the gift bag constantly changed as some items got shipped and new requests for Eagles Nest shipments came in and waited to be fulfilled.

I grabbed the first canvas bag filled with journals, reached for the second and stopped. There on the top of the second bag covering the gifts to be sent was an all-too-familiar roll of night sky fabric which made up the current top layer in the canvas bag. It was broad and loosely rolled in order to provide padding so that the beautiful china Christmas angel clad in a blue dress studded with golden stars and carrying a bell would not break.

On my, really? Was I really going to put the bag with this fabric, angel and all the little accompanying Christmas ornaments which went with it back in the car yet again? Was the task related to them to remain once again undone? My heart felt a little sick. But I didn’t know what else to do. I had no idea where to start.

The Lord had blessed me richly during this time of vocal healing where it hurt to speak and I could not sing at all by setting up circumstances so that there was still a CD project of His new worship songs which would be released during this time. The previous year in August, I had begun working with once again with Mike at The Creation Lab, Mark and Brandon to produce a second album of Christmas songs. Like CHRISTMAS WORSHIP released November 2010, this was to be an album focused on releasing new songs with which to worship the Lord in light of Jesus’ birth at Christmas (and what this means to us today).

I have always loved the Christmas season. I have always loved singing Christmas carols. As a child after Thanksgiving dinner with my family at my aunt and uncle’s, I would sometimes forgo the special movie running in the living room to stay in the kitchen with my mother, uncle and several others to sing the first Christmas carols of the season using the little music books of songs given away at that time by the Texaco gas station where we usually filled our tank.

In 2006 Grace and I had been invited to lead December worship at a property in Elk Grove, CA, which the owners dedicated to events which honored the Lord and helped bring hope and healing to others. We decided to use Christmas carols with which to worship. However, as I rummaged through my favorite book at home of over 150 carols from around the world, it struck me how few had lyrics which actually worshiped the Lord in light of His birth. Oh, make no mistake, the songs were beautiful! And oh how beautifully many of them told the story of Jesus! The lyrics were evangelizing! If we really listened to what we were singing, we were singing the good news of Jesus! However, few if any of the songs actually adored the Lord, addressing Him personally. A few called to adore such as, “Oh, come all ye faithful….oh, come let us adore Him.” But there were not many which actually worshiped. That year I heard the Lord whisper to my heart He wanted to be worshiped at Christmas. I was to listen for new songs. I had already composed and recorded one, “A Baby’s Cry” as the final song on the ASCEND IN WORSHIP album. Yet, the Lord was letting me know He was not done. He wanted more.

In autumn 2009, He nudged me strongly that the time was “now” and indeed it worked out that in the days before Christmas we were able to gather at The Creation Lab in Turlock and begin the recording process for CHRISTMAS WORSHIP. The recording experience was truly out of this world. As we worked there were actually times I saw angels dancing in the studio with joy that the project to honor our Lord was underway. The presence of His Spirit so overwhelming at times I almost could not keep singing and indeed the sense of joy, at least for me, was profound. CHRISTMAS WORSHIP contained 7 new Christmas worship songs for those who wanted to adore Him at Christmas (and go deeper in their relationship with Him contemplating the true meaning of Christmas), along with 4 traditional carols with newly inspired arrangements done by Mike and Mark so that the album had a traditional Christmas “feel”. (New songs don’t cause us to “feel” like Christmas until they are no longer new but known and used regularly during the Christmas season.)

In May 2013 after the RESURRECTION JOY album of new worship songs for the season of the Lord’s resurrection, spanning through the week of His passion and death, to the resurrection and on to Pentecost was out, the Lord nudged me strongly to book The Creation Lab with Michael Everett to begin a second Christmas worship project in August. In May, during a June trip to Europe for the wedding of Hope’s daughter in France and throughout the month of July when our exchange daughter, Sonja, from Germany was here, I listened for the new songs He wanted released. One was written in the attic of Hope’s French farmhouse several mornings after the wedding. Another dropped into my mind while lying down for a nap upstairs in the Mannheim bedroom of Annemarie, the daughter of my German exchange sister Ingeborg. Several of these were written in El Dorado County.

One of these seemed to be only part of a song. Perhaps a chorus? I had woken up with the lyrics and catchy melody:

Christmas bells call to worship You, to leave all behind for You’re worthy

Bells declare and celebrate You came and Jesus You are coming again.

I liked it. I knew it was from the Lord. I knew it was for this album. However, no matter how long I sat with it, the Lord did not provide anything close to what could be considered a melody for the verses. I took it to the studio anyway, along with a series of chords the musicians might use to create music for verses which I would then write later. (God was always faithful to provide what I eventually needed.)

When we gathered at The Creation Lab in Turlock in August to begin, the recording process was beautiful. As usual before arranging or recording there was prayer and the presence of the Lord palpably with us. The songs came together as usual far more beautifully than I could ever imagine. The Spirit kept whispering to me to savor the sweetness of every moment. I did. It was three very special days!

On the third day as I brought forward “Christmas Bells Call To Worship”, Mike proposed an arrangement where what the Lord had given me become the whole song, by repeating what I had but escalating the music higher and higher each time it was sung, resting in an instrumental section then bringing the song back down to the key where it started. The lyrics could stay the same or change somewhat. What Mike “heard” felt right. It sounded right, so we proceeded to begin recording it in this way.

On August 14th—the third day at the studio as Mike created the “Christmas Bells Call To Worship” arrangement and interiorly I celebrated what the Lord was allowing me to be part of at the studio, I simultaneously was remembering and thanking God for my dear friend and long-time prayer partner Andrea. It was so cool that on that particular day we were both walking out our separate God assignments.   She had been the one who had led Lori and Nicole at our Bible study that February day in 2004 to lay hands on me and pray I would begin “hearing” new worship songs from heaven, which the Lord wanted released on the earth. Andrea had a call on her life to function in governmental circles for the Lord. Thus on August 14, 2013 while I was in the studio beginning the recording process for new Christmas worship songs and she was at the California state capitol doing her God assignment lawfully speaking out against an ungodly bill proposed for passage in the California state legislature, it was something to celebrate and for which to thank God.

That night, the Lord visited Andrea and gave her an assignment to worship Him at Christmas at the California state capitol. Similar to Psalm 100 which says we enter His courts with praise, the Lord told her to enter the highest “courts” in California (the courts of the seat of government) with Christmas carol worship. In response He would bring a righteous leader. It was the most profound encounter with the Lord she had ever had.

She called me the next morning, August 15th when we were both local to each other again so we could meet. As we talked, prayed, worshiped to some of my brand new Christmas songs and prayed some more, the Lord gave us a picture of what Carols At The Capitol was to be. Not just for California, we could “see” Christmas carol sing-a-long gatherings all around the country every second Saturday in December. Eventually it would be in all 50 states with a large event at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. and perhaps in other countries as well. It would be a national or even international day of worship, not unlike the National Day of Prayer in the USA which since it was signed into being by President Truman in 1952 was held on the first Thursday every May and participated in by millions annually across the United States. It would begin with California, God-willing in December 2013. How our hearts soared! Our Lord had the best ideas! –welcoming Him into our society and government by singing Christmas carols in unity. Praise You, Lord!

As planning for the inaugural 2013 ensued, Andrea felt led for the first event to be opened by a sign of unity between different streams of Christianity. At her request both the Roman Catholic Blessed Sacrament Cathedral and Presbyterian Church adjacent to the state capitol in Sacramento agreed to toll their bells, calling the people to worship in unison exactly as the event began. Yes, Carols At The Capitol was about calling the people to worship with Christmas carol sing-a-longs. I remembered the unique song we had begun to record in the studio the same day Andrea had been at the state capitol: “Christmas Bells Call To Worship”. Andrea listened to it, too. This would be the Carols At The Capitol theme song.

Now, the seeming press was on. Originally Mike and I had planned to have over a year to complete the recording process of the 12 songs for the second Christmas worship CD. In light of the establishment of Carols At The Capitol it seemed it would be ideal not only to complete the song “Christmas Bells Call To Worship” for the inaugural event, but the remainder of the album as well. How wonderful it would be to have this CD to hand out that day! Mike and I worked and worked on it as much as possible all September and the beginning of October, however, we were unable to finish. Only the song for “Christmas Bells Call To Worship” for Carols At The Capitol was completed.

As usual what God enabled turned out to be enough. The song was premiered at the beginning and end of the inaugural Carols At The Capitol, held Saturday, December 14, 2013 on the western steps of the California state capitol in Sacramento.

In the months of preparation for this momentous occasion, the Lord brought many alongside to help and to pray and added one member to the core team, Maryal Boumann, Director of Pray California. In November 2013 we prepared for our single all-day planning session. The Lord led me to acquire a special gift for Andrea, Maryal and myself to commemorate the inaugural 2013 California event. I scanned the internet seeking what the Lord had in mind. He led me to angel Christmas tree ornaments, which were actually bells under their skirts. The two for Andrea and me had blue star-studded dresses and carried bells and the one for Maryal carried a trumpet to honor Maryal’s active, broad involvement in shofar ministry.

This year in 2014 Carols At The Capitol was quickly spreading to other states with the first international event to be held in Australia. Both Andrea and I were diagnosed with different types of cancer (she on January 14th and I on July 14th). Recovery from surgery to treat my cancer unexpectedly made it so I could not sing. However, in the week before surgery because Mike and I had already done so much of the work the fall 2013 on the upcoming Christmas worship album, all I had to do was record 20 or so harmonies and my part on the project was done.

Now in mid-October I was waiting for the call from Mike that this project called, CHRISTMAS BELLS CALL TO WORSHIP, was ready to go to manufacture. As a part of this process I would have to turn in the exact text I wanted printed on the CD case, within the lyric booklet and on the CD itself. In addition, I would need to give any input I had regarding graphic design to the designer at the manufacturer. Well, already in August or so the Lord had begun to give me pictures of what the CD case was supposed to look like. There was to be a starlit night sky background with the ceramic angel bell holding the golden bell featured on the front. The angel was not supposed to be either at the bottom or the top of the image, but somewhere in the middle.

This meant I was going to have to create these photos! How much easier it seemed it would be to get full value for the flat fee charged for graphic design by just instructing the designer to do something with angels, bells and stars. But the image the Lord kept placing in my mind was quite specific. I had even gone to our local Hobby Lobby the middle of September on a morning when I felt the Holy Spirit nudge and He had led me to purchase very specific Christmas ornaments which would make up additional artwork for lyric booklet. Added to this had been a trip to the local fabric shop, where He had led me to pick up several different fabrics which could serve as a potential background to the angel and ornaments in the photographs. Included in these was a Van Gogh like night sky fabric covered with swirls and twinkling stars.

But this is where my abilities stopped. I had no idea how to create these photographs. For weeks I carried the ornaments and the ceramic angel wrapped in the night sky fabric (praying it would not break!) back and forth in the canvas bags everywhere I went. I was waiting on the Lord’s timing to shoot these photographs. I was waiting for the Lord to tell me how to do it!

I had no clue. I pondered how to set the photos up. How was I supposed to get the angel to look like she was in the middle? If I hung her in some way as the ornament that she was, it wasn’t going to look the way I saw in my mind. If I hung the fabric as background and set her in front of it then she would be on the ground. Unless….well maybe if I set up the fabric to hang on a wall and then set a basket or box upside down and draped the remaining fabric over it in front of it, then I could set the angel on top of the covered basket. But that seemed like it would leave a line where the fabric had been folded to bring it out from the wall to cover the basket bottom and drape over the basket side, trying to create that image of the angel in the center. Oh, I could not figure it out! I asked and asked the Lord how to do it. Even more overwhelming was the idea of lighting. How was I supposed to handle that?!? I didn’t know the first thing about setting up lighting (and I had no lights to set up!) Back and forth I carried everything in the canvas bag, hoping and hoping for His answer.

Time was running out—actually to me it seemed it had run out. If the CD was to be ready by Christmas, I was going to hear from Mike shortly. I had reached a point where either these photos needed to be taken as I thought the Lord wanted them to be or I needed to acquiesce and simply let the graphic designer do whatever he or she thought best for the project.

Now here again was that canvas bag with the carefully wrapped angel bell on top and ornaments underneath. Everything was ready except I didn’t know how to do it. Oh, Lord, am I really going to haul this bag back the other direction again one more time without completing the task. Really???

Then came the unexpected prompt. “Take the pictures now.”

What, Lord? What? But how? I don’t…..

There was not even time to get out my complaint. He drew my eyes to the counter in the kitchen next to where I was standing which included the stove.  The kitchen had been designed so that one looked at the small back garden while cooking. Directly to the cook’s back was the sink in the middle of additional counters. The entire wall behind the sink was a broad window which faced west. The late afternoon sun was shining through this window in an unusual way. The sunlight was indirect instead of piercingly direct because of the remaining light cloud cover from the morning’s rainstorm. The Lord had me notice for the first time how perfect the counter next to the stove was for trying to set up these pictures. Behind this counter was a second raised counter so people could sit on barstools chat and eat. This raised back was the perfect place over which to drape the fabric. The fabric could then fold forward to cover the counter and the angel could set upon it. Maybe, just maybe this would give the illusion that the angel was not on the ground, but somehow suspended in the middle like the picture the Lord had given me in my mind for the cover. But what about the lighting?

I set up the fabric and placed the angel bell upon it and snapped a few sample photos with my inexpensive camera. I was stunned at the result. The lighting coming through the window was such that it caused both the angel and fabric to be aglow in such a way that the stars literally sparkled. It was as if the scene came alive! Tears of joy, amazement and thanksgiving slipped down my cheeks as I snapped photo after photo of the angel, then one by one of the various ornaments exactly as the Spirit led. Within forty minutes I was done, the sun had faded and the moment was over. Oh My Lord and My God. I am stunned and in awe!!! You made it so simple, so easy. All that needless thinking about how to take care of this!  There are no words, just bowed-down, reverential praise. Thank You, Lord. Thank You. Thank You, Lord. Oh Lord, how I love these photos You have enabled! They will make this album so beautiful!!! T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U!!!

I re-packed the second canvas bag and re-grabbed the first and dashed for the car. It was about 5:30pm. The post office was obviously now out of the question. Clearly it had not been His plan for the day, though it had been my desire. The reason He had had me get ready early and the reason He had told me to “move now” had been for the sake of the photos. Oh, Lord, what a gift!!!

All goods were dropped off at the donation center around 5:50pm–just in time. Next I drove to where there would be internet connectivity. However, before I could open my computer and set up to send the email to Hope, I received a text from Mike at The Creation Lab letting me know the songs should be ready to go by the middle of the next week. By then I would need all graphics, instructions and text ready to go, too. Well, now it would be ready, wouldn’t it? Wow, God, wow! Really??? Again, You amaze me with Your amazing timing!!! A texting conversation ensued regarding getting a copy of the songs to me once completed, so I could review for final sound and song order.

Another text arrived. It was from my sister. We were working on arranging a birthday lunch with our mother for two days later. We communicated back and forth a bit, too.

I opened my computer and sent the email to Hope. In France it would be about an hour before she was getting up to go.

I turned off the computer and readied for my drive. It was not too late, but it was later than I would have wanted. Yet, I had not known the Lord was going to provide the magnificent photos, which was soooo worth the time! A miraculous gift! It was late enough there would be no traffic. That was past. And besides the miracle of the photos, there was the blessing of not being on the road yet when Mike and my sister’s texts arrived so I could respond.

I put on worship music and began my 2 hour drive. There should still be time to chat via typing on Skype with my daughter online tonight, too. As the almost finished versions of the CHRISTMAS BELLS CALL TO WORSHIP songs played while I drove, suddenly Scripture verses for each song began dropping into my head. Except for the intro and acknowledgements, this was the last piece needed to completion of the text to accompany the CD. On every CD album in the booklet, the Lord had me place a Scripture with each song. This project was to be no different, but for months whenever I asked the Lord to show which Scripture He wanted my mind had stayed a blank. Once again, here in His perfect timing—rarely early, but never late—He was providing the perfect Scripture. In His perfect timing, it was suddenly easy—the answers simply there.

Thanksgiving burst forth from my heart the for entire drive. What an extraordinary day! It was one more day where what could be considered ordinary was made extraordinary by the care and perfect, perfect provision of our supernatural, loving God, who is ALWAYS in the details.

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

Christmas is coming. For new original worship music with which to usher in this blessed season and stay focused on Christ, visit the CDBaby link below. “Christmas Worship” is available now. “Christmas Bells Call to Worship” will be available the beginning of December.  For more information about Carols At The Capitol and attending or hosting an event in your area visit http://www.carolsatthecapitol.com

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  

Not My Will But Yours

Magnificent One, how mighty You are with ways which exceed our comprehension.  You have lifted our sight from that which is here and now to understand our true destiny in You for all eternity. We do not merit this gift and yet You offer it to us. You bless us here. You accompany us through every hard thing and yet we are merely journeying through.  Master Shepherd, thank You for leading us through many valleys of the shadow of death, providing for us along the way and using all, all, all things for eventual good.  Our trust is so great in You, that we delight to do Your will no matter what. Speak, Lord, Your servants are listening.  Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven. In Jesus' name Amen
Magnificent One, how mighty You are with ways which exceed our comprehension. You have lifted our sight from that which is here and now to understand our true destiny in You for all eternity. We do not merit this gift and yet You offer it to us. You bless us here. You accompany us through every hard thing and yet we are merely journeying through. Master Shepherd, thank You for leading us through many valleys of the shadow of death, providing for us along the way and using all, all, all things for eventual good. Our trust is so great in You, that we delight to do Your will no matter what. Speak, Lord, Your servants are listening. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven. In Jesus’ name Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro ©2014

Today begins the process of radioactive iodine treatment which doctors feel strongly is the next step in “cure” of the thyroid cancer discovered July 14th and surgically dealt with on August 13th. I am thankful the treatment exists, sorrowful the only conventional treatment option is to put a substance into my body on purpose that in and of itself can be cancer-causing (potential leukemia down the road), and disconcerted at the prospect of putting something so unhealthy into my body on purpose though the hoped-for outcome is better health.

I am one who does not treat the body un-healthfully on purpose. I exercise, avoid artificial sweetener, do not drink soda, eat sugar and drink coffee in moderation, avoid most junk food, use mostly whole grains, eat my vegetables and even make and drink fresh vegetable juice. When the birth of our second daughter was delayed two weeks beyond her due date, I was able to safely postpone the idea of induction until natural labor set in. For all three births of our children I was tremendously blessed to be able to give birth naturally with no drugs or IV at all. Bottom line, it is not my will to take anything radioactive on purpose! But it is the advice of my doctors of the next best course to ensure the cancer is gone and when I pray, the Lord is not telling me to refuse it.

Our lives are not our own. They have never been. This brings me back to Jesus and one critical aspect of the example He gave us. Though being equal with God the Father, He set aside His own will to fully do the will of the Father, meaning Jesus did not pursue His own ideas and plans, but looked to the Father, listened for HIS will and did it—even to death on the cross (and as I recall, this was so massively not His will, Jesus asked to be relieved of the task and sweat drops of blood due to anticipatory physical stress).

Not my will but Yours. This has to be my heart’s cry. I need to thank God for today and every blessing which will be in it. I need to thank Him that this procedure exists and for His perfect will for my life.

Nowhere does the Lord promise life in this world will be easy. Nowhere does He promise ongoing bliss instead of hardship. This world is not our home. With Him forever in heaven is. But here is our place of decision. Will we stop, turn and recognize our need for God and Jesus’ gift of reconciliation with Him? Will we let Him use us for His purpose to reveal Him to the world His way wherever this life takes us (both the places we are glad to go and those which cause us to cringe)?

I say, yes, Lord, yes. Have Your way! Is there anything better than to be used by God for His purposes? How could there be if He is really Most High?

Ultimately there can nothing better than the will of God for each of us. We cannot assure our own future. Death is coming. We are less than God. God as all-good Creator and Master of the Universe, who in His essence is love, has much better plans than we do. He must.  He has the power to take what the adversary means for evil in our lives and use it for great good with eternal effect if we will pick up our crosses and follow. When we follow our Master Shepherd, He uses us as His vessels through which His goodness flows, just as He did Jesus. He wants to be seen in this world. He generally does not choose to manifest miraculously in the sky. He chooses to use us. But that means a submission to His will with an inner quiet born of trust in Him. Jesus said not My will but Yours, Father, and through Jesus’ obedience the Father provided the way for all who desire it to be reunited with Him forever in the destiny for which He created us. Because Jesus laid down His own will, death is not the end, but a door to all which has been promised to those who choose to believe and follow.

None of us are Jesus, but we are each a part of His Body which He uses His way as an expression of the fullness of Himself to a weary, discouraged, despairing and dying world. None of us will live forever here. These bodies are not meant to last, so yes, I will do what I can to ensure my health, but no matter what I do with each passing day I am nearing His time when I leave this body behind and take my eternal place with Him and all those who have gone before. Only He knows when that day will be. Only He knows what lies in between. My hope is to believe that through all things if I keep my focus on Him and listening for His will and following where He leads that He will, will, will bring eventual good through it because this is His promise (and as One whose name is Truth, our Lord cannot lie).

Cancer is a potential aspect of life’s journey which was not on my to-do list. It is not something I am excited about. But I am excited about what my Lord can do through it—what He promises to do through all our challenges and battles. He promises to become known to more through them and along the way we are strengthened spiritually as well which increases our joy and His effect. There is goodness through the storm when we choose to keep our eyes on Him, seeking always to see His eternal perspective instead of our limited temporal one (even though some days it is hard to feel anything good, let alone comprehend it). As always we are returned to the choice to trust in Him especially when we cannot see and do not understand.

So, Lord, I confess a bad attitude about this procedure. Please forgive me. With renewed conviction I declare, dear Lord that my trust is in You alone. I cannot control any outcomes but You can. I ask dear Lord, that if it be Your will, this procedure indeed kill any remaining cancer so it can be said as the doctors described, that the cancer is cured. I ask also dear Lord that the radioactive iodine would not affect my body in a negative way which causes undesirable consequences down the road. But more than anything, Lord, I thank You for the gift of every day and Your perfect plan for my life. Thank You that You not only love us but give us good purpose every day of our lives until You ordain the day to bring us home. Thank You that with You nothing is wasted. Thank You for the promise of the life for which You created us after our physical death through the gift Jesus accomplished on the cross. Thank You for coming and giving us Your example. Lord God, I will keep my eyes on You and by Your power and grace You will help me to walk on top of the waves through all storms. The storms will be there but so will Your strength and grace to get through it until You call me home. Lord, my trust is in You. I lay down my will and say not my will, but Yours. You are all that I want and all that I need on this journey home. Thank You for never leaving me or forsaking me. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Thank you for all of you having been praying for me. May the Lord bless you and keep you and use you for great good through all life’s storms from here till eternity!

Note: in 2010 I composed, recorded and released a song on my first Christmas worship CD, “Christmas Worship” about the beauty and necessity of choosing to submit to the will of God focusing on the Christmas story as inspiration.  Here are the lyrics, which help me even today make my prayer to be in His will and not my own:

NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS music and lyrics by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2010

1. Mary and Joseph knew You were God. Humbly they bowed, You are Lord. They trusted, they worshiped, gave up their lives. Not my will but Yours.

Chorus: Not my will, but Yours. Not my will but Yours. The manger, the cross, resurrection. Not my will but Yours.

2. Mary and Joseph far from home. No place to lay their heads. They trusted, they worshiped, laid down their lives. You led to Bethlehem.

Following Final Chorus: Now in my time of decision, will I choose my will or Yours? Yes, I lay down my life this Christmas, and say, “Not my will, but Yours.”

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isa. 26:3 NIV)

For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38 NIV)

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:35-38 NIV)

In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome(1 John 5:3 NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6 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

Christmas is coming. For new original worship music with which to usher in this blessed season and stay focused on Christ, visit the CDBaby link below. “Christmas Worship” is available now. “Christmas Bells Call to Worship” will be available the beginning of December.

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