Truth: Spiritual Manual for Battle

Truth: Spiritual Manual for Battleby Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2018

In February 2004 dear friends, Andrea O’Brien, Lori Duffy and Nicole Gee felt led to pray over me to hear new worship songs the Lord was releasing from heaven, which He wanted heard on the earth. The presence of the Holy Spirit was palpably strong as they prayed.  I had composed some songs in the past–perhaps 20 or 25 over what was then my 45 years of life. However, beginning the morning after they prayed the volume of songs composed and manner in which they were composed accelerated markedly.

A few months later, the end of April 2004, while on a walk praying and listening for His new songs, I was talking to Him about how troops fighting the Global War on Terror needed a song. They needed to know there was an invisible spiritual battle afoot greater than they could see and to look to God to guide and lead them through it in order to be resilient and remain as resilient as possible.  I asked the Lord to have someone compose such a song (thinking of the poetic beauty of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”).  About 15 minutes later as I was rounding a bend to head back up the hill to my parked car, I heard a melody with words running through my head: “We will fight for freedom. We will fight the war. Where 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. Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight.”

The following February in 2005, up at our children’s school, I was introduced to an alumni who was now a Marine about to be deployed for the first time to Iraq. I was asked if I would pray for him while deployed, because I was known as someone who prays. The response was overwhelmingly affirmative. Of course, I would pray. On the way back to my car, my eyes drifted to the school softball field and for the first and only time I did not see a softball field. With my eyes open, I saw a vision play out before me. It was a group of troops marching information in a desert. As I watched with my spiritual eyes (while my physical eyes were wide open), a canopy descended from heaven until it was hovering over them, moving as they moved.  It covered them on all four sides like a tent, but only down to their knees, so although coveered, I could also still see them marching. While I saw this, the Holy Spirit spoke something like the following in an instant of full knowledge to my heart: “If you will get ‘Stand Up’ and some of the worship songs I have given you over there, I will be their covering, I will hem them in before and behind, I will be the banner over them and shine My light in the dark places, so the enemy is more easily found.” Then I saw a softball field before me. It was as it had always been, but I was forever changed. My life could never be the same. The Lord had given me an assignment, which could not be ignored.

It’s a wonderful story for another day, how the Lord led me day-by-day for a year to show me all the different ways He was not going to allow me to get the music produced, and then how He pointed me through a nudge to a friend through a magazine article to The Creation Lab in Turlock, California.  There, for the past twelve years, Michael Everett has helped me to produce over 120 original worship songs (so far), plus “Stand Up” into an ultra-professional form, which I ship to military, military families and veterans around the world, the the non-profit the Lord had me found in 2007 called, Eagles Nest Foundation.

Along the way these 13 years since the vision, I’ve spent countless hours studying worship in Scripture. What is it? How do we do it? Why does God command it? How does He promise to respond when we choose to worship Him? And there are specific promises These concern what He works within us interiorly in response to our worship and what He does in the world around us as well.

As I talked to others, there seemed to be a lack of information which addressed this. Last May, the Lord made it clear it was His timing to write a book about it–a book which had been on my mind to write for a long time. I wanted it to be available to ship with the music, so that those who received it, knew what the music was for and how to employ it for the greater glory of God and greater spiritual wholeness within.

After 3 months of solid writing, Truth: Spiritual Manual for Battle was completed.  The night I finished the first draft after 19 hours straight of working on it that particular day, when I laid down to finaly sleep the Lord gave me a picture.  I saw the cover for the book in the distance and then it came speeding toward me closer and closer until I could see every detail He wanted. This was stunning! I’ve never had anything like that happen before!

The book was published the end of 2017, including a cover design by Amy Cole, which matched what the Lord had shown me that July night.  However, several of the manuscript’s test readers, who were not military, let me know they thought the book was useful for any Christian looking to go deeper in God. They urged me to make the book available for sale. So….I’m pleased to announce, Truth: Spiritual Manual for Battle now available on amazon.com. For those who don’t know the Lord yet, it gives an overview of what is believed and why. For those who do, it reminds of some of the most basic tenets of our faith and deeper union with God.

Over at least the next year, I will begin sharing parts of the book in periodic blog posts.

May our Lord be glorified! And may He strengthen us for wahtever war in which we find ourselves. As we come to rest in Him in the midst of it, may He use us as His instruments to grow His kingdom, wherever we find ourselves.  Worship His Majesty!

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 eaglesnestfoundation2007@gmail.com or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org  

Recognizing the Good

There is no other One who is love. You made us–all of us–in Your image and You desire to use us as Your Body through whom You flow to touch the world from here through eternity. Here will never be the extraordinary perfect goodness of heaven. Here there will always be tears. Yet You allow us to be put in position to be present to one another as conduits of Your goodness and care in the most unfortunate circumstances. Thank You, Lord. We are awe-filled and grateful. Thank You. Use us more. In Your might, precious name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2017

It has been a hard week for so many with the disaster of Hurricane Harvey. Much has already been written. Yet, to me not enough can be said about our true humanity, which has been witnessed in the response to the disaster.  The reality is that the majority does not hate, criticize, demean and bring harm, but reaches out with compassion, love, prayer and real tangible help.  This is what we have in common. This is what unites instead of dividing. We have no desire to sacrifice each other, but unbidden offer the sacrifice of self.

This is the America I have known since birth and of which I am blessed to be a part. But it is not just America–it is humanity at its core–it is international and universal.  Yes, we can choose to hate, but that is not what feeds us. We were made by God to find fulfillment when we offer ourselves to each other with care in that moment and in that way which it is most needed. When we give. Not when we take.

My husband always says that news is the exception not the norm.  Consider the word, “news”. It word means that which is “new” (out of the ordinary and unusual).  Compassion and caring for one another as a normal part of our co-existence–that is what 99 percent of us choose to do every day. It’s not talked about. It remains mostly unpublicized. It doesn’t have to be because it’s not the rare exception, which needs to be given notice. It’s simply who we are.

Oh, I am not exalting us as people because we each remain so imperfect! Often we hurt each other out of our own hurt without even intending it!  But I believe at our core 99% want what is good and right and best for others and that we do aim to take others into consideration. Houston’s disaster and the people’s response reminded us.

None of us can save the world.  Our culture’s concept of hero has been skewed. A hero is not someone with greater physical prowess or who happens for the moment to have attained some measure of celebrity or notoriety.  A hero is someone who in the moment wherever they are steps into the work which is before them which puts them at risk for the good of others and sometimes the world.  Heroes exist unseen doing unrecognized work more than they are visible.

If we each do our seemingly tiny, often seemingly insignificant part, God weaves together His tapestry through it of His love reaching through us His way to touch the world, usher in His compassion, begin His healing, stop injustice, come against evil and administer kindness.  In 2011 the Lord had me compose and record a song about this in honor of the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks.  I had asked Him for His message 10 years later. It was the message of our standing up each to do our part helping each other in the face of horror and terrible circumstances. Of being present to one another in the seemingly ordinary every day as well as in the seemingly large. Seen in this light, there are so many more heroes in this world than villains.

Remember, you make a difference and it’s good! May God continue to work through us all….May 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 
 
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 Fitness 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 http://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.   

 

Memorial Day Is To Remember

gold star prayer
Lord, thank You for each of those who has served. We sorrow for those who have fallen. We honor their sacrifice.  We remember their names and the lives they left behind in our service. Please continue to comfort and help all those that have loved them. In Your name, Amen.

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2017

In the United States of America since 1868 the final Monday in May is called “Memorial Day”. It is not the first weekend of summer.  Summer solstice is June 21st. The definition of the word, “memorial”, should give us our direction. Appearing in any other context we would have no doubt. We would know a day of memorial is a day to remember.

This is not a day of random remembrance. It is a day created nationally after the Civil War to honor those who have fallen.  In the cause of attaining and preserving freedom through every generation there have been those who have lost their lives–have given their lives–for the sake of all of us.

Fathom this for a moment. Their lives ended so that yours can continue in the relaxed, easy manner which you have come to expect.  For most of us in the United States, it has never crossed our minds that to live in the fear we might someday be overrun by a foreign power is even a possibility.  This is no accident. It is because of those who serve–who do the work of holding the line so that our boundaries remain secure.

Did you worry about whether or not your home would be there when you returned from shopping or work or visiting family? Were you concerned about snipers, IED’s in your streets or suicide bombers in your driveway or at the market? True–with terrorism one can never be completely sure where they will strike next. However, for the most part, for most of us, we live unconcerned because the risk is so small. This is because of those who serve and have served.

Memorial Day is a memorial. It is a remembrance–not to all who have served, but a memorial. Think about it. A memorial is to honor and remember those who have died. This is no different. Memorial Day is to honor and remember those who died serving us–they died for us. They died on our behalf.

How could we forget? How could we just focus on potentially three days with no work or getting the boat into the lake, camping or backyard barbecues?

We need to say thank you. We need to remember. We need to take the time to learn their names–to learn who they were. They were more than Sailors, Marines, Coasties, Soldiers and Airmen. They were men and women who had hoped they had years in front of them to pursue their dreams. They were brothers, mothers, husbands, daughters, fathers, sons, and sisters. They were beloved by family, friends and colleagues. They were essential parts of their communities both at home and within the units where they served.

Memorial Day. Memory. Remember. Memorialize. Never forget.

There has always been a price paid for freedom.

Say a prayer for those who have loved them and for whom every day is now Memorial Day. Say the names of the ones no longer with us who have left holes in their lives which will remain until reunion in heaven. Remember them. Make it a beautiful, reflective, true MEMORIAL Day this year and always. They deserve our honor and remembrance.

NOTE: in 2007, I composed and recorded a worship song for those who grieve dedicated to families and loved ones of the fallen.  In 2011 it was uploaded to youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SI45j-eR2Wc with a simple slide show of powerful photos of several warriors who gave all. The photos were supplied by their families.  The comment section of this song is to honor as many of those who have given their lives in war as possible.  Please submit comments to be added including names and pertinent information using some of the comments already there as examples.  One of the ways we can honor the fallen most is by remembering their names…This is one small way to help do just that. God–bless the families and those who have loved our fallen.

#honorthefallenmemorialday #memorialday #neverforget

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 http://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.   

Andrea’s Song

 

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Andrea O’Brien and Elizabeth Fulgaro following 2nd annual Carols At The Capitol – Sacramento, CA      12/13/14

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2016

I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. (Ps. 118:17 NKJV)

Andrea O’Brien was my close friend and prayer partner for over 15 years. Andrea O’Brien lived large.  She wanted everyone to know her reason for living: Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord. He was the centermost focus of her life.  Oh, she fervently loved her husband, daughters and son with a fiery, unstoppable love, but the center of her life was Jesus.

Following her January 14, 2014 colon cancer diagnosis, she felt as if the Lord Himself (via the Holy Spirit) had highlighted several specific Scripture to hang onto and help bolster her faith to trust God for healing during her illness.

In particular there was Psalm 118:17: “I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord.”  She made sure it was prayed over her daily, often by her son.

Andrea knew her God. He was Supreme. He was Creator and Almighty. He conquered every one of the adversary’s schemes.  He was eternal Victor. He was also good because He was Love. He could do whatever He wanted. He had raised from the dead. He answered prayer. Ask and the door would be opened. Seek and we would find.  Illness was as nothing to Him.  He was Divine Restorer and Healer.

Her cancer was not from Him. It did not exist in heaven.  It was part of this fallen world in which we live. It was from the pit of hell.

Andrea knew God could do anything. Her focus was to keep living. She had a family she fiercely loved and believed she had work still to do for the Lord. She wasn’t ready to pass from our present into eternal life.

Often she said she could not believe that to die of cancer was God’s best for her.  Certainly her Lord could would heal her if she just believed firmly enough and did not doubt. If she had faith in what the doctors said was impossible, the Lord Himself would heal her.  Then she would proclaim His works—how the doctors had said she would die, but when she didn’t the world would know God was real because of the miracle He had done for her.  It would be glorious!

Helping others learn that God was real, to be believed in, trusted, chosen as Lord and followed was a main objective in her life. She wanted to shout it from rooftops and mountaintops (and tried whenever she could) that if they did not choose to believe, then they would not have eternal life with Him. We needed to not just believe but follow Him—to be activated in our faith and wield the Word of God as the sword of His love and truth to introduce more to live for His kingdom from now through eternity.  Andrea was bold in her faith, speaking about the need for Jesus in order to receive the promised life to come, wherever there was opportunity and sometimes creating opportunity where she initially saw none.

But despite strong faith and best efforts, the illness progressed.  On Tuesday, June 2, 2015 she succumbed to her illness. Brave, resolute, strong Andrea O’Brien’s physical body failed. She died.

Two days later, on Thursday, June 4th I had the most amazing experience.  It was mid-afternoon. I was busy flitting around our Placerville, California home getting ready to head out on a trip, when I unmistakably heard Andrea call my name.  No one forgot how her voice sounded when Andrea called a person’s name like this. This was her firm, turn-and-listen, pay-attention-to-me voice.

I thought I was imagining things, yet I deep down I knew I wasn’t.  My attention was always turned to listening for the Holy Spirit. I did not give any effort to trying to hear any spiritual voice but God’s. None.  I didn’t want to hear anyone or anything besides God!  Yes, I understood that after death if we believed in Him we are with Him and more alive than ever, but it was from God alone I sought knowledge, not the souls of those who had gone before.

She called my name a total of three times in the same tone. It was faint, but insistent like a whisper floating on the breeze. It was unmistakable.  I busied myself with my tasks.  If I was imagining this, my busy-ness would likely overwhelm what my imagination was conjuring.  If it was real—if it was Andrea trying to let me know something—then, well, nothing would stop it.

Her message continued.  Each phrase stated three times to make sure I heard it before moving to the next.

“The Lord is great. The LORD is great! The LORD is GREAT!

“It is beautiful here.  It is beautiful HERE! It is BEAUTIFUL HERE!

“Tell everyone. Tell EVERYONE! TELL EVERYONE!

“I am free.  I am FREE! I AM FREE!”

And then it was over.

I sobbed.  Dear beautiful Andrea who had fought death so valiantly and worked so hard to remain in this life. Feisty, adamant, faith-filled Andrea who trusted, even demanded her Lord heal her so she could continue to stay with her husband and children, who didn’t want talk of death around her so she could stay strong in faith (and fired hospice nurses for talking too much about death).  Now her good report. She had not wanted to die, yet following this physical death could proclaim the greatness of our God.  She was not mad at Him for not healing her. She was proclaiming the wonder and beauty of heaven and the gift of true, real freedom through eternal life with Him.  She was joy-filled!

Several months later I had a meeting with one of her daughters regarding carrying on Carols At The Capitol which Andrea had founded in 2013 in obedience to the Lord’s request.  We spoke about Andrea’s unexpected message. Alanna looked at me squarely. Well, the verse she prayed has gone into fulfillment, hasn’t it.

“I will not die but live and proclaim the works of the Lord.”

Through this brief, supernatural experience, Andrea had fulfilled the Scripture she had prayed for so many months, but in a manner far more profound than she had ever expected.  She had hoped to declare a physical healing which revealed the miraculous power of her God. But every person who experiences a miraculous physical healing will still eventually die. That is, except for those who as followers of Jesus enter into their eternal inheritance of living with Him and the saints who have gone before forever in His presence in the eternal Kingdom of God.

Instead the Lord had Andrea proclaim His victory over death through faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord and following Him.

Andrea was not dead. She lived. And now from heaven she proclaimed His greatest work. There was life after death. The Lord God was faithful to fulfill His promises. There was profound, unspeakable grief for those left behind and there would be reunion.  To all who would hear, God was real.  Death was not the end.  Heaven was real.  It was all worth it.  Glorious!!!

“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  (Matt. 11:27-29 NKJV)

God would provide.  For Andrea the evangelist, this proclamation of the victory of His gift of life beyond death was her greatest and most lasting message.

A few months later while driving a song with melody and lyrics to convey her message dropped into my mind from the Holy Spirit.  In 2016 working with Michael Everett at The Creation Lab, and with the additional talents of Mark Davis and Brandon Davis, it was recorded it and placed  on my brand new “My Dwelling Place” worship album.  It is entitled, “Andrea’s Song”. It is to tell her story. It is to make sure as many as possible hear her faithful declaration which fulfills the Scripture.

ANDREA’S SONG (The LORD is Great)

words and music by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2016

“I will not die but live

And proclaim the works of the Lord.”

This is the verse she prayed

So the Lord would heal her

But the illness could not be stopped

The day came she died

Then came her voice as a whisper

She’s alive

CHORUS

The Lord is great. It’s beautiful here

Tell everyone, I am free

The Lord is great. It’s beautiful here

Tell everyone, I am free

BRIDGE

She wanted the world to know her Savior

She wanted the world to choose Him too

She wanted Him to heal, He healed forever

Now she proclaims from heaven she’s alive

CHORUS

Like Andrea, we place our hope on the Lord and His promises until it is our turn to cross over into the fullness of His presence.  For now Andrea presence’s here with us during this temporal life is still missed. She is deeply missed by all know knew and loved her.  Yet, there will be reunion.  The promise is real.  Andrea, thank you for reminding us.  PRAISE TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST!

(Note: link for Andrea’s Song will be posted here as soon as available.)

The 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 http://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.   

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.   

Beauty and Gifts

Lord, You walk with us from here until reunion with You in heaven. We are so grateful for Your ways which are higher than our own. Please continue to guide and direct us perfectly. Help us to hear Your voice and have the courage to follow. Use us for Your good. We wait in joyful hope for the fulfillment of Your greatest promise--that day when You usher each of us into the promised eternity where there will be amazing reunion and rejoicing beyond measure. We trust You. We love You. We will follow for in You is all hope. In Jesus' name, Amen
Lord, You walk with us from here until reunion with You in heaven. We are so grateful for Your ways which are higher than our own. Please continue to guide and direct us perfectly. Help us to hear Your voice and have the courage to follow. Use us for Your good. We wait in joyful hope for the fulfillment of Your greatest promise–that day when You usher each of us into the promised eternity where there will be amazing reunion and rejoicing beyond measure. We trust You. We love You. We will follow for in You is all hope. In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2016

We are not promised life everlasting in this temporal realm (thanks be to God!)  Thus each one of us at some point will indeed come to the end of life here as we know it and pass into that realm of unknowing where we receive the fullness of the inheritance that our Lord has promised us.  It is the time of the fullness of betrothal–the time of complete restoration and reunion for the life  in God and with God for which we were created which goes forth spanning all eternity.

Very unexpectedly my father reached this point the final week of April 2016.  Because God created us to love, there will remain a deep heart-missing him until it is my time to pass from this life into the eternal life promised through Jesus.  Yet, this post is  not about grief, but about thankfulness.  I am thankful.  Actually, I am in abject awe and bowed down homage at the amazing beauty and gifts from the Lord which accompanied my father’s passing into his eternal reward. Sharing a bit of this with you is one way of giving God the glory (honor and credit) He is due in all this (by sharing the evidence of His perfect, loving provision in our family’s story).

What makes this all the more stunning is the realization that the Lord did not have to enable what He gave us as a family, yet He did.  In His goodness and grace He gave us moment by moment beautiful gifts which we can string together to contemplate, remember and treasure more than the richest string of earthly pearls.

My father’s physical body had not been kind to him in recent years.  Disabled to a lesser degree for a number of years, the past five or so years, the inability for his body to do what he wanted had become increasingly more so.  Little by little his health gradually but steadily declined. Now 81, until his early 60’s he was a vibrant, strong, highly intelligent and talented man who took care of his wife and children  in every regard.  He was a smart engineer who could design whatever he needed and built it.  He did not chase fame or notoriety, but was content and happy with the wife he ad cherished since he met her the first day of first grade in elementary school 75 years ago.  He enjoyed his family and living a simple, full, rich life defined by relationships with people and a deep appreciation for God’s creation, not by things or stuff.

The past few months he started having symptoms of additional health issues and my m om set out to find the specialists to get these addressed.  Suddenly on Monday, April 25th, the Holy Spirit whispered to me quite profoundly that these were not just additional health issues to be addressed and hopefully resolved, but signs that my father’s earthly physical body was shutting down.  He was dying.

I am not trained medically. I live over 2 hours drive from my parents. Therefore there is no way I could have known this but for the graciousness of the Holy Spirit.

My mother was in ongoing, full-time caregiver mode and did not recognize the shift yet. The Lord prompted me to immediately drop everything (literally cancel every appointment and plan for the week) and rush to my parents in order to gain confirmation (or not) whether what I thought the Lord was telling me was accurate so that next steps could be decided.

This gave my mother and I an opportunity to talk—a pause whereby to process.  Tuesday evening in discussion she came upon the possibility that his body might be shutting down herself.  Wednesday morning, April 27th my mother and I prayed and asked the Lord to get us to the right people—whoever He knew they were—who could give us the information we needed.  Did he need more diagnosis and treatment or did we need to let him simply enjoy his final days and pass?

There were many intertwining circles which swirled around us that day as piece by piece the Lord brought us the answer in His unique way–including a trip to the emergency room we had not asked for where they hydrated him a bit.

By Wednesday evening, the Lord had answered our prayer very specifically. We had been able to confirm that Dad was indeed close to going ahead of us to our eternal home in the presence of God.

Just before midnight, I sent out a detailed written update to family to let them know. Then what God did was astounding.  He moved on the hearts of so many simultaneously to come–and to come  quickly.  All Thursday and Friday probably 30 to 40 family members poured in locally, regionally and from out-of-state to spend time with my father.  There was such joy and peace which permeated the atmosphere!  We thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company and my father was thrilled.  It was like a grand celebration of the greatest gifts in life–love for one another.  We got to be with my father and he felt oh-so-loved and appreciated. It was beautiful!!!

On Saturday, April 30th surrounded by the family he loved, my father puckered up and gave my mother (his wife of 58 years) one last kiss and departed.  Beauty and gifts! Beauty and gifts!!! The Lord had given us time with him and time with one another when on our own we wouldn’t and couldn’t have known he was close to death, blessing him and all of us beyond words.  (The doctor on Wednesday said that without the  interim care he had received at the hospital on the emergency room visit ordered by a physician and not us, he would have died Wednesday night and none of us would have had the blessed time with him or one another.)

His passing from life to LIFE didn’t have to happen this way.  Every passing into life everlasting is not this blessed. We are so thankful and in awe for the beauty He bestowed on every step of this and the many, many gifts on so many levels with him and with one another.

Were I to share the fullness of the details of all the Lord did, with us you would weep tears of joy and gratitude to the Shepherd King who loves so much even as He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death. Even as our hearts ache with missing Dad (because God created us to love, so when one goes ahead, we miss them and it hurts), truly our cups are overflowing.  We know with confidence (and we have seen the evidence) that His goodness and mercy will accompany us all the days of our lives and indeed we shall dwell together once again in the house of the Lord forever.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

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  

Ruminations on Thanks-Giving (and Christmas)

Lord God, Ruler of the universe and Creator of all things. We choose this day to pause. We choose to stop from all our activity in this moment and simply reflect on You and give You thanks.  If we will choose to rest in You we can come into that place of awe which enables us to receive Your peace, so we can go forward into the rest of our day in a different way. Oh Lord, we are overwhelmed with a need to thank You for Your love, Your care and life. Thank You for being with us through all things. Thank You for being Victor when there seems to be no way and for conquering death so that we no longer need to fear it. Thank You that nothing can snatch us out of Your hand and that You lead us through every dark valley as our Beloved Shepherd. All that we want and need is you. All that we want from life is to follow You.  Thank You, dear Lord God that You are. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Lord God, Ruler of the universe and Creator of all things. We choose this day to pause. We choose to stop from all our activity in this moment and simply reflect on You and give You thanks. If we will choose to rest in You we can come into that place of awe which enables us to receive Your peace, so we can go forward into the rest of our day in a different way. Oh Lord, we are overwhelmed with a need to thank You for Your love, Your care and life. Thank You for being with us through all things. Thank You for being Victor when there seems to be no way and for conquering death so that we no longer need to fear it. Thank You that nothing can snatch us out of Your hand and that You lead us through every dark valley as our Beloved Shepherd. All that we want and need is you. All that we want from life is to follow You. Thank You, dear Lord God that You are. In Jesus’ name, amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

In the United States we have entered what we hope will be a season of reflection and thankfulness, of celebrating the blessings of family and friends and giving to others in a way they know they are appreciated. And in our well-intended efforts to do all of this perfectly, it can become the season of hustle and bustle and hectic.

Where is our Lord in this? How have we welcomed Him? What is His place? The baby in the manger. The child born to redeem the world, open the door back to restored relationship with the Creator of the universe (and our Father) and the few who saw the signs of the angels and the star, believed, then came to adore an infant born to poor parents without any true vestige of what they understood kingship to be.

Christmas is the hope of the Resurrection. Christmas is the beginning of Pentecost and our jobs for the Lord to be His ambassadors here on this earth now. Christmas is the remembrance nothing and no one can snatch us out of the Lord’s hands. He is there for us. He always will be. He will never leave or forsake us.

Thanksgiving is the beautiful intersecting point, related to and preceding Christmas where we pause to express thanks to our Lord and acknowledge the ever-critical, never-ending role and place He has in our lives. This is what it’s about—not crowded airports and grocery lines and just-the-right napkins and tablecloths. It is the intentional pause to remember He IS our life and LIFE eternal. Our life is in Him. All life is from Him. With Him all things are possible. Without Him nothing is possible.

The Thanksgiving we remember as the first in the United States was exactly this. It was an intentional time to gather and thank God for His provision and protection in the midst of misery which was not unexpected. To acknowledge His place in our lives as Creator, God, King, Father and Lord. The pilgrims had struggled. Over half died the first winter before they planted their first crops and long before the first harvest, after which they gathered to give thanks.

To give thanks when all is not perfect is real. There will be no life without hardships on earth (for here will never be heaven). To give thanks when all is not what one had hoped is to recognize the imperfection here and how God still blesses us in it and through it until He takes us home. To give thanks as the harvest comes in and in the face of the unknown of the season to come (which for the pilgrims was another winter) is to acknowledge that all things belong to Him, all things are enabled by Him, we are at His mercy and recipients of His grace and care and choose by faith to take up the rest in Him to which He invites, in the midst of difficulties and suffering, trusting in His perfect and eternal plan until He takes us home.

The family gatherings of Thanksgiving and the holy-days (true root of the word “holidays”) which follow can be deep, rich blessing. Yet, the true meaning of these celebrations is the joy of knowing we were made by a God who loved us and loves us beyond what we can imagine, who came to rescue us and is with us now, who takes care of us and uses us through every generation.

The true fulfillment to be found in these days is to resist the hectic, realize it is not about turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce and pie, and make sure to take the time to revel in the mighty, majesty of our Creator and enjoy the imperfect people with whom He has surrounded us, His imperfect beloved children. Pause. Reflect. Breathe. Be filled with childlike wonder. Sigh. Breathe. Shed a tear. Stay present to only Him for a moment. Breathe. Listen. Hear the heartbeat of His love for you. Exhale thanks. Go about your day in a new freer way.

Happy Blessed Thanksgiving

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  

 

 

Thoughts on Healing

Lord, You offer us the door from here to eternity. We do not want to cross over a moment before it is Your timing, for we have one another here and You created us to love. And yet, we do not want to lose sight of Your greatest gift--our healing from here to eternity. Lord God, by Your grace help us to keep our eyes on You, help us to stand in the gap for healing for those for whom You have ordained more time here and to gentle walk those whose time has come to Your door where You call to them as You did to St. John: "Come up!" How blessed we are that You love us infinitely and fully, providing for us in every way from here through eternity. We adore You our Savior, Redeemer, Healer and Lord!!! In Jesus' name, Amen
Lord, You offer us the door from here to eternity. We do not want to cross over a moment before it is Your timing, for we have one another here and You created us to love. And yet, we do not want to lose sight of Your greatest gift–our healing from here to eternity. Lord God, by Your grace help us to keep our eyes on You, help us to stand in the gap for healing for those for whom You have ordained more time here and to gentle walk those whose time has come to Your door where You call to them as You did to St. John: “Come up!” How blessed we are that You love us infinitely and fully, providing for us in every way from here through eternity. We adore You our Savior, Redeemer, Healer and Lord!!! In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

November 1st All Saints Day is celebrated. It causes me to think of all those who like us have been imperfect and yet never gave up persevering to follow our Lord more. It reminds me of heaven and the blessings of eternity which await. It brings to mind those I have loved who are already there and those I know who are preparing to be there soon. And so come thoughts reflecting on our Lord–Jehovah Rapha our Healer and the immense gift of His healing now and in eternity.  God bless you! ~ Elizabeth

There are different types of healing from the same Lord God. All healing, whether people recognize it, is by the power of God flowing into our world through the conduit of the Holy Spirit, enabled by the spilling of His own blood by Jesus as He submitted to the ultimate injustice of the cross.  Sometimes healing is for more time here.  Sometimes it is the ultimate healing, the ultimate rescue from here – for eternity.

Too long have we as Christians continued to fear death when that is the ultimate bondage from which we are freed because of Jesus.  It is why He came.

True, Jesus performed miracles while he walked the earth. Yes, He tells us that we will usher in greater miracles than these. Yet to some extent we have lost sight of the greatest miracle of all–the gift of reinstated relationship with Him, of adoption as His children and entrance even now into His eternal Kingdom.

Eternal.  No more suffering. No more pain. No injustice.  No difficulties. Celebrations. Joy. Ultimate love. Engulfed by it.  In His presence.

This is our inheritance.   This is the ultimate gift of Christ and why He came. All else is indescribably less–hugely, monstrously–to the point it can be dangerous to hang onto here so fiercely as our focus.  Is that our call as followers of the eternal, all-good Lord? Hmmm…

This does  not mean we can’t enjoy here. He made it to enjoy. There is so much beauty.  And these are His gifts to us.

It does not mean we do not have a destiny here. We do.  He does have plans to use us to flow to touch the world His way until the day He calls us home.  We have good work to do here no matter what our circumstances! And, and, and beyond all that we are aware of here, our true destiny is eternal.  It is His ultimate gift. It is the ultimate source of supreme joy.

Yes.  there is grief when someone graduates or goes home to eternity with Him in heaven.  He made us to love. He made us to be with others.  Each of us are individual and none of us are replaceable. This means we will suffer the loss of the ones we love–those who go on ahead of us until we are reunited.  Sorrow is a part of this exile in which we dwell and serve Him until He sovereignly opens the gate to heaven for us and sets us finally free.

To fix our eyes on Jesus and be His effective witnesses–witnesses of the Truth–we need to keep our eyes on what is to come in addition to what is here.  And we need to praise Him for whatever is His perfect will.  Whatever it is, it is all, all, all for His glory.  People will be blessed. They will find their way home. We will be together forever in heaven.  We are on our way.  We are journeying there and He alone is leading.

Healing….we pray for now! We pray for Him to heal us temporally yet in this life. And we pray for the complete, ultimate healing unto LIFE everlasting which each will need when His appointed day has come. (Every person Jesus healed temporally when He walked this earth ultimately died. They are still dead unless they chose Jesus as their Savior, Lord and Way.)

Thus with the same fervency we pray for more life, let us also pray for LIFE eternal.  Let us also look forward with great expectation, anticipation and delight to eternity.   Heaven is our home.  With Him forever is the gift.  It is the ultimate healing that we all await.  Let’s not miss it.

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.  She is also a cancer survivor.

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  

“Let Them Know I Am An Intercessor”

Oh our Lord and God, we are each here for but a season. Let not a moment be wasted. Help us to hear Your voice and use us for Your purposes so that when our season in this world is done we will have served and represented You well. This is not by our power, but by Yours. We trust You. We are listening. With Your strength we will obey. We rejoice. In Jesus' name Amen
Oh our Lord and God, we are each here for but a brief season. Let not a moment be wasted. Help us to hear Your voice and use us for Your purposes so that when our season in this world is done we will have served and represented You well. This is not by our power, but by Yours.  It is not for our plans, but Yours.  You are almighty, sovereign and have the only plan for our world and every person in it through all generations. We trust You. We are listening. With Your strength we will obey. We rejoice. In Jesus’ name Amen

To honor and remember Andrea O’Brien

by Elizabeth Fulgaro

LUKE 8:15

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

Introduction

August 14, 2015 marks the 3rd anniversary of when the Lord visited my friend, Andrea O’Brien and gave her the assignment to start a new Christmas worship movement called, Carols At The Capitol. Andrea passed from life to LIFE on June 2, 2015 and our hearts ache with missing her.

The last time I saw her was Mother’s Day evening May 10th. I had been invited to cook dinner and bring it over. Andrea and I had not had a chance to really talk alone with each other for a week or so. There had been a welcoming, loving frenzy around her at the Danville National Day of Prayer event three days before and thus no time to really connect personally and talk. Now alone on her family room couch I was listening closely to all Andrea was intent on sharing with me. She was so ill.

About midway through our two hours together she looked at me quite seriously and said, “Will you do something for me?”

“Sure,” I answered.

“Will you speak at my funeral?”

I felt tears well up at the edges of my eyes. “Yes, Andrea. Of course….What would you like me to talk about? What would you like people to know?”

She did not hesitate with her response. “Tell them about how I am an intercessor. Let them know about the powerful intercession with which we have been involved. Many don’t know this about me. I want them to know.”

“Ok, my dear friend. I will do it. It would be an honor to do this for you.”

We continued our deep conversation until she was too weary to continue. We hugged. At her request, I left her reclined on the family room couch. To her chagrin (amazing hostess that she was) she was too weak to show me to the door.

Ever since she had made this request, I had been pondering what exactly she meant by it. I was honored beyond words to be asked to do this, but I also was praying, asking the Lord how it was to be done. The Holy Spirit had put this topic on her heart and now she had passed the assignment to me. Since it was His idea, He knew what was to be said, how to say it, when and to whom.

However, speaking at her Memorial was not to be. Though day after day through May I had prayed for the Lord to orchestrate her passing so that I would be able to attend, she passed from life to LIFE less than 3 days before our son and I left on a long-scheduled trip to Europe to visit old friends. The memorial would occur while we were gone.

Our Lord could orchestrate anything! At the airport, He had orchestrated for me to lift my cell phone, with its ringer set to “silent” out of my purse at the exact moment Andrea’s eldest daughter, Allie, was calling in response to a text I had sent. This call was a treasure to both of us! He had even orchestrated for the plane to be over an hour delayed, so I was not in the air yet and could receive Allie’s phone call. Yet, He had not enabled me to attend Andrea’s Memorial, let alone speak there as she had asked. What was I supposed to do with this message she had asked me to deliver? Lord, what do you want me to do with this?

Sharing the role powerful intercession had played in her life did not seem like it would be a surprise to most of those at the memorial. Didn’t they know this about Andrea already? I mean didn’t people know that being a strong intercessor went hand in hand with her faith and all she did for her Lord in faith? In fact, intercession was integral. Intercession gave everything else she did its foundation. Intercessory prayer was that upon which her actions for the Lord were built. People knew this, didn’t they?

Hmmm…Maybe not. Just in case, perhaps I could or even should write about my dear friend, Andrea O’Brien, as the powerful intercessor who she was. Thus as the airplane lifted off the San Francisco runway bound for Europe taking me away from Andrea’s Memorial, the Holy Spirit led me to write what follows.

Andrea O’Brien, Powerful Intercessor for the Most High God

My birthday lunch May 2007. L to R Lori Duffy, Elizabeth Fulgaro, Andrea O'Brien. The Lord called us His Daughters of Praise. The three of us worshipped together, sought His will together, prayed for it together and encouraged one other while we each walked out our individual parts.
My birthday lunch May 2007. L to R Lori Duffy, Elizabeth Fulgaro, Andrea O’Brien. The Lord called us His Daughters of Praise. The three of us worshipped together, sought His will together, prayed for it together and encouraged one other while we each walked out our individual parts.

I was blessed to have Andrea O’Brien as a dear, close and trusted friend for over 15 years. We had met in Moms in Prayer (then called Moms in Touch) group for the San Ramon Valley Christian Academy, gathering weekly to pray for our children and their school. Beyond a wife and mother, first and foremost Andrea was a daughter of Most High God and she knew it. She didn’t just believe in the existence of God. She believed God had created us for relationship with Him. She understood that the original relationship with the Lord, which He had intended, had been damaged by Adam and Eve’s choices (with negative repercussions for all of their progeny). They had made their own decision regarding what was right and wrong instead of submitting to God’s leading. In so doing they had asserted they wanted to be their own god, thus separated themselves from the One True and Only God.

Therefore Andrea understood that our relationship with God during this temporary life is not everything it was always meant to be. Faith in Jesus and the choice to follow Him makes all the difference because it takes advantage of Jesus’ offer to restore our relationship with God to what He had always planned. The full benefits of this restoration process would not be enjoyed until heaven, but it could begin and move forward mightily now. By faith in Jesus and what He did for us we became part of His kingdom which was definitely to be enjoyed now and simultaneously not fully yet.

The choice to believe in and seek to follow Jesus gave Andrea’s life its purpose and direction. Andrea spent her time seeking to hear from and listen to her Lord because she understood in order to be a follower of Him, she was to imitate the example He set through His own life.

She knew that Jesus –even though Son of God and thus equal with God (for He was fully God Himself)—set aside His own will to do only that which He saw Father God doing. Jesus exclusively did the will of His Father. Thus in order for us to imitate Jesus, we needed to listen for the will of God as whispered in our hearts by the Holy Spirit and set aside our own will to embrace and carry out His.

To be in a state of listening for God’s instructions accompanied by a readiness to obey is a form of communication with God. Prayer is what we call the various forms of communication with Him. Thus to be in a such a state of listening so that by His grace and the activity of the Holy Spirit we can hear and obey is to be in a state of ongoing prayer.

Sometimes our obedience to the Lord is to listen and then pursue specific good actions which we believe He is leading us to do now. Other times, He leads us not in the doing (yet), but in partnering with Him yet a little while in prayer.

In this type of prayer we frequently are not praying necessarily for ourselves, though sometimes we are praying specifically for individuals. Other times we are praying for communities, nations or the entire world. Sometimes the prayers are uttered silently in the depths of our hearts. Other times we literally declare out loud into the atmosphere around us that which He has led us to believe He has purposed in heaven (in the spiritual realm) and desires to birth into the world (into the natural realm) where we live. We continue to declare the impending coming of these things in faith until we see the evidence of the fulfillment of His will in the world around us—until that which we believe He has purposed and planned in heaven for earth has been accomplished by His power. Sometimes this prayer is in a group setting. Other times it is when we are alone with God. Sometimes it is for minutes, hours or days. Other times it is for years or even a lifetime.

When we pray in this way, we are partnering with our Lord and actually imitating Christ. Scripture tells us that once Jesus ascended into heaven following His death and resurrection, He became seated at the right hand of the Father with all things under His feet (under His power and authority). Yet even as the worship around Him as Lamb of God and King of kings is ongoing, Jesus simultaneously continues to pray for us right now. Scripture tells us Jesus is “interceding” for us from this position at the right hand of Father God. Stunning! God on the throne and from that position He is praying for us!

This is the essence of intercession—of intercessory prayer.   The word “intercede” literally means to intervene on behalf of another.  Even though Jesus enabled full restoration of relationship with God through the actions of His death on the cross and resurrection, we must each still choose Him. Meanwhile, He continues to stand in the gap between heaven and earth to pray for us.

Clearly, since Jesus enthroned as our heavenly King continues to intercede for us, intercessory prayer also must be an integral part of His divine and perfect way of life for us—where we intervene before God on behalf of others and the whole world. By the example set by Jesus, this confirms intercessors are not to just pray for themselves, neither do they pray their own will. Intercessors listen for God’s will in the moment and then pray forward what they perceive to be on God’s heart. We pray; we obey; the Lord releases His power and then He often works through us in the process to fulfill His will for every person now through eternity.

Through Jesus, we have received position (authority) to partner with Him in this prayer. As believers and followers, though still temporarily very much still in this world, we are no longer of it and have been spiritually seated in the heavenly realms with Jesus even now. As Jesus intercedes for us from His position at the right hand of God, so we also pick up the spiritual sword He has given us in the Word of God, listen for His leading and pray with Him in one accord. We are praying on earth as in heaven, in essence by our God-powered and God-directed intercession calling into being (by the power of God) that which He desires to birth on the earth by the authority He has given us as His children and heirs.

Ultimately, all intercession is about the Lord’s great plan to draw all people to Himself in Spirit and truth, enabling those who seek Him to receive the restored relationship and eternal life with Him which became possible through the work of Jesus. Compelled by nudges from the Holy Spirit (which is called the prophetic) regarding what to pray when, intercessors choose to sacrifice personal time and energy to partner with God in prayer for His good purposes to be fulfilled in the lives of all He loves (which is every single person). Then often but not always, eventually intercessors can be called to specific tangible actions related to that for which they have been praying, through which God works to bring sovereign His will to fruition. Such was the case for Andrea with Carols At The Capitol and the National Day of Prayer gatherings in Danville.

At her core, Andrea O’Brien was an intercessor for her Lord. She was a powerful intercessor, because her intercession was led by His Spirit and thus it was empowered by Him. She did not pray for her will, but sought to know and pray for His. Intercession was key, foundational work to which He called her on an ongoing basis. It preceded and accompanied everything else she did and by her intercession she not only prayed the Lord’s will forward, but sought His specific steps for every day of her life.

Andrea relied on the Word of God, the Bible, more than any other tool in her intercession, using it in her prayer, letting the Holy Spirit lead her to specific verses or bring them to mind at particular moments. This was because Andrea knew what the Lord promised about His Word. First, His Word was Truth—the revealed will and ways of God. In addition, one of her most quoted verses about the Word of God was Hebrews 4:12:

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Heb. 4:12 NIV)

Andrea understood the power of our words and the authority with which we operate because she understood the power of the Lord’s Word. She understood how in John 1 He declared in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. God is Almighty. It is through His Word that all things were created. He spoke and what He spoke came to be. We are made in God’s image. Thus she understood that in our words was the power to build up and create and the power to destroy.

Sound is vibrations. Thus sound released has a physical, emotional and even spiritual effect on the world around us. Stated another way that which we put out through our words into the atmosphere can shift the atmosphere either in a direction which invites more of the presence of God and the effects of the magnification of His Spirit in our midst, or pushes us toward a more worldly perspective, where powers contrary to God have the upper hand.

Andrea wanted to welcome and exalt God alone. She wanted to impact the atmosphere—the invisible spiritual realm—and the world for God. Andrea was a warrior for her Lord. Her allegiance was completely to her King of kings and Lord of lords. She wanted to be an authentic follower of Jesus, which meant she only wanted God’s will. Thus in an effort to discern His direction for this moment and her life, Andrea’s method of operation was to worship (often accompanied by fasting) to let the Lord know she was seeking Him. By her worship and fasting she sought to honor Him and acknowledge that she knew He was the One with the power, plan and answers. He was the only God, the Most High One who alone was worthy of her attention. He was more important than anything else and she wanted Him to know it.

Consistently, alongside worship and fasting, Andrea could be found reading His Word and waiting for Him to speak to her through it. This was not just at weekly worship services. More often it was daily before Him privately on her own. She knew we were created to worship Him and by her worship and sacrificial fasting she wanted to simultaneously honor Him for this place in her life and invite Him to have His way fully with hers.

All of this goes back to a part of God’s truth, which Andrea knew well. We live in a reality where there are forces at work which are natural and supernatural, visible and invisible, physical and spiritual. The truth is there is a spiritual reality around us at all times, beyond that which we can see which is more powerful than us in nature—there is God’s good and then there is well….the other side, which is the opposite of good—both super-natural (beyond what is possible naturally for us as human beings). Everything visible was created out of the invisible. The invisible spiritual existed first. Then God spoke and what He spoke was created in the visible realm.

God has a will. God has a specific plan. Andrea knew this with her whole heart and being. There are still circumstances and situations God wants to cause to come to pass in the visible realm today. Andrea longed to always be His faithful servant, partnering with Him in worship and prayer for release of His power to accomplish His purposes. Andrea wanted only God’s will—His plans and His ideas—and not her own. Thus worship of God to honor Him as in-charge thereby putting Him “on the throne” in our lives, along with intercessory prayer simultaneous to study of His Word undergirded everything which Andrea did.

We change and grow, but God does not. He remains the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. This means how He is recorded to have been with the Israelites in the Old Testament and how Jesus is recorded to have been while on earth with His disciples, is how we can expect Him to be with us still today. We read the Word. We learn more about Him and how He has operated in the past. We absorb His promises as the Holy Spirit honors our seeking of Him through His Word, by writing the deep truth (the revelation of God) from what we are reading on our hearts. Our faith grows. We understand the One in whom we have chosen to believe a little more every time. We comprehend better His purposes and He lets us know how we can serve Him and why by previous examples.

The Word and worship, worship and the Word (often accompanied by fasting) these were ways Andrea employed ongoing to seek the Lord more and inquire what He might want her to understand, how she should pray and what He might want from her.

Andrea tended her private relationship with the Lord in this way, but she also knew the importance of being in community with other like-minded believers. We are described as the many parts of His Body where Christ is the Head (the “brains” of the operation). None of us can function completely separately from each other. We are connected.

She sought to know Him more through organized group Bible studies. Thus Andrea augmented her personal study, worship and prayer. She knew if we seek He promises to be found by us! She knew we can never fully plumb His depths—never know Him fully—so we would be lifelong seekers, ever trying to learn more about Him.

Through participation in a local group called the Blackhawk Bible Study got her first real drink of the cool, refreshing, invigorating, enlivening Living Water of the Holy Spirit. In autumn 2003, she felt led to write and lead her own Bible Study upon which the Lord later bestowed the name: Daughters of Praise. Every week she spent hours in fasting, personal private worship and intercession asking God to tell her what she should teach, in which order and how to write it up. Simultaneously she interceded for those He was calling to attend her study.

God was faithful. Every woman who attended grew mightily in her understanding of the Lord by the power and direction of the Holy Spirit. At the same time even as she led the group, her own understanding of and commitment to worship, intercession and the Word grew. At our weekly Bible study gathering times, under her leadership we were encouraged to practice together what we had been learning. This included: the power of words because of the power of His Word (the power which is on blessing and cursing—one positive and the other negative), the power of declaration, the mandate to be intercessors, the call to worship and the critical importance of listening for His will as the foundation of everything else.   As the group continued, we experienced a shift from praying more for husbands, children and schools, to praying for our nation, nations, the world, His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth as in heaven and for the expansion of this Kingdom. (That means more people coming to faith in Jesus Christ in a way which they began to imitate His life—following His way,—too.)

Only after prolific worship, followed by intercession did we settle down every week to delve into His Word and learn more. Worship and prophetic intercession preceded our study. We wanted to invite Him to have His way with us during our study time. We wanted to welcome Him in by our worship. And we wanted to join with His purposes through intercession, praying forward only that which we believed He was showing us.

At her core, Andrea was an evangelist. She understood her Lord’s ultimate plan and wanted to fulfill His place for her in it until He called her home. She wanted everyone to know and choose her Lord. She wanted governments to bow to Him and let Him be their King by establishing and enforcing laws which matched His way. With her Lord she knew to expect the unexpected and that He made the impossible possible. She believed and did not doubt.

This increasing habit of a lifestyle of ongoing personal and corporate worship linked with prophetic intercession (praying forward what she sensed was on God’s heart) carried over into Andrea’s life and the personal lives of the rest of us at the study. Once Andrea grabbed hold of what she thought His will was, then she would declare it, confident in His ability to bring whatever His will was into fulfillment. Understanding that God’s Word was the most perfect and powerful of all, she would speak out what she perceived to be God’s plan in agreement with Him and wherever possible, link specific Scripture to what she thought the Lord was looking to accomplish through it. Then while she interceded for God’s will to be done on earth as she perceived was already His plan from heaven, she would listen to whether beyond declaration there were specific steps God ordained her to take toward the visible accomplishment of what had been declared.

I was a beneficiary of her study of the Word, worship and listening for His will—what He was doing and wanted to bring forth (prophetic).  I obeyed a prompting of the Holy Spirit to bring forward a song the Lord had had me compose years before so that we could worship to it at our Bible study. Andrea sensed the Lord was using that song as a prompt for our small group to lay hands on me and pray (led by Andrea who was led by the Holy Spirit) that I would begin hearing new worship songs from heaven which would go around the world. Since that day I have written well over 400 new original worship songs, over 100 of which have been professionally recorded and indeed they have been shipped and listened to on every continent. It was Andrea who sensed the Holy Spirit wanted prayer for this for me that February day in 2004. Her obedience to lead the others in prayer has born huge fruit. This was also how Carols At The Capitol was birthed after the Lord visited her and gave her the assignment (and she heard and believed) the night of August 14, 2013. She sensed what God wanted done experiencing His very presence with her giving her the assignment. She dared to believe what He told her and act upon it as He led. As she did, He opened doors to enable that which was His will. Thus, that which He had “prophetically” revealed to her (His plan of that which was to come) went into fulfillment. (On the second Saturday of this December 2015 will be the 3rd annual Carols At The Capitol celebration.)

Andrea was aware that by the Holy Spirit we are now the ones who partner with God that all might know Him. There is no spanning the gap between us and God which existed from natural birth to natural death without Jesus. It could not be spanned by our well-intended efforts. No amount of good deeds creates a ticket to restored paradise-like relationship with Father God. There is no way we could personally cause our spirits to be released into God’s presence when at natural death the physical body becomes a shell devoid of life. We had neither the power to stop natural death, nor the power to cause our spirits at that moment to soar into God’s eternal presence where everything good he has ever desired to give us awaits. Without Him there is no way for us to bridge the gap between the visible we know and the invisible which is around us, but always beyond our grasp. We could not wish into existence this restored relationship with God. We have no ability to able to grab hold of and ultimately receive the fullness of all for which HE has created us. Jesus made clear the only way to Father is through Him.

Andrea knew this. She comprehended completely that eternal life following physical death was a gift, which could not be bought or earned—only received. It was a free gift from a gracious God through Jesus when we chose to consciously, actively place Him back on the throne of our lives, actually looking to Him to lead us according to His way versus our own.

Though God-honoring (good works) were the result of receiving the gift, (God-honoring works are naturally occurring evidence that we are have put Him back “on the throne” or in authority over our lives and are trying to live His Way), the receipt of the gift of restored eternal life so that death is no longer the end and we were no longer separated from our eternal destiny with God was by Father’s grace alone. Jesus was and is the Gate through which we would enter in.

Andrea united herself to her Lord’s purposes that all would have opportunities to encounter Him, know Him and choose Him, so they would receive the eternal inheritance in Him for which they were created. Worship. Fasting. Intercessory prayer. Discerning His will. Walking it out. Andrea was constantly trying to partner with her Lord for His results in her life, her family, her community and the world.

How many still needed to know this?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:1-5;9-13)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18)

Thus where Andrea said to me, “Tell them I’m an intercessor”, I believe this is what she wanted people to know. Her life was consumed with her Lord and His purposes. She was consistently listening for she wanted His plan, not her own. She looked to partner with God through declaration and Spirit-led action for fulfillment of His eternal purposes. She sought to discern her God-given part which would contribute to His plans designed in eternal heaven to be birthed into this world in which we live. She would do this heartily until His appointed time to take her fully home to Himself, which we now know was June 2, 2015.

It was this consuming God-focus with ongoing worship, fasting, listening and intercessory prayer, which made orchestrating the two first National Days of Prayer (2014 and 2015) in Danville, California a perfect fit for the calling God had on her life. It is why the Lord knew He could trust her when He gave her the assignment of Carols At the Capitol.

Andrea strove to run the race that her Lord set before and run that race faithfully, persevering to the end. When her life here was done she longed to hear His words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I believe with all my heart this is how He greeted her as she bridged from our here and now into eternity.

We will each leave this life as Andrea did at His appointed time. Our work here will be done and we will enter into His eternal presence. Andrea left behind the fragrance of Christ, so that more could know of Him, experience Him and ultimately find Him. What fragrance will each of us choose to leave behind? The present is all we have to make His difference His way by the power of His Holy Spirit.

May we learn from Andrea’s example. May we each pick up the sword of His Word as we seek to listen for His will. May we worship Him ongoing and as we seek to discern His plans and declare them according to His word. May we listen ongoing and then go out in obedience to do our specific God-given part (and only our specific God-given part), so that of our generation it would be said that indeed His kingdom has come and His will is being done on earth as in heaven.

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  (Col. 3:16)

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (2 Tim. 2:15)

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.  (Matt. 24:35)

6… All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.  7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.  (Isa. 40:6-8)

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.  (John 15:7)

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.  For books, worship albums, 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  

Fulgaro is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way.

 

Good Report Not The Best and All Is Well With My Soul

Lord God, how great You are. Your view is so much greater than ours. You are in the small without losing view of the large, the critical, the vital, the eternal. We are so blessed to be able to simply take up our rest in You and in all things let You lead us in the way You have for us to go--despite any hardship or difficulty--for Your glory. For Your glory, Lord, oh yes. Let it all be for Your glory! In Jesus' name Amen
Lord God, how great You are. Your view is so much greater than ours. You are in the small without losing view of the large, the critical, the vital, the eternal. We are so blessed to be able to simply take up our rest in You and in all things let You lead us in the way You have for us to go–despite any hardship or difficulty–for Your glory. For Your glory, Lord, oh yes. Let it all be for Your glory! In Jesus’ name Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

We tend to like it when things in our lives come in neat little packages where the contents and boundaries are clear. This gives us a false sense of assurance so that we think we know where we stand and can anticipate the outcome. We tend to like stability and constancy. We do not tend to like it when things are unclear or unsure because then we feel as if on shifting sand, not knowing if we will be able to remain standing or will lose our balance and fall. And oh how we don’t want to fall. We want to keep standing. We want to keep going and not be knocked down. We want to live.

Yet when we consider this perspective of being most comfortable when we think we know how things are going in light of God’s perspective, we recognize this very human point of view has no credibility. We realize once again that it in the Lord that we have our hope. It is upon His promises alone which we can rely. His promises do have manifestation in our lives now because He is Emmanuel – God with us. Yet in truth it is once we have passed from this life to the LIFE which is to come (through Jesus) that the fullness of all God has for us is realized and we never look back.

Life here does not always come in the nice neat little packages which we prefer. We often do not find ourselves in circumstances of certainty, but uncertainty. Additionally, the reality is that even when we feel comfortable because there is a façade of certainty in our current situation, that which we think is certain is not certain at all. There are no guarantees except that there will be issues and struggles in this life. Eventually there will be physical death for each of us. And if we have chosen to realize and acknowledge that we need the grace and power of God to be with Him forever (because we cannot make this happen ourselves), then through Jesus as our Savior, Lord (Boss, Leader, Master) and Guide, in His perfect timing we will find our way to this forever home for which He made us, where there are no more struggles or tears.

Given the stark reality that nothing is certain, (except eventual death on a date not known to us) what are we to do? The answer is pure sigh of relief. We have the exquisite pleasure of abandoning ourselves to the will of God. For He promises that He loves us with an everlasting love, never leaves us or forsake us, carries us through the hard times which are part and parcel of this life, gives us His strength for the journey (and His joy is our strength) and uses us in all things so that others would know Him more.

We are journeying through. Here is not our permanent home. It is not the fullness of our destiny.

At first this realization can be hard. Often early in our faith life with Him the emphasis of our prayers is on asking the Lord to save us and heal us here in our temporal bodies with our temporal concerns. These are good and right prayers!!! And…eventually these prayers will seem to go unanswered when the moment comes that He has planned to bring each of us home to Him forever when He no longer answers prayers for temporary healing.

Actually, it is not that He has not answered. It is that He is giving the greater answer, the answer of complete, total and eternal healing and the gift of fullness of destiny forever with Him, the angels and all the others who have gone before where evil has no more power and can have no more negative effect.

Thus, though it is uncomfortable until we get used to it, uncertainty is the norm and eventual death is definite. We are not in control. We can never know for certain what will happen next. There are always unlimited factors which could come from a variety of directions which could affect our today as well as our tomorrow.

So what are we to do? Does this mean God has less power than we thought or that He cares for us less than His promises seem to convey? No. It means we have had our focus on that which is lesser and temporary and He is working towards helping us now but He never loses sight of His supreme focus, which is on all things eternal. We are moving through this fallen, hard place toward eternity and He is ensuring this journey never ceases.

Where does this leave us, if we choose to grieve for the stability we thought we needed to live in peace and realize uncertainty is the norm during this life? It leaves us needing to grab hold of Him more and leaning on Him as our unmovable, unshakeable Rock. In Him and His eternal ways with the promise that death is no longer a danger to us is our hope (because He has won the victory over death). In His plan to flow through us as His instruments so that more would know Him and be able to choose Him for eternity we find our purpose. By reliance on Him to get us through this life and usher us into eternity and use all for good along the way no matter what the adversary tries, we receive His peace which surpasses all understanding in all our circumstances now. By letting go of our need for a deceptive sense of control and choosing to be at rest in whatever comes because we know who He is and what He promises we receive His joy and we are swept up into an ocean of contentment and fulfillment no matter what is going on around us.

Remember, to rely on Him does not mean we are expecting He will protect us or those we love from every evil here. Often He will do this in answer to our prayers and simply for love of us, but not always. His eye is on His gift of eternity. He is bringing us through here. He is using us here. And it is temporary. We repeat so we remember: here is not our home. Heaven is where we will dwell forever with Him and all those who have preceded us through death’s door into His promised eternal Life. To rely on Him is to trust Him to accompany us and use all things and let nothing we go through go to waste.

Another fact of this life is grief. We grieve because we love and miss those who have gone ahead of us into His presence. This is normal. He created us to love. Grief means we have loved and cared and this is good! (And hurts beyond what can be put into human words.) We grieve because we wanted Him to answer every prayer here the way we wanted and to usher in the fullness of His eternal kingdom now so that pain, suffering and injustice would fully disappear now, not just in little bits when the seemingly few of us work towards it in seemingly minute ways in His name. We wonder why it can’t be the way we want and think would be best (after all He is all powerful) and grieve when it is not.

Yet in that moment when we finally embrace how His way really is, in it we find that freedom, peace (from Him), joy, contentment and fulfillment we have always sought. This remains with us in good times and bad. It does not make what is hard easy, but it gives it meaning, purpose and we understand it is temporary and we are confident in and clear about the eventual, ultimate good which is to come.

You may wonder why all this rambling writing now, today. Many of you have accompanied me on the cancer journey of the past year and know that there were scans and tests galore this past week, which had the objective of establishing whether or not the cancer was gone. Thyroid cancer is one where it is very possible that via the treatments I have undergone they can say—“cured”. That would be a nice, neat little box, wouldn’t it? Unlike remission where it’s okay for the moment but we know it the cancer may return, cured is done, over and never to return in that form. Nice. Neat. Preferred? Hmmm….in light of God’s perspective discussed above actually that is not necessary.

In fact, a report of “cured” is not quite what I received when my endocrinologist called with the report this afternoon and all I have written is to help you understand why in spite of this all remains extraordinarily well with my soul.

The report was a good report, but it was not the definitive “cured” report. The doctor shared (praise be to God) that the very thorough ultrasound of my neck where the goal was to find and evaluate every lymph node came back clear. It looked great. However, in the whole body scan there was one slight, tiny, faded “perhaps-something” around the center front of the neck. It is not a lump. It has no substance or form. Scans don’t show that, ultrasounds do and the ultrasound showed clear. The scan measures where radioactive iodine was absorbed into the body (as it is always absorbed more by thyroid tissue and thyroid cancer tissue.) Normally any areas which would indicate remaining thyroid tissue or thyroid cancer tissue would glow brightly! In this case there was nothing which lit up that strongly, but there was a little something faded which was oh-so-slightly illuminated. What does this mean? It did not match the ultrasound, so it is probably nothing….or she said it could be something. At present we simply don’t know. Even if it is a remnant of tissue reacting with the radioactive iodine, we don’t know if it is thyroid cancer or just remaining thyroid tissue. What to do? We wait. In three months we go through procedures again and see if there is increased glow or if it is definitely no more….or something else.

Yes, it would have been nice to be able to write “cancer-free” in this blog entry today. But I feel no anxiety at the report. First on a completely practical level, I have been told since the beginning that any remaining cancer following surgery would grow so slowly (because by its nature thyroid cancer is slow growing), that I would likely die of something else before that cancer would ever truly become a threat. On the greater spiritual level, there have never been any guarantees about this life and how long it would be—only the one to come.

Thus, first, thank you for walking with me this far. Next, please do continue to pray for complete temporal physical healing. (I do love my life and working for Him here.) His answers to your prayers have sustained me! However, please pray more that I would hear His will moment- by-moment and be able to keep eyes off self and always have the courage to walk into whatever places He can use me. My greatest desire for a long time simply has been to be used by Him in the way He wants for His eternal purposes to reveal Himself to others the way He knows is best for however long He ordains for me to live this temporary life. Period. This has not changed. We have today. Actually, we have this moment. It is all we have. Pray that I would be a vessel He can consistently use His way no matter what. And I will pray for you as well. There is nothing better than being in the will of the One True God. There is nothing better than having let go of all we thought we wanted and letting Him have His way with us. This is the way of awestruck wonder, where the supernatural supreme God shows up in our every-day. It is the way we become authentic followers of Christ. It is the way of His kingdom come, His will be done on earth as in heaven….for His glory, for His glory alone. Can I get an, “amen”?!

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
 

   

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 albums, 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