The Choice to Exert Worry-Bashing Trust in the LORD

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Lord, we praise You for Your heart is singularly for us and not against us and You see and know all things.
photo and text by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

It is a time of unusual tension in the air. Sometimes we are tempted to think we know how life will go. We never do. But often many of us in USA culture are blessed to live in the myth of stability.  Now as news escalates our emotions with potentially scary “what-if’s” is a good time to reflect on the wisdom of God for us. (If He’s God and revealed in His Word, the Bible, then as GOD He is going to know better than we do! So we seek to see what He has to say about this.)

Over and over the Lord repeats that we are not to fear what we can see or imagine.  We are not to worry or be anxious. Instead we are to trust Him.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. .. 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  (Matt. 6:25,27,33-34)

The idea is fairly simple. Its execution is often harder.  In USA culture, the subconscious message seems to be that we are supposed to worry. In fact, it’s almost as if worry is proof that we love someone–like if we aren’t worry, then we must not love.  Yet, yet yet…God says not to and on a very practical level: what productive good does worry accomplish? Does it change the circumstances of the one we are worried about? Does it help us live more in God’s peace and joy? (Does it help us better hear His voice so we can follow where He is leading???)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. (Psalm 111:10)

God’s way is different. (Thank goodness!—I mean: THANKS BE TO GOD!)  He tells us that to “fear” Him is the beginning of wisdom.  This means we are more concerned about God than any other power. Any.  Because His power is greater–GREATEST–for He is Almighty and Eternal and above all.) It means we know ultimately He is in control and that anything else is less. So we look to Him…

But what to do with the worry which bubbles up unwanted, attacks and can cripple the mind?  You can begin by taking your thoughts captive to Christ.

You have probably heard some of these Scripture verses:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:3-5)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2a)

To combat worry, we need to be aware of the thoughts which dribble in and then run loose through our minds (thereby impacting the condition of our hearts–our spiritual center).

Stop. Consider.  Before you let a thought take hold like a thorn which embeds itself and festers until it is ultimately removed, evaluate it.  What is this thought and what is its source? Is it worry? Is the root fear of what you don’t know? Of what is negatively anticipated as a possibility (but is not yet fact)?

We do not wage war as the world does. The weapons with whcih we fight are not the weapons of the world, though this is where we live for now.  We need to demolish every thought that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.  We need to be ever vigilant that our battle is not (is never!) against other people but against the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.

Let us say it PLAINLY. There is a spiritual realm, which is supernatural in nature and existed before any of us did. It is out of this spiritual realm that the physical realm was created. There are powers that are greater than we are in this spiritual realm which are seeking to affect our lives at all times.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12)

Read that again–but do not be afraid. There are powers (SUPER-natural–beyond what we know to be normal) which are operating around us at all times in this spiritual realm which exists concurrently with the physical realm to which we pay almost exclusive attention. And…as the angels said to the shepherds watching their flocks by night when they encountered these supernatural spirits: do not be afraid!

Just be aware. GOD is greater. JESUS already, already, already brought the victory, but do not be naive. Spinning thoughts are not from God. They are from the other side and meant to cripple you. So….take your thoughts captive to Christ. Evaluate every thought in light of who you know God to be.

What is the source of a given thought? Is it fear? It is guilt? Is it shame? Is it self-hatred? What is it?  Now consider–that thought which popped into your mind and is affecting your mood. Is this how God speaks to us based on who He promises to be?

God’s thoughts would not beat you up from the inside out or send you spinning. Jesus is the one who speaks Father’s heart when into the storms He says, “Peace! Be still!”

There will be storms. But we can rest in God during them.

Take your thoughts captive. Don’t let them run around freely and indiscriminately where the wrong ones (those not from God) can do a sneak attack on your mind and take you down into a pit. Pause to evaluate which are from God and worth attending too and which need to be kicked out by reminding yourself who God is and what He promises.

Those who have known me awhile also know that I am a big proponent of each of us seeking to live a lifestyle of worshiping God. Since 2006, the Lord has called me to record and make available on albums over 150 original worship songs to help give words with which to re-orient your thoughts toward Him.

This is one of the secret strategies to taking your thoughts captive and living in a state of more of His peace (and joy!) throughout all of life’s circumstances. This is one of the ways you overcome worry so that you can be more in Him, receive His gifts and are more available for Him to use in His mission to touch the world. When you choose to worship Him–when you exert that energy to choose to trust Him and extol Him and force yourself to gaze at Him when the thoughts rise to push you down into the worry pit–then He comes with more of Himself and etches His truth on your heart so that you are strengthened for the moment and the next time you don’t plummet so far and so fast.

Worship is not a particular song–though worshiping Him musically is powerful. (He created music! He sings over us and in heaven the saints and angels sing to Him. So music is a “thing” with God–a good, great, wonderful “thing!)  Worship is an attitude of heart which keeps reflecting on the Truth instead of what we fear.

Choose trust. It is an exercise like going to the gym. It has to be repeated. It is so worth it.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

Hallelujh! Yay, God! Thanks be to You, Lord! You…set…us…free!

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 (FFC) 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  please visit  www.elizabethfulgaro.com . Newly published is a book called: Truth-Spiritual Manual for Battle now available on amazon.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

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRAYER: I Love You, O LORD, My Strength

IMG01033-20111002-1432 (2)I love You, oh Lord my Strength for that is what You are. There is no other strength besides or beyond Yours. You are my everything. You made us so we are not able to carry the burdens of the world. But then neither do we have to. We are not even supposed to. You are.

We keep looking for here to be heaven, but it’s just not and never will be. There is such a battle afoot here—such an onslaught and we miss our ability to understand if we don’t recognize the battle.

Holy, infinite One, You are with us in this and You are so far beyond it. None of that which shakes us to our core, shakes You at all for You are not surprised. Through it You reign and bring Your victory through Your victorious, conquering love.  The enemy smashes and wreaks havoc and destruction. You cause eternal life to rise from it. This is Your goal. Life by Your, through You, in You and for You. This is success: a life turned to You recognizing Your Godhead and seeking to follow (never perfectly, but in abject humility, grateful for Your supremacy and constant leading. There is no other success.  Every other striving fades.

You work through all things. All things. Your efforts never stop. No. You are not surprised at the enemy’s strategies. You simply turn these against Him eventually to bring Your victory, which is reconciliation with You, restoration and life into many hearts.

Love unstoppable. Love unconquerable. Love, which contains all dominion and uses this only for eternal good.  Love ever-vigilant. Love always compassionate.  Walking with us through the worst (because You Yourself have been there for love of us), and carrying us when necessary.

Reveal to me more of You today. Cause me by Your Spirit’s work not to miss Your voice. Lead me in the way You would have me go in spite of circumstances around me and for those I love. Reign in me. Ravage me with Your truth. Conquer me with realizations of Your awesome wonder and majesty. For these and these alone, buoy me up with resiliency for today.  You ask me to stand firm and watch the deliverance You will bring. You promise to beat back the adversary’s advances and bury this enemy who pursues to destroy, beneath the same sea that You part for me and my family.

But I can only stand firm long enough to see Your victory with the unveiling of Your majesty before my eyes. With a vision of heaven’s throne room where You are at its center and the joy of all those who have gone before reverberating in unceasing worship through the atmosphere. You are where my help comes from. From You. You are where the only true purpose is found—uniting my heart to Yours. Your joy is my strength. Your confidence and unwavering resolve is the Rock upon which I stand. From here through eternity Your love does not fail.

This is one of Your most foundational promises. You say You love all beyond what I will ever grasp. I can and must rely on this. Your perspective, Lord. Your view. So much more than from here to natural death. Eternity. Reunion. With You where we will hunger and thirst no more for we will be finally, fully satiated in Your presence. Justice. Mercy. All because You are love unstoppable. All confidence is in You. Glorious and victorious.  All hope is in You, holy Repairer of every breach, because You, too long for and work for this eternal, blissful reunion through all things. Yes, through all things.

I can do nothing without You. Keep my eyes on You. Keep my eyes on Your vision for our future. Help me guard my heart, mind and thoughts to keep them captive to Your heart and thoughts. Give me the help I need to lean on You. Lead on, blessed Shepherd who goes after every lost sheep. Lead on. You reign, and Your reign is glorious.

( copyright 2018 by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro. Written May 27, 2018)

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  please visit  www.elizabethfulgaro.com . Newly published is a book called: Truth-Spiritual Manual for Battle now available on amazon.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  

The Destination is in You, LORD

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by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2018

The destination is in You, Lord.

The outcome is peace

Contentment

Shalom and joy.

Attached to the Rock

And immoveable in all storms

Still at rest in You

Because You are.

You are greater than all which we must witness and endure in this life.

Evil is.

Hardship

Suffering

Obstacles

Injustice

Grief

But there You are through it.

The heartbeat of Your love ever rhythmically pouring forth

Meeting us in our pain

Weeping with us.

By the power of Your cross,

bringing Your ultimate victory to each one who would choose You.

Drawing us in

Drawing us forward

To life with You

Bliss!

Forever.

Our Father,
You are in heaven

Holy is Your name

Your kingdom come

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven

You give us this day our daily bread

Praise You,

For forgiving how we violate relationship with You

When we are unfaithful.

Praise You,

Because of love and for love’s sake

You ask us to do the same

For others.

You lead us not into temptation.

And You

Yes, You alone

Deliver us from evil.

Amen.

For Yours singularly is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory

Now and forever

Yes, now and forever,..

Selah!

A yearning gaze at You

The sigh of knowing

Relief!

Awe

Bowed-down joy

It is not a life of action You seek

But being in You and with You

In union.

Out of this place the actions flow

Infused with You

Breath of Your Spirit

At work

Here

In our midst

Palpable

Present

Working

Love.

You are the Source of all

You are the destination.

The goal

To live in You as You live in us

Through it all

Every moment

(((Savor)))

Now through forever

Selah…and 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
 

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  please visit  www.elizabethfulgaro.com . Newly published is a book called: Truth-Spiritual Manual for Battle now available on amazon.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  

Breakthrough Prayer on Good Friday 2018

June 25, 2011 sunrise; elizabeth burgard fulgaro copyright 2011
Lord, You gave all for us though we have done nothing to deserve it. The place of Your suffering and sacrifice is the place of our redemption. We rejoice in Your cross and bow humbly in thanksgiving for the incomprehensible gift of Your love.

March 30, 2018

Prayer humbly written out by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro ©2018, as led by the Holy Spirit (as “heard” interiorly) and posted here for those called to pray in one accord. Our God calls us to pray. He hears. And answers.

Today, Lord, is the day in 2018 that we commemorate Your death (JESUS!) for us. Lord, I can feel Your power and Your victory in the atmosphere. It is ominous and great. It is beyond all knowing, beyond our grasp, and at the same time palpable and there, real and extraordinary.

Lord God, You are King. It didn’t matter that they killed You–murdered You. You remained King. If possible, You increased in Your kingship over all because its as if progressively all things came even more under Your feet. You have always had dominion, but now after the cross, the super (not supreme) other powers knew. Now forever, the superpowers were dis-empowered.

It looked as if You were nothing. It looked as if You were the lie. But through this impossible event, where God appeared dead (killed!), You laughed and Your wisdom rose victorious as Life unstoppable because nothing can overcome Your power. Nothing can halt its forward flow. Nothing.

You have always been and always will be. You are over all and all things belong to You.  Peope and angelic beings can choose to turn from You and You let them, but this does not diminish Your victory.

It is an aspect and a sign of Your unending, unfathomable, unbelievable, infinite, uncreated, always-has-been, always-will-be, unchanging way.

We are small and weak, and think we are so great. Yet, we are so afraid. We cower and draw back from that which seems to threaten us and those we love. And the threat is real, but for Your love.

Your love is the Source. Your love is the power over all in all through the universe and beyond it. You love is an inner-working,  outward-radiating force, resplendent and undiminishable, which captivates those who encounter it so they want nothing else.

Your love is the creating force and the redeeming force , the healing force and the restoring force. This love is unity. It exists in the unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for You are separate and together in love always. In union. You invite us in love to dwell in You as love, but not alone–with each other with, and in You.

Your love out-radiating from one furnace of love. Father for Son, Son for Father. And the power of the Holy Spirit within, spiraling unceasingly outward and captivating us, one by one.

We gaze at You, for You alone quiet our hearts, instill Your peace, pour out unspeakable joy, heal our wounds and draw us near, because through you, that which we have done, which has broekn relationship is forgiven. We see Your love for us.

Of this love we gradually become more aware, and we see Your love for them–for allof them. Each one. None mission. You see each one in the wholeness for which You designed him or her. You see their current broken state and weep with those who weep, and You know always and already how You want to draw them (each one) to Yourself now and forever.

You invite us–You call us–one by one as we get to know You, to enter the fight, to begin to rise the ranks (not of stature or position because you value us each equally but of increasing ability to see and know with Your overview).  We become more purified progressively as we gaze at You. We understand Your kingdom more and its unestimable worth, and we want to be even more in alignment to You. You have become and are becoming still all we want and all we need.

Lord God, tonight is not just Good Friday, when we remember Your passion and death on the cross. This year, it is also the first night of Passover–the feast first given to prepare a people to receiv You and all You desired to bring, not just to them, but to all of us together.

Holy One, “once in a blue moon” is what people say when they are speaking of something rare. Tomorrow night 3/31/2018 is a Blue Moon. March 2018 (3/18) is one of those rare months when there are two full moons in one month.

Once in a blue moon. A night–a weekend–to remember You died for love of us, You were in the tomb and in hell for us, and then You rose.

Once in a blue mooon.  Final day of the month of 3’s. 3 for Trinity. 3 for the day You rose and the possibility of Life again for all began in earnest. 3 for the third day in which we find ourselves.

There is such unprecedented worship and prayer rising for Thursday through Resurrection Sunday (even since Palm Sunday) and for Passover.  Love rising in the little way we know how, knowing Your power as redeeming love is radiating out and pouring forth in a flood in response.

We are so faulty, but You died so we can come before You in prayer like this. We join the angels and saints who have gone before, who are already in heaven and we cry, Breakthrough, God.

Breakthrough. On this night, which is the expression of Your extreme love, breakthrough in hearts for restored relationship with You and with each other everywhere.

Breakthrough. Be seen. Be known. Bring the change which shifts a generation–many hearts at a time.

This is Your day. You made it. Season of love. Begun on Valentine’s this year to remind us of the extraordinary supremacy of Your love.

With You there are no coincidences or randomness. You are intentional and You have given some of us eyes to see.

The intercessors have been cryingout. The families and friends mourning.

Breakthrough. The enemy has been vanquished. Show it by release of an extraordinary amount of Your love.

Holy Spirit fire, whet appetites and sear hearts. Turn lives on their head and usher in transformation. It is Your time. It is Your season. Praying with You in one accord. Amen!

Beloved Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit! You reign!

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  please visit  www.elizabethfulgaro.com . Newly published is a book called: Truth-Spiritual Manual for Battle now available on amazon.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  

Lift Up Your Heads

P1020298This is what is called a prophetic word.  I hear it as if the words are being spoken into my mind and write it down as I “hear” it.  Please always pray before and as you read.  By definition I am human and imperfect.  In addition, when the Holy Spirit “downloads” a word, it will either resonate with you or it will not and that’s okay.  No one prophetic word is for every person.  And this is my prayer for you: ”LORD, please lead each reader perfectly and cause them to receive and remember, only that which is from You for them.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.” ~ Elizabeth

Humbly written out as “heard” March 28, 2018 (Wednesday of Holy Week) by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2018

Lift up your heads My children. Lift up your heads. You are looking too low. You are looking for things of this world. That is not wrong, but it distracts from My higher things and discourages because you measure My activity by the wrong measures. Be assured. In all that you have laid before Me in prayer, I am at work. Steadily, progressively, I am providing all that is needed for My result. I am aware of your heart’s desires. Remember, I made you!  I made you to love, to care and want what you perceive as best. Yet in your best intentions you remain children and as yet, immature in your view. And I love you as you are! And I am calling you to My more.  Your measure of success is too small. Your measure of what’s important like the view of the ant. I love you in this. I love you massively, for you are My beloved children. And…I am calling you to increase your trust. Increase your reliance to Me. Your abandon.  Delight yourself in Me and rejoice in the work I have set before you this day. All work is good and I am working through it. All work is large. There is no measure of one type of work being supreme over another. Do it as if doing it for Me (because you are!) Lift up your heads. Put your eyes firmly on Me. Meditate on Me and let Me write My essence on your hearts.  I love them more than you do and I have not forgotten a single one. Do you not remember? I AM the Good Shepherd. I go after every lost sheep always. I do it My way in My timing. I am never late. I am working out My perfect plans which include all. Believe in Me! Rest in Me. Find your peace in Me even today—especially before you see results. REJOICE!

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  

 

A Blessing in the Storm

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Lord, You are my hope and my song. Through all things You are there working out Your good, eternal purposes and my trust remains in You.  You are unstoppable. Your plan never fails. Thank You for Your great, great love for each one. In Your blessed name, I pray. Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro ©2017

 

Yesterday was a watershed day for us. For the first time in over a year there was a relief from some of the difficult challenges which we have faced. Up until then it has seemed as each new thing or worsening thing has just piled up on what was already there. Yes, I do have thyroid cancer again—or perhaps still. (The semantics here are unimportant.) The cancer simply is and we have been in the process since Monday of working with professionals to design and move forward with the best course of action. However, it has been more a bit more complicated than that because for seemingly unrelated symptoms right before Christmas an abdomen CT scan was also ordered and its results were also given to us on Monday. There were two unexpected items which showed up on the scan for which additional scans were recommended. One could indicate the thyroid cancer has spread to my lungs. The other could indicate an additional whole new cancer in another area of the body.

Reports like this when initially received tend to temporarily make it hard to breathe. We have to pause and take stock, remember nothing is a surprise to God and decide how to move forward.

For me the only option is to trust in God. I had my years when I didn’t believe in God and thought I had to figure it all out myself. To live without faith is to live dependent on the hope of random luck in the midst of unavoidable injustice and unfairness. It is to live in a hope which is based on nothing solid and which eventually fails.

My husband and I have been in a fierce and unrelenting storm since Christmas 2015. Some of what we have experienced includes, lies, manipulation and betrayal from someone very close to us and loved by us who has had an extreme change in personal ethics and character, my father’s death, my mother’s sudden serious health challenges, our home broken into (door literally broken down) and robbed. Simple things like having to replace a refrigerator and dishwasher were not simple. Once purchased, they took a solid month and lots of phone calls to get installed. Then between Thanksgiving week and Christmas came the trifecta,  Revelation of the much greater extent of the lies and degree to which we had been used by the person we had trusted (which hurt the most), my husband was let go unexpectedly from his job of 11 years and I was told that my annual ultrasound showed abnormal lymph nodes, meaning a likely resurgence of thyroid cancer.

Through all of this God has been with us. We have been very aware of His provision and care.

There can be a mistaken notion that the existence and presence of God guarantees heaven on earth, but that simply isn’t true. Jesus is our example. He is the Way, Truth and Life and no other. Jesus in His singular pursuit of Father’s will ended up persecuted, tortured, mocked and executed. (And He was God’s only begotten Son!) As believers, we have an obligation to consider our expectations and make sure they are in alignment with the will of God.

I would like to believe in a God who gives me everything I want when I think I need it and Who protects me from everything which is uncomfortable and unpleasant. It’s nice to have these wishes, but they are not based on the reality in which we find ourselves. This is not how God, who is fully and always fathomless, infinite Love, created reality to be.

There will be storms. There will be an end for each of us to these temporary temporal lives. Through it all the Lord cries to our hearts, “Peace. Be still. Do not be afraid.”

Thus in spite of such a hard year, we have been crushed, but He has been our resiliency. By an understanding of who He is, what He promises and the divine, eternal purpose He is working through all things, we have been strengthened to stay upright and keep moving forward one step at a time into whatever is His will for us.  He has been and remains our only solid ground.

This is a critical piece of the understanding needed. To trust God is not to pretend He will answer prayers our way or that we suddenly will experience only what we perceive as good, just and right from here to eternity.

We are following Jesus. Our Master All-Good Shepherd has gone before us to show the Way. Now He leads us from where we are to the brink where He Himself will serve as our bridge from all that has been into all which will be. There and only there will all tears be washed away (by God the Father Himself). For now we follow.

 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23)

He will lead us to walk our own paths of pain through dark valleys, carrying our own unique crosses for here is not the perfection of heaven. As the enemy tries to crush, kill and destroy, the Lord uses all this to draw us closer to Himself, to prune us to be more like Him and more fruitful for Him, to restore and heal us from all that wounds us, equip us to be better ambassadors for His kingdom, and flow through us (when we let Him) to reveal Himself to others for His heart is for them to be with Him forever as well as us. This is His focus. This is His vision—to use all things in this fallen realm through which to do His work of revealing the reality of who He is, what Christ did and the gift of the Spirit now so that others can choose to be in His flock and be led home as well. The Lord is always and through all things about this work.

We can choose to come to rest in His promises from here to eternity (which is to be with us and use us through hard things, not to keep us from these) and walk through them sensing His presence, comfort, provision and work through them, or we can choose worry, fear and despair. It does require a choice just as choosing to believe in Him so we can become His adopted children eligible for His eternal inheritance requires a choice. The choice is not one-time. It is ongoing. The choice is not easy. It would often seem nice if we didn’t have to choose and all could simply be easy and lovely. Again—that’s not how it is.

Thus my husband and I though feeling very pressed down upon by all that has been going on have not been destroyed by it. We understand all this is part of this life. Our prayer has been and remains that the Lord would work His immeasurable good through it, similar to what He did through Jesus’ obedience and submission to the difficulties of His earthly life which eventually led to a horrific death on the cross: Lord, not our will but Yours. Lord, we trust in You and that You will enable us to get through whatever comes. Use us wherever this takes us to expand Your kingdom. Flow through us that people would encounter You more. Do not let one hardship go to waste. We offer these to you to use as is best for the coming to faith and deepening of faith of all the world. None of this is by our strength or goodness, but by Yours. Use us as Your vessels and we know and acknowledge eventually our work and offering will be done here and You will call us home. (Bliss!)

Yet, in the midst of the ongoing storm, He has given us a gift. Yes, I have thyroid cancer again. Yes, it may have spread and that needs to be evaluated. It should be treatable. (Praise You and thank You, Lord.) Yesterday, we received two gifts which instead of causing us to have to choose faith even though we were being pressed down upon more, lifted some of the weighty happenings in our lives. One day after being told I need to be prepared to consult Stanford or UCSF to get an interdisciplinary team together to help me deal with a potentially complex cancer situation, we were informed that the likelihood of a second, different cancer is remote. In addition, my husband was offered a job. God willing, he will get the firm offer sometime this afternoon and be able to wait to begin until after my surgery.

God continues to bless us. He has been with us through the fierce storm of the past year. This storm in many regards is not over—including my pending cancer surgery in late February and further diagnosis, and in regards to the one we love who for now has forgotten who he is. But how thankful we are for relief of a bit of the pressure. Though we have been praising and worshiping Him throughout, it does make it easier to dance before His throne. We are grateful

Thank you to each of you who have prayed for us.  We appreciate you beyond words for He is about the business of answering and doing so gloriously.  Please continue to partner with us in prayer as we will also partner with you in your journey that through ALL things, He will be made known and visible in the way He knows is best and that daily beyond what we can see He will cause there to be eternal good effect in someone’s life because we chose to walk the path before us trusting Him.  To our Lord be ALL glory!

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

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.