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  

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Put Down Your Fear. I AM!

Lord, there are hard things. You know. Speak. I am listening. Help me to be in this space. As Guide and Love I know You will show me the way forward. One true God, Savior and Lord all trust is in You. Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening. In Jesus' name, Amen

Lord, there are hard things. You know. Speak. I am listening. Help me to be in this space. As Guide and Love I know You will show me the way forward. One true God, Savior and Lord all trust is in You. Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening. In Jesus’ name, Amen

This 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” January 9, 2016 Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2016

Put it down. Put it down. Put it down. You picked it up again and it is too heavy for you. I am all that you want or need. I see. I know. I have not forgotten. I have not been overwhelmed or overcome. I am still here and have not changed. I know. I am not finished. I have not left. I am still about my business. Look to Me.

Where you are there is danger. You have correctly discerned. This can destroy you or through it I can make you stronger in Me (for Me and by Me). The choice is yours. I desire to make you stronger for with Me you will overcome. Will you let Me?

I know what you are facing is difficult. I am well aware you have neither been this way before nor is it a way you would have chosen for yourself. Even though that which you face seems so much larger than any obstacle or enemy faced in the past—even though you know it is not within your control—it is I who am with you always even to the end of the age. I have not left. My arm and reign remain supreme. NOTHING changes that. Nothing—not even that which causes such fear in you now.

This fear is not from Me. No fear is from Me. I am the One to be feared—the only One. This is not because I will harm you, but because I am Supreme, above all, the Most High! Everything else is less. Everything. I am Creator. I am the only Creator. I laugh at every other entity which seeks to exalt its own power for it shall not be. I am to be revered in My place. Fear of anything else is not from Me and cripples. Do not allow it to have this power. Look to Me and rely on Me instead. Trust ME. There is no other one trustworthy and I am faithful.

You realize you are not in control. You know that which comes against you is greater than you are. Indeed! It is! Yet I AM Greatest! This is not large to Me. It is as nothing. I already know what I will do with it. More importantly, I already know what I will do through it. Nothing thwarts My purposes. Nothing. Never. Ever. Nothing. I AM GOD. Remember this. Engrave it on your mind and heart. Look to Me and don’t look away and I Myself will do the engraving and you will be able to stand strong.

Even though suddenly this is before you, it is not new to Me. I have known. I have the plan and I remain the same. I AM Emmanuel, God With Us, so God with you now and even now. I have not changed. My power continues to be almighty. I remain Conqueror. I am ever Victor. Even in this. Especially through this.

You cannot see the way forward, but I can. Do the same as I have always asked of You: look to Me, worship, listen and obey with complete abandon. You are right. This is out of Your control, but it is not out of Mine. You have never been in control. Any sense of control which you thought you had was really illusion. I have always been in control. Surely the adversary acts as if he can, but in the end I win for My people, always and eternally because of My zeal for every person, because of My love.

Set down your need to know and understand. This is critical if you are to receive My peace in this place. There will be much in this season which you will not know in advance. I am the One Who knows. That is all that is required. Look to Me and let go of your fear. You fear because you know you have no power in this. You can make nothing happen. Your fear is unhelpful for you and it is an obstacle between you and Me and all I want to do for you and those you love.

Where have I ever told you to fear what you see in the world? Where have I told you the enemy is worthy of being feared? You are giving glory and credit to him which belongs only to Me. I am the One to be feared with a reverential awe and awareness for nothing is greater! I am the One with all power. I am the One who can change all things in a moment in ways you cannot anticipate. I am the One who knows what I am about and what I will accomplish through this. Yes, the enemy is evil and has reared his head. And I am greater or I am not God. Do you believe in Me? Then put down your fear of the unknown which lies before you. The enemy is indeed crouching near, lying in wait and whispering lies that he is more powerful and will win. Why do you listen? Stop listening. Do you believe in Me? Then believe in My power and My promises. Put down your fear of what you cannot control. I AM. Lift your eyes to Me and remember. Worship Me. Choose to receive My peace where it does not make sense (it is there for you) and I will guide you and those you love through this.

I will be glorified. I am victorious. I will be exalted in the earth. People will see and know I am God because of what I will do through this and through it all and it will be great. Fear Me alone.

PRAYER:  Lord, You are right. This is too heavy. I cannot carry it and am breaking under it. Trying to hold this up before You is even causing me to be sick. I am so thankful that this is not Your will for me. Thank You for inviting me to be Your child where I can simply sit at Your feet and play until You tell me what to do next. Thank You that I don’t have to figure this out, but only have to trust You and Your sovereignty over all things. The growing awareness of Your dominion helps me to receive Your peace. How thankful I am for your kingdom. I choose to seek Your kingdom and Your righteousness understanding that when I do, I need fear for nothing else for there You are with me and those I love even to the end of the age. It doesn’t matter how the adversary rears his ugly head or the threats or whispers of lies made. You are the only One with Supreme power, ever-Victor, Savior and Lord. You are the only One whose plans are not thwarted and can see the best and the good and the right not just for the moment but from here to eternity. How I love You! Thank You for this freedom which I have in You. You are my hope. You are my shield. You are my Mighty Warrior. You are just. Your Way is Supreme. You are love. I will take up my rest in You again today. You beckon me and I am thankful. I am thankful Lord. I am thankful for this place for You are in it. Thank You, Lord that You ever and forever are. In Jesus’ name, 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 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  

 

 

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Carrying Christmas in Our Hearts into the New Year

Heavenly One, with eyes for all that goes on in this life, we know You see all that is not right and all that could be other than it already is. You lived in this world and understand it. We are here now too and it effects us sometimes in ways which simply press down and discourage. Heavenly One, our trust is in You and you are our hope. We choose to believe that according to Your promises You are using us through all things--both good and bad--to be Your love and reveal Your kingdom, to represent You so that together we can rejoice and individually more and more can find their way home. Lord, continue to encourage our hearts by Your Spirit. Illuminate the dark places and help us to be Your love. Lead us oh, Good Shepherd in the way we are to go and through it all we will praise Your name now and forever. Thank You for the privilege of being Your child. Thank You that You came. Thank You for the cross. Thank You for the hope of heaven and good, God-work now. We are Yours and celebrate Your majesty with the angels with resounding joy. In Jesus' name, Amen

Heavenly One, with eyes for all that goes on in this life, we know You see all that is not right and all that could be other than it already is. You lived in this world and understand it. We are here now too and it effects us sometimes in ways which simply press down and discourage. Heavenly One, our trust is in You and you are our hope. We choose to believe that according to Your promises You are using us through all things–both good and bad–to be Your love and reveal Your kingdom, to represent You so that together we can rejoice and individually more and more can find their way home. Lord, continue to encourage our hearts by Your Spirit. Illuminate the dark places and help us to be Your love. Lead us oh, Good Shepherd in the way we are to go and through it all we will praise Your name now and forever. Thank You for the privilege of being Your child. Thank You that You came. Thank You for the cross. Thank You for the hope of heaven and good, God-work now. We are Yours and celebrate Your majesty with the angels with resounding joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2016

The light from the Christmas tree is waning. This is not because the ability of the little colored bulbs to illuminate is fading but because a season is coming to an end. The season of Christmas in the part of the world where we live coincides with the time of year when light is least and darkness seemingly ever-increasing. More than a day when we give each other gifts or a week when we endeavor to spread kindness, Christmas is a season of remembering, contemplating, reflecting to grasp the deeper, temporal significance and eternal meaning, of quieting ourselves within during days which are darker and generally colder inviting us to be more inside than out. Personally it is also a time when I seek to take time off from jobs other preoccupations and simply look inward. Still before Him, He continues to reveal ever more layers of beauty—the beauty He is and the magnificence of His way.

For years, I have fought the end to this always-too-brief time of year. I want to continue to be at rest in Him, before Him and with Him, contemplating the solemnity of Christmas in abject awe—this commemoration which must be accompanied by grand celebration. I want to remain in the stillness with heart soaring upward in song and reverence, considering how it must have been for those who were there and what it means and how it is for those of us now. Christ-mas. Celebration of Christ. Feast of Christ (the meaning of the word ending “mas” in the English word Christmas).

However, even as we return more to the activity of our every-day which fills the rest of our year and the festival abates yet again for a while, we continue to carry Christmas forward in our hearts. Jesus was born. The angels declared it, the star announced it, the shepherds believed in the angels and their message and came to adore the Baby (who in that moment looked very un-kingly and showed no sign of any ability or authority to do anything for them). The men from the East came far at likely large personal expense to pay homage in faith.

Then they all went home. To their ordinary, everyday lives. It would be decades before the King of kings would reveal the Kingdom which He had brought with Him for all of us. They may have completed their lives here before there was any additional related news. Joseph and Mary of necessity became caught up in the everyday activity of raising the Son and obeying the Lord to protect and provide for Him, even not long thereafter fleeing into exile because to stay in their homeland was no longer safe for Him. Joseph and Mary did what was necessary day in and day out to provide a home for their family and to make sure there was shelter, food and clothing. It was work. It could have been considered monotonous. It was normal. It was blessed. They went back to the work of living in this world where there will always be work which must be done in order to survive and thrive. It is normal for us. It remains blessed.

The shepherds, wise men and Holy Family carried the hope of Christmas in their hearts. The Savior had been born. God would fulfill His promises.

That said, even the shepherds and wise men probably misunderstood God’s message. For generations they had prayed for the redemption of Israel. They sought to be a free self-governing people again—a nation under God. Even the prophets had declared what they understood was the promise the Lord would answer this prayer and restore the nation.

However, what the Lord God brought was so much more. Beyond their ability to recognize and understand, He was indeed that hope. However, instead of bringing temporary, faulty independent governments, He ushered in His government where we are to live by His Way (not because of laws but because of love, comprehension of Him and devotion to Him) and where death has been conquered.

The image of the grim reaper remains true. Life here continues to be temporary with no assurance of what our last day in this worldly existence for each of us will be. But death is no longer the end, but a door into the eternal existence with the Lord God for which He created us.

This is the reason He was and is our hope. We cannot change the nature of our current existence in terms of its temporal nature and the hardship, injustice and eventual death which are part of it. We can choose to let Him use us to have a good God-effect in the way He wants, when He wants on those around us. We can be a positive influence, a lamp shining His light of hope and an instrument of His love improving the circumstances during the time we are here, even while we keep in mind that this world and how it runs will not be permanently fixed by us. Here is not our destination. Here is merely where we are for such a time as this.

Joseph, Mary, the shepherds and wise men all had their time here—their season where they could choose to believe and follow Him to have His effect, to fulfill His God-purposes for them or not. Now it is our turn. Like each of them, we do not know how much time we will have.

Oh, the joy and never-ending celebration of heaven await! Yet, we do not want our time here to have been for naught.

We re-enter the season of ordinary everyday as we move past the season of Christmas for another 11 months. We carry Christmas in our hearts. God-willing our understanding of Him and relationship with Him is deeper than it was before we entered this special season just a few short weeks ago.

It is in the ordinary, everyday where Jesus did His best work. It is where He desires to use us.   He was the King of kings, born into virtual obscurity except for the few to whom the Father chose to reveal Him. He lived and walked and was known for such a short period of time by such a few people relative to the world population and yet, the power of His life!

Our lives will never match that of Jesus. That is neither the purpose nor the goal. Obedience is the goal. God made manifest in this world is the purpose so that more may find their way home for eternity. He loves each personal equally and desires each one to have the opportunity to know Him, choose Him and be built up by Him for His use for such a time as this and to be with Him in that place for which He created us forever. He wants to use you—where you are at this moment, in what may seem the monotony of your every-day as well as in those places in your life which are as yet still to come.

Do not lose sight of the Savior who lived in the everyday of His time just as you do. Continue to follow the Shepherd and you will be amazed as He reaches through you to touch the world. Receive His peace for He is with you and His purposes are greater than what the majority see or recognize. Live in His joy that in this life you will have many troubles, but the promise of the Faithful One whose initial coming we celebrate on Christmas day has also promised, “I have overcome the world.”

Be of strong and cheerful heart as we move into this New Year for by the presence and activity of His most Holy Spirit, at all times through all circumstances until we each are home with Him forever, Jesus remains Emmanuel, which means “God With Us”

Blessed 9th Day of Christmas and Happy New Year!

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  

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Source of Christ-mas JOY

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

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

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The essential is Christ.

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

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

END

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM

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

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

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

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

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

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The Deer on the Hill (and Carols At The Capitol)

Lord, we come to adore You

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

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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  

 

 

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Veterans Day Prayer 2015

courtesy of Ken Chandler www.columellaarts.com Lord, bless every person who serves or who has served as well as their families in the exact way they need. We are land of the free only because of the brave. Thank You! In Jesus' name, Amen

artwork a gift of  artist Ken Chandler http://www.columellaarts.com to Eagles Nest Foundation in 2008
Lord, bless every person who serves or who has served as well as their families in the exact way they need. We are land of the free only because of the brave. Thank You! In Jesus’ name, Amen

humbly written out as “heard” on November 10, 2015 by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

Lord God, You know. You see. You were with them on the battlefield. You were with them in the camps. You were with them on base and at home with their families and You are with them still.  Lord, we have no power; we have only our prayers.

We come to You because we know who You are. All powerful, wonderful Lord. Though we work for peace. Here it will never fully be for this is the world where the adversary runs rampant seeking to ruin hearts. This is not heaven.  Here there will always be conflict and war. Here there will always be times we must stand up for ourselves and fight back.

Lord, we remain land of the free because of the brave. Help them because they help us. Help them. We know You see and know and yet You ask us to partner with You in prayer to birth on earth that which You have already purposed in heaven.

Lord, we call forth Your perfect provision and protection for every service member and every veteran and every member of their families at every place along their life journey.  Take care of them as they take care of us!

Be with the ones still serving and give them Your strategy.  Be with the ones just beginning and give them Your courage.  Be with the ones who have finished their service and give them their place in society where they can continue to contribute and contribute well for their hearts remain to serve even though their time in the military is done.

Come to our enemies in dreams and visions and help them gain an understanding that You are there. Shine Your Light in their darkness in magnificent miraculous ways so that they might turn and find You.  As they do, Lord remove the need they feel to take ground from other countries. Usher Your peace into their hearts to re-build their own families and homes—and to build these on and in love instead of on a foundation of attack, anger and hate.

Lord, we will do whatever You ask of us to serve those who serve and have served. You have answers. These are the answers we seek.  Speak to us; we are listening. Answer our prayers according to Your promises. Lord God, as long as they are, we will stay and pray and bow down and worship until the fullness of Your answer is seen for we have placed all hope and trust in You. In Jesus’ name, 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 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  

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