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

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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.   

Contemplating Christmas

Lord, You are the gift and the Giver of all good gifts. There is no greater gift - no greater love.  We look to You, bow to You and adore You with all the angels in heaven and those who have gone before.
Lord, You are the gift and the Giver of all good gifts. There is no greater gift – no greater love. We look to You, bow to You and adore You with all the angels in heaven and those who have gone before.

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2012

Why do we embrace the season and idea of Christmas like we do, decorating, hosting gathering, wrapping gifts and seeking to pour out love on others?  What is it our spirits yearn for as this time of year approaches?  The surface story prompting the celebration is simple and not especially beautiful.  A husband and wife are mandated by an unfriendly and oppressive government forcibly occupying their land, to make a journey to be counted. This meant the man – a carpenter by trade and by no means wealthy (probably living on income generated project by project) – will not be able to work and earn for the duration of the mandated journey.  And the woman is heavy with child in the thick of the discomfort and weariness of the final trimester of pregnancy.

They arrive after days of travel at their prescribed destination, but all the places where travelers could stay are full.  His wife is now in labor. The birth of the child is imminent.  With no clean place to stay or midwife to assist, she gives birth to her son among the filth of a completely unsanitary environment within a stable or cave (dependent upon the account).  Without anything with her to provide for Him, but swaddling clothes, she lays Him in an animal feed trough as a make-shift crib. There is nothing romantic about the Savior of the world being born according to God’s perfect plan into poverty and lack, unnoticed by the majority of those for whom He left His heavenly throne.

No, the beauty of Christmas is not the surface story.  The magnificence and appeal of Christmas is the hope which this story represents.  This baby is Jesus, whose name means God saves. This baby is Jesus, prophesied as the coming Messiah to deliver and save His people. 

Few even knew He was born, yet He was this One, whom God sent.  And as became apparent after His heinous death (which in the moment seemed to wipe out any hope of Him fulfilling what He came to do), we learned His destiny was different than we thought and more wonderful than anyone could have imagined.  Jesus did not leave his eternal throne in heaven to be born, live and die as a criminal though innocent to free one nation on earth from oppression of another, leaving us condemned to a difficult existence here which would end in eternal death and continued separation from God.  Jesus humbled Himself, left His throne, gave up His will for the will of the Father, obeyed letting the people less than He execute Him, so that all those from every nation who so chose could be free from the curse of eternal separation from God and be reunited into His heavenly presence forever.

We need to pause, contemplate and grasp this for a moment. The God who created the universe, who decided how all should be, loves us so much He created us to be with Him.  Even after our ancestors set the tone by rejecting Him and choosing their own way, His love prevails. Through Jesus He made a way for us to be reunited into His goodness.  Forever.

Each of us was born with a need to be valued and loved. God values us and loves us perfectly, completely, infinitely and unconditionally.  The question is whether we will choose to love Him back.  Because Jesus humbled himself and walked out the not-easy life the Father laid out before Him (which did not lead to earthly riches, power or fame, but led to the cross, humiliation, rejection, condemnation, mocking and scorning by the world’s people and leaders, we have the hope of an eternity in His presence so good and fulfilling it defies description utilizing mere human forms of expression.

This is the joy of Christmas – the prostrate thanksgiving to God in the increasing awareness that He loves us this much. The spirit of Christmas attempts to re-create this sacrificial giving of self for the sake of others through gifts, hospitality and festive celebrations. Yet, we cannot out-give the Giver. 

Oh, come!  Let us adore Him!

Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

NOTE from Elizabeth: Please consider acquiring CHRISTMAS WORSHIP for your own music collection. Jesus wants to be worshipped at all times. Will you consider worshipping with me?  A few years ago, the Lord whispered to my heart that He wanted to be worshipped at Christmas and He showed me how many of the songs we sing beautifully tell the story of His birth and why He came, but very few actually worship Him during this festive season.  As a result, CHRISTMAS WORSHIP was created.  It is a unique worship CD which includes includes 7 new, original Christmas worship songs, which the Lord had me compose specifically for this project. It can be purchased at www.holyspiritpress.org or amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Worship-Elizabeth-Fulgaro/dp/B004D9931G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1320069144&sr=8-2 or itunes or CDbaby.com http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/elizabethfulgaro3.   The entire songs, “Not My Will But Yours”, “Heaven’s King” and “We Seek You” can be listened to on my FaceBook Musicians page in the MusicStore at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elizabeth-Fulgaro/14919192923?ref=ts&sk=app_155326481208883 “You Came to Set Us Free” is on Youtube at:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJemQQSTcyk  (Music clips for all songs are available at CD Baby or amazon.com links). May God receive the honor and worship He is due this Christmas season and throughout the coming year!

Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org Worship music with audio clips are available at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro on itunes and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elizabeth-Fulgaro/14919192923?ref=ts&fref=ts where Elizabeth also posts worshipful prayers and teaches how to turn worry into worship for more of God’s power in our everyday lives.

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

Through Eagles Nest Foundation which Elizabeth founded in 2007 she 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. Email info@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org for more information.

Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible. Thank you for your prayers and support!