Thoughts on Healing

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

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END

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

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

For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

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

A Pause for Gratitude and an Update

Lord God, thank You for Your perfect magnificent Way.  Your love and care for us astounds.  We are in awe of how You work out all the details in each of our lives so each person receives what he or she needs from here to eternity. We can be at rest in You and rejoice because of the magnificence You are. In Jesus' name, Amen
Lord God, thank You for Your perfect magnificent Way. Your love and care for us astounds. We are in awe of how You work out all the details in each of our lives so each person receives what he or she needs from here to eternity. We can be at rest in You and rejoice because of the magnificence You are. In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

It’s time for a cancer progress check-in. First the practical, then a reflection on God and His mysterious, wonderful way.

When last I wrote, the May 2015 ultrasound and scan (which were in the hopes of declaring my body cancer-free) showed some type of slight illumination on the scan which was not confirmed by the ultrasound. In other words, there was iodine uptake of some sort or a false positive of iodine uptake the neck and thyroid area, representing the scan detected some bit of thyroid tissue or thyroid cancer remaining. To be cancer-free the scan should have been completely dark. However, the ultrasound, which was to reveal potential masses growing where there should be nothing growing, indeed revealed nothing. So the ultrasound was terrific to which the scan added a question mark. Thus they could not say, “cancer-free” because they could not be sure. Perhaps there was something still there which was not yet large enough for the ultrasound to detect. Perhaps it would grow enough to be detected. Perhaps the scan had been a false positive of iodine uptake and there was nothing going on there at all. Perhaps….

The end result was a decision by the endocrinologist who oversees my care for me to have ultrasounds on the thyroid/neck area every few months to see if anything had grown enough to now be visible on the ultrasound or to gradually ultrasound by ultrasound confirm that actually no hidden cancer is growing there at all.

August 2015 was the first of these ultrasounds and indeed there was nothing there at all. So in January or February 2016 back to the blood draw and ultrasound I will be sent to do it all one more time. Meanwhile I have complete peace. Nothing in this life is sure except that eventually none of us are getting out of here alive so I have moved on. God knows the number of my days and I’m good with that.

However, I am grateful to God that in His grace He has seen fit to continue to provide vocal recovery—a recovery through recuperative, rehabilitation efforts by multiple experts, which now seems as if it will deliver an eventual result which enables me to have a stronger singing and speaking voice than ever before. I am abundantly grateful! For without the Lord showing me the way to Dr. Krzysztof Izdebski, who then has overseen my care with the others (notably Lucy Beck and Amy Lesico), there would have been no recovery. And while the ability or inability to talk easily or sing at all does not define quality of life, it is a gift to be able to use my voice!!! Though not fully restored yet and though for some unknown reason it is still painful to create sound vocally, my speaking voice finally has times when it sounds “normal” to me and like it used to be and I am beginning oh-so-slowly, but firmly (thankfully and joyously) to sing again. Oh how I have missed it!

For years I have used my voice almost exclusively to praise the Lord I love. It was something I truly took for granted for it was so easy. I simply opened my mouth whenever I willed it and song came forth. After six months where my post-surgery singing range was 3 tones (do-ray-mi-ack!!! no more sound!!!), and following over 9 months of active, daily vocal-therapy-specific exercises for improvement overseen by these wonderful people in whose care the Lord has placed me, what a gift to be able to do this again!

It gives me profound joy to announce that as of July 24, 2015 I returned to The Creation Lab in Turlock, CA to begin recording the lead vocals for the upcoming worship CD, “You’re My Healer”. This was my first time back to the recording studio since the same week in July exactly one year prior in order to make sure I completed recording the background harmony vocals for the “Christmas Bells Call to Worship” worship CD (released December 2014) in case I could not sing following the August 13th surgery—which I could not.

The Lord’s plan is awe-inspiring on so many levels. Though the cancer had been growing silently for a number of years, it was found and diagnosed in mid-July 2014.  A year earlier in August 2013 as I was in the studio with Michael Everett, Mark Davis and Brandon Davis laying the initial tracks for my second CD of mostly original Christmas worship songs (“Christmas Bells Call To Worship”), the Holy Spirit nudged me firmly to talk with Mike about booking the studio for February 2014 to begin recording another new full length worship project of original songs, but this time it would be songs with which those who were seeking healing from the Lord could worship Him. Interiorly I was thrilled the Lord was asking me to do this because the February dates marked the 10th anniversary of my friends Andrea, Lori and Nicole praying over me to begin hearing new worship songs from heaven during our Bible study worship time in February 2004 as well as the day after their prayers when I “heard” the first new song. What an incredible, truly God-given way to commemorate the event!

Of course, I obeyed, booked the studio and began listening for His new melodies and lyrics in late 2013 for this new healing worship project.  Along the way I did mention to the Lord how aware I was that He was asking me to write lyrics for something I had never experienced myself. Certainly, I had been ill before. But since coming back to faith in Christ as Savior and Lord over 20 years before, I had not had to endure an illness which required me to lean on Him for His healing.

The timing of the scheduled initial recording of the songs in February 2014 became even more impactful when my close, close friend Andrea was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer on January 14, 2014 exactly one month following the first Carols at the Capitol event which she had obediently put on in response to an assignment from the Lord. I knew and know here is not our final home, but only a place of temporary fallible living (and eventual physical death). However, Andrea’s diagnosis and prognosis was so close to the February 2014 recording date, that it definitely effected how I listened for His lyrics and caused me to select certain songs I had composed earlier to be added to the “You’re My Healer” project.

Indeed, in a way only the Lord could have orchestrated, in February 2014 we laid the initial tracks of a few basic instruments for all the songs for “You’re My Healer”. However, after this strong start, progress on “You’re My Healer” stopped. This was not our lack of focus, but the Lord’s plan.  I did not know it then, but He did not want me to have time the remainder of spring 2014 to work on singing my final vocals for the project. He already knew I had cancer and would be officially beginning my own healing journey by mid-year. The singing of these songs was to be during my own journey.  However, He had wanted the music ready.

Is it not amazing as my voice now slowly has been recovering, that these songs are already prepared musically, just waiting for me to vocally recover enough to sing them in the studio? Is it not beyond belief that He has ordained my voice to be added to this worship project while it is still recovering when this project exists to accompany others on their own healing journey as they seek to lean on God through it? Only our Lord could have set this up. Who knows all and thinks this way but Him?! Wonder of wonders!

Especially the first few times in the studio starting in July 2015 it was excruciatingly hard. I drove the 1.5 hours each way sometimes to do one song each time. It was hard to sing, hard to move from pitch to pitch and hard to form the sounds required for each of the lyric’s words. Certain consonants and vowels were still quite difficult.

Though standing behind the microphone to record is always humbling and one has to fight a fear of inadequacy or insufficiency, these times it was intensely more than ever before. And the sound which came out was not exactly as I would have wished! However, I knew this was how my Lord wanted His music done—singing through my healing for those seeking healing to join in.  As always, I prayed both before we began and interiorly as I was offering Him the worship songs one by one into the microphone.

These were His songs, which He had given me to sing. Like all the other worship projects which have preceded “You’re My Healer”, this one was also His not mine and I knew what He enabled me to do would be sufficient for His purposes. He had told me clearly it was time to begin singing again. I had obeyed. I trusted Him. My singular request on all of my worship projects is not that people would experience my voice, but that through my obedience to His call for me to release these songs, that He would imbue the songs with the power of His Holy Spirit so that all who listened and sang along would be touched by Him in the way they each needed to grow closer to Him day by day. It was my prayer for this one too. JOY!

In addition, I was once again blessed by Michael Everett, who in his role as producer was oh-so-gentle with me, working with me in the short bursts of singing stamina I had to make the recording of the songs as easy on me as possible.

As of September 25, 2015 the final lead vocals for all 11 songs have been completed. There remain only two harmonies each to add to the last six songs and my work on this project is done. God is so good! He has been so immeasurably kind to me! His provision of this healing has bordered on miraculous because it didn’t have to go this way.

In addition because of what I experienced in the first weeks following the 2014 cancer surgery, there will be another new worship project produced in the next month. It will be an improvisational piano-only worship CD of original music called, “Worship When Words Are Too Much”.

Directly following surgery, I tried to listen to worship music and offer the lyrics heavenward as I always, always do. However, following the cancer surgery this was more than I could mentally accomplish. My body required so much energy directed towards the immense physical recovery that there was no mental energy left with which to engage with the words. In fact, the lyrics made it so I couldn’t listen to the music because the message of the words automatically began to draw me in, but it was simply too much for me. Thus as I began to recover (and during that time I could not sing at all), He began to give me little melody lines which have developed into worship music where the offering is music only with no words. Each song has a theme—a basic worshipful thought behind it which I contemplate as I play the song instrumentally. For instance for one the theme is “His peace”, for another “trust”, for another “at rest in Him”, etc. My prayer is that since all this is done in obedience to His promptings that His Spirit would be on this new music so it would touch those who hear it His way to accomplish His healing, restoring purposes in them (as only He can.)

Both these music projects will be available latest February 2016, the 10th anniversary of stepping out in faith and beginning to record original worship music in accordance with the Holy Spirit’s instruction with Michael Everett at The Creation Lab in February 2006. Wow….what an amazing journey.

Meanwhile I continue seeing Dr. Krzysztof Izdebski and Lucy Beck, two specialists who continue to guide me toward fuller and more complete vocal restoration. They are kind to me. They are patient with me. They guide me expertly, willingly using their God-given gifts to help me and help others. When I could find no help, the Lord led me specifically to them. For Dr. Krzysztof Izdebski, Lucy Beck and Amy Lesico (who helped me for months with speech), I am grateful beyond what any human words can express—both to the Lord God who gave me the gift of connection with Dr. Izdebski and for how the Lord has used him and those to whom he has referred me for vocal song and speech therapy to enable my recovery (a recovery which would not have just happened on its own). There would be no good speech or song from my voice if they were not willing to do the work the Lord has given them!

I am also profoundly grateful to the Lord God, who in His plan decided to allow me to suffer a cancer which is curable. I know my eternal destiny. I am confident in it. I know here is not God’s long-term best for me. Yet, I do so love serving Him here and for the moment He has granted me more time to do this. (He knows at what instant—any instant—when my time here is done.) So I am thankful for now, for this moment, and at rest in how His way from here to eternity works.

Yet through this cancer journey our magnificent Lord God also has affirmed yet another aspect of His often incomprehensible way. Our Lord most definitely uses us for His kingdom work wherever this life takes us. Wherever!  And I am thankful!

It is not only how He takes what the enemy means for evil and uses it for good, but how He uses it for His more. He makes out of the ugliest places an assignment –a God assignment—which is part of furthering His kingdom and making it known on earth as in heaven. He uses our most undesirable circumstances out of which to write a God-story, raising beauty from ashes and anointing the heads of many with His oil of joy and gifts of salvation and abundant inner peace, all from an increasing knowing from the inside out of who and how He is.

Therefore wherever life takes us (and we know this will include suffering, unfairness, evil, hate and injustice because this is earth where Satan rules, not heaven), becomes a critical part of accomplishing His Great Commission, that He would be revealed to all people and every individual would have the opportunity to see Him and begin to know Him as both Savior and Lord.   There are also God-assignments which take us into trenches where despite the hardships we personally endure, He can flow through us to be His triage unit and safe place for recuperation and strengthening for all those who have been wounded (which includes every one.) It is when we are on these God assignments, which He has made of the hard places and spiritual battlefields which take us places which we would never have chosen for ourselves, that He uses us to spread the fragrance of His truth (by the power of His Holy Spirit) which contrasts so sharply with the stench of the wisdom of this world.

There are those who are seeking Him even if they do not yet even know His name. Inherently interiorly they know there is more for us in life than is apparent even though they don’t know what (who) it is and how to find it. It is God they seek because He created us for this intimate connection with Him. We are incomplete without it—without HIM—and deep down inside we recognize the lack.

There is an intrinsic incompleteness, a discontent and dissatisfaction until we find our fulfillment in adopted sonship and daughtership in Him, restored to the place in His eternal kingdom for which He created us. This is an aspect of the darkness our Lord speaks about and how He is the Light of the world.

He is the Truth. Looking but not knowing how to find Him or having begun to know Him yet not knowing how to pursue the fullness of relationship with Him—this is the darkness, sadness, depression, discouragement and lack of hope into which Jesus came and into which the Holy Spirit still desires to come to others working through us.

Thus sometimes the places we have to go in life are dark. We do not want to be there. We wish we could be somewhere else. And yes, often these hard places are an aspect of this fallen world and not at all like the heaven He has planned for us. It feels more like the desert wilderness than the Promised Land.

Yet, He is with us there too and we must be attentive to the assignment He has for us there. We are not the Light of the world. But we are lamps He has made to carry His Light into the dark places—the truth about life now, life eternal, God in it and through it and the living and active Holy Spirit here with us now with His gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.

Like in Isaiah, our Lord is calling—whom shall I send! He is looking for response: “Send me.” How will they see His Light if we don’t go on or if we are filled with so much fear and despair that He Himself must send those to help us and we are incapable of being used by Him to be His love, truth and comfort to others?

Rarely is it so one-sided. Usually we have times of both: times where He can flow through us because our trust in Him is strong and times of being utterly human where we forget He is there using us there and that we have a hope and a future promised (a good one) even if that promise is heaven sooner than we thought we wanted.

Our hope—the hope of Jesus—is that death is no longer the end. It is in this promise we rejoice. It is in this promise we can stand strong in the storm which seems to envelope us in darkness and tries to steal what we thought we had. Our Lord is the Light to our future. Nothing and no one can steal this destiny. When we grasp this by His grace and choose to rely on it, the Holy Spirit can flow through us as the river of Life that He is, especially in the dark and dry places, to touch the world.

On a very practical note, in my own journey into the dark places of cancer eradication and recovery where I continue to pray to be His light, there have been many wonderful, caring, self-less prayer warriors (family, friends and others where sometimes we have not yet even met face-to-face—you know who you are!!!) who have been oh-so faithfully with me by His Spirit the whole time covering me in prayer. I am grateful beyond ability to adequately express it. Such selfless giving to pray for another! I can never pay you back. Thank you so very, very, very much for praying for me so faithfully all this time!

As you can see, I am here to formally report your prayers are answered and better than you may have been able to imagine. He did not answer your prayers for immediate, instant, complete healing. It has been oh-so-gradual and therein lies the last point for which I am thankful because the gradual healing has been the greater blessing.

There are multiple aspects to this. He has taught me to enjoy the quiet even more than before through the months of inability to speak in most situations. He has taught me that often fewer words need to be spoken. He has allowed me to clearly hear the difference between chatter and what my grandmother called, “good talk”.

However the most powerful aspect of the blessing of gradual healing over immediate healing is that through it He has graced me to come to know individuals whom I never would have met (because I never would have needed to ask the Lord to help me find them). Between us, we have been blessed to pour into each others’ lives in incredible, indelible ways. I never would have known these individuals who are literal gifts to me and for whom I now pray daily. My life would have been less without them. They have made my life richer and I would not have wanted to miss knowing them. Oh the wonder of His magnificent ways from here until the day He finally calls each of us home.  His way is perfect. I am grateful. Let’s rejoice!

Selah!

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

16 the people living in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
    a light has dawned.  (Matt. 4:16)

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (Matt. 5:14-15)

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”  (Isa. 6:8)

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 cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

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

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

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

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM

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

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

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

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

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

True Treasures From Trusting God

Oh, Lord God, Your sovereignty causes us to drop to our knees in awe. How inscrutable Your ways. Your superiority is supreme! There is no one and nothing greater than You. Majestic, all-holy One, thank You for Your good plans. Thank You for how evil is and remains conquered. We are so grateful. We cannot find our own way. There is no true purpose beyond Yours. Take our lives once again and have Your beautiful way through all circumstances with us. How we desire each moment of our lives to have Your eternal effect. We love You.  We are lost without You and so, dear Shepherd, lead us and we will follow wherever You go. We are Yours. In Jesus' name, Amen
Oh, Lord God, Your sovereignty causes us to drop to our knees in awe. How inscrutable Your ways. Your superiority is supreme! There is no one and nothing greater than You. Majestic, all-holy One, thank You for Your good plans. Thank You for how evil is and remains conquered. We are so grateful. We cannot find our own way. There is no true purpose beyond Yours. Take our lives once again and have Your beautiful way through all circumstances with us. How we desire each moment of our lives to have Your eternal effect. We love You. We are lost without You and so, dear Shepherd, lead us and we will follow wherever You go. We are Yours. In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

This morning was an ultrasound to check on the status of lymph nodes in my neck 6 month post-radioactive iodine treatment and 8 ½ months post thyroid cancer surgery. It is the first of a number of appointments to check whether the surgery plus treatment have indeed addressed last year’s thyroid cancer in a way they can state I am “cancer-free” and healed.

I was not stressed going to the scan. Yet I did not look forward to it. More than anything it was one more reminder of the brevity of life, which doesn’t cause me to fear death but sometimes makes me sad because I enjoy working for our Lord here so much and sometimes cannot quite fathom heaven. (Sometimes I have to apologize to our Lord. Do I love Him more or the work He gives me to do?! Oh, Lord, help it to be all simply for love of You!)

No question, this calm in the face of tests which have the possibility of bringing unwelcome news was due solely to my faith in God. Though He can heal every disease, the calm I experienced was not because I was sure He would miraculously heal me of everything which came my way. Certainly, He can and does miraculously heal. However, eventually every one of us will face physical death. Even those Jesus healed (about whom we read over and over again in Scripture) eventually died physically. Our bodies are not made for eternity. They will wear out. It is simply a matter of how and when.

This is not a negative mindset. I don’t dwell on it. It does not depress me. It is reality. As a Christian, I know death may be the end of our temporal physical lives, but it is the door from life to the eternal all-good Life with God for which we were created.

Thus though our Lord provides for us and heals us in answer to prayer many, many times, I have no expectation for our Lord to constantly deliver me from illness. He will for as long as it is His will. On the contrary, clearly at some point (it may be earlier or later) we will each die, and there will be suffering along the way. Such is the condition of this life in this world, which will never be heaven.

Jesus is our perfect example. Where the Father wanted miraculous healings to reveal the reality of who He is, these occurred. However, even Jesus died at the hands of evil and in the eyes of worldly wisdom His physical life was abbreviated grossly from that which might have been considered a normal lifespan. Yet through this sacrifice, our Lord ushered in salvation for the world. Unspeakable goodness worked through evil! He will work goodness through us as well.

Rest assured I do not seek early physical death. (One of my grandmothers lived to 100. Lord, may I live till 100 too?) I am blessed here. Indeed I would mourn if evidence showed likelihood my physical life would be over soon. There are people here I love and there is such good, purposeful work to be done for our Lord here in addition to unabashed worship of Him. But I am not afraid.

No, the reason for my calm in the face of tests is that I trust Him, whether I am physically healed or not. I trust His plan and His will, no matter what it is—death to Life, longer life here, sickness, or health—whatever!

This is my mindset lying on the table as the sonogram begins. The technician clicks and clicks again over and over, scanning places which are beyond the scope of the area I had expected. Why is she marking so many areas? Fear tries to begin to creep in. What if she found something? Oh ugh! Really?! My trust is in the Lord, and yet there is still such a mental battle! Really?!

I realize in that moment, that once again I have a choice. I can let myself fall into anxiety or I can receive this as one more reminder God is in control, He alone knows what is to come from today until the day He takes me home. I do know and believe He will use all in my life for eternal good in the lives of others and my own –even cancer—if I will let Him. Jesus went to the cross that we might live FOREVER. If He allows more cancer, then He can use it as a vehicle through which more people He loves can be helped to choose His kingdom. I need to trust Him and be at rest in it.

I don’t believe there is more cancer, but I do in this moment want to be reconciled with the possibility and in His peace no matter what. I do not want to feel anxiety. I do not want to feel fear. These are not constructive to my Lord using me in this place and oh, how I want to be used by Him in all places at all times!

“God, to You alone I give once again my life. Lord, I have given you my life before to do with as You will, but here I am turning it over to You again, and this time I mean it on a deeper level. Where before there has been a part of me which has wanted to ask You not to cause my life to have to go through the dark spaces and places as You use me, this is no longer the case. My life is Yours, Lord. It has never been my own. Lord, use me for whatever days I am here for whatever you want. Put me wherever I can have the greatest God-effect for You. There are many dark places which would not have been my choice, but I lay all those at Your feet and bow to You. Use my remaining life according to Your perfect will and I will glorify Your name forever.”

In the face of authentically offering myself to Him once again, the inkling of fear loses its power and leaves. A blanket of His peace descends upon me there on the table in the sonogram room—a gift from Him in the midst of what is not earthly fun. I am swathed in His peace and even joy. Bliss. True contentment. Purpose. Love. I am blessed there in that place without measure (as He blesses us every place that we let go and let God).

I am in His will. It is right. It is good. The prayer was good. I meant it. I am at such peace in Him, through Him, by Him and for Him.  True riches this side of heaven!

And undoubtedly there will be future moments where I will have to turn myself over to Him yet again. *Sigh* The humility of our humanity. Lord, how great Thou art!

END

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM

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

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

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

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

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

The Dreams God Has For Us

Holy Magnificent King of kings, there is none like You. Mighty and Powerful, Love without beginning or end, You reign. It is in You alone we live, move and have our being and we are not destined for here. Merciful One, You have gone ahead and prepared a place for us, but now here where it is sometimes easier and sometimes quite hard we adore You in this foreign land and as sign of our allegiance to You we serve as Your willing ambassadors wherever You put us. Give us our strength for each day. We have none of our own, but You have sent Your Spirit to help us. We are relying on You. We are trusting You. We are rejoicing and giving thanks in all things because we know You will never leave or forsake us and will use all things for Your eternal good plan. Help us through another day. You are our hope, our shield, our purpose and our joy. In Jesus' name Amen
Holy Magnificent King of kings, there is none like You. Mighty and Powerful, Love without beginning or end, You reign. It is in You alone we live, move and have our being and we are not destined for here. Merciful One, You have gone ahead and prepared a place for us, but now here where it is sometimes easier and sometimes quite hard we adore You in this foreign land and as sign of our allegiance to You we serve as Your willing ambassadors wherever You put us. Give us our strength for each day. We have none of our own, but You have sent Your Spirit to help us. We are relying on You. We are trusting You. We are rejoicing and giving thanks in all things because we know You will never leave or forsake us and will use all things for Your eternal good plan. Help us through another day. You are our hope, our shield, our purpose and our joy. In Jesus’ name Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

Note: I found this little devotion typed into my phone from late August 2014, just a few weeks following being diagnosed with thyroid cancer and undergoing surgery. Its truth stands for us every day. God bless you! ~ Elizabeth

We belong to a Magnificent God who is the One True God in the universe.  All other gods either pretend to be God, masquerading poorly or are made into gods (though they are not) by the power and importance we give them.

A Mighty Fortress is our God! There is no other.  He alone is High Tower, Sanctuary and Dwelling Place, inviting us to abide in Him as He does in us, once we pledge allegiance to Him.

Here in this life is but a shadow of what is to come. When our life here is done we will be fully restored to our rightful place with Him in His presence as His beloved children for all eternity.  There will be no more tears, or suffering, fear or grief–only joy! There will be no more night, but only day for His glory will shine on our faces as we gaze upon Him face to face.

However, while we are here, often our eyes of childlike wonder get caught up in that which is grossly inferior to Him because we do not begin with an understanding of the spiritual realm in which He dwells.  So often we are captivated by that which distracts us from the true treasure He has waiting for us.  We look and see mostly in the natural physical realm with our natural mortal eyes.  We have dreams, but sometimes these represent that which is lessor in comparison to His more.

Indeed, oh the dreams He has for us! When His match our own, our hearts immediately sing!  However, sometimes at first glance His plans hold no attraction for us at all.   Sometimes, that which confronts us is hard and undesirable, especially on the surface. Sometimes it is painful through and through. However, like a good present cleverly disguised beneath the Christmas tree, so are many of the most valuable and precious gifts our Lord wants to give us.  These often don’t look like they are something we even want to open.  The outside packaging doesn’t seem to match anything we hoped for at all. Sometimes when we receive the ugly, undesired package, we make a sad face of disappointment, gingerly take the package into our hands, but don’t open it.

Our Lord and His plans are so much greater than our present circumstances.  There is no promise for our will not His. He knows His way is greater. There is no promise for no hardship or grief.  This is earth not heaven. But even here in all that is lessor or distracts from His greater, He constantly is about great eternal work in our lives and the lives of those we love. Always.

We have to take the courage to open life’s ugly packages. Our God remains Lord.  Into each, He has put something which will provide blessing in some way, some how.  Our joy is found in His strength.  Our safe place is to trust in Him with all our heart and to lean not on our own understanding. Our goal is to let Him use all things, especially the packages which appear undesirable for His glory—that more would know Him, that more would have a chance to choose Him.  In this way His Great Commission is fulfilled.

Our God does not fail. He is God. He is Sovereign. He is the only One.  Open the packages and receive the hidden, incomprehensible, unanticipated gifts.

END

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM

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

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

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

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

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

Christmas Is Not Always Easy

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

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM

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

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

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

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

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

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

 

Not My Will But Yours

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

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro ©2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   

Contributions for Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

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

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

For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

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