He is the Lord & He is Not Done

20181107_065217by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2018

It has been a theme before in previous posts. To see and recognize God in our storms–not just for us but especially for those we love. For those we hold so closely in our hearts, where what happpens to them affects us because we love. It is a theme which bears repeating because as a result of our love we also hurt and God wants to remind us that He is ever there, never leaving or forsaking either them or us.

So here we go. Another look at our God who not only is in the storm, but still it. He alone. From here to eternity. Always. Forever.  He is our anchor for the soul. Ever firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19 reminds us.

There are those moments when we know that that in which we find ourselves enmeshed is so beyond our power. We always know we have no power, but in these times, we know it fiercely. We know it will take God’s hand to shift what seems to be. We know we are not equipped for that which we face.

We should feel aware like this at all times. But we do not. We should always be celebrating what we cannot do, but He can.

Despair comes when we have pinned our hopes on anything different or less than God’s plans. When we are desperate for Him to do what our hearts seek.

It is not wrong to have hopes, dreams and desires for ourselves and those we love and care about. But it is bondage when our hopes and dreams hold us captive to worry, anxiety, despair and fear in the waiting. We are called to a joyful hope. For confident trust in affliction. To peace in the storm.

Just as with the disciples who forgot Jesus continued to be aware and have a plan even when He was very much asleep in the boat in the midst of the storm, we need to remember God neither slumbers or sleep, really. And when we think He has not heard or seen, He very much has. He continues to reign and work through all of it. In the ones we love and in the circumstances we have ongoing around and beyond us.

We are told to let go. To give them to God. Perhaps in the midst of this, we would do well to simultaneously grab God’s hand and hold tightly to it. Perhaps our hope is found in being His child.  This is His call to us. This is that to which He invites.

He is not only our Gift to eternal life. He is our Gift now. He is the One to whom we cling. He is the One into whom we lean. He is our blessed support. He is the Lifter of our heads. He is the breath of peace which relieves that which presses down on us. We look to HIm. We are reminded who He is. The One who is Love and never fails us. Ever.

All the ones to whom we hold so tightly in the hope, in the hope, in the hope for all which the world tells us is required to have a “great” life are known by God and our concerns completely understood. It is not that He does not care. Nor is He slow to answer. But honestly His focus is not on these things. His principle focus is on the recapture of our hearts fully for Him.  Both the ones we love and ours.

He is looking. He is longing. He is working. He sees today. Yet it is eternity which consumes His attention because of His longing. Because as love He wants us. Ever one with Him. forever. Starting now and drawing closer without end.

There is also the grand paradox of how God works in this self-seeking fallen realm. He is the God who seeks us and has been seeking us. In fact, He never stops and will not. He also does not fail.

Yes, the grand paradox where He, He, He and He alone takes everything the adversary means for evil and uses it toward eternal good. He uses it like a seed which dies–like He Himself who died. Out of the most horrible situations. He already has the plan in place to bring life from this. Greater than we can imagine. Out of what seems like dust. The seed which is technically already dead, falls seemingly finished into the soil. There put away forgotten and in the dark, the water comes into the soil. Suddenly the nutrients which were always there around it are absorbable. The water softens the outer shell which accompanied the seed in its death. Then the miracle occurs. It is God! Only God! In a way unanticipated! By the touch of the water in a way which cannot be ultimately discerned a new life begins. It comes unstoppably forth out of that which appeared to be finished and had disappeared from view. By God’s power! By God’s miraculous, ever-seeking, ever-loving power. (Which is life.)

There in the hiddenness still new life begins to grow.  Roots first plunging down into the soil so that it can continue to take up what it needs via the nutrient dense water to grow and ultimately there will be a harvest. Many, many, many seeds from this one.

This is God’s way. He is never finished. Working through every storm. And so we hold tight to the anchor He is. Eyes on Him. Being the child. Letting Him lead. Steady. Leaning in. Not tottering. Today. Tomorrow. Blessed.

Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again, Rejoice!

END

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM

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

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

For more information on books, worship albums, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro  please visit  www.elizabethfulgaro.com . Newly published is a book called: Truth-Spiritual Manual for Battle now available on amazon.com. Music can be purchased and audio clips heard at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.

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

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss.    For information email eaglesnestfoundation2007@gmail.com or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

 

Decorating My Heart With His Joy

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Holy Baby, come to set us free. In love descending, in love never-ending Your care for souls from here to eternity.  We are awestruck at Your majesty and how You love and come to rest today and every day in You.

 

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2016

Outside cold rain pouring down. Certainly in the mountains it is snowing. Unusual rain. Unusual temperatures. Actually a sense of autumn. I love the rain and its coolness and wish it could be thus every year.

Normally in our part of Northern California, October is hot and dry (long after we are ready for autumn rain and cooler temperatures) and November is temperate, often still too warm to feel like autumn completely dry. It is not common to have lots of rain in autumn or for the temperatures to feel like fall. Our autumn is usually one of bold and bronze colors but not of the cooler temperatures usually associated with how   one imagines the season should be.

This year we have autumn. Unusual rains and cooler temperatures in October and now a rainy, cold Thanksgiving. And the Holy Spirit is reminding me of His message in the rain and storms.

Oh, Lord, thank You for autumn and with the faith of being Your child, I say thank You, Lord, for storms which bring Your water into the spiritual deserts of hurting, dry hearts so seeds long thought dead can finally sprout and Your new life can come forth!

We received devastating news about someone we love the day before Thanksgiving.

As in everyday there is a choice to be made. Is God truly God or is He not? In my twenties I lived ten years in the place where I didn’t see how God could be real. Yet during those years when I chose to be absent from Him, I was dying without Him. No joy. No true peace. I was floundering to figure things out on my own and to make sense of it all even while I tried to stand resolute, firm and brave. But I was on a faulty foundation.

I returned 25+ years ago to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (the perfect representation of Father and the One who requested the Holy Spirit for us). This means by definition of faith, I do not have HIM all figured out. Yet, I have been witness to repeating, increasing evidence of God at work especially through what seem to be the worst circumstances. He never fails to work through all things to bring for the breakthrough, life and LIFE.

We are broken, imperfect humans, living broken, imperfect lives where we often make unwise choices which can lead to horrible consequences for us and those around us.

And though with us providing His blessing through all things, God’s greatest gifts are eternal in nature and He uses what we consider life’s worst to get others as well as us in position to receive His eternal blessings (which begin now).

The unusual rain is impetus to keep listening for what God wants. In addition, also in this unusual rain I sense His promise. It is His promise of restoration, increased life and LIFE if we will stay the course and seek to walk in His specific will.

When we first became aware of the direction things had actually taken for the one we love, it was Christmas Eve 2015 for me. The Lord nudged me that this revelation was part of my Christmas gift. At first, this just seemed cruel and unlike God. That is, until we recognize once again that it’s often through these things which seem so awful, that He is bringing His gifts. Through the storm, He is answering prayers and growing our spiritual muscle. We receive the gift of increased intimacy with Him while He is about the deep work of answering our prayers. This is because often when we have prayed for someone, only He has down the depth and expanse of what is needed to answer these prayers.

I have prayed what I call, “The Ugly Prayer” for those I love:

“Lord, take the ones I love wherever they need to go in life in order to come into the fullness of what you have for them and so they can walk out the God-given assignments You have for them.”

I meant it when I prayed this prayer even though I was completely aware that what I was praying for would not be answered by everything being easy and positive for those I loved. It would mean pitfalls and exposed weak spots which He would then lovingly tend to and shore up on Him the Rock and right foundation.

I could not pray the other prayer which was always so tempting: “Lord, protect the ones I love from everything which could harm them and let nothing bad happen in their lives.” This was not a prayer the Lord could answer the same way. Here remains earth and not heaven. There will be no escape from difficulties. Answer to this prayer would not bring us into the potential richness God had for us–into those blessed places where we must choose to let Him be God and grow us or not.

We live in a broken, fallen world with broken, faulty people who will affect themselves and others in ways which are not always right or good. Here will never be heaven. Ever. Human wisdom and way fails over and over through all generations.

So now in the midst of a raging storm, am I going to cower in fear, cry out in panic or give up in despair and become crippled by it? Has God changed? Is He still King over all on His throne? Have any of His promises been nullified?

No, God remains God and faithful. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Therefore, I will remain in Him, gazing at Him, singing His praises. He always has been and remains my singular hope. It is on His strength, power, wisdom, way and promises which I rely. His joy is my strength and in who He is and what He promises is my ongoing joy in spite of what I can see. I will sing His praises through it all and never stop, for I know who He is:

My Lord, You are Victor. You are never done. My Lord, You are Creator and Father who loves those I love even more than I do. My Lord, You are sovereign and nothing thwarts Your purposes. My Lord, Your purpose is eternal union with You because You are love. Heavenly One, Your love is unstoppable and supreme beyond defining. You are always Victor, my Savior and King. You, Lord, are the Shepherd who tends to very sheep. Because You are love, Your searching does not cease. You came to a manger, to show us the Father. Your love never ending, our Lamb and High Priest.

I either believe in Him or I don’t and He has shown me too much evidence of who He is and how He works not to believe. The enemy brings storms to destroy. God uses the storms to usher in His Living Water—Life comes forth through the storms.

So what am I to do? Will I crumble in the face of what I see for these waves are dangerously high? Or will I choose to continue to walk on water as He calls me, with eyes only for Him because my Lord calls me out. When He is resting in my boat will I panic, thinking He doesn’t notice the storm or rely on Him to know and bring it to cease and be still at His proper time (after His objectives have been accomplished).

My goal is to be in His will. My goal is to remain in Him receiving His joy and peace. This means I will choose to rejoice, give Him glory and rely on Him in this place.

The last few years I have decorated for Christmas less and more slowly. It has seemed like something which could easily get out of hand and in our exuberance—actually distract from focus on Jesus who came without worldly decorations or fanfare (even as heaven rejoiced).

But this year, in this excruciatingly hard place, I will walk by faith and as an expression of trust in Him, I will let nothing steal His gift of joy. Therefore as a symbolic expression of trust and commitment to be engaged in the party, I will decorate already today and enter into the celebration of my current and coming King, in thanksgiving for Who He has always been, is and will be.

#ocomeletusadoreHim #decoratingmyheartwithhisjoy #worshipHismajesty #trustintheLordwithallyourheart

END

NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss.   

Significant for GOD is not Measured by Size

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011

God’s way is not ours and ours is not God’s. This revelation should cause us pause in everything we do, including what “ministry” looks like.

For instance, when we believe we sense His nudge to go into ministry, often our measure of success is the size of the “following” which develops.  But in measuring by “size” and setting our goals and objectives for the Great Commission work accordingly, are we missing the significant?

Since as Christians we are called to follow the example of Jesus, let us consider His way.  Indeed Jesus often was surrounded by crowds when He spoke.  And ultimately God wants to reach the masses right?

But Jesus never sought the crowds.  His focus tended to be on individuals.  Certainly the crowds came, but causing them to come was never His objective.  He would heal the one or the five or the ten and go on His Way.  He never promoted Himself as a healer or put out a flyer advertising a big gathering He planned to have.  Yet He healed and He taught.

It was word of mouth which brought the people and for the most part they came for the wrong reason.  They sought Him for healing for now, but His healing power was justa  taste of who He is.  He came to set them free, healing them for eternity.  He came to offer reunion with the Father.  He came to set them free from the standards of this world to live as His kingdom citizens now (and forever).  And when He healed them privately he even told some of them NOT to tell anyone because the message was not the healing, the message through the healing was I AM.

In some cases the healing would open eyes to see He really was the Son of GOD, which would cause them to finally listen for His message about His kingdom available for us now – a new Spirit-led way to live in freedom now and forever.  But sometimes because the people focused on the miraculous physical healing, it became a distraction to focus on problems here and they continued to see God only as an answer to problems in this life (which He had already promised to handle), when He had eternity to offer.

God is not calling us to huge ministry.  He is calling us to love those around us with His love and stand for His righteousness and way in firmness, love and His power.  As each of us learn His truth we are to go forth in the Great Commission often serving right where we are not by big words or gatherings (though this will develop for some), but by how we are.  As we draw nearer to Him, making knowing Him our primary focus, He transforms us from the inside out and when others see His Light shining through how we are, they turn, seek and choose to follow Him as well.  Freedom in us, leads to freedom in them.  How beautiful is God’s way!

Selah! (Pause and calmly think of that.)  END

“See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me.  I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.”  (Deut. 32:39)

Remember to view the new song, “One Nation Under God” on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d593RguxQI8&feature=share  Share the link!  Let’s let everyone know that the USA is and remains one nation under God and be encouraged in how God values every individual.

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 For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org   Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.

Seek the Lord; His Purposes Are Glorious!

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.  Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts.  Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God for he will freely pardon.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes forth from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.  Instead of a thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.” (Isa. 55:6-13)

So often these verses have brought me hope. God’s ways are not mine; God’s purposes will not be thwarted for His word will not return to Him empty, but will accomplish what He desires and will achieve the purpose for which He sent it.  As His will is fulfilled, we will experience such joy and all will know He is God!

But this morning, I am drawn in a new way to the verses at the beginning of this passage, specifically:  “Seek the LORD while me may be found; call on him while he is near.  Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the heart, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” 

Seek the Lord while He may be found, call on Him while He is near…. Too often we get so caught up in our worldly concerns (which He has already promised to address), that we forget His overriding purpose is to restore us to Him from here to eternity!  This is the promise.  If we just choose to turn away from that which is evil, wicked, unrighteous in mind, spirit and body, God will have mercy on us and freely pardon. It is the entire reason Jesus came!

Jesus’ primary reason in coming was not to heal all the physicaly sick, though in His infinite compassion He delighted to heal.  All those who are healed merely physically will still die and all was for naught, unless they discover God, recognize Him as such, bow to His Son for providing the way for forgiveness of all (Savior!) and commit to live life forevermore in allegiance to Him (doing only as He leads).

Jesus’ purpose for coming, living, dying and rising again was not to answer our prayers for a job, good home or healthy children – though it gives Him pleasure to give us any of these good gifts.

Jesus’ objective was and is to reveal the reality of the Father and open the gates to eternal life with Him again through laying down His life for us (an undeniable, unfathomable expression of His love which  manifests in mercy) so that we can be united with Him in this life and forever.

Here is not our home.  Here we are on assignment for Him as His ambassadors until He brings us home to eternity.  Here is equivalent to a foreign land where we live as aliens – in the world, but not of the world.  Not in love with here because we are in love with God and His revelation and promises for eternity.  We are children of the King and His servants, obediently re-presenting Him where He places us, trusting Him as protector and provider in all our circumstances.  As the moon reflects the sun but has no light of its own, while on earth (which is described as being in spiritual darkness), our role is to reflect the SON who is the LIGHT of the world and will illuminate the true path of life here and into eternity.

And so we remember and rejoice:

God loves!  He is calling to each of us, desiring to draw us near to Him.

God loves!  He is waiting for us to turn and seek from Him the true riches and He will freely give.

God loves!  He desires to show us His merciful heart and forgive all we have done which is not representative of His way.

God loves! He yearns for us to recognize Him as Truth and love Him more than the world in which we live.

God loves! He desires to use us for His glory – through whom He reveals the greatness of Himself and His plan so others will seek to be with Him as well.

God loves!  His love is patient and kind.  It does not envy or boast and is not prideful.  God’s love doesn’t dishonor others; it is neither self-seeking nor easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs.  God’s love doesn’t delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres and never fails.

Selah!  (Pause and calmly think of that.)  END

Remember to view the new song, “One Nation Under God” on youtube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d593RguxQI8&feature=share  Share the link!  Let’s let everyone know that the USA is and remains one nation under God and be encouraged in how God values every individual.

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 For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org   Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.