Carrying Christmas in Our Hearts into the New Year

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

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessed 9th Day of Christmas and Happy New Year!

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NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM

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

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

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

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

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

Will We Join Creation and Give Him Glory?

Magnificent One, You reign. There is none like You. We know full well that we are the works of Your hands. We delight in You. We delight to do Your will and through every storm continue to sing Your praises and give You all glory for we know who You are and our trust is in You. You do not disappoint for as we declared to You in the beginning, indeed You reign. In Jesus' name, Amen
Magnificent One, You reign. There is none like You. We know full well that we are the works of Your hands. We delight in You. We delight to do Your will and through every storm continue to sing Your praises and give You all glory for we know who You are and our trust is in You. You do not disappoint for as we declared to You in the beginning, indeed You reign. In Jesus’ name, Amen

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.  12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. (Ps. 96:11-12)

7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,  the world, and all who live in it. 8 Let the rivers clap their hands,  let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. (Ps. 98:7-9)

23 Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath.  Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the Lord has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel. (Isa. 44:23)

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.  (Ps. 19:1-3)

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. (Isa. 55:12)

7 Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. 8 I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. (Ps. 63:7-8)

 17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zeph. 3:17)

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. (Ps. 28:7)

16 But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.  17 You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. (Psalm 59:16-17)

All creation declares the glory of God. Vibrating with essence of Him which created it, creation reverberates back to Him the fact that in Him all creation lives, moves and has its being.

We are the only part of creation who can choose to declare His glory—to acknowledge His place in our lives and honor Him in it—or not.  We are the only ones who can choose whether or not to be in His will—to be aligned with Him and what He desires to do in us and through us.

Oh, His place in our lives does not change when we choose to deny Him or ignore Him.  However, He cannot work as effectively through us or bless us bringing goodness into our lives here and now as well as eternity when we do not give Him the place which He already has (He owns it).

In Him, by Him and through Him we also live, move and have our being.  Without His will and power to complete it there is no life or LIFE for us.  We choose.  Today, will we declare His glory?  Or not?

To declare Him can be done with words, but not necessarily. Actually often words are less effective than simply how we choose to life for and by Him. This is not necessarily focusing on the “thou shalt not’s”, as much as living in the recognized victory of the cross.

Translated out of “Christian-ese”, this means we know God is real. We know heaven is our forever home. We understand through Jesus death is no longer the end. We are freed from the world’s way of seeing ourselves, life and others. We are working to gain the Lord’s perspective.  As we understand His eternal way more, we come to rest in who He is and what He promises. We receive His gifts of peace, love and even joy, which as we grow, we suddenly cannot stop from flowing through us to others.  We find our purpose–our life’s purpose now through eternity.

Truly, we have our place in society where we work. However, our purpose is deeper and greater than just this temporal work in a temporal world.  Our purpose is to be the reflection of Him in that place by our gazing at Him and letting His Holy Spirit work through us wherever this life takes us. His goal is that more will see Him.

We do not necessarily preach.  We keep our eyes on Him, listen and obey. He does the rest. Through this He is glorified!  This means people see Him instead of us because when we obey He as supernatural God causes things to happen which cannot be explained and cause the hearts of those around us to begin healing with His comfort and truth even as they sense an unfamiliar wonderful inner peace they do not understand and the first inklings of true joy. And if they ask, we can share the present hope and hope for the future we have found in Jesus, the Father and Holy Spirit for every aspect of our life, now and forever.

What will you choose? Who will you trust?  Can you do it on your own or will you acknowledge your need for Him to be there for you?  Remember, He is whether you acknowledge Him or not. But when you do—He gets the glory. When you live for Him, through how we are in Him, with Him and through Him we are declaring His glory—sometimes most effectively with no words at all.  We are joining with creation and singing high praise to the One we desire and who desires us.

This is the Kingdom of God perfect harmony constantly going forth and stretching from here to eternity which He has created where He sings over us as our Creator, Father and the One Who loves us and we and the rest of His creation sing back to Him.  It is exquisitely beautiful. It is the rhythm of heaven come to earth and earth reaching up to heaven. We get to choose to be part of it!  Isn’t His Way is magnificent?!

PSALM 92:

1 Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.  2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;  proclaim his salvation day after day.  3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.  4 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.  5 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. 6 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.  7 Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.  8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. 9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.  10  Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”  The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. 11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. 12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;  let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.  13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.  He will judge the world in righteousness  and the peoples in his faithfulness. 

PSALM 65:

1 Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled.  2 You who answer prayer, to you all people will come. 3 When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions. 4 Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple. 5 You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, 6 who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength, 7 who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations. 8 The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. 9 You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it. 10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. 11 You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. 12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. 13 The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.

note: please forgive the non-traditional formatting of the included Scripture.  I was unsuccessful getting the Scripture to format in the normal fashion utilizing wordpress for posting.  ~ Elizabeth

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  

Embracing New Seasons

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2013

IMG-20130819-02201The leaves on some of the trees have begun to display fringes of orange and red while others have taken on the golden hue, which is a prelude to fall.  It seems early for this in Northern California.  Yet though the heat still presses in heavily from all sides during the day, there is an undeniable coolness in each morning’s air which forebodes the unstoppable changing of seasons.

The seasons of creation (spring, summer, autumn, winter and then spring again) remind us there are seasons in our lives as well.  For me in our little family it has been an eventful seven days: all good; all God; yet still unquestionably emotionally intense and embodying the essence of the changing seasons of life.

On the one hand, last Monday began the great joy and blessing of three full days at The Creation Lab in Turlock, California initiating recording of a new Christmas worship CD.  Preparation for this has entailed a constant “listening” in my heart the past few months for the eight new Christmas melodies and lyrics which would become the worship songs the Lord wanted composed and recorded for release on this project.

There is always somewhat of a spiritual struggle in this listening, composing, recording process, doing emotional and mental battle to fight back the negative whispers of the adversary who tries to tell me there are enough other songs out there already and that it is foolish for me to go into the studio to release more.  And yet once there engaged in the arranging and recording process, Jesus always blesses me, affirming His assignment.  This time, He gave me a vision of Himself laughing for joy in the corner of the room as we worked while angels cheered and danced rejoicing that Jesus would be more celebrated as a result of these songs.  The Holy Spirit was very tangibly with us as gifted producer, Michael Everett, and pianist/keyboardist, Mark Davis, worked with me to arrange these songs on Monday and with Brandon Davis as we began the recording process on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Michael and Mark continued with three more full, long days of work, while remotely I covered them in intercession.  God’s will with this music is all we want. We want His sound released and nothing else. (Holy Spirit, come and renew the face of the earth. Holy Spirit, come and have Your way with us.)

Emotionally fulfilling and physically exhausting, preparing and releasing His music is part of a new, delightful, ongoing season into which the Lord led me seven years ago.  The people He has brought into my life, the process and the fruit He brings through it in the lives of others, blesses me beyond measure!

This “Christmas Worship II” project will be complete for release next autumn for the 2014 Christmas season. Working on yet another worship project for Him this past week was a time for spiritual and emotional jubilation!

Simultaneously this week has brought changes in our household.   Each of our three young adult children has been preparing for the next step of their individual journeys—all of which begin today.  Our eldest starts her drive tonight with a fully loaded car to move to 750 miles away in search of her first full-time job since college graduation. Our son, who is the youngest, begins his second year of junior college.  And I drove our middle daughter to the airport this morning to catch a pre-dawn flight back East returning to college for her third year.  We will not see the girls again until Thanksgiving.  All parents with grown children understand this releasing phase is part and parcel of parenthood.

Over the summer, my husband and I also finally purchased a home in an area to which we hope to transition in the future.  It is a place where we have more space to breathe in God’s creation.  So now we stand straddling the here and the there unsure of where, how or what God is doing, but at rest in Him until He reveals the next step.

Thus a family, we are undeniably in a time of transition.  We are at a threshold looking back and forward at the same time, but as yet in between.  And despite the profound goodness of that which seems to be coming, for a mother oh how letting go of what has been also hurts. There is a grief which goes along with the change of seasons—an acknowledgement of already missing that which is past and will not come again—even as one is engulfed in a wave of unabashed thanksgiving to God where every good memory is simultaneously stored and savored.  Therefore though I know our daughters going on their way is right and good (and I am their BIGGEST cheerleader), this morning my mother’s heart still aches a bit.  I waited a long time to be a mother raising children.  It was a childhood dream.  I never wanted it to end. And yet, the season is definitely done. It is time to let go and embrace that which is to come.

This morning as I grappled with momentary emotional overload after returning to my car alone in the airport parking lot, the Holy Spirit promptly engulfed me reminding me of two things. First, grief is good. It means we have chosen to care for others—to love (!) and to be vulnerable in that love.  Secondly, He encouraged me that I needed to look at these pains as more than just grief for what is no longer. These were simultaneously His birth pangs for yet another season of service for Him which He was bringing.

During our brief time in this mortal life, He was always about using us in new and different ways through whom to reveal Himself so that others might recognize Him as God and begin to search for Him themselves.  I was to embrace the birth pangs and look forward to the new and/or broadened ways in which I was now to go forth and serve Him.

Seeing the days before me with new eyes, I followed a prompting by His Spirit on the way home to drive to a nearby hill, park, watch the dawn and worship Him. The pastel colors which swept across the sky as evidence of the dawn to come deepened minute by minute as one by one every cloud received its gilded edges until finally the sun made its magnificent appearance above the horizon.  Another day had come.  It was no longer dark, but light.

“Lord, we greet this new day filled with the hope of what You will do with it. Through good and bad You are there to comfort and restore in ways which have eternally beautiful, wonderful effect. Indeed our hope is in You! Therefore even today we can and do rejoice! Selah!”

And now for each person who will read this, I pray a blessing.  May God bless you today in a new and deeper way. May He reveal more of His most Sacred Heart. May you be renewed in spirit by His Living Water and may He flow through you to quench the otherwise unquenchable thirst of others even as He quenches yours.  May He give you the strength to revel in every new dawn He allows in your life—even (or perhaps especially) when it may be accompanied by grief.  In Jesus’ mighty, wonderful, beautiful name, Amen

Eagles Nest Foundation , Inc.
www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. Recently Elizabeth released her 5th and 6th worship CDs of original songs. The 5th is called GOD SEEKER, to give word and melody to our desire for Jesus to be Savior and Lord and to declare ourselves God seekers as compared to the gold-seeker mentality which predominates society (searching for life’s answers anywhere else besides in the Lord God.)

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

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

Through Eagles Nest Foundation which Elizabeth founded in 2007 she provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss. Email info@eaglesnestfoundation.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org for more information.

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

The Reason Jesus Sent His Spirit

Come Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth. You are all that we want and all that we need.

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (originally publishes as “His Touch of Hope” devotion Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2009)  (c) 2009 all rights reserved

www.holyspiritpress.org     www.eaglesnestfoundation.org

When in worship we cry “more God”, when in intercession we ask Him to bring revival and renew the face of the earth, we must be clear about that for which we ask.

His promises of protection and provision are ours and He will fulfill them (He must!)  But many times these needs mistakenly become our focus.  We cry more of God because we need physical healing.  We cry more of God because we are worried about our finances and need Him to intervene.  We cry more of God because we are worried about a loved one.  But let’s be clear.  Neither Jesus nor the Holy Spirit was sent to permanently erase worldly woes.  This remains earth.  Only in heaven will the hardship go away – when we enter into the promised reward which we receive when our days of service on earth are done.

Jesus was sent for the singular purpose of opening the way back to the Father by redeeming the world through the perfect sacrifice of His death on the cross.  In so doing, He did only what He saw the Father doing.  In so doing, He gave us the perfect representation of the Father, showing us God’s way of love.  In so doing, His Light lit the path for us to follow Him home.

We are called to follow in Jesus’ footsteps: to only do what we see and hear the Father doing.  In this way to walk the way of Jesus (the way of love) according to His plan, thus being His ambassadors in a foreign land – lamps which carry His Light, enabling Him to light up the path back to eternity with the Father (our destiny!) for those around us.  We cannot do this on our own, thus when Jesus returned to the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit – His Spirit, the Father’s Spirit which no one can see but whom believers know and hear because He dwells in us.

The Holy Spirit was not sent to supernaturally provide earthly riches or heal all physical diseases forever.  He was sent to work through us to testify regarding the Father, so more would find their way home.  John 16:26 (Amplified) states: “But when the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) comes, Whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth Who comes (proceeds) from the Father, He [Himself] will testify regarding Me.”  The Holy Spirit is just that: Spirit.  He guides us to use our voice, our hands and our reflection of His godly attitudes in our circumstances to reveal the truth of the invisible God to a dying world.

As we pray for a new Pentecost, for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth and unite His Body, we must remember the Spirit was sent to enable the spiritual harvest for God’s eternal kingdom.  The Spirit is not concerned with earthly goals.  We need to embrace His mission as did the first disciples.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, the disciples did not go back to the lives thay had before they knew Him where their focus was on securing provision and safety for their physical lives.  In obedience which sprang forth from faith and trust, they gathered in the Upper Room of one mind and heart, waiting together as Jesus had instructed and devoted to persevering in prayer until His promise to send the Holy Spirit was fulfilled (even though it is likely they did not fully grasp what this meant.)  Then from the moment the Holy Spirit was poured out on them at Pentecost, they lived only to be a testimony for God.  They received God’s heart for their own, placed full priority on walking out His will, their focus on worldly wealth/success and/or protecting their physical lives gone.  Instead they focused on sharing the only true wealth wherever they could:  the Wisdom, the Truth of God that physical death would no longer be the end (but the beginning) for as many as would hear, draw near and accept the message.

When God blesses us with revival, when He gives us the “more” we seek, He indeed will enable a way for us to be provided for perfectly for the rest of our earthly lives.  (And what He provides will be sufficient for what He calls us to do.)  But this will not and cannot be our focus if we truly believe in Him. Our focus must be to worship Him in all circumstances and through our trust in Him, allow Him (by His Spirit) to work in all our circumstances to reveal Himself and the Kingdom.  In this way we become the branches attached to the Vine which bear His fruit for the harvest – the purpose of Pentecost is fulfilled.

Lord God, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven.  Come, Holy Spirit.  Come.  Come with more.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Acts 26:13-18 (Amplified)

13 When on the road at midday, O king, I saw a light from heaven
surpassing the brightness of the sun, flashing about me and those who were
traveling with me.

14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice in the
Hebrew tongue saying to me, Saul, Saul, why do you continue to persecute Me [to harass and trouble and molest Me]? It is dangerous and turns out badly for you to keep kicking against the goads [to keep offering vain and perilous resistance].

15 And I said, Who are You, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus, Whom
you are persecuting.

16 But arise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to you for
this purpose, that I might appoint you to serve as [My] minister and to bear
witness both to what you have seen of Me and to that in which I appear to you,

17 Choosing you out [selecting you for Myself [and delivering you from among this [Jewish] people and the Gentiles to whom I am sending you – [Ezek. 2:1, 3.]

18 To open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and
from the power of Satan to God, so that they may thus receive forgiveness and release from their sins and a place and portion among those who are
consecrated and purified by faith in Me. [Isa. 42:7,16.]

Selah! [Pause, and calmly think of that!]

END

PLEASE view the new music video for “RESTORE” (with choir) on youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piQYnPY1vIA&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL     (Made by upcoming, Holy Spirit-filled film director, Olivia Mowry.) 

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 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.

Listening & Following God’s Voice Is Transformational

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011   www.holyspiritpress.org    www.eaglesnestfoundation.org 

 Life begins to change for the extreme better when we finally grasp:

  1. God promises to speak to us in a way we can hear Him if we will seek to listen  “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jer. 33:3)
  2. He has a plan for us which is good.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11)  
  3. The Lord will specifically guide us in the way we should go if we will listen.   “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27) 

Our perspective changes from being personally responsible to make all the “right” decisions and ensuring everything turns out, to being responsible for listening for God’s direction, trusting Him and obeying at all costs.

So what does God’s voice sound like?  Some of the ways the Bible describes God’s voice include: as the sound of rushing waters, like a whisper or as a trumpet.  Sometimes it is described as loud and other times as soft.  Most frequently, His voice comes as thoughts which drop into our minds.

Obviously, not all thoughts are from Him. To discern which are which, we look to God’s Word (what He has written for us in the Bible.)  Since God is Truth and unchanging, He can never lie and cannot contradict Himself. Therefore what He speaks to us, will never contradict what He has revealed in His Word.  There are also a few constants: God’s voice is rooted in love, riddled with His peace and is confident in what is spoken because He knows what He has planned.  His voice never speaks from a root of anxiety, fear, hate, guilt, shame, (etc.) or anything else ungodly.  God loves us and simply wants us to follow Him in His way.

That said, it is also important to note that frequently what we think God is telling us to do at the moment may not make logical sense.  We tend to make decisions based on what we can figure out – what we think might happen. Yet, God often will not reveal to us what He already plans to do.  He simply will give us His next step.  We are supposed to be following Him by faith. That which is seen/known is not faith.  God is looking to see if we will trust Him and follow His promptings though we cannot yet understand His rationale.   To be authentic followers of Jesus, we must do as He did.  He obeyed whatever the Father told Him to do.  He did nothing of His own accord.  We are to have the courage to listen and follow where the Holy Spirit is leading, putting His will above our own.

God’s ways are not our ways.  His ways are higher and better (otherwise He wouldn’t be God – we would.)  In addition, His ways must be different so people see Him in how things work out.  If the results are comprehensible by human standards, no one will have the opportunity to gasp in wonder at an outcome, impossible without the help of God and  thereby grasp He is real.

God wants to work through our lives so others see Him.  He wants every person to have the opportunity to recognize He is real in order to choose Him as Savior and Lord.  He is invisible.  He chooses to work through us – if we will let Him.

When we have the courage to trust what the invisible God is speaking to our hearts more than we trust our own judgment, and we move to do that which we sense Him leading us to do at the moment He requests it of us (especially when what He is asking seems to make so sense and violates everything this secular, ungodly life had taught us, but doesn’t violate His Word), His supernatural moves to invade our natural in exhilirating and unanticipated ways, so that His presence, power and influence cannot be denied.  Others see God at work in our lives and discover our God is indeed God and very real.  Thus through our listening followed by stepping out in faith and trust, He infuses both the good and unavoidable bad in our lives with His magnificent effect and fills every day with exquisite, eternal purpose.

And there is such freedom in His Way.  Our choice to embrace our role as the sheep of His pasture, where He is Master Shepherd and we listen for His voice in order to follow in His way, removes responsibility for outcome from our shoulders. It is on His and so long as we do our best to obey with our childlike faith, we sense His delight in us.

“28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-10 NIV)

There is nothing better than walking in the will of God, led by the Spirit, sensing God’s favor, being filled with His peace and joy in all circumstances.  Life here takes on a meaning beyond our existence as we realize we are partnering with God for eternity.

“Neither will they hunger or thirst, nor will the desert heat or sun beat down on them.  He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.”   Isa. 49:10 (NIV)

“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to the springs of living water’. ‘And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.'” (Rev. 7:17 NIV)

Selah!  [Pause, and calmly think of that!]

END

PLEASE view the new music video for “RESTORE” (with choir) on youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piQYnPY1vIA&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL     (Made by upcoming film director, Olivia Mowry.) 

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 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.

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.