Sabbatical Poem

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Sabbatical, Sabbatical,

Why does it seem, so completely radical?

Three days of time, alone with God,

Am I really afraid, of His gentle nod?

To meet with Him, face to face,

How truly amazing, is His unmerited grace?

He is my Father, I am His child,

Would He dare leave me, alone in the wild?

In His presence, I have nothing to fear,

Can I hear His whisper, calling me near?

Questions, Questions, fill my mind,

My Father’s answers, will I seek and find?

Sabbatical Poem Copyright 2017, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the poem, Sabbatical Poem, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Arrivederci Pops

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On this very first Fathers Day without my Dad, I’d like to remember him with this written eulogy that I shared on the day of his home-going celebration.

As the only natural born son of Lawrence (Larry) Ralph Borgstede, Jr, it is my great privilege to say a few words on behalf of my mom and family to honor the memory of my Dad on this day of September 20, 2016.

A loving husband, a wonderful father, and a faithful friend…my Dad was all of these and so much more to everyone who knew him and loved him. As his son, I loved him and without any doubt, I know that he loved me. I also know that my Dad would be the first to tell you that he was not a perfect Dad, but I will be the first to tell you that he was a good good father because he first loved his perfect Father in heaven, he secondly loved my mom as Christ loves the church, and he thirdly loved his family and others as he loved himself. When it comes right down to it, my Dad was a good good father because he truly loved the Lord and he truly loved others as God commands all of us to do.

My Dad was the kind of man who always did what he said he would do no matter what it cost him because his good name was worth everything he gave to have a good name that honored God and his family. If he borrowed a vehicle from someone, he brought it back full of gas…that’s just how he rolled.

Besides being called Hon, Dad, Paw Paw, and Pops, my Dad was sometimes lovingly called bumpstead, grumpstead, and motor mouth, but no matter what anyone called him, everyone who truly loved him, knew they could count on him whenever they called him.

On one such occasion, I called my Dad at 4 o’clock in the morning to help me with some mice in my house. I had set a trap in the pantry the night before, and then around 4 am, I heard a loud clamoring all around the inside of the pantry. With all the commotion going on, I thought it just had to be a large rat or squirrel, or possum, or something big. And because I was scared to open the pantry thinking that it would run through the house with my wife and kids there, I called my Dad who lived about 3 miles away to come help capture and kill this monster in the pantry. And sure enough, at 4 in the morning, without any reservation, my Dad got out of bed and showed up to help me.

I guess you want to know what happened to the monster in my pantry, right? Well, when my Dad arrived, he bravely opened the pantry door as I stood behind him with a Puerto Rican bat ready to clobber the monster. And what he found was a little tiny mouse having a bad day with a mousetrap. My Dad looked at me and said, “Son, is this why you got me out the bed at 4 o’clock in the morning? Looks like I’m going to have to teach you a few more things in life.”

And that he did. My Dad has taught me over and over again by his selfless example that being there for people is what matters most in life. My Dad was always, always, always there for me. And he was always there for my family and his friends as well.

Another time I called my Dad when I was in Florida on a business trip and my car wouldn’t start. Without hesitation, my Dad offered to drive to Florida and get me if I wasn’t able to get the car fixed with a new battery. Fortunately, it was just the battery and he didn’t have to make that drive…but he would have gladly done it, if he had to. It’s just how he loved people.

There are literally hundreds of stories that can be told collectively by my family and his friends of how my Dad somehow was there for them over the years and helped them in some large or small way. That’s my Dad…it’s who he was.

In fact, during the final days of my Dad’s life, the hardest thing about it was that his family and friends couldn’t help him when he was the one now calling for help. He had been there so many times for us and he always knew how to help us, but when he needed us to help him in his final days, we didn’t know what to do except to pray for him and be there for him just like he was always there for us.

One thing is for certain though, we can all take great comfort in knowing that my Dad, one of the smartest men I’ve ever known, knew what he needed to do even in his most difficult time. In his final hours, my Dad called on Jesus in heaven to help him when he knew there was nothing else that anyone on earth could do to help him. And without fail, Jesus helped him indeed and what I am about to share with you is amazing!

In the moments when my Dad was crying out, “Jesus help me!” and my Mom was crying out “Jesus, where are you?”, the Holy Spirit whispered to my Mom to put on the daily televised mass for my Dad to watch in his bed. As only God can do, the Lord showed up for my Mom and my Dad when the priest gave his homily about loved ones going home to be with Jesus.

In his homily, the priest said that when believers in Jesus go home to be with Him in heaven, we go home to a beautiful house with many mansions that Jesus has prepared for us. Jesus affirms this Himself in the book of John 14:1-3 when He says, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

The priest also said that for all who believe and trust in Jesus, this glorious truth makes us all the more want to go to heaven so that we can see our loved ones once again and have fellowship with them for all of eternity. I know that statement is true for me and I hope it is also true for you because all of us can experience eternal life in heaven.

I believe that if my Dad could speak to all of us here today, he would tell everyone to put your trust in God and commit your life to Jesus so that each of us can be in heaven where he is when it’s our time to leave this earth.

At the very end of the televised mass last Thursday, it was my Dad’s time to leave this earth as he breathed his last breath and went home to be with Jesus in heaven. Praise God that the Lord is faithful and His love is unfailing!

Now, for the rest of this temporary life on earth, I will miss the personal fellowship with my Dad on earth. But, I take great comfort in knowing that I have not lost relationship with my Dad because he is my Dad forever and as a person who has placed my trust in Jesus, I know that I will one day see my Dad again and will forever have fellowship with him in heaven. Thank you Lord that Your mercy is new every morning and Your mercy endures forever!

With that final thought, I conclude with the Italian words of Pope Francis, “Arrivederci” Pops. It means “goodbye Dad, until we meet again.”

Farewell To My Grandfather

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As the oldest grandson of Gasper P. LaCiura, it is my privilege to honor his memory with this written eulogy delivered on May 25, 2017.

Thirty-three years ago, I was planning to go to college but didn’t know how I was going to pay for it. And because I needed all the help I could get, I decided to apply for the college scholarship that my dad’s local union was offering to the children of their members. However, in order to apply for the scholarship, I had to write a letter about my goals and ambitions in life. For a 17 year old young man, I didn’t really have any idea what I was going to do in life so I asked my Paw Paw to help me think through what I should write and he gave me this hand-written draft to review and consider. This is what he wrote:

To the Scholarship Committee:

After finishing high school, I plan to attend college, get a comprehensive education, so that I may become knowledgeable in all facets of life, to cope with adversity, to accept responsibility, and to face each day with a positive attitude. I have not decided what I will major in or what field I will enter; however, I will not set my goals so high that they will be unattainable, or will cause me anguish, stress, or poor health.

I plan on being successful, but, how do you measure success? Is it a home on the lakefront with a Mercedes Benz and servants? I think not. A successful person is well adjusted, maintains a certain amount of self-discipline, has a sense of values, morals, ethics, etc. and faces each day in a constructive manner.

I hope to marry, raise a family and become involved in community affairs, such as improved playgrounds, education, drug and alcohol abuse, etc and realize that the future of our country lies with my generation and the ones that come after. I will do everything in my power to make my community and my country a better place in which to live. I will not stand aside and say, “Let George do it!” I will contribute my share.

In the end, I would like to be judged by my peers, family, friends, associates, and all that I become involved with, as an honest, sincere, compassionate, concerned individual who enriched their lives to a great degree.

I have not seen this letter in a very, very long time and I was hoping that I would be able to find it. I am so glad that I did because as I now read it, I am astonished at the profound vision that my Paw Paw possessed for his life because this is the way he lived his life…but even more than that…I am astonished and grateful for the vision he possessed for my life. In the words of his letter, I can see that he very eloquently communicated so many years ago what he hoped my life would turn out to be. And as I now reflect upon my life in comparison to his hopes for me 33 years ago, it is clearly evident how much my Paw Paw loved me and how much he actually influenced my life for the good.

Because my Paw Paw taught me that the pen is mightier than the sword, I decided to write him a letter on Christmas Eve in 2007 to honor him and tell him how much I loved him for being the best grandfather a young boy, and a grown man could ever have.

I told him how much I appreciated him for letting me experience the thrill of driving a boat as a young lad and teaching me that life is a daring adventure to be enjoyed with those you love.

I thanked him for the many opening days of shrimp season when he, my dad, and I would enjoy the anticipation of the first drag of the net. And it didn’t matter if we caught the “mother lode” or if we forgot to “tie the pocket”, (which we did far too many times) my Paw Paw taught me that the simple things in life were the good things in life.

When I was 14 years old and turning 15, my Paw Paw knew that I was saving money to buy my first car. So he called me one night and asked me how much money I had saved. I told him that I saved $1,400 and then he asked me if I liked the 1966 Mustang that he had in his driveway and offered to sell it to me for $1,200. What a surprise that was to me and even more so to my parents because I don’t think they were quite yet ready for me to own a car and be driving. By his example, he taught me that nothing in life is free and anything worth having is worth the hard work to achieve it.

And then most importantly, I thanked him for always being there for me to listen to my dreams, encourage my whole-hearted pursuit, and inspire my belief that nothing would be impossible for me with a little bit of faith, hope, and love.

I let him know that the gift of his life, love, and laughter that he often shared with me on his early Saturday morning donut runs helped me to become the man of purpose and conviction that I am today.  And because he taught me that “your word is your bond”, I promised to pass on to my children the many life principles that he taught me which are as timeless and priceless as the railroad watch that he left me as a reminder of his family legacy.

And lastly, I closed my letter with a prayer that his personal relationship with our heavenly Father, Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, would grow ever more closely and intimately as he reflected each day on the blessings of his life.

Being true to form, after receiving my letter, my Paw Paw wrote back with the following:

Dear Gary,

Finally getting around to writing you to thank you for those wonderful accolades that you bestowed on me. Although I don’t think I am deserving of them, I will accept. And don’t forget for one minute the joy and happiness that you brought into my life. God has been very good to both of us. Of course you know that I am ninety years old. I have survived this long for a reason…God must have plans for me. Don’t laugh!

You have every reason to thank God for being so good to both of us. You have every reason to be thankful to God. First He gave you a wonderful mother and father. Then He gave you a beautiful wonderful wife and children. As far as I am concerned, you are already successful. You have intellect, wit, and the ability to do the things that you prefer…not to mention good looks. That is one thing I’m glad you did not take after me for. I don’t have to tell you that we owe it all to Almighty God. Once again, I want to thank you for the tribute. It brought a tear to my eye.

Your loving grandfather,

Blackie

Yes Paw Paw, we do owe it all to Almighty God and I am thankful He gave me you! I love you and will look forward to seeing you again!!

Farewell To My Grandfather Copyright 2017, Gary Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the written eulogy, Farewell To My Grandfather, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Heaven

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Heaven, a place so grand,

No eye or mind can see,

A chorus of angels always singing,

Glory, honor, praise unto Thee.

Angels of light all around,

Our loved ones already there,

Fond memories in our heart,

A little bit of heaven, everywhere.

Heaven Copyright 2016, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the poem, Heaven, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Personal Declaration Of Empowerment

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To my beloved children:

From the time you began walking to the time of your 18th birthday, your mom and I have done our best to prepare you for being a responsible empowered adult. However, in order to actually be a responsible empowered adult upon reaching the age of 18, each of you must personally embrace what it truly means to be a responsible empowered adult and then live your life in such a manner. To help you do this, I have written the following personal declaration of empowerment that can and will inspire you to live your life each day as a responsible empowered adult if you make this personal declaration of empowerment your own and live it each day. I know you’ve got this and you can do it! And because I desire to live my life as a responsible empowered adult as well, I declare the same.

Your imperfect loving,

Dad

Personal Declaration of Empowerment

As a responsible empowered adult, aged 18 or older, I declare this day to embrace personal responsibility and empowerment and I choose this day to reject any entitlement thinking that demands from others the provision of personal benefits that have not been duly earned through my own hard work, study, and achievement. As a human being made in the image of my Creator, I am only entitled to the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that all people created equal have been given by their Creator.  Therefore, as a responsible empowered adult, my entitled right to pursue happiness does not give me the right to expect others to provide for my happiness without my personal responsibility to do whatever it takes to secure my happiness through my own hard work, study, and achievement.  This means that I must work hard for anything and everything that may or may not provide personal happiness in my life regardless of my race, creed, gender, family, occupation, or station in life. I accept the definition of hard work as the highest personal contribution that I can give in making my environment and the environments around me better as a result of my personal efforts.

Because I am a responsible empowered adult, I will not expect anyone else to do for me what I can and should do for myself. However, I realize that all people need help at times in life; therefore, when I personally need help from others, I will humbly ask for such help and I will graciously receive that help in my time of personal need. And when people give me help or anything else through their personal generosity, I will gratefully receive their help and their generosity as a great blessing in my life.

Furthermore, I recognize that every day I am alive is a precious gift from my Creator. With the gift of each new day, I choose to take full responsibility for my daily decisions as well as the resulting consequences of those decisions knowing that every decision determines a path and every path leads to a destination. Because each destination in my life is determined greatly by my personal life choices rather than my personal life circumstances, I will do everything in my power to respond to my life circumstances in a way that will ultimately determine the best possible outcomes in my life regardless of the circumstances.

And lastly, I recognize that my life can only be lived by me and I promise myself that I will put forth the diligent effort to intentionally live my life in a manner that honors my Creator for giving me life and blesses others for being in my life.  All of this personal declaration of empowerment is what it means to be a responsible empowered adult.

 

Personal Declaration of Empowerment Copyright 2016, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the letter, Personal Declaration of Empowerment, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Quiet Cry

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Stormy sea, meant to be;

Special grace, appear to thee.

Smooth sailing, tumultuous sky;

Greater love, quiet cry.

 

To truly see, could it be,

Bright lights, dark nights.

Valleys low, mountains high,

Redemption reign, quiet cry.

 

Fractured soul, despairing hole;

Foolish pride, truth collide.

Hopeless place, demons lie;

Mercies new, quiet cry.

 

Oceans blue, tried and true;

Delicate dashes, beauty from ashes.

Through the battle, arms held high;

Forever Faithful, quiet cry.

 

Quiet Cry Copyright 2016, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the poem, Quiet Cry, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Love And Grow Like Christ In An Increasingly Dark World

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Love from roses

With this post, I am excited to share some reflections from my recent devotions and book readings over the past month. I’ve been reading the book titled, Quiet, written by Susan Cain which is about introversion. And I’ve also recently finished reading the book titled, Tortured For Christ, written by Reverend Richard Wurmbrand which is about the persecution of the Underground Church in countries closed to the gospel. Additionally, my Pastor’s current message series titled, Culture Shift, is very timely to my recent introspections. The message content in all three has seriously challenged my thoughts and hopefully my growth as a mature Christ-follower in this tumultuous day and age. With that said, my heart in this post is to share some spiritual leadership takeaways that can help you and I to love and grow like Christ in an increasingly dark world.

To begin, I’d like to go through a brief overview of the cultural climate of America from the 19th Century to the cultural climate that we now find ourselves in the 21st Century. I believe it has significant relevance for how we can love and grow as mature believers in Christ during these times and how we can have the greatest influence for God’s kingdom on earth.

The Cultural Climate Of 19th Century America – A Culture Of Character

In the 19th Century, the strength of American society rested primarily on a culture of social character. A person’s strength of character is what primarily influenced other people in society. 19th Century America was characterized by the Agricultural age, people working on farms, representatives being statesmen, popular sermons being truth-based like “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards, and popular books affirming the culture of character like Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.

In Susan Cain’s, Quiet, she communicates that a culture of internal character in the 19th Century could be described with words like citizenship, duty, work, golden deeds, honor, reputation, morals, manners, and integrity. As I further study the 19th Century period, I think the primary domestic spiritual emphasis in America was a pious devotion and the major foreign spiritual antagonism to America was state religion.

The Cultural Climate Of 20th Century America – A Culture Of Personality

Contrastingly, in the 20th Century era, the strengths of internal character in the 19th century society shifted to strengths of external personality. Inner virtue of character was no longer the strength that primarily influenced people in the 20th Century, but rather the effective outer charm of personality. In the 20th Century, America was characterized by the Industrial age, people working in factories, representatives being politicians, popular sermons being prosperity-based like “Your Best Life Now” by Joel Osteen, and popular books affirming the culture of personality like How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

In her book, Susan Cain communicates that a culture of external personality could be described with words like charisma, magnetism, fascination, stunning, attractiveness, glowing, dominance, and energy. As I further study the 20th Century period, I think the primary domestic spiritual emphasis in America was the gifts of the Holy Spirit as awakened by the Azusa Street Revival and the major foreign spiritual antagonism to America was social fascism and atheistic communism.

The Cultural Climate Of 21st Century America – A Culture Of Self-Love

Unfortunately, in the 21st Century, I believe another shift in our American society is taking place and it is a shift from a culture of external personality to a culture of self-love. In the 21st Century, America will be characterized by the Information age, people working on computers, representatives becoming autocrats, popular sermons “itching the ears” of hearers, and popular books affirming a culture of self-love.

This 21st Century culture of self-love can be described with words like selfie, proud, boastful, radical, fanatical, hoarder, heretical, terror, hater, and survivalist. As I further ponder the implications of the 21st Century society, I believe the primary domestic spiritual emphasis in America will be the fruits of the Holy Spirit developed through heightened persecution.  For the Christ-follower, our response to any form of personal persecution provides a litmus test for distinguishing between selfless love for others and selfish love for oneself. In a dark and depraved society, having the genuine fruits of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) will be the only way to effectively live as a Christ-follower in the 21st Century when the major foreign and domestic spiritual antagonism to America will be religious fascism and increasing social depravity.

If we dare to objectively survey the current cultural landscape in 21st Century America, we can clearly see the culture of external personality giving way to a culture of self-love which has significant implications for you and I living as Christians in this day and age. Facebook, LinkedIn, SnapChat, InstaGram, iPods, iPads, and iPhones have given everyone the opportunity to share their iThoughts, iBeliefs, and iOpinions with the whole world. In this type of iFocused culture, the spiritual stakes are high because everyone has an easy and free platform to propagate their individual agendas with their only governor being the mental, emotional, and spiritual state of the individual person. On top of that, the rapid advancement of religious fascism overseas and within America along with the advancement of depraved social lifestyles pose major foreign and domestic spiritual antagonisms that seriously impact the fabric of our society – making it an extremely dark and wicked culture such as it was in the days of Noah. Isn’t it interesting that Hollywood produced a major feature film this year titled Noah?

Spiritual Implications For Christ-followers Living In 21st Century America

In this wicked and depraved culture, the people who will have the greatest influence during these perilous times will be genuine followers of Christ who are baptized and anointed by the Holy Spirit. Personality alone won’t cut it in the dark places of 21st Century society where we are now finding ourselves in America, and neither will character for that matter. Personality power and character power can be self-generated; however, anything of self-generated power will not last in the days ahead. The only power that will have any enduring strength in a very dark and wicked culture will be true spiritual power grounded in a genuine faith in Christ. True spiritual power is far different and superior to personality power and character power because it can never be self-generated. It can only be generated through a genuine faith in Christ that is fully surrendered to the Holy Spirit regardless of the personal cost.

Unfortunately though, for many sons and daughters of the Most High King, particularly in our highly blessed nation of America, we mistakenly think that having a genuine faith in Christ and true spiritual power from the Holy Spirit means that we get a chalice of glory, but not a cup of shame, we get a robe of many colors, but not a mantle of mockery, we get the role of leader, but not the role of foot washer, we get the crown of life, but not the cross of death.

The Paradox Of True Spiritual Power In Christ

To think this way is truly unfortunate because the life of a genuine Christ-follower empowered by the Holy Spirit with true spiritual power on earth is characterized by the same spiritual paradox of Christ’s own life while He lived on earth. When Jesus walked the earth, He was indeed our Sovereign King, but He was also our Suffering Savior. As Christ- followers, our lives on earth gain true spiritual power as we are shaped and molded into Christ-likeness by sharing in His reign as a child of our Most High King, but by also sharing in His obedience as a follower of our Suffering Savior. In Matthew 16:24-25, Jesus tells His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny Himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Christians in other countries where the gospel is illegal have a keen understanding for what it means to take up their cross and follow Jesus, even unto death if it be in His will. As a result, they gain true spiritual power by serving Jesus as their Sovereign King and their Suffering Savior through the daily persecution they experience.

Two Spiritual Principles That Shape The Life Of Every Genuine Christ-follower

In his book, Spiritual Leadership, J. Oswald Sanders teaches that there are two spiritual principles in the kingdom of God that shape the life of every genuine Christ-follower: the Sovereign principle and the Suffering principle. To be a genuine Christ follower, there is no way around these two spiritual principles. James and John, the apostles of Jesus, learned this directly from Jesus.

In Mark 10:35-45, the bible tells us, “Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, ‘Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.’  36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”  37 They said to Him, ‘Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.’

38 But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’

The New Living Translation reads like this: “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?”

The Suffering Principle In The Kingdom Of God

39 “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” Then Jesus told them, ‘You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering.”

The Sovereign Principle In The Kingdom Of God

“But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones He has chosen.”

James and John wanted the glory of Christ – sitting at His right and left – but not the suffering of Christ. They wanted the power of Christ – do for us whatever we ask – but not the shame of Christ – nail scarred hands. At that moment, they wanted their will to be done in their life, but not His will to be done in their life. How often do you and I approach God in the same manner as James and John did in that moment? Like James and John, we want Jesus to make us happy, make us important, and give us whatever we ask for; however, Jesus will have nothing of this form of Christianity because He is more concerned with developing our personal Christ-likeness rather than our personal comforts.

The Sovereign Principle And The Suffering Principle Are A Holy Combination

The holy combination of the Sovereign principle and the Suffering principle forms the foundation for how Jesus develops His followers into His likeness so that we can have true spiritual power that loves others selflessly and rocks our dark world for Him. These two principles are further highlighted in the scripture verses of John 15:16 and 1 Peter 4:12-18.

In John 15:16, Jesus says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”

We don’t get to choose our assignments. We don’t get to pick our roles. We don’t get to say who sits on the right and the left in the kingdom of God. These matters of choice are left solely to the sovereign will of Almighty God the Father. He alone chooses, He alone qualifies, and He alone empowers each person with true spiritual power that bears lasting fruit.

And 1 Peter 4:12-13 says, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.

No Genuine Christ-follower Is Exempt From Growth Through Suffering

By highlighting these verses and also speaking of the sufferings experienced by persecuted Christians, I am not implying that we will all experience the same kind of physical sufferings as our brothers and sisters in the Underground Church. However, I am implying that none of us are exempt from being developed into Christ-likeness through suffering. While it’s not likely in America that we will suffer physical crucifixion like Christ did and many modern day martyrs of our faith in the Underground Church around the world, it is certain that we will all learn obedience by the things we suffer just as Jesus did in the garden of Gethsemane – the crucifixion of our will to His will through yieldedness and submission to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.

Romans 8:17-18 states, “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share His suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.”

The good news is this: there is nothing we can give, no cost to great, and no suffering too painful that can compare to the glory that will be revealed in us and through us as children of our Most High Reigning King and obedient followers of our All-Loving Suffering Savior.

Crushed Christians Reward Others With The Love Of Christ   

In the book, Tortured For Christ, Reverend Richard Wurmbrand writes that “when you crush a flower, it rewards you with the pleasant smell of its aroma.” And he further shares that likewise, when we are crushed as Christians, our lives should reward others with the love of Christ. As we desire to be used greatly by God, my prayer is that we can embrace the great crushing of our wills to His will so that we can be His noble vessels to share His great love and compassion to a lost and hurting world around us.

To God’s glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

Love And Grow Like Christ In An Increasingly Dark World Copyright 2014, The Make It Happen Learning Institute. You have permission to reprint the leadership article, Love And Grow Like Christ In An Increasingly Dark World, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission. All other rights reserved.

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