A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

We all are starving for a personal experience of genuine, Biblical love. The teachers of shadow spirituality tell us that it is only as we love ourselves that we are able to open our hearts to receive divine love. But this is the opposite of God’s true spirituality. We come to Christ when we recognize that we are nothing without God and that, even in our sinful state, Christ died for us. The person who is absorbed with self-love cannot find God because he sees no need for God.

True love does not occur apart from God, and for the follower of Christ, love is not optional. That is because God’s love flows from His nature. As John wrote, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). His character is defined by love. God has made an eternal choice from the foundation of all creation that He will love His creation.

At no time does God say, “I love you whenever it is convenient. I love you when you are good. I love you as long as you promise to try harder.” God’s love is constant, unchanging—not contingent on our performance. His love is sacrificial, aimed always at bringing about our eternal good.

God’s love never varies. He loves us even when we are rebellious and disobedient, when we turn our backs on Him and refuse to return His love. He loves us. Period. He loves us because that is God’s choice. God is love.

Jesus said in the most famous verse of the New Testament, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). There is nothing in that statement about our earning or being worthy of God’s love. All the motivation and impetus are on God’s part.

Our appreciation for God’s love will grow when we realize that His love is not artificial or cheap. When God said to humankind, “I love you,” He gave up all that was most precious to Him. He wondrously demonstrated His love by paying the price for our sin and that price was the death of His own Son.

Take a moment and allow yourself to be overwhelmed with the unconditional love of God. Praise Him for loving you even when you were at odds with Him.

Prayer: God, You truly are love. Thank You that we are enabled to love You and others because You first loved us (1 John 4:19). I know Your love will never fail or even diminish. Thank You, dear Father, for Your constant love for me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“[H]e is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9).

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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