The world we live in is a place of constant change—and many of the changes we’ve experienced as of late have not been positive or meaningful. Knowing this, it’s understandable to feel apprehensive about the new year and all that it may hold—but the good news is this: We follow a God who is supernatural.

There is another kind of fear that grips people at the start of a new year. For some, it’s not the unknown that terrifies them; it’s the known. They know the culture will grow more hostile toward the Christian faith. They know that their faith in Jesus Christ may cost them in ways that only a few short years ago seemed impossible. God’s presence is there for these people too. As we walk through the year to come, knowing that serious challenges await us, Jesus stands with us. We can cling to Him in the midst of every storm.

David Livingstone, the famous missionary who brought the Gospel to unreached peoples in the jungles of Africa, knew all about known and unknown fears. He knew the very real dangers inherent in God’s calling on his life, and he also knew there was no way he could prepare for everything he would face.

Late in his life, Livingstone was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Glasgow. As he made his way to the podium, his tired, gaunt, and crippled appearance told a tremendous story about the life he had lived. One might think Livingstone would be done risking his life in such a dangerous place, but that’s not how David Livingstone viewed his calling. He told the crowd gathered there that day that he was actually preparing to return. He said,

But I return without misgivings and with great gladness. For would you like me to tell you what supported me through all those years of exile among people whose language I could not understand, and whose attitude towards me was always uncertain and often hostile? It was this: “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world!” On those words I staked everything and they never failed me!

The promise of God’s presence gave Livingstone tremendous courage—and it can do so in yours, too. No matter what you may be dreading about the months and years ahead, know this: The infinite, almighty God goes with you. He loves you; you are not alone.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the confidence You bring with the presence of Your might and the assurance of Your love. Help me to have courage for whatever events You have ordained for my life so that I might do the good works You have planned in advance for me to do. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Marking the New Year: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

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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