TWR360 - Encouraged by What You Read?

The Bible tells us about numerous people of faith who experienced persecution because they stood for God’s Truth. “Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated” (Hebrews 11:36-37).

 

It would have been easy for these people to conform to the world’s pressures in order to escape persecution, but they remained obedient to God. Their obedience was costly, but they found strength in their faith and in God’s promises. We can find inspiration in their examples when we are confronted with the choice between obedience to God and conformity to the world.

 

We may not face the same extreme obstacles that the people of the Bible experienced or the violent persecution that people in many countries are enduring today. But we do feel deep rejection when a friend stops inviting us to social events because our godly behavior and demeanor set us apart. We do feel the pressure of a suffering career when we refuse to follow unethical business practices. We do feel harassed and humiliated when a co-worker makes us the subject of jokes and snide comments. We do feel tension when a neighbor criticizes Christianity or uses God’s name as a profanity—but we must not let these challenges keep us from standing firm in Christ. In these moments, we can look to the Holy Spirit, who will show us how to respond.

 

Prayer: Father, I am grateful that I am not faced with the extreme violent persecution that so many believers in other countries are dealing with today. Yet I do struggle with feelings of rejection and pressure from unbelievers in my life. Help me in those moments to remember all of those who have gone before me and have stood strong in the face of persecution. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

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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