A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

The last few chapters of Judges do not tell the story of a particular judge. Instead they show the depths of depravity to which Israel had sunk through disobedience to God’s commandments. The people of Israel had fallen to such a spiritual and moral low point that they saw no problem whatsoever in worshiping the Lord and pagan idols side by side.

 

Life in that society was not so different from life in our own postmodern, post-Christian, anything-goes society. These days, people avoid words like sin or disobedience. They prefer to justify their actions with phrases like, “Everybody does it,” or, “The old rules don’t apply anymore,” or, “Times have changed.” It’s true that times have changed, and not for the better. But God hasn’t changed. He still says to us, “You cannot receive blessings from Me while you live in disobedience. You can’t have it both ways.”

 

There is nothing in the world as futile as being religious yet lost, maintaining a form of religion but lacking in faith. If you think you can be a discerning believer without spending time with God—think again. If you think you can be a woman of God or a man of God without studying His Word—think again. If you think you can experience God’s blessings without living in faithful obedience to Him—think again.

 

We seem to have lost the key to salvation, the key to the Good News of Jesus Christ, the key to healing from guilt, shame, and inadequacy. We seem to have lost our faith. By faith, we give our lives to God. By faith, we surrender control of our lives to Him. We do this not to impress God or to buy His favor but as an expression of gratitude to God for the salvation He freely gives us through Jesus Christ.

 

If you find yourself caught in the downward spiral of disobedience, if you are doing what is right in your own eyes rather than in God’s, it’s time to come home. God anguishes over His people and longs for them to love Him and trust Him. He longs for us to manifest a strong, obedient faith in Him. Come home. The one who loves you is waiting.

 

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for going through the motions and not surrendering control of my life to You, for not living in faithful obedience. I want to come home to You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:3-4).

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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