A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

Christmas teaches us the paradoxical nature of the Christian faith. By accepting what we cannot fully comprehend, we declare that God is God and we are not.

 

Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-12.

 

As believers, we are given over to death so that Jesus’ perfect life might be revealed in our mortal bodies (see vv. 10-11). This seeming contradiction, or paradox, is just one we embrace to live in Christ.

 

Christianity is unlike any other religion because it is full of paradoxes like this, and each one takes faith to believe. To be a Christian in our scientific world, we must submit to the beautiful reality that God’s ways are above our own.

 

The Christian faith teaches us that we can see the unseen; that we conquer by yielding; that we find rest under a yoke; that we become great by humbling ourselves; that we are wise by being fools; that we are free by becoming servants; that we possess all things by having nothing; that we get by giving; that we are strong by being weak; that we triumph through surrender; that we fully live by dying to self.

 

God is God, and His ways are not our ways (see Isaiah 55:8-9). Each year, we celebrate this at Christmas. For what greater paradox could there be than the eternally divine taking on finite humanity? There is nothing more incomprehensible than the Creator taking on created form. The glorious, surprising, upside-down nature of the Kingdom of God is best expressed by a baby in a manger.

 

Prayer: Father, Your ways are not my ways, and I rejoice in that. Your ways are perfectly loving, all-wise, supremely just, and infinitely beautiful. Thank You for the wonderful, surprising gift of salvation—the gift of Yourself. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

“For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body” (2 Corinthians 4:11).

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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