A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

When Sarah first heard that she would become pregnant in her old age, the notion was so far-fetched that she couldn't contain her laughter (see Genesis 18:12). A year later, at the age of 91, Sarah delivered her firstborn son Isaac, and she laughed again—but this time with joy, saying, "God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me" (Genesis 21:6). God took her laughter of sarcasm and gave her the laughter of salvation. What a God we worship!

Read Genesis 21:1-7. As incredible as it was for a woman who was barren and in her nineties to have a child, Sarah's experience is really not all that unique. You see, the birth of Isaac is a picture of a deeper spiritual reality that is available to everyone in Jesus Christ. Every single person who puts their trust in the Lord experiences a miracle that makes Sarah's blessing pale in comparison. Being born again is the greatest miracle there is. And in this passage, we can see four similarities between Isaac's birth and the believer's new birth.

First, the birth of Isaac was humanly impossible. The bodies of Abraham and Sarah, for all intents and purposes, were dead. Though they were living, their bodies were dead. And that’s precisely what we were before our hearts were awakened by the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 2:1).

Second, both births required faith. The Bible says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness" (Romans 4:3, cf. Genesis 15:6). It's the same way with our new birth. God's Word says, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31).

Third, both miracles come completely from God and are not based on our works, so God gets all the glory (see Ephesians 2:8-9).

Finally, Abraham's story was not written for him alone but also for us (see Romans 4:23-24). In the same way, God wants to use your life and mine to reach others for Jesus Christ.

This is the laugh-out-loud joy that Sarah discovered. And it is our joy as well. It comes from realizing just how amazing the love of God truly is!

Prayer: Father, Your love displayed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is overwhelming. May I bask in the joy that flows from my new identity, my new standing before You as Your righteous child by the blood of Jesus. Thank You for new life; use me to bring new life and joy to others. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).

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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