A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

After 25 years of waiting in faith, Abraham and Sarah finally received the first "star" God promised. Abraham was already 100 years old when Sarah, herself 91, gave birth to Isaac. Imagine Abraham's joy as he held his son for the first time, reflecting on the long journey of faith he had walked with God.

When Abraham finally had a star he could see, God commanded him to give it up, to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering (see Genesis 22). But here's the amazing thing: Abraham didn't complain. He didn't question. He didn't give God a long list of excuses. Abraham simply obeyed. We don’t know exactly what was going through Abraham's mind as this was taking place, but in Hebrews 11 we read, "Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death" (v. 19).

Abraham's faith had come a long way since the days when he stalled in Harran or fled to Egypt for safety. He knew now that there could be no conflict between the promises of God and God’s ability to fulfill them. He knew that if God had said Isaac was the son of promise, through whom many more promises would be fulfilled, then the Lord would find a way to keep His word. Abraham knew God could accomplish this, even if it meant raising Isaac from the dead.

Abraham exercised faith and trusted the God of the impossible, and because of his faith, God allowed him to see something incredible: a foreshadowing of the cross, where God’s only Son, Jesus, would be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.

As father and son walked up Mount Moriah that day, Isaac noticed something was missing for their burnt offering. He asked, "[W]here is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (Genesis 22:7). Two thousand years later, John the Baptist, standing along the Jordan River, answered when he saw Jesus: "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).

What “star” is God calling you to count today? Let Abraham’s testimony be yours, too. His faith was not in vain, and neither is yours. For, “from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore” (Hebrews 11:12).

Prayer: Lord, I praise You for Your gift of salvation; it is the brightest and best star I can count. Help me to remember Your many promises that stem from that precious gift and to trust in You, counting stars from here to eternity. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death” (Hebrews 11:19).

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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