If you visit Rome, you can see the dungeon that once housed the apostle Paul. You can stand within the same four solid walls that once formed his cell. There are no windows, no doors, no way of escape; and yet, for Paul, it was not a place of defeat or fear. It was a place of both victory and hope. Although Paul was confined physically, he was free spiritually.

When Paul got to Rome, the first thing he did was share with his fellow Jews the Truth about Jesus. The Bible says they objected. But Paul knew that objections and objectors could not halt the work of God. He knew that what Satan employs as obstacles, God uses as instruments to sanctify His servants and fulfill His purpose.

Paul’s obedience led him to three years in a Caesarean prison and two years under house arrest in Rome. But in these seemingly inconvenient situations, Paul was able to preach to kings and governors. Under house arrest in Rome, Paul wrote some of the most joyful, peaceful, and exciting epistles that we read, learn from, and rejoice in today: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 2 Timothy.

We know that from his Roman dungeon Paul was led to his execution. Yet, even in death, Paul did not face defeat. The moment after he drew his last earthly breath, he was embraced by the Lord. Note that Luke, the author of Acts, didn’t end the book with more information about Paul’s life or his execution. From God’s perspective, the details of Paul’s death were not important. What is important is that he finished well.

Today, the worldwide growth of the church testifies to God’s foundational work through those who remained faithful to God’s call even when their faith was tested. The disciples’ attitude in difficult times should not only challenge us but also encourage us that we can have the same perspective in our own trials, sufferings, and even persecution.

Just days before he met Jesus face to face, Paul was able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). Are you ready to say the same? May the example of Paul and others inspire you in the strength of the Holy Spirit to run the race set before you so that you may finish well and get the prize.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the example of so many faithful brothers and sisters who have come before me proclaiming the Truth of the Gospel without regard for their own comfort. May I likewise trust in You for my every need and finish the race You have given me for Your glory and my good. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!” (Acts 28:31).

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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