A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

Nowhere is Jesus’ countercultural message clearer than in His Sermon on the Mount. He directly confronts the secular world’s values with rapid-fire definitions of those who are blessed in His Kingdom. "Blessed" in the Greek means more than our modern idea of happiness, more than good feelings or material comfort. It encompasses the ideas of fulfillment and purpose. So, Jesus opens by saying that when you are poor in spirit, then you are fortunate, fulfilled, and contented.

How contrary Jesus’ message is to our culture’s drive for wealth and success! The world says, “Get what you want so you can be happy.” Jesus says, “Recognize your poverty and find true happiness.” To Jesus, happiness is an inside job that begins when you recognize you are totally, absolutely, without doubt dependent on the living God. You know you are not the master of your destiny, not the captain of your ship, not the all-powerful being society says you are. You recognize that without Jesus you are nothing, you have nothing, and you can do nothing.

In short, Jesus calls us to declare spiritual bankruptcy and, in doing so, find ourselves filled with the presence of the King and His Kingdom. Are you ready to stop looking to outward circumstances for fulfillment and turn to the only source of true joy and happiness?

Prayer: Lord, I need You. You are my Creator, the source of life, joy, and love. Help me live in this Truth and the peace it brings, that I might live rightly before You to Your glory. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

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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