A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

This second beatitude is perhaps the most paradoxical. Jesus appears to say, “Happy are the unhappy.” But Jesus’ view of happiness is not like ours, which often rises and falls depending on our circumstances. Jesus’ countercultural happiness is not limited by the presence of disappointments, but rather comes through mourning.

Jesus’ type of mourning is also countercultural. It is not the mourning of self-pity when you do not get what you want. Nor is it the mourning of loss when you lose someone or something you love. Jesus’ mourning is godly mourning over sin. The poor in spirit, from the first beatitude, will become those who sorrow over their sin. Jesus is not saying that happiness comes from the mourning itself, but rather from God’s response to our mourning. Godly mourning brings God’s forgiveness and healing, which in turn give us God’s comfort and joy.

There are two obstacles to godly mourning and therefore to God’s comfort: conceit and despair. Conceit causes us to ignore our sin or blame it on others. Despair causes us to lose hope in God’s forgiveness and excuse sin as an unavoidable reality. Both prevent mourning. Both hinder God’s grace. Both get in the way of happiness. But those who reject conceit and despair will discover a joy even life’s circumstances cannot destroy.

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your grace toward me. I repent of my sin and of the times when I try to pass it off or when I despair that Your grace is insufficient. I know the blood of Christ has power to atone for all my sins eternally. Thank You that I can rejoice through repentance because of what Christ has done for me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).

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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