A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

Scientists and psychologists alike have researched different ways to overcome fear. Some believe they can develop drugs to combat phobias, while others believe we should just fake it until we make it. But there is a secret to courage that God reveals over and over again in Scripture. It is the same thing He told Moses after asking him to lead the Israelites out of slavery, and it is the same thing Jesus told us after giving the disciples the Great Commission (see Exodus 3:12; Matthew 28:19-20).

In Haggai 1:13, God reveals the secret to courage once again. Once the Israelites recommitted themselves to the Lord, He responded, “I am with you.” The Lord knew they would need courage to continue His work and rebuild their faith. He knew they would need His presence to remain faithful to the end.

God’s presence is the key to courage. He is always asking His people to do things that seem terrifying or impossible, knowing that the only way to complete the mission is with His help. What God asks of us can be intimidating, but His response is the same as it has always been: “I am with you.”

One of Satan’s greatest tools is discouragement. He knows that he cannot steal our salvation, but in the meantime, he will do everything he can to try to steal our motivation. Sometimes we see the mountain ahead of us—a mission God has given us, a person for whom He has led us to pray, or a calling that seems impossible—but do not feel we have the faith to move it. We might begin to believe that God is not hearing our prayers and that we are fighting the battle alone.

The only strength that can lift us up in the midst of compromise, deception, hopelessness, and apathy is the encouragement of God. He is sovereign, and He stands behind His promises no matter how disheartening our circumstances may be. We can keep fighting because we know that our victory is assured in Christ, and we are never alone. Whatever your mission is, He is with you.

Do you need courage? Take some time to rest in the Lord’s victory. If the task at hand seems daunting, God has fresh perspective to give you. Allow Him to silence all voices of discouragement and lift you up with His love. God stands ready to strengthen you today.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I rest in Your victory today. Give me courage when I am afraid to follow You. When I am intimidated by the task at hand, help me to rely on Your strength. Thank You for being with me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you” (Isaiah 41:10).

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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