The greatest encouragement is God with us.

Read Haggai 2:4-9.

God has something to say to His people in trying times. He wants to give us a word of encouragement; He wants us to stay strong.

This was the message He brought to His people through the prophet Haggai. The year was 520 BC, and many Jewish people had just returned to Judea from exile. The people were busy rebuilding their homes and the temple of God. And then, suddenly, their world changed. Opposition from outside the community threatened their progress, and the people became discouraged. The temple construction stopped. God’s people were filled with uncertainty and apprehension.

It was then that God gave a message to the prophet Haggai: “‘But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty” (v. 4).

God knows what you’ve been through. He knows how you feel. He knows what you need. He doesn’t gloss over what’s happened. He doesn’t sugarcoat your crisis or the problems you’re going through. He simply says, “Be strong, for I am with you.”

This is the secret to encouragement. When you feel alone, when you experience doubt, when you are struggling to trust, hear the voice of the Lord saying, “I am with you. Be strong, be courageous, for I will surround you on all sides. I promise that I will be your strong tower in the day of battle. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”

God told the people of Haggai’s day, “I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory” (Haggai 2:7). Who is the one “desired by all nations”? It is Jesus, of course. And what is “this house”? From the New Testament’s perspective, God’s house is the church. Believers are a temple of the Holy Spirit (see 2 Corinthians 6:16). It is we who have been filled with His glory. His presence is with us day and night, through thick and thin. We can be strong, no matter what, because He will not leave us nor forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5).

Prayer: Lord, thank You that You are with me. This Truth sustains and encourages me. I will rest in Your presence whatever my situation. You are my strong tower. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“‘Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty” (Haggai 2:4).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon The God Who Encourages Us: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

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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