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The Humble Are Chosen

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Our world focuses on an unhealthy elevation of self. Yet the Bible tells us, “The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground” (Psalm 147:6). A healthy concept of self is rooted in who we are in Jesus Christ, not in our own accomplishments or successes. God wants us to acknowledge Him, not ourselves, in all things.

When God sent His Son to earth, He did not choose someone of wealth or power to become Christ’s mother. He did not search out the most beautiful or the most intelligent or the most charming woman. God chose Mary based on her character and humility.

Just like in Mary’s time, people today seek wealth and power, yet God honors the humble. People may cower before the strong and the mighty, but God uses the weak and the desperate. People may be impressed by culture and class, but God blesses those who are broken in spirit. People may be eager to bow to celebrities, but God despises the haughty and the proud. People may worship at the shrine of materialism, but God is looking for the faithful and the contrite.

Proverbs tells us, “He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble” (3:34). If you want to be used mightily by God, humble yourself before Him.

Prayer: God, help me to remember that all my strength is found in You. Help me to have a humble heart. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1 Corinthians 1:20).

Blessings Out of Brokenness

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

God responded to Hannah’s cry for a son, and she gave birth to Samuel. As we read yesterday, in keeping with the vow she made to God, Hannah gave Him her only child. Although Samuel grew up serving God at the temple, Hannah was not bitter over releasing her son to God. Instead, she gave a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving: “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God” (1 Samuel 2:2).

God continued to bless Hannah with children. After years of what looked like a hopeless situation, she received the answer to her prayer not just once, but several times: “Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, ‘May the Lord give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the Lord.’ Then they would go home. And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:20-21).

God wants to bring blessings out of our brokenness. He is a loving provider whose power is limitless. People and things will fail us, but God’s security and strength abide forever. His compassion is inexhaustible. His peace is unexplainable.

In Hannah’s hour of desperation, she did not share her troubles with anyone who would listen—she went directly to God. She sought the throne of grace. And when God responded to her prayers for a son, she did not forget to deliver on her own promise; she gave her child to the Lord’s work. God brought blessings out of Hannah’s brokenness, and Hannah responded with thanksgiving.

Prayer: God, I believe that You will bring blessings out of my brokenness. Help me to come to You in my hour of desperation. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

Hannah's Brokenness

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Have you ever been broken before the Lord? Have you ever come to the end of yourself, realizing that your efforts have failed and your only hope remains in God? Brokenness is never easy to experience, but God can bring great blessings through your trials.

In 1 Samuel 1, we read about Hannah, a selfless, gracious woman trapped in a miserable situation. She was unable to bear a child for her husband Elkanah. His other wife, Peninnah, not only had provided him children, but had constantly antagonized and mocked Hannah: “Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat” (1 Samuel 1:6-7).

After years of longing for children and enduring constant humiliation from Peninnah, Hannah was broken. In her desperation and anguish, she turned to God in prayer. She turned her den of misery into a chamber of prayer. She had been emotionally weakened, but she was spiritually strong in the Lord. Through her tears, she vowed to God, “O Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life” (1 Samuel 1:11).

Hannah knew God was the only One who could answer her cry for a son. She knew God was the only One who could sense the agony of her spirit. This is the same God we worship. He knows the depth of our despair, He knows our deepest desires and greatest longings, and He wants us to cry out to Him in our brokenness.

Prayer: God, help me to follow Hannah’s example and to turn my den of misery into a chamber of prayer. You know the depths of my brokenness. I need Your help to see me through this. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears” (Psalm 18:6).

David's Brokenness

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

David experienced great victory, but he also experienced great failure, just as we do. Some of his failures were monumental. He dealt with defeat; he fumbled through temptations; he allowed his own desires to lead him into huge blunders. Occasionally he wallowed in sorrow and fear. But he always recovered from these setbacks.

In 1 Samuel 20, we see David hiding from Saul in worry and self-pity. In his panic, David first sought help and comfort from a friend instead of going directly to God. David continued in a downward spiral. The more he took his eyes off the Lord, the more he focused on himself. In his misery, he cried out, “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (Psalm 13:1-2).

In the dark cave in which he was hiding from Saul and his army, David poured out his heart to God. He turned his hiding place into a place of prayer: “I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble” (Psalm 142:1-2).

By the time we see David in 1 Samuel 23, he has finally remembered the key to victory: “He inquired of the Lord” (1 Samuel 23:2). David had learned the consequences of leaving God out of his plans, and he gave his brokenness to God. He no longer allowed others to distract him from obeying the will of God. He chose to redirect his focus from himself to trusting in the Lord.

Prayer: God, help me to stay focused on You, to give You my brokenness, and to run to You first in times of trouble. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

God Uses the Broken

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Through the years, I have met many believers who have convinced themselves that God cannot use them simply because of some horrendous sin in their life—a sin of which they’ve repented a long time ago, after Christ had come into their life.

While I admire this kind of spiritual sensitivity, we dishonor the Lord when we come to the point of saying, “Lord, I know that I have sinned greatly. I know that I’ve borne the consequences of my sins. I know that You have forgiven me and have commanded me to forgive myself—but that’s not enough.” When we buy into the lie that we are damaged goods, unable to be used by God, we are dishonoring God’s all-sufficient sacrifice on the Cross. This mindset stifles our growth in Christ.

While the scar of failures and sin may remain for many years, and in fact it may even remain for a lifetime, God loves to forgive a repentant sinner. God loves to restore those who genuinely want to be restored. God longs to renew the humble. But God opposes those who are arrogant and haughty, those who are proud and are never willing to humble themselves and confess their sins. Those who have made a habit of rationalizing their sin, of explaining away their sin, of justifying their sin, will not experience restoration as long as they remain in sin.

But God loves to forgive and restore a repentant sinner. God loves to use those who are truly brokenhearted and contrite in spirit. Through a simple act of surrender, we can humble ourselves before the Lord and watch as He uses us in great ways for His kingdom.

Prayer: God, thank You that You are a God of forgiveness and restoration. Thank You that despite my past, You can still use me today to glorify You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).

God Keeps His Word

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

God is always looking for boys and girls and men and women who will make themselves available to Him. Read through Judges 6:34: “Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon.” The literal meaning of this verse is this: The Spirit of the Lord was worn around him like a suit. The Spirit of the Lord came all over him. It covered him completely.

God was not looking for the most courageous person. He was not looking for the most powerful warrior. He was not looking for the best strategist and the best thinker. He was looking for a man who was conscious of his own weakness. He was looking for a man who was dependent on God’s power, not his own. God was looking for a person who was willing to grow in faith and take Him at His word, even if it meant asking for it three times.

God keeps His promises. He will give you favor even among the most unlikely people because God keeps His word. He will give you resources that you have never thought possible because God keeps His promises. He will guarantee your victory because He never goes back on His word, and it’s all for His glory, that His power might be displayed through you. Take God at His word today.

Prayer: God, I know I can trust You to do what You have promised. I know that You will give me what I need for victory, just as you did for Gideon. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9).

God's Specialty

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

In Judges 6:10, the Lord says to Israel, “‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”

God was charging His people with ingratitude to Him for what He had done in the past. All the while, in His mercy and grace, He was raising Gideon to deliver them. What a great God we have!

Gideon was a very insecure man. He was insecure about his tribe, his clan. He was insecure about his own place in his family. Gideon expressed totally inadequacy and lack of qualifications.

God specializes in these situations. God loves to take inadequate, weak, insecure people and transform them to serve His purposes. God does not have difficulty using the weak and the insecure; He has difficulty using the proud and the arrogant.

Can He do something with you? You better believe it. It doesn’t matter how you feel. Come to Him and say, “Here I am,” and watch what He’s going to do.

Prayer: I am so thankful, God, that You can use anyone who is willing to surrender to You. Thank You that You can use me even with my weaknesses. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27).

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