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Obedience Without Hesitation

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Abraham did not hesitate to obey the Lord. He packed up everything and headed for the land of Canaan—no questions asked. God had spoken, and Abraham obeyed. Are we willing to do the same and step out obediently without hesitation?

There will be times when the Lord instructs us to wait, and we must be willing to do just that—be still and wait for Him. Waiting is also a form of faithful obedience.

Abraham was not perfect. He panicked and took matters into his own hands as he took his family to Egypt. What made sense from a human viewpoint was folly from God’s viewpoint.

When we feel threatened, many of us do the same thing—we become fearful and take matters into our own hands. However, in times of crisis, we must remain steadily focused on Christ, watching and listening for His leading.

Fear always challenges faith. When we divert from God’s plan out of fear, we end up in a foreign land, fighting a foreign enemy with our own resources.

Like Abraham, we will make mistakes. We will take a wrong turn and end up in a place other that the one God has for us. However, the journey of faith begins at the Cross where Jesus died for our sins and where we can find eternal forgiveness for our souls.

When we stray, the Cross reminds us that we can always turn to the Lord, asking Him to forgive us and to lead us on from that point. No matter where you are on your journey of faith, look to the Lord in faith for guidance and trust that He will always lead you in paths of righteousness for your ultimate good and His glory.

Prayer: Father, I confess that at times I have allowed fear to cause me to hesitate to obey You. Forgive me for those times and help me to trust that You will not lead me astray. You are worthy of my complete obedience. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).

 


Will You Trust Him with Your Life?

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Abraham could have remained in Haran the rest of his life, but he knew that there was something far greater that God had for him. A gnawing sensation deep within his heart pulled him on to something else—something greater than he had ever known.

This is when God spoke to Abraham, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:1-3).

Within the context of these words, Abraham’s life changed. It went from a life on a journey to nowhere, to a life on a journey of faith with an eternal destination.

Travel the road of life through faith in Jesus Christ. He is the One who brings light to our darkness, hope strong enough to shatter our greatest fears, and peace deep enough to calm our anxious hearts. Will you trust Him with your life?

Prayer: God, help me trust You with my life like Abraham did. Thank You for leading me on a journey with an eternal destination. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this” (Psalm 37:5).


The Journey of Faith

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Many times when we hear the word journey,we imagine time spent along broad vistas with restful pastures. The word even sounds poetic.

But in reality, the journey of faith that God requires us to take through this life can lead up steep, emotional mountain grades; out across vast, lonely plains; and, without warning, down into dark valleys, where we face some of our greatest challenges.

Through it all, however, we can have a tremendous sense of hope and determination because our faith is founded in an unshakable God who is not frustrated by the rise and fall of the world’s economy, the daily news reports, or the shifting of governmental powers.

Our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is faithful and true, and you can be sure of this: God is just as concerned about your needs as He is about the nations of this world. No request is too small for Him and no problem is too great for Him to solve. When we are tempted to feel hopeless, He comes to us as our strong and mighty advocate, proclaiming His care and plan for our lives (1 John 2:1).

Prayer: Father, this journey of faith has taken me through some challenging struggles. Thank You for the reminder today that You are faithful and that You care about my every need. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones” (Psalm 37:28).


Remember the Ending

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Heaven will be a time of truly serving the Lord without our current worldly distractions: “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him” (Revelation 22:3). The term “serve” in the passage implies a joyful, enthusiastic service— not a chore.

In heaven, believers will finally have full knowledge: “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Whatever questions we struggle with today about pain, suffering, and evil, we will finally understand from God’s perspective.

How wonderful it will be to be in God’s presence, worshiping Him! Our time in heaven won’t be the joyless, ritualistic service you may have experienced in some churches. It will be full of unspeakable joy and exuberance. “After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God’” (Revelation 19:1).

In this life, whenever Satan begins to wear you down, stop and think about heaven. Remember there will come a day when Satan’s deceptions and attacks can no longer reach you, when you will no longer face temptations, broken relationships, spiritual struggles, or pain and suffering.

Prayer: Thank You, God, for the promise of heaven. I look forward to the day when I will serve and worship You face to face! I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).


Know Who Holds the Victory

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Our daily battles may tire us, but one day we will have eternal rest and peace in heaven. Satan will experience his final defeat.

As we read in Scripture: “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:41-42).

Although most people don’t like to think about hell, the fact is that it exists. It is a place of confinement, darkness, suffering, and loneliness. Unfortunately, for the souls of so many people, the devil will not be the only one in hell. That is why we must always place utmost concern on the salvation of others.

Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will spend eternity in heaven. They will experience the joy of uninterrupted fellowship with their Creator. Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a placefor you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3). After a lifetime of spiritual battles and personal struggles, the Christian will at last experience true rest.

Let this Truth not only encourage you in your current spiritual battles—but let it also challenge you to remain faithful in the work God has given you today.

Prayer: God, I thank You for the assurance that You hold the victory over the enemy. Help me to be mindful of the souls around me and to be a faithful witness to those who don’t yet know You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57).


When Temptations Come

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

As we continue to consider ways in which we can keep the enemy on the run, another sure method is to praise God. But our praise can’t be for show—it needs to be genuine adoration of God with our minds and hearts and words. Our praise not only honors God and repels the devil; it also uplifts our spirits in the midst of battle.

The psalmist declares, “Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge” (Psalm 144:1-2).

How do we fight the devil when he is trying to manipulate a situation involving another person? We pray specifically for blessings on that other person. Jesus commands us, “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Even if our flesh is demanding vengeance, we need to pray over the details in that person’s life. We can find victory and forgiveness in praying for our enemies.

When we look past our daily grievances and annoyances and stay heaven-focused, our outlook on life will change. Our lives won’t become easier, but we will have the proper perspective in facing our battles.

When temptations and spiritual attacks overwhelm you, where do you turn? If you are trying to face them with your own strength instead of God’s, then you will quickly weaken. If you try to use your own intellect instead of the Holy Spirit’s guidance, you will fail. Keep your relationship with God your top priority, and you will easily remember where to go for help.

Prayer: Father, I praise You that I can turn to You when faced with temptation. Help me to love and pray for my enemies and to stay heaven-focused. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:1-2).


Know How to Defeat the Enemy

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

When we forget that Satan’s powers are only temporary, we often play it safe in our spiritual battles. We fear stepping out in faith or sharing Christ with others, but we need to remember that Christ has secured the victory.

We must daily die to self in order to live in victory. Scripture tells us, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). The more we submit ourselves to God, the easier we can resist Satan.

Satan often tries to sneak in through the back door, so we must constantly guard against our weaknesses. Review any potential footholds the Lord has revealed to you and keep these areas under constant surveillance, surrounded by prayer.

As we guard against attack, we must be prepared spiritually: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you maybe able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).

The armor includes the belt of Truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the “shoes” that give us readiness to deliver the Gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (see Ephesians 6:10-18). Are you missing any armor—or are you prepared for battle?

Prayer: God, help me to always be prepared for anything Satan might throw my way by putting on the full armor of God each and every day. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Watch out that no one deceives you” (Matthew 24:4).


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