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We Preach Christ (Booklet)
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Our Leprosy

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

God blesses His children in many ways—from our talents and resources to the assurance of eternal life in heaven. Yet how often do we halfheartedly acknowledge our gifts, then quickly forget the Giver?

In Luke 17, we read a story of Jesus’ interaction with ten lepers. In this passage, we have the opportunity to watch as one of the lepers fully realizes what Jesus had done for him, and we witness the exuberant thanksgiving that resulted.

To be sure, lepers were the outcasts of all outcasts. They were considered so detestable and contagious that they were prohibited from approaching people for conversation. Instead, they resorted to covering their mouths and yelling, “Unclean!” so people would be aware of their presence. Lepers were excluded from Temple worship and were separated from their families and communities. Leprosy left its victims utterly alone and without remedy for their disease.

Leprosy is not unlike a condition that is afflicting us, though ours is much graver. While the lepers were separated from Temple worship and the presence of God by their fleshly disease, we are eternally separated from God by our sinfulness. The commonality does not stop there. For both the lepers and us, our separateness finds healing exclusively through the power of Jesus.

Prayer: Father, I realize that my sinfulness separates me from You eternally. But I rejoice today that You have healed me through the power of Christ. May I never forget to praise You for my healing. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him” (Luke 17:15).


Constant Gratitude

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

God wants a daily relationship with us. How it must grieve Him when we run to Him only in times of trouble and need. We beg and plead for God’s help, but then when help arrives we forget to thank our rescuer. We bargain with God for His blessings, but once we have received them we go back to our old habits. It seems to be human nature that we seek out God when we need or want something, then forget Him the rest of the time.

Instead of focusing on our needs, God wants our focus to be on Him. He wants our thankfulness to be sincere. He wants our gratitude to be constant. He wants to see as much intensity and fervor in our thanks and praise as He saw in our requests and petitions.

Take time to express your gratitude to God today. Focus your heart and your mind on His faithfulness and holiness. When the problems, worries, or frustrations of the moment begin to distract you, redirect your focus on Him and know that He is glorified by a thankful heart.

Prayer: God, forgive me for the times I’ve run to You for something, only to forget You as soon as You answered my prayer. Teach me to praise you in the good times and the bad. May I always have a word of praise on my lips for my Savior. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).


Worthy of Thanksgiving

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

What does God think of thanksgiving? He is blessed and honored by it because a life of thanksgiving is the mark of a saint who knows God’s character and His position as God alone. The Lord is the giver of all good gifts and He is worthy of thanksgiving.

Since God’s qualities are not hidden, thanksgiving is not optional. “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened (Romans 1:20-21).”

The absence of glory and thanksgiving ascribed to God leads to darkened hearts and futile thinking. May God’s people receive wisdom as we glorify His eternal power and divine nature with praise and thanksgiving! God is Jehovah, the great I AM. He is El-Shaddai, the Almighty God. He is Jehovah-Jireh, God our Provider.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:16-18). Everything we enjoy in the present and coming age is a gift from God worthy of thanksgiving.

Prayer: Jehovah God, thank You for who You are and all that You’ve done. You are good and worthy of praise. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom” (Psalm 145:3).


Awestruck

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

One of the greatest problems in churches is that we have lost the vision of the holiness of God. Isaiah 6:1-8 provides us a glimpse of God’s glory in heaven that we cannot see on earth. His glory is hidden from view in our political system, in our schools, in our culture—yet right now in heaven, angels are awestruck by God and are worshiping Him. Angels who have not been tainted by human sin stand in holy fear and reverence of the holiness of God.

What an incredible picture! This vision was so moving for Isaiah he said, “‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty’” (Isaiah 6:5).

Every time we enter God’s presence in praise and prayer, we should feel as humbled as the prophet Isaiah. We should stand in awe of His holiness. We should feel overwhelmed with gratitude and thankfulness.

Have you lost sight of the majesty of God’s holiness? Have you forgotten His call upon your life to live differently from the world? Spend time in prayer today praising Him for His holiness. Commit yourself to conforming yourself to Jesus and not the trendsetters of this world.

Prayer: Lord Almighty, I praise and worship You today for Your holiness. Forgive me for losing sight of who You are and what You’ve done for me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3).


The Answer To Hopelessness

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Throughout Psalms 42 and 43, the psalmist says that the answer to emotional depression is hope. Three times he encouraged himself to “hope in God” (42:5, 42:11, and 43:5).

The more specifically we can define our hope, the better we can recognize it when our hope is fulfilled. The psalmist listed his hopes in the first four verses of Psalm 43. Like the psalmist, we place our hope in:

God’s Power to Deliver (Psalm 43:1). This is the psalmist’s cry: “Justify me, defend and support me.” The Lord will remind us of His faithfulness in the past and assure us that He is continuing to walk with us during our difficult situation.

God’s Presence and Protection (Psalm 43:2). Why should we mourn when God is our strength and our stronghold? In the swirling tides of relativism and permissiveness, and with the destruction of moral values, His fortress of truth remains steadfast.

God’s Direction (Psalm 43:3). While under the cloud of hopelessness, it is easy to make wrong decisions. Scripture says that the Word of God is a light (Psalm 19:8, 119:105, 119:130; Proverbs 6:23; 2 Peter 1:19). Through the Word, God gives us the answers that we need.

God as Our Joy (Psalm 43:4). If we seek joy from our feelings or from comfortable circumstances, then we will be constantly disappointed. If we find joy in the Lord and in His Word, then we will experience hope even in hopeless situations.

It is essential that we focus our hope not on the counterfeit substitutes the world offers, but on Christ—as only a Christian can do.

Prayer: God, thank You for being my hope when I’m feeling hopeless. Thank You for Your power to deliver. Thank You for Your presence, protection, and direction. Thank You for being my joy. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 43:5).


On the Run

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Do you find yourself stretched to the breaking point today? Even if you believe “I can’t take another day of this. I just need to leave, to escape, to begin again”—you can’t outrun God. When you are faced with hardship, you need to run toward Him, not away from His love.

Some people, even Christians, have been running from God their whole lives. When the storms of life come, instead of running to the everlasting arms of Christ, they choose to run to false shelters, attempting to escape His reach.

In the Psalms, King David had a realization about the wonder of God’s grace and forgiveness. He wrote, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:7-10).

People who run from God miss some of His greatest joys and blessings by failing to turn to Christ for grace and power in times of weakness. God’s supernatural strength is a surge of hope and encouragement when we face difficulty or feel trapped by our circumstances. He brings an embrace of love when we suffer rejection or betrayal.

Prayer: Father, forgive me for running from You when life is hard. Thank You that I know I can run to You and You will be there to embrace me with Your arms of love. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him” (Psalm 32:10).


The Secret to Peace

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Circumstances may deceive us, but God’s Word tells us: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). God is at work for our good and His glory.

Biblical thanksgiving does not focus on our circumstances, but on the character of God. Circumstances change; God does not. In Psalm 73, David was perplexed at the prosperity of the wicked while the godly faced difficulties and trials. However, he reminded himself that God alone was His provision, counsel, strength, desire, and portion. He knew from God’s Word the fate of those who are far from God and he remembered that it was good and right for him to be near God, his refuge—offering thanksgiving for all God had done.

Those who have the salvation of God through faith in Jesus Christ know the secret to peace is found in thanksgiving. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Philippians, said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

By submitting our requests to God with a thankful heart, we receive peace that transcends all understanding. Thanksgiving is integral to a right relationship with God. It is the hallmark of a true follower of Jesus Christ because thanksgiving honors God, bringing glory to His name and blessings beyond measure.

Prayer: Father God, I thank You for Your faithfulness. I thank You that I can come to You with my burdens. Thank You for the peace You bring as I lay my burdens at Your feet. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).


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