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Jesus The Only (Booklet)

The Right Perspective

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

As we face discouraging events in our lives, the danger of self-pity lurks. Self-pity can quickly become a source of deadly comfort. The gloomy clouds hanging over our lives should never be permitted to remain, especially in light of God's hope and Truth.

To press through disappointment, one must be careful not to linger long in a place of discouragement. While each of us will face times of discouragement, we must also realize that discouragement has the ability to rob us of our godly perspective.

As David entered into a place of discouragement, he found himself grasping for hope. He needed to gain the right perspective on his situation, but it was difficult. No matter how hopeless or how discouraging our situations might be, God has the ability to bring eternal hope and peace to our lives when we need them the most.

Discouragement wars against the very trait that faith and hope in God brings: courage. In order to stand up to the trials and tribulations of a fallen world, we must turn to God for courage and make a commitment to stand strong in our faith through Jesus Christ.

God's best for your life does not include remaining in a place devoid of hope, faith, and courage. Therefore, when facing discouragement, turn to God. He will bring the hope and courage you need to live victoriously over life's hardships.

Prayer: Lord, give me the right perspective in every situation so that I can go through each one trusting You for wisdom to live a godly life. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long" (Psalm 25:5).

A Devoted Heart

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Once while visiting President Roosevelt in the White House, Wendell Willkie asked, "Mr. President, why do you keep that frail, sickly man -- Harry Hopkins -- constantly at your elbow?"

Without hesitation, Roosevelt replied, "Through that door flows an incessant stream of men and women who almost invariably want something from me. Harry Hopkins only desires to serve and to do that well. He must stay near me."

The same thing can be said of David. When Samuel first saw him, he almost questioned God's judgment. The Lord's choice for Israel's future king was the youngest of Jesse's sons. He was ruddy in appearance and did not look like kingly material. But Samuel wasn't able to see David from God's perspective.

Many times, for us to gain God's perspective we have to be willing to let go of our limited and often personality-skewed viewpoint. David was a man whose heart was devoted to God. He wanted nothing more than to worship the Lord and be close to Him.

Much of the book of Psalms was penned by David. Many entries were written while he tended his father's sheep. He was a content man because he had learned how to practice living in the presence of God. It was there in his father's fields that he realized God's hand was on his life.

David was loyal and faithful. And God knew that whatever happened in this young man's life, he would never abandon his godly faith.

Prayer: Lord, make me like David -- a person with a heart devoted only to You. Fashion within me a heart of worship like this. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty" (Psalm 91:1).

The Journey of Faith

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Abraham's life was one of obedience. While he was not perfect, he certainly was a man who wanted to obey God. He went from worshiping many gods to worshiping only one -- the Lord God.

In Genesis 12:1, we read that the Lord said to Abraham, "Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you."

Immediately, Abraham answered God's call. His love for the Lord was so great that he responded by packing up his family and setting out for a new home -- one known only to God! Most of us would never consider a move like this. We usually want God to lay out every detail before we make a decision.

We pray that He will reveal His will to us, and then we ask Him to provide the evidence we need in order to step forward. We never read, however, that Abraham did this. In fact, his faith was so pure that when God said go, he went.

There will be times when God will require us to do things that from our perspective do not make sense. We may struggle with our decision and long for God to repeatedly make His will known to us. However, if the Lord calls us, we must go. If He instructs us to take a certain route, make a certain decision, or work toward a certain goal, we had better get busy doing it.

Obedience is the doorway to blessing. Abraham became the father of a great nation. God fulfilled every promise He made to His servant, and He will do the same for you. Before He does, He may require a step of faith on your part. Are you willing to step forward into His blessing?

Prayer: Lord, please help me to step forward in obedience to You when You make Your will known to me. Although I may not know the final destination, please grant me courage to walk with You in the unknown. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you" (Genesis 12:2).

Anticipate His Return

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Psalm 87 predicts that God's people will come to Him, to His heavenly city, from every corner of the globe. The psalmist, looking forward with the eyes of faith and anticipating the coming of the Messiah, describes how God's people will come to Him through Jesus Christ from every corner of the globe, from the east (represented by Babylon), from the west (Philistia), from the north (Tyre), from the south (Rahab, or Egypt), and from the ends of the earth (Cush, or modern-day Ethiopia). What a promise that we can anticipate with joy and thanksgiving!

Hebrews says that 2,000 years before Christ, Abraham looked forward to the city that is built on the foundation of the Rock of Ages, the Lord Jesus Christ -- a city beyond earthly Jerusalem, a city whose rock foundation is the coming Messiah -- Zion. This is why when Jesus told the Jews, "Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad," (John 8:56) they wanted to stone Him. They did not believe Jesus' bold claim that "before Abraham was born, I am!" (v. 58). Jesus is the cornerstone; He is the foundation; and any other foundation will collapse sooner or later.

Like Abraham and the psalmist, all of us who love the church of Jesus Christ, all of us who belong to Him look forward to the day when we are gathered together from every nation, tribe, and tongue and from every corner of the globe. "Indeed, of Zion it will be said, 'This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her.' The Lord will write in the register of the peoples: 'This one was born in Zion.' As they make music they will sing, 'All my fountains are in you'" (Psalm 87:5-7).

In Psalm 45:14-15, the bride (us!) is "led in with joy and gladness to the palace of the king." Here the psalmist urges us to look forward to this future, seeing who we are, who we will be, and where we will be for eternity. As you joyfully anticipate the coming King, ask yourself, "Where are my fountains?"

Prayer: Lord, may my joy and confidence be in Messiah, faithful, constant, and true. You are my rock and my salvation. All my fountains are in You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"[Abel, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham] were longing for a better country -- a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them" (Hebrews 11:16).

Prepare for His Coming

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the bridegroom and the bride is His church from every tribe, tongue, and nation. As the bride of Christ, our role is to prepare for the Lord's return. How do we prepare?

In Psalm 47, the psalmist looks forward to that day when God's people from every tribe, from every nation, from every tongue, from every corner of the globe will worship the living God, when people from every race and every color and every background will lift up the name of the Lord, when people -- whether they be rich or poor, whether they are educated or not -- will join together in the praise of His glory.

The psalmist reminds Israel that God is not just the God of Israel. God is not just a local god. God is the God of power and might. God is the God who owns the entire universe. God is the God who is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He is the God who created all, who rules all, who sustains all, who controls all. And one day His followers will come from every corner of the globe to reign and rule with Him. As He promised Abraham when He called him to go to the land God would show him: "All peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (Genesis 12:3).

And so Psalm 47 says that the day is coming when the name of the Lord will be lifted high throughout all the earth. Why? Because His faithful children are obeying His commission. Because faithful people are taking the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. What should we do now as the people of God? Like Abraham, we are to live as willing servants who allow Christ to reign over our hearts, minds, and lives and call others to do the same. This is how we prepare in the present for our future glory in Christ.

Prayer: Lord, while I wait for Your return, help me prepare by following Your commands and participating in Your commission to share Your Gospel Truth with those You have put in my path. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne. The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted" (Psalm 47:8-9).

Remember His Faithfulness

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

When we look back, we often forget the past interventions of God. But David says, "Get out of that by looking back at how God intervened in your life in the past."

In Psalm 27, David puts this into practice as his fear turns to courage because he remembers the past. He recalls how God forgave all his sins and brought light into his darkness. Because David had experienced the faithfulness of God first-hand, he knew deep down that God could never reject him nor forsake him. So he waited on the Lord, being confident that God would come through for him.

Whether you have faced health challenges and God has come in and given you strength, whether you have faced business problems, whether you have faced relationship problems, whether you have faced financial problems, wherever you have been and there God had come and intervened in your life, when you look back at those moments in the past, they will encourage you.

When you remind yourself of God's faithfulness, you cannot help but be encouraged and lifted up, and that is exactly what David is saying: "The Lord is my light and my salvation -- whom shall I fear?" (Psalm 27:1). The word "salvation" here also can be translated "delivered." The psalmist is saying because God delivered me before, I fear not the present. Because God was a stronghold for me in the past, I do not fear the future. Because God acted on my behalf in the past, no matter how bleak it may look, He will act on my behalf in the future.

Like David, when we look back in Scripture, we see God unfold His faithful plan to bring peace and salvation to us. Like David, we remember. We remember that Jesus saved us and is preparing a place for us even now.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness to me in the past. Help me to remember daily the work that You have done in my life so that I can live confidently, trusting in Your sovereignty and loving purposes. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord" (Psalm 27:13-14).

Hoping in the Messiah

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Psalmists have predicted with accuracy the coming of the Lord Jesus. And He has come -- our Savior, our Messiah. So what do the prophecies about Him mean for us today? How can we relate to these psalmists who spoke of Jesus 1,000 years before His birth when we are living 2,000 years after?

The psalmists were people just like us. They had warring emotions. On the one hand, courage when facing the enemies of God; on the other, utter despair before God. On the one hand, exuberant confidence in the presence of God; on the other, entreating cries to God to fulfill His promises. Can you identify with that? The Messianic psalms show us how to look to God for answers.

The psalmists remind us that, while Christ has come, there is yet a more glorious day -- when He comes again. They exhort us to remember the past, prepare in the present, and joyfully anticipate our future. That means remembering the work of the Lord in your life -- the Hound of Heaven -- seeking you out to bring you into His salvation. It means preparing now for the return of Jesus, allowing His Spirit to make every part of you subject to the King of Kings, for He alone is trustworthy and pure. And it means waiting expectantly for the future glory that is promised -- being in the presence of the Lord, enjoying Him forever in the new heaven and the new earth. Come, Lord Jesus!

Prayer: My Lord and King, my hope is in You. Help me to remember Your goodness, prepare for Your coming, and anticipate the future consummation of Your purposes -- Your eternal Kingdom. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1).

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