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We Preach Christ (Booklet)
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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).


The Gospel of Peace

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Only God can bring us true peace in this world. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). Isaiah prophesied the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and called Him the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). So why does Jesus say, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”? (Matthew 10:34)

In Matthew 10, Jesus is not referring to the inner peace that we only find by accepting Him as our Lord and Savior. He is not talking about everlasting, spiritual peace. What Jesus means is that the same Gospel of peace that brings eternal joy and contentment to believers will be the Gospel that is rejected by the world. The Gospel of peace that reconciles sinners to a holy God will create animosity in the hearts of nonbelievers.

The same people who reject the Gospel of peace also reject the proclaimers of that peace. This rejection, conflict, and disharmony is what Jesus warns about. Following Christ will bring us inner peace, but it will also place us in situations where our outer serenity is disturbed. We may feel a lack of peace in terms of our relationship with the world, but our spiritual peace cannot be taken away from us.

Prayer: Father, thank You for bringing me true peace. When I am rejected by the world, help me to remember that my inner, spiritual peace cannot be taken away. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).


Offering Forgiveness

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

The line in the Lord’s Prayer that reads, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors,” (Matthew 6:12) does not mean that we earn God’s forgiveness by forgiving other people. If that were true, then salvation would rest on good works, and faith would be unnecessary. Paul says, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Our eternal debt was paid on the Cross once and for all. Nothing is outstanding. Forgiving others is not a payment toward our own forgiveness; it’s a sign of spiritual life. Once we have received God’s forgiveness in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts, it follows that we should become more forgiving of people.

There are two sides to forgiving. The first is transforming your attitude toward the person who has offended you, and the second is transforming your relationship with the person who has offended you. Both take courage.

The first takes courage because we much prefer to go on clinging to our resentment. That way, we have a scapegoat. When things go wrong, we can say, “Well, that’s because of so-and-so and the awful thing he did to me.” It’s childish, yet we find the habit incredibly hard to break. Most of the time the best we can manage is to “forgive but not forget”—which is not good at all because “not forgetting” reserves our right to bring the matter up again whenever we please.

Real forgiveness has no memory. It does not shut other people into the locker of their past mistakes. It makes room for a genuine, fresh start. Often, this transformation of attitude is all we need to transform the relationship.

Prayer: Father, help me to transform my attitude toward those who have offended me and give me the courage to transform my relationship with them. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times’” (Matthew 18:21-22).


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