June 17, 2019

Knowing God

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11). God is the absolute authority and ruler over His creation. Neither a hair nor a sparrow fall apart from God’s will (see Matthew 10:29-30). Without infinite, unchanging power and authority, God’s other attributes would be conditional. If God were not all-powerful, His love could be affected, or changed, by outside forces. Thankfully, we serve a God whose love is perfect and eternal; it is not affected by anything outside His will. We know from Romans 8:28 that “God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Even though we do not know everything we may want to know about the Lord, in Scripture He has revealed what we need to know about His attributes and desires. First and foremost is that He loves us: […]
June 10, 2019

Motivated by Discontentment

“But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). Not all discontentment is bad. Sometimes discontentment can motivate positive, godly change in our lives. Discontentment can be the warning sign that we need to make changes in our walk with God—and that can lead to contentment. When we are contented in life, we can face whatever roadblocks and detours we find. Instead of grumbling about our circumstances, we can look for the opportunities to trust God in new ways and bring glory to Him. We can use our valleys to remind us that only God can fill the emptiness in our lives.   Paul discovered this secret and was able to say, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living […]
June 4, 2019

The Truth Confirmed

“Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32). The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were hopeless and depressed. Even though they had heard reports of the empty tomb, in their minds the Messiah was not supposed to suffer and die—He was supposed to conquer Israel’s enemies and set up a political kingdom for God. But now, Jesus was dead. They were downcast and heartbroken. Read Luke 24:13-35. When these two disciples encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus, they did not recognize Him and shared the reason for their sorrow as they might have with any friendly stranger. But Jesus lost no time in rebuking their false assumptions: “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” (Luke 24:25-26). The resurrected Jesus challenges […]
June 2, 2019
لقد بذل حياته لأنه أحب

He Laid down His Life Because He Loved

“Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him” (John 19:17-18). At Calvary, the cross of Christ became an eternal emblem of love. Jesus never lost sight of God’s purpose for His life. Everything He learned from the Father was in preparation for this moment. As Scripture tells us, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Jesus not only laid down His life for those who loved Him, He laid it down for all men and women, even those who choose to reject Him. He didn’t die just for those closest to Him. He died for all of us; no one is left out. But we must make a choice either to accept Him as our Savior or to turn away from Him and face the judgment of a tormenting death. The Jews rejected Jesus. However, […]
May 26, 2019

Dying to Self

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). In a collection of letters entitled Let Go, seventeenth century French theologian Francois Fenelon wrote: Whatever spiritual knowledge or feelings we may have, they are all a delusion if they do not lead us to the real and constant practice of dying to self. And it is true that we do not die without suffering. Nor is it possible to be considered truly dead while there is any part of us which is yet alive. This spiritual death (which is really a blessing in disguise) is undeniably painful. It cuts swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires with all their parts, exposing us for what we really are. The Great Physician, who sees in us […]
May 19, 2019

The Truth About Life in Christ

19Read Romans 7:1-25. In this passage, the apostle Paul outlines four Truths about our life in Christ to encourage us as we seek to live for Him. We are bound to Christ, not the law (vv. 1-6). Christ frees us from the bondage of performance of the law so that we now have joy instead of despair, life instead of death, love instead of duty, and willing service instead of begrudging effort. Maturity builds up (vv. 7-13). Immature Christians live depending on themselves. But sooner or later, they fail because the law cannot help anyone overcome their sin. Mature Christians do not blame the law, but daily accept their desperate need for a Savior. Do-it-yourself-religion will fail (vv. 14-23). Temptation will always find us on this side of heaven, and fighting back on our own can only bring discouragement. We must instead rely on Christ, allowing the Holy Spirit to have His way in us. Surrender will always keep you […]
May 12, 2019

A More Excellent Way

“But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code” (Romans 7:6). Read Romans 7:1-6. Many Christians today are confused about the balance of grace and obedience. One extreme would have us use grace as a license to sin, and the other is legalism—relying on our good works for our ultimate salvation. You know you’re under the influence of legalism when you get up in the morning and say, “I’ve got to obey today—or else.” When you find mild success, you pat yourself on the back with pride. But when you miss the mark, you become overwhelmed with guilt and shame. Praise be to God—Romans 7 gives us a more excellent way. True freedom is no longer found in our performance—that was the old way of the law—but by trusting Christ’s powerful work […]
May 6, 2019

Who Is Your Master?

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life” (Romans 6:22). Read Romans 6:15-23. If you think you can live a godly life by your own strength, you are in deep trouble. Although we play an important role in our sanctification and are commanded to obey the Lord, we cannot grow into Christlike people without depending on Christ Himself. Therefore, we must surrender completely to our rightful master and loving King—the Lord Jesus Christ. Every person on the face of the earth has either sin or Jesus as their master. There are only two choices; there is no third. The question is: Which master are you obeying? Slavery to sin produces unbearable guilt here and now and eternal separation from God forever (see v. 21). In contrast, slavery to righteousness gives you freedom from guilt and shame and guarantees you […]
April 29, 2019

God’s Grace and Our Future – Michael Youssef

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). As wonderful as God’s grace is in redeeming our past, it is equally powerful in the way it changes our future. No matter how far we strayed before God’s grace rescued us from our sin, His plan for our future cannot be thwarted because it is not contingent on our works, but on Christ’s. His saving grace entirely transforms us so that we are no longer dead in transgressions but alive in Christ. And because God wants to see us following after Him, living lives full of love and compassion for Him and for others, He will see this through in us by His grace and His Spirit (see Philippians 2:13, Hebrews 13:20-21). The apostle Paul, a worthy vessel to convey the power of God’s grace, wrote: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do […]
April 21, 2019

The Resurrection and the Life – Michael Youssef

“The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25-26). Martha’s brother Lazarus had been dead in his grave for several days. Although Martha had seen Jesus heal many in the past, she was doubtful that Jesus would raise Lazarus to life in the present. However, there is no “too late” for the Lord Jesus. In the very presence of a dead man, Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), declaring that this resurrection was not just a future hope, but a present reality. Soon after, Jesus called Lazarus forth from the grave, demonstrating His power over death. In the moment when resurrection was needed most, Christ proved that He was the only way for this man to be revived. Not long after He made this claim, Jesus endured the cross and then rose from the grave Himself. He proved […]
April 15, 2019

Leaning on the Word

“As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:30). With so many people and influences trying to mold us into their version of “truth,” how are we to withstand their pressures and continue to reflect the light of Christ? We need to lean on the Word of God. Paul said, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Whatever encounters we face with the ungodly, we can find wisdom and guidance and comfort in the Bible. When we share the Good News, the Bible will equip us with the Truth. When we experience rejection, the Word of God will comfort and soothe our wounds. When we fear persecution, God’s promises will give us the strength to overcome our anxieties. When we begin to […]
April 8, 2019

Empty Vessels – Michael Youssef

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). When Elisha looked into the widow’s situation, he immediately told the woman about three conditions under which her jar of oil could become her miracle. Today we will look at the first condition. The first condition was this: Get lots of empty jars. “Go around and ask your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few” (2 Kings 4:3). What are these borrowed vessels? These borrowed vessels represent her capacity to receive from God. The more vessels she had, the more she was going to receive. For, every jar she gathered in faith would be filled—the oil would continue to pour. The moment the widow ran out of empty vessels, the oil stopped flowing. God blesses you to the capacity that you make yourself available for Him to bless. If you close off […]