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We Preach Christ (Booklet)
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I Thirst

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

With his last breath, Thomas Hobbes, the self-confessed atheist said, “I am taking a fearful leap into the dark!” On his deathbed, the French agnostic Voltaire sadly spoke these words: “I am abandoned by God and man. I shall go to hell.”

In contrast to these two men, who died without Christ, is Christian evangelist Dwight L. Moody, whose last words were: “This is glorious ... Earth recedes; heaven is opening, and God is calling me.”

For believers, the moment we take our last breath is the first moment we will draw in the heavenly air of our new home; our abode with the Lord Jesus Christ. To be out of earth’s atmosphere is to be in His holy presence.

We rarely think about the difference between life lived here on earth and the one we will have in heaven. Instead, we often focus on our temporary home; how we can make it larger, decorate it with our favorite things, and enjoy it.

At some point, our perspective has to switch from earthly thinking to heavenly thinking. The short time we spend on this earth is not even a fraction of the time we will spend in eternity. Jesus was accustomed to setting this vision for others to reach. He never missed an opportunity to prepare His followers for His death, but more importantly, He wanted them to understand His resurrection and future blessings that would be theirs.

Even His last words, “I am thirsty” (John 19:28), remind us that nothing this world has to offer can satisfy our needs. Only Jesus has the ability to provide the “living water” that satisfies our souls.

Prayer: Lord, thank You that I don’t have to thirst anymore. I can simply come to You and find satisfaction. Amen.

“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst’” (John 4:13-14).


Praise-Enhanced Prayers

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Do you sometimes struggle with the right words in prayer? Do you wonder exactly what to pray for? You are not alone. God will empower you for meaningful prayer as you begin to praise Him.

Praise sets the stage for prayer that is focused, specific, and powerful. Praise reflects our acknowledgment of all that God is and all that God has done, is doing, and has promised to do. The more we praise God, the more we realize that He not only wants to know about our needs—He also wants to provide for our needs. God wants us to ask Him to meet our needs, not because He is ill-informed, but because He wants us to be aware of His provision for our every need.

By praising God for being all-powerful and all-merciful, by praising Him for his patience and forgiveness, we realize that He is already supremely concerned about and fully capable of handling any petition we could ever make.

One of the questions I hear most about prayer is, “How can I know if my prayer requests are within the will of God?” We begin by finding in God’s Word the promises that God makes to all believers, so that we can focus our prayers on them. Then we can make our petitions in light of the things that count for eternity. As you develop a lifestyle of praise, you will become more in tune with the will of God.

Prayer: Father God, You have promised in Your Word that You love me and that You understand the struggles that I face. Thank You for providing for my every need. Amen.

“For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD” (Psalm 117:2).


Faith-Boosting Praise

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Sometimes we all feel like we could use a boost in our faith level. Praise empowers our prayers and builds up our faith. When we make our petitions before God, we can pray with expectancy and confidence that we will receive God’s best.

If you are praising God for His mighty strength and His wondrous creation, you will begin to discover that prayer comes more naturally to you. Our praise builds our faith, putting us in a position to pray, “All things are possible for my God.”

Praise puts us in the position of seeing God as bigger and more powerful than any enemy coming against us. Praise builds our faith so that we can make petitions with boldness and confidence.

You will find that focusing on the many attributes of God will give you a confidence in Him that cannot be shaken. When our faith is founded on the goodness and power of our mighty and unconquerable Savior and Lord, our faith is likewise mighty and unconquerable.

Prayer: Holy God, thank You for increasing my faith as I praise You. I know that You are able to handle anything that comes my way. Amen.

“Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” (Psalm 66:20).


Praise in Spiritual Battles

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

We are in constant spiritual warfare against Satan. He tries to enslave our bodies with addictions and excesses, our minds with heresies and paralyzing doubts, our spirits with guilt and shame. He seeks to take away our joy, rip apart our families, and wreck our relationship with Jesus Christ and His church. When you are facing trying times and temptations, these are the moments when praise is most needed.

Praising God empowers us to defeat the devil. Why is this? Because praise speaks the truth about God, something the devil cannot stand to hear. The great strength of our praise in spiritual warfare is that through it we are declaring with childlike faith that God loves us and has gained the victory over Satan. God loves and God wins. Period.

So how do you praise God during spiritual struggles? Praise God for sending Jesus to win the eternal war over your soul. Praise Him for using the Holy Spirit to convict you of your sins and convince you of your need for a Savior. Praise Him for His guidance and strength in overcoming obstacles. Praise Him for His overwhelming love for you, even when you struggle with temptations.

You can spend hours praising God for your salvation, and you will not even have scratched the surface of how much God is worthy to be praised. In our praise, we defeat the forces that seek to destroy us, undermine our faith, diminish our influence, and demolish our integrity.

Prayer: God, thank You for your love and for sending Your Son to die for me. Thank You that in the midst of spiritual battles, I can find victory as I praise Your holy name. Amen.

“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 deliver, my shield, in whom I take refuge” (Psalm 144:1-2).

 


Changed by Praise

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Praise opens our eyes and ears to God. When we focus on the Lord in praise, we’re much more likely to hear God’s commands. This explains why praise is often so difficult for us: Praise demands that we make changes in our lives, and most of us don’t welcome the prospect of change. Sometimes the change God commands will require us to confess and repent of a sin and to make adjustments in how we live, especially in how we think of and relate to others. Sometimes God’s command compels us to move to a deeper level of commitment or to take a bold step of faith. Whatever He wants to tell us, it will be easier to hear Him clearly when we’re praising Him.

It may be difficult to begin a lifestyle of praise if you haven’t been engaging in one already. There will be times when you just don’t feel like praising God, or times when you may begin praising Him without having a completely thankful heart. But once you start praising God, it won’t be long before your negativity gives way to hope, your frustration gives way to peace, and your despair gives way to joy.

I have seen this happen over and over again in my own life. No matter how bleak or sad my circumstances, I am uplifted as I praise the Lord. As I honor God for who He is and for the glorious things He has done, my eyes are opened to God’s abundant provision and blessing.

Once you begin looking for things to praise God for, you will be overwhelmed by just how good He is. You will become excited about praising God. You will look forward to praising God. It will become a natural part of your daily life.

Prayer: God, help me to develop a lifestyle of praise. I want to be changed as I praise You. Amen.

“I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips” (Psalm 34:1).


The Adventure of Praise

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Praise is an empowering adventure. In praising God, we have a chance to really know who God is, to know who we are, and to experience the great mystery and power of God’s work on this earth.

No matter how difficult or unjust our circumstances become, we can exercise our free will and choose to praise God rather than ignore Him. We can choose not only what we will praise Him for, but how long, how frequently, and how intensely we will praise Him.

The times when you don’t feel like praising God are precisely the moments when it’s most essential to do so. The next time you’re discouraged, start praising God. When you feel defeated or unable to break loose from bad habits, start praising God. When your most treasured relationships seem to be falling apart, start praising God.

Praise is about what God desires us to do, not about the power of your circumstances. When you get your eyes off your immediate problem and put your focus on God, you are redirecting yourself toward what God will do for you, not what man has done to you. At that point, God can work in your life to produce real growth.

Prayer: Lord, even though I may be discouraged, I am choosing to praise You. I believe that You will bring good from my current situation and so I am focusing on You, not on my circumstances. Amen.

“But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge” (Psalm 141:8).


David's Call to Praise

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

If King David were with us today, no doubt he would sound this clarion call to every believer: “Praise the Lord!” He would encourage us to clap our hands, to make a joyful noise to almighty God with musical instruments, and to shout praises to the Most High God. That’s right, shout! And David wouldn’t quietly stand before us, meekly offering this as a suggestion for us to consider. No, he would be animated; he would implore us to join him and all the saints of God in praising.

So if you were to meet David today, would you gladly heed his call to praise God with your entire being—all that you are, all that you have, and all that you will ever be—every day of your life?

Praise is more than obligation—more than a simple spiritual exercise. It is something more than singing songs in church on Sundays. Praise is the path that brings us near to God and His love, His power, and His grace. It brings us closer to the throne of God, to a more intimate relationship with our Creator, Savior, and Lord, and to a more fulfilling life on this earth.

We are driven to know our reason for being. We want our lives to make a difference, to bring out something of lasting value. One of life’s great questions is this: “What is the purpose of my life?” For those who believe in Jesus as their Savior, the purpose of life is clear: We exist to bring glory to God. To find a life of meaning, we need to concentrate on praising Him.

Not only does praise put us in closer communion with God, it also reveals things to us about ourselves. Praise opens our eyes to spiritual reality, to the love and power of God, and to our desperate need for Him. As we pursue our life’s purpose in following Christ, our very lives are an expression of praise to God.

Prayer: Father, help me to embrace my purpose in life—to glorify You. May I praise You today with my entire being. Praise the Lord! Amen.

“The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!” (Psalm 18:46).


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