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It Is Well: Living a Lifestyle of Praise

In 1870, Horatio Spafford lost his only son to scarlet fever. In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire decimated his fortune. In 1873, he lost both his daughters in a shipwreck. On the ship to meet his wife, the sole survivor, he sat down to write these words as the ship passed by his daughters’ ocean grave:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

After four years of utter despair, having lost nearly everything, Spafford bravely worshiped God. His words now constitute one of the most well-known hymns in history.

The Bible teaches that God is near to those who praise Him. He knows the deepest concerns of our hearts (Psalm 139). Praise melts our hearts so that we are no longer hardened by sin or disappointment. And while God never requires our praise, He certainly desires it. But what is it about praise and thanksgiving that brings the Lord and the believer so close together?

Praise re-establishes God’s reign over our hearts.

Praise is often difficult because it is an invitation for God to have authority in your life. Through praise, God reveals the true spiritual condition of your heart, then molds you into His image and opens your heart so that you will know and trust Him more deeply.

Praise refocuses our hearts so we can see God’s plan for the future. 

In this life, you will face trials and troubles (John 16:33). If you focus solely on your problems, eventually you will believe that disappointment is your destiny. However, Jesus has overcome every evil obstacle, and He is your hope.  If you focus on God’s power, love, and glory, you will realize that redemption and victory are possible in Christ.

Praise fortifies our relationship with God. 

Praise reminds you that God loves you with an everlasting love. Praise helps you recall that you are not alone. By expressing your adoration and thanksgiving to Him, you not only accept His love, you also learn how to reciprocate the love He gives to you (Revelation 5:12).

What is the ultimate reason for our praise?

Throughout Scripture, we find a common theme: “For the Lord is good” (Psalm 100:5). We praise God because He is worthy of all worship, no matter what we are experiencing or how we are feeling. This is why we can “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4).

Do you want to love God extravagantly? Do you want to trust Him more than you ever have before? Begin to worship God for His faithfulness. Exalt Him for His love.  Thank Him for His nearness in trouble. Praise Him for His overcoming power. Let nothing hold you back from giving Him all praise.


 

Do You Want to Know Christ More Deeply?

In Dr. Michael Youssef’s new series, To Know Jesus Is to Love Him, you will learn how to engage your mind, heart, and will for Christ and overcome the obstacles to loving God fully. Challenge your love for Christ and go deeper in your relationship with this new six-part teaching series by Dr. Youssef.

For a limited time only, save 20% when you order To Know Jesus Is to Love Him on CD or DVD.

 

   

Following Christ Can Be Dangerous

From the desk of Dr. Michael Youssef

What if you lived in a culture where saying “Jesus is Lord” could get you tortured or killed?

Jirjis* is a man in his forties who lives in Egypt. For much of his life, he was a dedicated member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

One day, he and other members of the Brotherhood met to plot the fire-bombing of a Christian church. That night, Jirjis dreamed that a voice was telling him, “Do not hurt My church.” The next day, he told the men he had changed his mind—he wouldn’t help them destroy the church.

The others cursed him, then piled into their vehicles to carry out their plan. On the way to carry out the attack, a traffic accident killed all the conspirators.

Others in the Muslim Brotherhood were outraged that Jirjis had refused to take part in the attack. They beat him, then locked him up without food or water for days. They tortured him and even pulled out his fingernails.

Because of his dream, Jirjis came to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Although he is growing in his faith, being a Christian and having health problems have made it hard for him to find work. A local church gives him some help, but its resources are limited.

When our ministry team learned what Jirjis was going through, we provided him with financial help to cover his rent and living expenses as he seeks to re-establish his life.

We rejoice to hear that many Muslims are coming to Christ. But conversion is just the beginning of the journey. Life is incredibly difficult for new believers in the Muslim world. Many face rejection by their families, job loss, imprisonment, violence, and death threats.

In the Middle East and North Africa—places where it is dangerous to follow Christ—Leading The Way is penetrating strongholds through targeted broadcasting, personal on-the-ground discipleship teams, and our Help The Persecuted ministry. Through these efforts, God is bringing eternal hope to the lost and much-needed help to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

As the need grows, our commitment grows. This year, our disbursements to persecuted Christians increased by more than 200 percent. By God’s grace, we were able to provide assistance to thousands of Christians, including Syrian and Iraqi refugees. We regularly provide living expenses for believers forced from their homes and jobs, plus medical expenses, emergency funds, travel help, and pastoral care.

This month, as we reflect on all that we are thankful for, I am so grateful for the freedom we have to share the Gospel. But many do not have this freedom. Will you join me in praying for them? Will you help Leading The Way continue to proclaim and demonstrate the Gospel in hostile regions?

I thank God for your prayers and gifts to Leading The Way, which help us to provide both spiritual and physical nourishment to so many. May God bless you and your family this Thanksgiving as you reflect on His faithfulness.

In Christ,

Signature

Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
Founder & President, Leading The Way

*Name changed for his protection

P.S. Please remember that gifts of stock are a tax-efficient way to give to the ministry, as you will receive a full market value tax deduction and forego the capital gains tax. You must transfer shares from your brokerage account to Leading The Way’s brokerage account by December 31st to secure your deduction for 2014. To take advantage of this opportunity, please call 1.800.538.7677 or visit the Strategic Gift Planning page at LTW.org.

 

Uniting to Support the Persecuted Church

Uniting to Support the Persecuted Church

What would you do if terrorists burned down your home because they knew you were a Christ-follower? If your husband was killed for being a Christian? If your family disowned you for your faith in Jesus?

Around 80% of all acts of religious discrimination are directed toward Christians, and nearly 100,000 believers are killed for their faith every year. We belong to a global Body of Christ—how can we support our brothers and sisters who are suffering daily for His name?

This month, Leading The Way is uniting with ministries around the world to pray for the persecuted church. Here are some specific ways you can join us in praying for and supporting our brothers and sisters in Christ:

Pray for the Persecuted Church

  • Pray that persecuted believers will know that God is with them in the midst of their suffering and be strengthened by His love, power, and peace (Psalm 23:4).
  • Pray that they will experience God’s provision and protection—both physically and spiritually (2 Corinthians 1:9-11).
  • Pray that what is intended for evil will be used by God to advance the Gospel in mighty ways (Philippians 1:12-14).

Support the Persecuted Church

Leading The Way has been directly meeting the needs of persecuted believers since 2011, after we began receiving regular phone calls, Skype messages, texts, and emails from listeners and viewers in the Middle East and North Africa—one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian. Messages like these have become common responses to our broadcasts in the region:Joshua Youssef discusses the critical need for support for Christians in the Muslim world

“I am thinking of becoming a Christian, but my father has threatened to disown me and kick me out of the house if I convert.” –Morocco

“Please help me as soon as possible, as the news about my faith has started to spread among my relatives and friends. My life is now in danger.” –Egypt

Through your support, Leading The Way not only broadcasts the Gospel, but also provides personal follow-up for Truth-seekers and new believers through on-the-ground teams and direct support through our Help The Persecuted ministry. This practical support comes in the form of rent, pastoral care, medical funds, travel help, emergency needs like food and bedding for refugees, and school tuition.

As our brothers and sisters in Christ endure job loss, imprisonment, torture, and estrangement from their own families, we can help them. Will you join us?

Give to Leading The Way

 

November Notes from Our Inbox

Each month we receive letters, emails, texts, and phone calls from people around the world who have experienced the life-changing love of Christ through Leading The Way. We hope these testimonies guide you in your prayers and support of the ministry, encourage you to keep sharing Christ with others, and empower you in your own spiritual growth.

United Kingdom:

"I heard Dr. Youssef on Premier Radio and ever since then, I've downloaded and listened to the podcast every day as well as received the My Devotional daily emails. Dr. Youssef has been truly blessed to share the Word so clearly and truthfully, which has been of immense help, instruction, and comfort to me as a new Christian."

India:

"I cannot thank you enough. Your programs have been helping distraught people searching for the meaning of life in more ways than you know. Ever since I lost my father 10 months ago, I was forced to seek refuge in Jesus. I have been cramming my head with Christian literature and have been attending church. Even then I had so many unanswered questions. You have shown me the way, the right way. Thank you."

USA:

"I listened to your message tonight on the radio. I just cried. David vs. Goliath—this is my situation. It really touched my spirit to seek the Lord and His divine mercy and favor. No matter what armor my avenger is wearing, Christ can intervene and increase my strength to win and destroy my enemy. Amen!"

China:

"Your bilingual program benefits me a lot—both in a spiritual way and in language training. May God bless your ministry."

Australia:

"God bless you for staying true to the Word of God. In these days, when so many preachers cannot stand by the Word of God and make compromises with the world, it is refreshing to hear someone who takes the Word of God as it is written and stands by it."

Iran:

"I have a great curiosity about God, and I am praying that God shows himself to me so that I may know Him. Please pray for me."

Kosovo:

"I have been listening to Leading The Way for many months and have learned many things I didn't know before. I'm a Muslim and never had a desire to know about Christianity. I hated all my Christian neighbors. But what Dr. Youssef shares on the radio is very positive and encouraging and very educational. I would like to read the books you are offering on the program."

India:

"I have been a Christian for the past 25 years, but I had not experienced the joy of salvation in my life. Having listened to your program, I was able to know redemption from sin. God opened my spiritual eyes through the message of Dr. Michael."

October Notes from Our Inbox

At Leading The Way, we are blessed to receive encouraging testimonies from viewers, listeners, and readers from around the world. Just as they are a tremendous encouragement to our team, we hope that their words will be an inspiration to you and an answer to your prayers for Leading The Way.

Morocco:

"I was hooked on THE KINGDOM SAT for three years, and through it I got to know the true God and make a decision to leave Islam and embrace Christianity. I memorized the verses you put in your programs and I am now convinced that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. I decided a year ago that I will not deny my religion no matter what I face in the future."

Kosovo:

"I'm a young Christian and I first heard about Dr. Youssef through one of my friends. She loaned me her mp3 player to listen to his preaching and listen to the Bible as well. At that time I could read the Bible only when I was in school and could not take the Bible home. Dr. Youssef's preaching fed my soul in a very special way. Later on, Radio 7 gave me a solar-powered Navigator and I have been listening to Leading The Way almost daily. I'm very thankful for these messages that are helping us to find purpose and strength to go beyond the obstacles of our culture."

USA:

"I listened to your program in St. Louis the other day. Your message was the answer to my focal prayer this year, which is how to listen to, serve, and love God better. I have not traditionally listened to Christian radio but I think I will do so more regularly now, and I will certainly follow your sermons for more inspiration, perspective, and guidance. Thanks!"

Albania:

"I follow you through the iPhone app and I thank God for such a radio station that is showing me how to honor God in an ungodly society. I'm learning to have uncompromised faith, though my friends at school might call me names. Thank you for helping me to overcome my life challenges and honor God with my life."

Indonesia:

"Your program has not only improved my English, but has also strengthened me at this moment, as I am serving my sentence in a women's prison. Please pray for me. Thank you so much for your program. It truly blesses me."

India:

"I've heard some of your messages, which are striking and have touched the core of my heart. One such program was based on 1 Corinthians 13 and I was blessed by it. I came to know the true meaning of love and that God loves me and saved me. Please pray for me that I may grasp the deep meanings of the Word and that I may live my life for God alone."

Australia:

"I have been watching Leading The Way on Sunday mornings for some time now, and I thank our Lord for this wonderful ministry. How we need the Gospel to be ministered by television! I pray that the seeds that the Lord gives will reach many unsaved persons throughout our world."

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