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Jesus The Only (Booklet)

Elements of the Spirit's Work

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

There is only one true source of power in this world -- Jesus Christ. It is His life within us through the presence of the Holy Spirit that provides the power we need for daily living. On the day that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Church, Peter delivered one of the most powerful sermons ever preached. Peter's sermon embodies four elements of the Holy Spirit's work. These elements are at work within both the Church body and the lives of individuals.

Confrontation of Skepticism: The Holy Spirit compels us to confront our own fears and doubts, which keep us from stepping out in faith. The Holy Spirit confronts us with our sin and with our attempts to justify it.

Clarification of Scriptures: Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as being the "Spirit of truth." Jesus says, "He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you" (John 16:13–14).

Condemnation of Evil: The Holy Spirit does not condemn us (see Romans 8:1). Rather, He convicts us of wrongdoing. He teaches us how to discern behavior and how to judge character. The Holy Spirit always stands against evil, condemning its influence in our lives.

Confirmation of What Is Good, Right, and True: The Holy Spirit works in us to confirm in our hearts all that is pleasing to God. He confirms His character in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The Holy Spirit teaches us what we must do to overcome greed, sloth, addictions, lust, prejudice, hatred, and anger.

Prayer: God, thank You for giving us the Spirit to confront us, to clarify Scripture, to condemn evil, and to confirm what is good, right, and true. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"But the Advocate [or Counselor], the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:26).

Following God

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

The psalmist discovered the joys and benefits of obedience to God:

Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. . . . I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:97, 100-105)

Our society seems to take one misstep after another. People around us are wandering aimlessly through life, not knowing what they truly believe or whom they should follow. Politicians and community leaders have strayed off course as they have ignored the divine wisdom and guidance of God in order to follow their own human principles.

God wants to show us how to live abundant and joyful lives. He desires to lead the way for us through life, steering us away from temptation and sheltering us in the storms. He wants to give us guidance in our decisions. We are not to live as the world does, chasing after every new philosophical trend. Instead we are to live confidently knowing that the only One we need to follow is God.

Unlike the worldly culture around us, we are not rudderless. We have God's guiding Holy Spirit to show us the best course. But first we must surrender completely to following His will and His commandments, even when they do not match our personal desires. We must spend regular time in prayer learning His voice and His heart. The more we know God, the easier it will be to discern His voice from our own self-serving thoughts.

Prayer: God, thank You for providing all the guidance that I need in this life through Your Spirit. I pray that I would spend time with You daily and surrender to Your plans as You reveal those to me. Help me to trust You to lead the way. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"I wait for your salvation, Lord, and I follow your commands" (Psalm 119:166).

Lead Us Not into Temptation

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

During the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad, builders had to construct an elaborate trestle across a deep canyon. After it was built, the chief engineer wanted to test it. A train loaded with double the normal train cars and supplies was driven to the middle of the bridge, where it stayed for an entire day.

Someone asked the builder, "Are you trying to break the bridge?" The answer was no. "I am trying to prove that the bridge will not break," was his reply.

In the same way, God allows us to be tempted by the enemy. There is a spiritual hedge of protection around the life of the believer that can only be penetrated with God's approval.

In times of testing, God wants to strengthen us through the trials so that we will be made ready for His service.

Prayer is the most powerful form of communication that we have. By teaching the disciples to pray, "Lead us not into temptation," Jesus was preparing them to face life's trials and temptations correctly.

The Lord knew the disciples would face many trials and temptations. Their only source of wisdom and help was found in God -- "Lead us not." But the sense of the Greek words used here also implies that there must be necessary training.

God does not allow us to face needless trials. Most of what we face comes as a result of living life in a fallen world. However, we must learn to say "no" to anything that would prevent us from living holy lives before a holy God.

Prayer: Father, lead me not into temptation. When I am facing temptation, help me to see the way out You have provided. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The God of Me-ism

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Of all the false gods of this world, the one that is the most dangerous is the god of "me-ism." When we place our desires above the desires of God, we are yielding to the pressure of "me-ism."

When we begin to look at a project or a goal and think, "I am in control of this as well as my destiny," we take another huge step toward bowing down before the god of this world -- the god of senseless pride whose goal is to entrap us in the lustfulness of "me-ism."

One of Satan's greatest desires is to tempt us to doubt God. He loves to twist God's Word by telling us that we don't need to rely on the Lord's wisdom because we have all that we need within us. We see this has been true from the very beginning when Satan questioned what God said in the Garden with Eve. "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God really say, "You must not eat from any tree in the garden"?'" (Genesis 3:1).

The bottom line to faith is being willing to trust God with our lives. He is the One who calls us to live lives of personal sacrifice so we may give all that we are to Christ to be used for His glory. The enemy of our souls tempts us to stop and question what God requires. He tells us we don't need to make a deep commitment because that would be too costly and embarrassing.

Abraham lived a life of faith. He was not concerned with what his sacrifice would cost him. He was only concerned with his love and devotion to God. Therefore, he learned to follow the Lord, and we can do the same. There will be times when we make wrong turns but God will quickly restore us and direct us back to the place where His blessings are.

Have you been questioning what God has asked of you, afraid to commit your entire life to the Lord? Today is the day to know Jesus as more than your Savior. He is your living and eternal Lord.

Prayer: Father, help me to know how to follow You and not be drawn aside by the temptations of this world. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"So [Abraham] built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him" (Genesis 12:7).

A True Reflection

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

There is a children's story that tells of a dog with a big juicy bone crossing over a small footbridge. He stops long enough to gaze down into the pool of water beneath the bridge and sees what he believes is another dog with an even bigger bone!

Instead of being happy with what he has been given, he drops his bone and lunges forward to take the other dog's bone. But there was no other dog and no other bone. What he saw was his own reflection in the water below. His entanglement with greed and deception caused him to lose what was precious to him.

Many people live their lives in a state of comparison. They look at what others have and want more than what they have been given. Discontentment and jealousy fill their hearts and the result of their attitudes is disastrous.

Once we open a door to temptation, the enemy is quick to respond. Selfishness, envy, and jealousy have one end: sorrow and defeat. If you have allowed any one of these attitudes to set up shop in your life, ask God to tear down the stronghold and forgive you for your faithlessness. He has a marvelous plan for your life, and you do not have to envy the life of another.

Prayer: Lord, cleanse me from all thoughts of envy and jealousy. Teach me to be satisfied with Your blessings in my life. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"I am your shield, your very great reward" (Genesis 15:1).

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).

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