Devotionals by Dr. Michael Youssef

 
The Cutting Edge of Life

Have you become so engrossed in doing God’s work that you forgot your focus? We can easily become so busy with activity that we lose our effectiveness. We can become so focused on the quantity of work that we forget about quality.

2 Kings 6. This passage describes a man who was busy for God, yet lost his effectiveness. He had lost his cutting edge while he was busy working.

When the prophets decided to build a larger meeting place, they began chopping wood near the Jordan River. “As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water. ‘Oh, my lord,’ he cried out, ‘it was borrowed!’” (2 Kings 6:5).

The ax head represents the cutting edge of life—a life that is being equipped with an anointing by God’s Holy Spirit. The loss and later recovery of the ax head shows us a picture of God’s grace, mercy and willingness to restore our usefulness for His kingdom.

Like the borrowed ax, everything we have is borrowed from God. Nothing we claim actually belongs to us—. It all belongs to God—even our very life and breath. But when we think of ourselves as owners, instead of stewards, we can easily fall into the temptation of hoarding our blessings. Yet Jesus warns, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

So when we become complacent about our borrowed resources or caught up in our activities, we begin to lose our effectiveness in God’s work. The evidence of God’s blessing upon our lives is not how busy we are with activities and committees, but with our effectiveness for Him. The evidence of God’s blessing upon our lives is His anointing and the changed lives around us.

Like the busy worker in this passage, if we fail to remain on guard we will miss the warning signs of impending trouble. For the worker, he was so consumed with chopping that he did not notice the loosening of the ax blade from the handle until it was too late. For us, we can become so preoccupied with activity that we fail to see our slackening relationship with God until we fall into temptation. Jesus told His disciples, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:41).

How do we recover our effectiveness? First, we must figure out where we have fallen. Elisha asked the worker regarding the ax head, “Where did it fall?” (2 Kings 6:6). In order to retrieve that sharp edge, he first had to learn where it was lost. Likewise, our place of departure is the place of our recovery. We will only find power where we have lost it. It is futile to think we can overlook the past without confessing it to God.

Second, we must reach out for Jesus. Elisha used a branch to save the ax head miraculously. “When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it into the water. Then the ax head rose to the surface and floated. ‘Grab it,’ Elisha said to him. And the man reached out and grabbed it” (2 Kings 6:6,7). Jesus, the Branch of David, will restore us when we are drowning. He is the only One who can liberate us from the currents of the world’s temptation. He is the only One who can cleanse us of the soot and mud when we have hit the bottom of the river.

Have you lost your keen edge in your Christian walk? Have you been spinning your wheels? Do you feel that you have moved away from your effectiveness for God? Commit to Him today to return to the places where you have fallen so that God may restore and renew your effectiveness in your service to Him.

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June Gift Challenge
Proclaim. Disciple. Help.   What if you could share the Gospel 24 hours a day in places where the borders are closed to missionaries?   This month, you have an exciting opportunity to partner with Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef. Generous ministry partners have committed $400,000 to Leading The Way’s global ministry work and are challenging you to match their gifts this month. Your gifts will help us proclaim the Truth of Christ through every major form of media, disciple new believers in closed countries, and help the persecuted. Help us meet our Gift Challenge goal this month!

About Leading The Way

Along with partners committed to changing the world, Dr. Michael Youssef is leading the way for people living in spiritual darkness to discover the light of Christ. By passionately proclaiming uncompromising Truth through creative methods, this international team of experts is uniquely providing hope that is revolutionizing lives at home — and around the world.

Now celebrating 26 years of ministry,Leading The Way's television and radio programs are broadcast in more than 24 languages, covering more than 190 countriesLeading The Way also produces DVDs, CDs, books, a monthly devotional magazinesolar-poweredNavigators, and daily e-devotionals to spread the light of Christ. In 2009, the ministry launched THE KINGDOM SAT television channel to broadcast Biblical Truth from 50 ministry partners to five continents on five satellite platforms in English, Arabic and French. Leading The Way also partners internationally with in-country follow-up teams to encourage new believers in their faith, helping God's Kingdom to grow around the world and funds Help The Persecuted to provide vital aid to believers being persecuted for their faith in Christ.

Dr. Youssef and the Leading The Way staff are committed to sharing the Gospel with the lost and equipping believers to grow into a deeper walk with Christ. To learn how you can partner with this unique ministry,contact us.

About Dr. Michael Youssef

Michael Youssef, Ph.D., is the Founder and President of Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef, a worldwide ministry that leads the way for people living in spiritual darkness to discover the light of Christ through the creative use of media and on-the-ground ministry teams. His weekly television programs and daily radio programs are broadcast more than 4,000 times per week in 24 languages to more than 190 countries. He is also the founding pastor of The Church of The Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Youssef was born in Egypt, lived in Lebanon and Australia before coming to the United States. In 1984, he fulfilled a childhood dream of becoming an American citizen. He holds degrees from Moore College in Sydney, Australia, and from Fuller Theological Seminary in California. In 1984, he earned a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Emory University. He has authored more than 30 books, including the most recent, God, Just Tell Me What to Do. He and his wife reside in Atlanta and have four grown children and seven grandchildren.

Contact Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef

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