Our fears, anxieties, and hurts are very real. But if we focus only on these earthly problems, then very soon the spiritual realm becomes foggy and unreal. We lose sight of God and slide into pessimism and even depression. Life loses its joy and excitement. If we limit our thinking to this world alone, it will grind us down into the dust from which we were created.

No matter how difficult or unjust our circumstances become, we can exercise our free will and choose to praise God rather than ignore Him. As we see in the Psalms, praise has a strong emotional dimension—but it is not driven by emotions. Praise is driven by our will. That is why we must never say, “I prefer to wait and praise God when I really feel like it.” We are to praise God in all situations, in both victory and defeat, when we are in need and when we are experiencing plenty.

In fact, the times when you do not feel like praising God are precisely the moments when it is most essential to do so. The next time you are 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.

Why do I say this? Because praise is about what God desires us to do—it is not about the power of your circumstances. When you take your eyes off your immediate problem and put your focus on God, you redirect yourself toward what God has done, is doing, and will do for you, not what man has done to you. At that point, God can work in your life to produce real growth.

The Truth for the believer is that this tangible, physical world is not the “real” world. The real world is our ultimate home—the heavenly, spiritual realm where God’s presence permeates the atmosphere. When we start to view our present life in light of this ultimate reality, things begin to change. Faith and hope take root and flourish; joy and peace grow in our hearts.

Prayer: I choose to praise and serve You for the rest of my life on earth and for eternity, Lord. You are greater than my circumstances. Help me to see the spiritual realm around me so that Your presence becomes my reality. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. . . . we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Empowered by Praise, Part 2: LISTEN NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.


Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.


The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.


He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.



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