*An audio version of today's devotional is available on Leading The Way's MY Devotional podcast.

Imagine looking up at the evening sky in the desert somewhere in the Middle East thousands of years ago. Think of all the brilliant stars you would have seen without the ambient lights of modern civilization. That’s the type of night sky Abraham would have seen when God told him, "Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them. . . . So shall your offspring be” (Genesis 15:5).

Read Genesis 12:1-9. God made Abraham some amazing promises: "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2-3). But despite these great promises, the difficult reality for Abraham was that he was old, and his wife Sarah, barren. How could he possibly count the stars when all the odds were against him?

In those days, Abraham did not have a Bible. He did not have a small group or discipleship program. He did not have a church. He did not have a preacher. All he had was the word of Almighty God, calling him as He calls each of us: “Come and follow Me. Leave your life of sin. Now trust My word and believe My promises.”

God wants us to take Him at His word, even when our circumstances tell us otherwise. You may have been burned by the broken promises of a loved one, but God never goes back on His word. You can trust Him when He says, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28); “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5); “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9); “I am working for your good” (see Romans 8:28).

We, like Abraham, are waiting for God to fulfill all His promises. They are already ours, but like our spiritual father whom God called to the Promised Land those many years ago, we must contend in faith. We must continue to count stars, even when we see none. After all, God has given us His word, and that is enough.

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your incredible promises found in Your Word. May my heart delight in them and my mind recall them in every situation. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them. . . . So shall your offspring be” (Genesis 15:5).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Counting Stars in an Empty Sky, Part 1: LISTEN NOW | WATCH 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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